Great Leadership is About Great Communication

Harvard Business Review – January 2023

To be an effective leader, you need to become an exceptional communicator. Here are four strategies to help you motivate and inspire your team with your words.

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How to Move From Strategy to Execution

Harvard Business Review – June 2022

Three out of every five companies rate their organization as weak on strategy execution. When you dig into the potential barriers to implementation, there is a general lack of understanding of the various factors at play, resulting in the inevitable managerial justifications — “poor leadership,” “inadequate talent,” “lack of process excellence,” etc.

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Don’t Confuse Strategy with Lofty Goals

Harvard Business Review – June 2022

Most companies communicate strategy as a set of aspirations and platitudes. But aspirations aren’t strategy, and that mode of communication leaves employees in the dark. Strategy is a set of hard-to-reverse choices and explaining what these choices are and why they were made is what strategy communication should be

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CEOs are one of the most ‘underrated’ marketing tools, study finds

Marketing Week – May 2022

The reputation of a CEO and that of the brand they lead are closely tied together, with outspoken CEOs having a particularly positive or negative impact on brand reputation, according to research shared with Marketing Week by Brand Finance.

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5 Reasons Why the Office Still Matters

Engagement Multiplier

Workers are exhausted. A survey from Robert Half shows that 44% of workers are feeling more burned out now than before the pandemic. While working from home full-time was necessary while we all awaited a COVID-19 vaccine to protect us, it has not been an ideal situation for everyone.

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5 Unconventional Ways to Show Gratitude to Employees

The Future of Work – April 2022

Everyone wants to be appreciated, especially employees who put in their best effort every day.

But instead of sending the typical thank you email, try taking an unconventional approach. Showing gratitude in unique ways builds connection …

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Is L&D Having an “Oh @#&%” Moment?

HPT Treasured – April 2022

If you haven’t been stranded on a desert island for the past few years, you’re well aware that L&D needs to transform to meet the needs of our organizations and our learners. If you’ve just been rescued, I’ve put a couple of links at the bottom of this article to help you catch up.

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Harnessing The Power of Age Diversity

Harvard Business Review – March 2022

Conflict between generations is an age-old phenomenon. But at the end of 2019, when the retort “OK, Boomer” went viral, the vitriol — from both young people who said it and older people who opposed it — was pointed and widespread.

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Blame Culture is Toxic. Here’s How to Stop It

Harvard Business Review – February 2022

Picture this: Your team is racing against time and working weekends to submit a new client proposal. You finally manage to put all the documents together, and just in the nick of time, you press “send.” You take a deep breath and thank the team for their hard work. The proposal looks great and you’re confident that you’ll probably win it.

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Your Company Culture Has Deteriorated: Here’s What’s (Really) Going On – February 2022

Significant numbers of leaders are saying their organizational cultures are deteriorating, and they’re struggling with maintaining morale and motivation. Culture has been hard to maintain over the last couple years. After all, it’s tough to nurture a shared set of beliefs and behaviors when people are distant, and the work is dispersed.

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Leaders Don’t Have to Choose Between Compassion and Performance

Harvard Business Review – February 2022

Leaders are experiencing extreme demands for compassion at a time when there’s no room for compromising on outcomes. As a result, many leaders have fallen into the trap of thinking in terms of a binary choice between compassion or performance. They know that both are essential but are finding it hard to drive performance in a way that also maximizes support of their employees. .

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Why is Workplace Culture Important?

Engagement Multiplier – January 2022

Why is company culture important? For an answer, look no further than Peter Drucker’s famous quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As Drucker implies, even the most elegant strategy will fail unless the organisation is culturally aligned and ready to carry the strategy forward in both letter and spirit.

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5 Leadership Lessons to Embrace in 2022 and Beyond

Inc. – January 2022

Business leadership has undergone tremendous change in the past few years. The emergence of Gen-Z in the workforce was one key factor in initiating this massive transformation. They demanded leaders who were willing to collaborate rather than intimidate. Leading by fear was a sure way to unleash a revolving door of employees continuously entering and leaving the building.

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How Do We Embrace A Growth Mindset?

The Future of Work – January 2022

Having a growth mindset is crucial to succeeding in the future of work.

When you have a growth mindset, you know you can change, improve, and overcome challenges. You look for ways to innovate and update yourself and your company.

