August 2009


Those who genuinely inspire, that provoke and that help to bring about significant change can be enormously popular. But not necessarily all the time, and with everyone. Until it is (at least nearly) completed, the act of building bridges to carry us to new territory is – apart from being the kind of metaphor that I should slap myself for –  also the art of going out on a limb. And as The HR Bartender points out, being “nice and likable” isn’t the only way to win people over or to achieve results – although it probably helps.

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“Day 5971 in the Big Brother Office. Andrea and Brian are reviewing the financial reports for Q2 against the strategic plan, while John, Estelle and Marco are brainstorming concepts for the re-branding task. Becki, who earlier today complained that no-one else helps with the cleaning of the house, is in the kitchen with Mohammed, talking about some of the other officemates. Later today, officemates will learn how many of them will be leaving the office on Friday.”

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Our blog isn’t the only place that you can read our thoughts and opinions – or find out more about our work. Our consultants are also contributors to, and interviewees in, a range of professional journals.

As copies of these articles become available, we’ll be adding them to a new page at the blog: Elsewhere, where you’ll be able to download them in PDF format.

The first six articles are online now, and we hope they’ll provide informative and thought-provoking reading.

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A compelling argument and a compelling application. (For more snippets from around the web, see the full Crackers list.)

Reclaiming ‘leadership’ from the elite: Louise Teboul on leading with authority in a multi-agency environment, the importance of “earning legitimacy with ideas that resonate”, and our need to recognise that leadership is something that you do rather than something you might have on your business card.

windosill.com:  a lesson not only in creative problem solving – welcome to an online world with lots of challenges and no signposts – but also in creating a memorable (ok, we admit it, addictive) experience. We hope you’ll enjoy this as much as some of us!

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This posting is a guest article – originally published as a LearningAlert email newsletter – by Calhoun Wick, Chairman and Founder of the Fort Hill Company. Cal graduated as a Rockefeller Fellow from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and continued his studies as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. A consultant, educator and researcher on improving the performance of managers and organisations, he is also co-author of The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results. His research led to the concept of Follow-Through Management® and the development of web-based tools that improve results by increasing follow-through and learning transfer.

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Having often worked in the ‘creative’ end of organisations, I guess I’m excused for having spent part of the last weekend in the Institute of Contemporary Arts. If you’re not familiar with the venue, the last paragraph of an old BBC news item explains that “The ICA describes itself as ‘a public playground’ for presenting and experimenting with new and challenging art and forging innovative ways of thinking about culture.” (Scroll back up in that article for more on a colourful moment in its history involving its sometime ‘millionaire insurance tycoon’ Chairman, also covered at the time by The Guardian – which also commented on the role of leadership in the presentation of contemporary art to the broader public. We, meanwhile, regret no-one took the opportunity to explore leadership as a conceptual art, and apologise for everyone else’s language.)

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I’ve just turned 40. My midwife was a miner’s daughter who married a Cabinet Minister, and a Prime Minister was my godfather. I’ve taught over 2 million people who might otherwise never had the opportunity, and transformed concepts of access to higher education. I’ve awarded my students more MBAs than all of the UK’s traditional business schools combined, and they’ve voted me top of student satisfaction polls twice in the last 4 years – even though the vast majority have never so much as graced my doorstep. As by-products of my work, I’m one of the biggest publishing and mailing operations in the world: as a result, I’ve had my own Post Office almost since my inception. One of my formative inspirations came from the observations of the education of Russian astronauts, and along the way I’ve turned Lenny Henry on to – and into – Othello. So who am I?

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