Posts in leadership
How to overcome silos and turf wars

“I need them to step up. To take a broader view of the business. I need them to be leaders. Instead they keep their head down and just look after their own little patch.”

The CEOs I work with are savvy. They know the fastest way to advance their business objectives is by lifting up others below. A rising tide lifts all boats. It sounds great in theory. In reality, many of those being lifted stay stuck. It’s turf wars and silos.

Do we expect too much of people? Do they lack emotional intelligence? Do they need more explicit instruction? 

Yes to all of these, with a caveat. 

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Why won't they do what they're told?

You’ve explained. You’ve delegated. They nod back. Then - nothing. What the? Why don’t our colleagues follow through on task requirements? There are the usual suspects - you didn’t explain things well enough. Deadlines were unclear. They don’t have the skill to do it. They are overwhelmed with competing priorities. Or, something else. This one matters most.

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How to be a better people manager: one fundamental

Why don’t they just get on and do their job? People stuff can be exasperating. Life would be so much easier if people just do what they’re told, to the level as expected, in a time frame that fits expectations. How often does this happen? Not often enough for people leaders to feel at ease with their direct reports. 

It’s sad case of PICNIC - Problem In Chair, Not In Colleague. Any people problem should start with a solid look at oneself first. Thankfully there is a fundamental that you can turn to every time: read the manual.

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What to do when your senior leaders suck at people management

When folks with authority lack people skills it spells trouble for everyone. Attitudes cascade with effect from the top and if the attitude stinks of ‘I don’t need management training’, or ‘I know all that stuff already’ while they go on and create upset teams, then the organisation is in for a rough ride. The solution does not start with the leaders, it starts with systems.

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What to do when your staff hate each other and fight all the time

What happens when your staff are at each other’s throats and hate each other’s guts? Leadership is so much easier if people would just get along and do their job. But people come with personalities, baggage, and agendas. As leaders we need to help them sort it out before their grizzling turns to barking. Heads up: it’s going to take a lot of listening, nodding, understanding, and translating. This is a leader’s guide to navigating team tension.

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Bust beliefs that make you a martyr

What percentage of your life is currently your own? I ask this question of every new client. The answers range from 5% to 100%, the latter being a rare answer. The stories we tell ourselves about our world matter: they determine whether we feel good or bad, whether we feel powerful and in control, or helpless and stuck. In this article we go through some common narratives, and work on crafting a better personal story.

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How do you challenge your point of view?

Bias is big in the news, and for good reasons. We can make all sorts of ridiculous errors and assumptions based on default thinking: hire the wrong people, pass over the right people, not listen to an important perspective, jump to conclusions, make a bad decision, and the list goes on. As leaders, we need to be more aware of what and how we are thinking. We need to make the software of our mind more transparent, so we can update if necessary. But how do we do that? How do we challenge our point of view? The secret lies in the stories we seek.

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Expand your perspective and take massive action

What happens when you take a handful of smart clever people and invite them to share their wisdom? Stuff gets done. Here are key insights from the speakers of the Getting Sh!t Done Club that rocked through Australia and New Zealand last week. New perspectives mean massive action.

  • Fundamentals for boosting energy

  • Technology projects that won’t fail or overwhelm

  • Be change positive and get your creative juices on

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Deep wisdom - a sensational evening with James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

James Clear is best-selling author of Atomic Habits, one of my favourite books, and is on track to sell a million and more copies worldwide. Last week he spoke at Thought Leaders Business School and I had the opportunity for a conversation with him over dinner. What follows is insight on how we react around greatness, and what we can learn from ordinary humans doing extraordinary things.

  • The secret to extraordinary results

  • How to handle being star-struck

  • James’s top insight on being better at anything

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How to avoid getting derailed in a difficult conversation

Emotions are a troublesome thing in difficult conversations. Rather than feeling boundless, we end up frozen, shut down, or worst - explosive. They lead us off track from the constructive progress we wanted to make in the first place.

  • Why catastrophising can be a useful approach

  • The wisdom of Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones

  • 3 steps to preparing for the worst

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How to speak truth to power

Have you got an issue to raise with the boss but are fearful of consequences? Have you seen others speak up and get punished for sharing their opinion? What is it costing you to stay silent?

  • How fear is a product of our assumptions

  • Why suspending judgements before speaking is a useful approach

  • Why openness is the best defence, and compassion the smartest weapon.

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What happens when it all goes horribly wrong?

Have you ever had a difficult conversation go off the rails? Have you ever lost the plot and said things you regret? Has anyone ever shouted you down and treated you badly? Boundless Leaders know that when a storm hits, it’s best to let it pass, then clean it up.

  • How Suits characters model what not to do, and what can’t be done

  • When avoidance is the best strategy

  • Not everything is solvable

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Is it better to let sleeping dogs lie?

Speaking up is an ordeal. There is plenty at risk: reputation, relationships, remuneration. Is it sometimes better NOT to speak up? Are there times when it’s better to keep to ourselves and let the cards fall as they may? How does this stack up if we are committed to being Boundless Leaders?

  • Risks of being a whistleblower

  • What to consider in speaking up

  • How to find your own commitment to action

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Can you mend a relationship after a mediated dispute?

Have you ever been so entrenched in an argument you just cannot budge? Maybe you’re absolutely convinced you’re right, and they’re wrong. Nothing they say will convince you otherwise. And frustratingly, they feel the same way. So you’ve had to pull in outside help to settle the argument. Is this the point of no return? Or is it possible to mend the divide?

  • Perspective is powerful

  • Why the amygdala is a no-go zone

  • Mending bridges or burning them?

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