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Next Generation Leadership – Guiding Hypotheses to consider in leadership programme design

Traditional leadership programmes have a strong ‘management development content’ bias in the hope that by exposing leaders to knowledge and skills, there would be a concomitant change in how these leaders behave on completion of the learning experience – that there would be an impact back at work.

The following ideas about “Next Generation Leadership” were developed in response to a growing need to challenge and redefine what it takes to lead in a globally connected, ever changing and increasingly complex social and business environment.  The genesis of these ideas were developed in conversation and collaboration with Tom Cummings[1] and Charles Handy[2] over a 3 year period back in 2005-2007) when we were designing a programme for ‘emerging leaders’, or ‘new leaders’ who were going to participate in an annual global forum which focuses on some of the big questions of our time[3].

Next Generation Leadership – The Guiding Three Hypotheses

In developing our thinking about next generation leadership practices, we have been guided by the following three hypotheses about what we believe next generation leaders need to consider in terms of their own learning and development:

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Winning Teams – Pygmalion’s High Performance Team framework

“No man is an island unto himself…”

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Having “Great People” in a team does not necessarily mean we can expect “Great Teamwork” from the team. Yes, we know you need to have the right people, but a team is by definition “a group of individuals with a shared identity who collaborate to achieve a common purpose or objective”.

This definition is inclusive in the sense that it can apply to all areas of life: from community groups, sporting teams right through to workplace teams. In the workplace, this means a defined group of employees within an organisation who are accountable for working together to achieve specific deliverables that are in line with business objectives. Often, this can also mean a ‘task group’ that has been created to deliver on a specific initiative/project – a more complicated team in that it has a more diverse set of functional/technical capabilities with members coming from across the broader organisation, and it has to ‘get going’ faster and be more agile in how it goes about delivering on its’ set of objectives.

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High Performance Organisations – reconciling the dilemma of efficiency and innovation

IMG_1027One of the polarities that leaders face in creating/nurturing a high performance organisation is how to hold the tension between organisational efficiency/effectiveness and encouraging innovation/exploring new opportunities and practices.    From my coaching work with senior executives, I have been intrigued by their uniquely individual approaches to reconciling the high performance dilemma of on the one hand fine-tuning the system, yet on the other hand encouraging radical change – both in support of the business growth agenda.

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Why Goal Alignment is good for your Business

unlocking growthThe oxford english dictionary gives 2 definitions for the word ‘alignment’ – the first relates to “the arrangement of things into their correct relative positions”, the second relates to “the position of agreement or alliance“.   We all tend to use the word ‘alignment’ quite quickly, but as with all business jargon, it is easier to say it than to mean it…  I am finding that both definitions are very relevant when it comes to ensuring not only leadership team alignment, but also cross functional alignment…

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Is your Organisational Capability aligned to your Business Strategy?

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Changing Landscape requires longer range investment in capabilities

The fundamental changes in the global economy triggered by the sub-prime crisis in the banking sector during that extraordinary month in August 2008, there is clearly going to be a challenge to conventional approaches to leadership development.

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