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3 Things Leaders Do

The Future of Work – December 2021

Over the years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of the top leaders around the world. And although they all have their unique habits and personalities, they also have much in common. In all my discussions with great leaders, these three traits stand out:

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10 Most Read Articles to Improve Your Leadership Skills in 2022

The Future of Leadership – November 2021

Like many of you may attest, 2021 was no cakewalk. I contracted a nasty case of Covid that laid me out for a month, followed by debilitating physical fatigue post-recovery, which lasted another month. In the view of my wife, at one point in the early stages of being infected, she thought “I was a goner” as my oxygen saturation fell below 90 percent. So, yes, I am extremely grateful to still be around enough to continue to serve my clients, my community, and my global followers.

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5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently

Harvard Business Review – October 2021

When it comes to building extraordinary workplaces and high-performing teams, researchers have long appreciated that three psychological needs are essential: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

Decades of research demonstrate that when people feel psychologically fulfilled, they tend to be healthier, happier, and more productive.

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The Key to Better Leadership Communication

Engagement Multiplier 

When asked, “What’s the most common employee feedback you see on engagement surveys?” we don’t have to look at the data or even think twice when answering.

“Better leadership communication,” or some version thereof is what employees of all types and from every industry seek from their organisations’ leadership.

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Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill According To Research

 Forbes – September 2021

Empathy has always been a critical skill for leaders, but it is taking on a new level of meaning and priority. Far from a soft approach it can drive significant business results.

You always knew demonstrating empathy is positive for people, but new research demonstrates its importance for everything from innovation to retention.

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Leadership Training Can Pay Huge Dividends for Midsize Companies

Harvard Business Review – July 2021

Developing managers and leaders in middle-market companies is a far different challenge than in large companies, for a variety of reasons. In my work, I hear these three most often:

  • Lack of resources: “We can’t afford to send our emerging leaders to business school.”
  • Perceived lack of time: “We don’t have the staffing to send our leadership/management teams on offsites.”
  • Not sure if it’s a good fit: “We’re not running Amazon here, and I don’t see how the leadership programs I hear about can address our problems.”

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What Leaders Need Most to Inspire Great Teams

The Future of  Leadership – July 2021

Do you hold aspirations to someday lead a team, department, or organization? Perhaps you’re there now but challenged by how to navigate the countless decisions that come flying in your direction. Well, the first thing you have to do, whether you’re a line manager on the floor or an executive in the C-suite is to firmly accept the fact that the majority of the leadership decisions you will make will involve people.

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Why do so many strategies fail?

Harvard Business Review – July 2021

The CEO’s job of crafting a strategy that creates and captures value—and keeps realizing it over time—has never been harder. In today’s volatile and uncertain world, corporations that have dominated their markets for decades can be blindsided by upstarts with radical new business models, miss the boat on emerging technologies, or be outflanked by competitors that are more adept at shaping consumer preferences.

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The Power of two and other leadership tricks

The Times – May 2021

I never really set out to be a business leader — I had to figure it out as I went along. But over the course of my career, first building DunnHumby into a global customer loyalty specialist with my husband and business partner Clive Humby, and then moving into digital brand building with Starcount, I have learnt a few key lessons about what good leadership really is, and how to get better at it.

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EPIC Meetings: New Best Practices for Virtual Teams

Engagement Multiplier – January 2021

The COVID-19 crisis has caused many companies to shift gears completely to work from home, and Engagement Multiplier is no different. Since mid-March, we’ve been devoting all of our time, energy, and resources to helping business owners weather this storm.

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Rethink capabilities to emerge stronger from COVID-19

McKinsey – 23 November 2020

In a new survey, leaders say the pandemic has alerted them to the urgency of getting learning programs right. Yet companies are falling short in delivering outcomes, and executives can do more to support capability-building efforts.

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Hidden Threats to Company Culture

Engagement Multiplier – November 2020

It goes without saying that every organisation has faced challenges this year, pivoting how business is conducted, the services provided, establishing new ways of working to keep employees connected, energised, and productive to name but a few. In the best cases, business leaders have found ways to create new opportunities and triumphed over adversity.

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Embedding new ways of working post-pandemic

CIPD – 16 September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the labour market. Substantial reduction in economic activity and the consequent drop in demand for labour, alongside social distancing rules, have pushed employers to adapt their working practices.

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An Engaged Team is a Resilient Team

Engagement Multiplier – August 2020

 The COVID-19 pandemic is testing businesses worldwide.  Uncertainty makes planning difficult, and the rapid rate of change the crisis is imposing on many businesses is pressuring employees and making it difficult for leaders to maintain alignment and focus. One company that’s keeping it together and innovating is Kolbe Corp., a Phoenix-based talent assessment company and creators of the Kolbe A  (™) Index.

