How do you go about convincing a boss, colleague or stakeholder that there is another way? The subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) art of persuasion is an important skill to build to ensure that the loudest voice is not the only choice. In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, Adam Grant writes about Steve Jobs, a man legendary for his genius and for how difficult it was to influence him. The main thesis of this really excellent article is that “much of Apple’s success came from his team’s pushing him to rethink his positions. If Jobs hadn’t surrounded himself with people who knew how to change his mind, he might not have changed the world.“ Persuasion has been a successful topic for business writers and there are numerous books available on the topic. Jobs however was notoriously difficult to influence and Grant tracked down and spoke toContinue Reading


It is so easy to underestimate the power of gratitude, we get busy. Colleagues and team members are doing the job they are paid to do, no one thanked us so why should I get out and thank them? I had a colleague who made a practice of starting meetings by recognising a peer for their contribution and how they had helped. The impact was hugely positive and infectious as others started taking on the same practice. In this DIGEST article we look at some of the most recent contributions on the power of gratitude and how leaders should approach it. It is an easy trap and one that can have a dramatic impact on your teams performance as Angel Kambouris explains “Gratitude builds relationships. Employee recognition and appreciation creates a company culture that strengthens relationships. On the other hand, we know the opposite to be true when leaders don’tContinue Reading

Keeping your team motivated during the pandemic is a widely recognised challenge. A recent survey of 600 CEOs by HBS asked what was keeping them up at night. The answers varied slightly but the common theme was motivation. “Keeping morale and motivation up amongst employees while they are dealing with the stress of COVID-19 as well as parenting/schooling children while working from home. How can we be supportive while maximizing productivity? How do we help employees with work/life balance?” “Keeping spirits high in a sales environment. At the moment our sales force has to work twice as hard for a quarter of the results. We have reduced the expectation of results but they still feel like they are losing every day. I believe this will be a marathon, not a sprint, and I will need help for the next many months to keep theirs and others’ spirits high so weContinue Reading

Over recent years the term ‘Servant Leadership’ became mainstream in business schools and leadership education. Synonymous with Agile Teams the servant leader empowers and enables the teams, effectively reversing the traditional role of staff making the manager successful. This article from McKinsey Quarterly explores the link between employee satisfaction and how managers are improving the quality of workplace relationships and in particular driving cultural change through servant leadership which includes engaging everyone within the organisation with “compassion and genuine curiosity”. Substantial research has documented that a good workplace is established when managers are able to provide workers with a work environment that is meaningful (clarity, context of the work; as well as autonomy, tools and guidance to do the work) and offers psychological safety (the absence of interpersonal fear as a driver of employee behaviour). “a good manager instills a sense of trust and confidence, with a clear set ofContinue Reading

The things that you have as a leader that other people need are not conformity, it is what makes you different that makes the difference. Know what your unique contribution is, what is it that you have that others don’t. “Conformity makes you average, otherness makes you remarkable”. Conformity makes you predictable but it is similarity that is the foundation to connection with other people. Your uniqueness empowers your meaningful contribution. “Conformity makes you average, otherness makes you remarkable” Consider the organisation like a team sport, everyone in your company is playing the same game but each team member brings unique skills, capability and experience – that uniqueness represents potential. Having a shared mission (and purpose) that gives meaning to the strategic direction enables the team connection and empowers the unique contribution. Consider using opportunities to integrate your personal story into your leadership narrative, sometimes the things you may wishContinue Reading

Synopsis of an article from Forbes by Jeremy Pollack, Published 28th July 2020 Significant bodies of research have confirmed that employee happiness is more likely to drive organisational success and as this article points out “job satisfaction is not only a sound business decision, but also an ethical and moral one”. So how do you know if your employees are happy and fully engaged in your organisation? Here are six questions that can help you find out. Is there anything that you need from the organisation to be more successful in your role? Is there anything you need from me (as your leader), or anything that I could be doing differently to be helpful to you? Is there anything that you find unclear in your role? or any clarity or direction that I can help you with. Do you have a vision for how this role will help you getContinue Reading

Synopsis of an article from SmartBrief by Alaina Love, Published 27th July 2020 In this article the author reflects on how she attended a recent Yale University ceremony where her son was graduating and honorary degrees were being given to various accomplished luminaries. One of those being recognised was Civil Rights leader John Robert Lewis (who passed away from pancreatic cancer in July 2020). She writes about four important pillars of leadership that were exemplified by Lewis. Principles and values are timeless Lewis taught us to stand for something, and to make our position on what we value unequivocally clear by our actions. For most of us, demonstrating principled leadership and honoring our values is far less risky within the confines of an organization Dare to Disrupt “When you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to get in the way and makeContinue Reading

Synopsis of an article from Inc. by Carmine Gallo, Published 29th July 2020 In this short article author and executive coach Carmine Gallo explains that your people (your team, partners and customers) are looking to you for guidance during the crisis, and they are looking for you to show your humanity. Gallo has two questions that help to ‘uncover your motivation to lead’ and they are: What makes your heart sing? Tell me something about your company that is meaningful to you personally? He links the first question to a comment by Steve Jobs who said that the intersection of technology and liberal arts made his heart sing. The second question often gets executives to open up with stories that are often not public. The importance of these questions is they lead to personal, meaningful and human stories. In the article Gallo uses some examples on how leaders have builtContinue Reading

The Motivation Secret That Works For Everyone. Synopsis of an article from Inc. by Jessica Stillman, Published 23rd July 2020 When the author sent a survey to 2.7 million twitter followers on the best tips for staying motivated there were lots of excellent creative tips on how to stay focused and get things done. Music Playlists Energy Drinks Communicating Gratitude Connecting with friends and colleagues who buoy your motivation Walking and getting fresh air Exercise Mindfulness Faith or Spirituality But there is one motivation that really does work in almost all situations. Focus on the WHY “By focusing on your ‘why;’ your reason for wanting what it is you want. The vision. The big picture. That keeps me #motivated especially when the going gets tough,” Seila Chapman  Connecting goals to the reason why, is the most powerful motivation as it enables people to visualise the end result. Everyone is different we findContinue Reading

Synopsis of an article from Forbes by Rasmus Hougaard, with Nick Hobson and Paula Kelley Published 8th July 2020 Rasmus Hougaard is the founder and managing director of the Potential Project, an organisation focused on building mindful leaders and organisations. In this article he makes the slightly contentious point that leaders often mistake empathy for compassion. Empathy is a foundational emotion for human connection, it is the spark for compassion but they are very different. With empathy we understand the suffering of others but with compassion we ask how we can help. For leaders recognising the differences is critical for “inspiring and managing others effectively”. Empathy is impulsive, compassion is deliberate Our empathetic feelings are an unconscious bias, they originate from the emotion centers of our brain and therefore we are less aware of and less intentional about those decisions. Compassion is deliberate and reflective response from the cognitive partContinue Reading