Leadership lessons in lycra

Why so much pain? It’s July 2011 and my breath is coming in huge rasping gasps.  It’s my first ride with a club and we’ve been cycling close to 20mph for what seems like forever. I am exhausted. My legs are burning. My back is aching. My lungs are ready to burst. It’s been like this for over an hour. Around me are a dozen or so other riders. They seem to be doing much better than me. There are a couple of conspicuous clues to why this might be. The first is that they are all skeletal in comparison to my more portly form. This is made more obvious by the fact that they are all sleekly attired in lycra. I am in a tee shirt, shorts and an ancient helmet. To their amusement, I’m riding in trainers instead of proper shoes clipped into the pedals. I really want to stop – but I can’t bring myself to say so. There don’t seem to be many alternatives. If I take
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Categories: Ambition Conversations, Changing Your Team, Learning Conversations, and Stories and Case Studies.

Is leadership fun for you?

One of the responses I received to last month’s edition was an email from a former colleague. He asked me about what role I thought ‘fun’ had to play in leadership and leadership teams. It got me thinking… The word ‘fun’ is difficult for many leaders as it can be seen as implying frivolity which doesn’t sit well with the gravity of responsibility in leadership roles. Let’s, then, talk about how rewarding the experience of leadership is – and the role it plays both in delivering results and also in enabling each leader to give of their best.   Leaders’ experience today Few leaders I meet are enjoying their jobs. Most are working too hard, frustrated at the pace of progress and worn down by the daily grind of eking out even small incremental gains in a hostile business environment – from what feels like an unresponsive organisation. Worse still, the impression I get from many leaders is that this is what they expect. They feel that this is what
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Categories: Making the Value Case.

Why is change so unpredictable?

We all know that change is  central to successful leadership and it’s now part of every training and development programme. Why then, are we so inexpert at it? Why does some change seem to happen almost spontaneously –  and other efforts seem to fail no matter how hard we try? Everything is connected One of the most important social scientists of the last 50 years was Gregory Bateson. A brilliant, multi disciplinary scholar and practitioner, he brought together ideas from many areas to help him understand the relationships he observed in societies and communities. At the heart of his work were his observations about the circular effect of behaviour in the relationships between people. He coined the term ‘vicious circle’ and he was one of the first to study and explain how the way we behave can be amplified (sometimes exponentially) or dampened by the behaviour of someone we are interacting with. He extended these ideas from pairs to groups of people and then to the interaction of people within the
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Categories: Changing Your Team.