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The Statistical Case for Company Culture

Growth Everywhere

“Culture” has been a buzzword in the corporate world for several years, but what does it mean and why is it important? defines company culture as “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.”

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CEOs Call in The Coaches as Covid-19 Tests Their Companies

The Wall Street Journal – May 2020

Executives are turning to their longtime coaches to help them navigate the uncertainty—and unprecedented leadership challenges—presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Two chief executives of major U.S. companies have used the same coaches since before they reached the corner office and still rely on them during the current chaotic business climate.

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Developing Effective Virtual Teams

CIPD – May 2020

While remote and homeworking have become increasingly common over the past twenty years, the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has seen remote collaboration spike dramatically and ‘virtual’ teams forming almost overnight.

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Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teams Users

Office365 – May 2020

According to Wikipedia, Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has sold over 30 million copies worldwide since its first publication in 1989. Good as that book is, it doesn’t cover how to work effectively with Teams, so here’s my best attempt at closing that gap…

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Ian Mattioli: Why I took a pay cut

FT Advisor – April 2020

Many companies are being judged on how their leaders and senior managers have responded to the coronavirus pandemic that has turned the majority of people’s lives upside down over the past few weeks. The financial advice sector is no different, and Ian Mattioli, chief executive of wealth management and employee benefits business Mattioli Woods, was one of the first to announce, …

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Where Companies Go Wrong with Learning and Development

Harvard Business Review – October 2019

Not only is the majority of training in today’s companies ineffective, but the purpose, timing, and content of training is flawed. Want to see eyes glaze over quicker than you can finish this sentence? Mandate that busy employees attend a training session on “business writing skills”, or “conflict resolution”, or some other such course with little alignment to their needs.

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Research: Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills

Harvard Business Review – June 2019

For the first time in history, a major political party in the United States has several women who have declared their candidacy to be their party’s presidential nominee. But TV pundits have been questioning whether, despite the progress indicated by the huge influx of women elected into Congress last fall, the U.S. is ever going to elect a woman to the country’s highest leadership position.

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Great Leaders Are Thoughtful and Deliberate, Not Impulsive and Reactive

Harvard Business Review – April 2019

You set aside the first hour of your day to work on a strategy document that you’ve been putting off for a week. You haven’t been disciplined about getting to it, but you’ve had one crisis after another to deal with in the past week. Now, finally, you’ve carved out 90 early morning minutes to work on it.

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You Don’t Have To Be a CEO To Be a Visionary Leader

Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville – 04 April 2019

Creating a unifying vision for an organization is a fundamental skill for leaders. A simple, bold, inspirational vision can feel almost magical: it brings people throughout the company together around a common goal and provides a focal point for developing strategies to achieve a better future.

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As Your Team Gets Bigger, Your Leadership Style Has To Adapt

Harvard Business Review – 13 March 2019

When Julie Zhuo, Facebook’s vice president of design, first began managing a team, it consisted of just  a handful of people. And then it doubled. Every few years, it doubled again. At each of these points, Zhuo felt like she had an entirely different job. While the core principles of management stayed the same, the day-to-day changed significantly.

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What’s Authentic Leadership, & How Do You Practise It

HubSpot – February 2019

Whether you’ve recently been promoted to a leadership position, or you’ve been leading your team for years, it can often seem tricky to discern what being a “good” leader actually means.

When you’re trying to determine the components of a successful leader, it’s easy to fall-back on certain terms we commonly associate with leadership — words like “assertive”, “inspirational”, and “confident”.

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Mistakes to avoid in a market downturn

Vanguard Investor – February 2020

Following more than a decade of generally rising markets, a meaningful downturn in stocks may finally be at hand.

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Senior leaders risk lagging behind the rest of the UK workforce in training and development

ILM – February 2020

Senior leaders risk being left behind in the learning and development space, according to findings from new research by City & Guilds Group business, ILM.

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The elements of good judgement

Harvard Business Review – February 2020

A decision must be made. The facts have been assembled, and the arguments for and against the options spelled out, but no clear evidence supports any particular one. Now people around the table turn to the CEO. What they’re looking for is good judgment…

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Get in the right headspace

Richard Branson – August 2019

It can be tricky to wind down your brain after finishing a hectic day’s work, especially for our pilots and cabin crew who cross time zones for a living.

I was thrilled to see Virgin Atlantic announce their latest in-flight offering in partnership with Headspace. Since we first added …

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Saturday’s child works hard for a living

CIPD – June 2019

In this blog we ask, who works at the weekend?

