How to stop wasting money on Leadership Development

mnewmanOne of my favourite leadership authors, Dr Martyn Newman, published a paper last month entitled “7 Things You Need to Know About Leadership Training. How to stop wasting money on leadership training and maximise ROI on Leadership Training”.

A stunning title which caught my eye for 3 reasons:

1. It rang bells for me, and sure enough it was an adaptation of the same 7 transformational factors I had read in his book. My memory’s not that bad after all!

2. It included eye-catching leadership practice improvements from employing this  methodology compared to average leadership development, i.e. 4-5 times better.

3. It started me thinking about Richard Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Theory which had also demonstrated similar striking results.

When I compared the two processes, Martyn’s and Richard’s, I found lots of similarities, which is reassuring because it’s common sense, just not common practice. Where have you heard that before?

Why do otherwise sensible people go it alone when we have available such dedicated academics and practitioners willing to offer decades of knowledge and solid research? Whatever the reason, they keep on doing it, wasting lots of money, for next to no gain. You can avoid doing that by investing a little time and effort in reading up on Martyn and Richard’s approaches. They are readily available on the internet.    

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How can we shift the painfully low level of trust in UK Senior Leaders?

The CIPD Megatrends report on Trust in the Workplace published this month continues to show that trust in senior leaders in the UK is low. The reasons for this, the implications and short term actions that can and should be taken are laid out in the report. They are no different to what has been said before and therefore progress will continue to be slow.

What is different is that CIPD is conducting joint research with Bath University into selecting and developing trustworthy leaders. Whilst context is all, and knowledge without action is the road to nowhere, it is this type of pioneering research that will inform senior leaders in government and industry to make the right choices, and will challenge them to make change happen. The sooner, the better.

Well done CIPD!

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What science knows and what business does


Matt Libermann of UCLA took to the stage for the opening session of the 2013 Neuroleadership Summit in Washington yesterday to share his research on social connection. He made a solid case for changing Maslow’s pyramid to place social needs right alongside physical needs as twin essentials for survival. They are that important.

Somehow that message hasn’t got through to business where less than 1% of managers have strong skills in both achieving results and looking after the needs of other people. Less than 1%!

It’s no surprise then that just 30% of change intitiatives succeed. That just 30% of people are actively engaged in their work. The answer is staring us in the face: recruit and train managers for their social skills as well as their executive skills.

Somehow businesses are immune to this. Or at least most of them. Companies like Qualtrics and Jupiter Networks who presented at the Summit on the results of applying the social and neoroscientist’s findings, are successfully pioneering a better way to work. They recognise that social skills are a multiplier for business success and ultimately planet survival.

Leadership effectiveness? It’s social.

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Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence


After a long summer break from blogging, during which time I have dived deep down into the pool of personal learning and development, I have resurfaced with a renewed focus and energy for my leadership coaching.

Just in time to recommend that you take up the same outstanding leadership development opporunity that I did back in May and June of this year. It’s Richard Boyatzis’ online masters course “Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence” offered by  It’s an 8-week programme commencing 28th October, and repeated again next March, and it’s FREE! I guarantee you will not find a better leadership development course anywhere else on the planet! His style is so engaging – check out his remarkable ties as well! – and his research material is fabulous. His generosity in sharing all of his work on Resonant Leadership, going way back to his early days with Emotional Intelligence in conjunction with Daniel Goleman, is truly inspirational.

Catch it if you can!

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Great Leadership, Great Workplace, Great Results

Kouzes PosnerAfter listening to Barry Posner as part of the lead up to this year’s World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECS), I am paying him the credit of repeating his inspiring message in the heading of this post. Barry is co-author with James Kouzes of “The Leadership Challenge” which is in its 25th year of publication.


That kind of simplicity, which gets to the heart of what we are all looking for in business, appeals greatly to me. It is also a perfect way to help managers become better leaders, by:

Modelling the way

Inspiring a shared vision

Challenging the process

Enabling others to act

Encouraging the heart


And “Challenging the process” by applying John Seddon’s lean systems thinking approach is the way to go. Again this week, I watched John on YouTube address a Human Givens event back in 2009 when he talked about the misguided systems thinking that is responsible for  the chronic mismanagement of the public sector. He has great courage in speaking out against it, and showing how it should be done with a long list of successful case studies. But, as he always says, the biggest challenge is to change management thinking.

If you want to be a better leader, look up Barry, James and John on the web and tune into them on YouTube. You won’t be disappointed.

Have a great week. 


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A Little Clean Language Goes A Long Way

For those you who are familiar with the work of David Grove, the New Zealand psycho-therapist, you will be one step ahead of most of us who would probably venture that clean language means ‘no swearing’. David’s version of clean language is a gift he gave to the world having discovered and developed it to help people in his care to get better.

David’s work was discovered by British therapists James Lawley and Penny Tompkins, who encompassed it into their own work on ‘Symbolic Modelling’ which is a process for understanding the metaphors of mind that play a vital, but largely hidden and unknown part of our everyday success and struggles in life. They published their work some twelve years ago, but I didn’t find out about it till last year when I had the good fortune to attend a session in Edinburgh that they gave for the Association for Coaching.

What immediately appealed to me was the pure simplicity of coaching with clean language where everything the coach does is in the service of helping their client make sense of their world; using only the words they use, and with just a handful of tried and tested questions from David’s practical success. The fact that this works so well in practice is worthy of attention.

This is radical don’t you think? There is no dependence whatsoever on the coach to know and understand the issue with which his/her client needs help. Just complete belief in the process and people’s natural ability to resolve their own problems and challenges on their own, with a little help. Of course, that help is incredibly precise and exquisite as I discovered from James and Penny’s book, but it is also hugely appealing and attractive in terms of being truly client-centred.

In the magical world of the power of the human mind and the human spirit. a little clean language does indeed go a long way.

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2013 KASH

KasKas, in southern Turkey, is one of my favourite places to visit on holiday, and January is the month when traditionally most people make their holiday plans. Whilst I can highly recommend Kas as a holiday destination, the connection for this first blog of 2013 is not the place but the way it is pronounced, i.e. ‘Kash’, which also happens to be one of my favourite personal development tools.

I learned about Kash, which is short for Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits, while studying for my postgraduate award in emotional intelligence coaching a few years back. It’s a great reminder for me personally, and hopefully for you too, to start off the New Year with a little self-reflection:

  • What are you keen to know more about this year?
  • How positive and optimistic are you feeling?
  • What would you like to be able to do better this year?
  • And what old learning habits do you want to change?

There you have it, nice and simple. Enjoy all your hard work and great holidays this year!

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