1 in 5 of us that work, do so on the weekend but this proportion differs markedly by various characteristics. Most important is the type of job someone does, which is closely related to the industry …

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Top 10 quotes to challenge the way you think

Richard Branson – June 2019

It’s more important than ever to keep an open mind and challenge our perceptions, opinions and – often subconscious – biases. I always try to remember that all of our thoughts and choices are shaped by our own experiences, emotions and surroundings.

It’s important to keep this in mind if we want to keep improving ourselves and engage in healthy conversations …

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How to delegate

Richard Branson – May 2019

I often talk about the importance of delegating when it comes to expanding and diversifying your business. It’s also a crucial leadership skill and it allows you to find better work-life balance. Recently, a 19-year-old entrepreneur reached out to me and asked for more detailed advice on delegation …

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The Secret to Leading Organizational Change is Empathy

Harvard Business Review – 20 December 2018

I’m working with a CEO who’s in the midst of rethinking her company’s strategy so it can better meet customer demands and thrive financially. These are major changes that will affect every aspect of how the firm operates — from the services it offers to the structure of her organization.

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Don’t give up on a great idea just because it seems obvious

Harvard Business Review – 07 December 2018

I spent eight years failing to act on an innovative idea that I knew would work. It was an idea that had not just technological promise but also societal value. It would help people contribute to the most important, impactful charities in the country. But I kept letting it languish.

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Leaders Focus Too much On Changing Policies, and Not Enough On Changing Minds

Harvard Business Review – June 2018

So why is business transformation so difficult to achieve? One reason is the invisible fears and insecurities that keep us locked into behaviors even when we know rationally that they don’t serve us well. Leaders can change processes, policies, seating arrangements, and…

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Curating positive leadership skills

ILM – May 2018

Why is it that a positive and successful company culture can be so elusive and hard to achieve? How do some organisations get it so right, and others get it so wrong?

While there are many factors involved in building a productive, effective and happy workforce – including pay, benefits, …

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Why Great Employees Leave ‘Great Cultures’

Harvard Business Review – May 2018

“We have a great culture.” We have all heard it. We have all said it. But what does that mean?

Ping-Pong tables, free meals, and beer on tap? No.

Yoga, CrossFit classes, and massage chairs? I so need that, but no.

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Why you need an untouchable day every week

Harvard Business Review – May – March 2018

I hate meetings. They sit subconsciously in my brain, taking up space. I prepare for them in my notebooks. I travel to them, and then back again, in the middle of my work days. And what do most meetings usually result in? You guessed it — more meetings.

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How to increase your influence at work

Harvard Business Review – February 2018

To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people. Here are some tips on how to position yourself as an informal leader, even if you’re not a formal one. (1) Strategize. Create a “power map” — an org chart of decision makers related to the initiative you wish to promote — to guide your campaign.

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How Coca-Cola, Amazon and Netflix learn form failure

Harvard Business Review – November 2017

Why, all of a sudden, are so many successful business leaders urging their companies and colleagues to make more mistakes and embrace more failures?In May, right after he became CEO of Coca-Cola Co., James Quincey called upon rank-and-file managers to get beyond the fear of failure that had dogged the company since the “New Coke” fiasco of so many years ago. “If we’re not making mistakes,” he insisted, “we’re not trying hard enough.”

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Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate

Harvard Business Review – June 2017

Culture is like the wind. It is invisible, yet its effect can be seen and felt. When it is blowing in your direction it makes for smooth sailing. When it is blowing against you, everything is more difficult. For organizations seeking to become more adaptive and innovative, culture change is often the most challenging part of the transformation. But culture change can’t be achieved through top-down mandate.

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What sets successful CEOs apart

Harvard Business Review – May – June 2017

The chief executive role is a tough one to fill. From 2000 to 2013, about a quarter of the CEO departures in the Fortune 500 were involuntary, according to the Conference Board. The fallout from these dismissals can be staggering: Forced turnover at the top costs shareholders an estimated $112 billion in lost market value annually, a 2014 PwC study of the world’s 2,500 largest companies showed.

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Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter

Harvard Business Review – November 2016

Striving to increase workplace diversity is not an empty slogan — it is a good business decision. A 2015 McKinsey report on 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.

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Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive

Harvard Business Review – December 2015

Too many companies bet on having a cut-throat, high-pressure, take-no-prisoners culture to drive their financial success.

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By really understanding your business and developing a strong relationship with you, we can help you navigate through the transitions of growth and create enduring success by releasing the full potential of your workforce