Insights

Why leaders must do so much more to prepare for GDPR

Why leaders must do so much more to prepare for GDPR

Impending GDPR rules mean that organisations will have to radically overhaul their data management efforts – but not enough leaders are facing up to this huge responsibility

As if European companies weren’t facing enough of a storm right now with the urgent need to prepare for Brexit, another thunderhead looming on the horizon requires even earlier attention. Any widespread failure to apply the necessary strategic insight to this problem could cost a huge amount of businesses the very reputations upon which they trade. I am talking here about Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May next year – and for which the majority of organisations, according to several pieces of research, remain sorely under-prepared.

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How should leaders enshrine innovation at the heart of their firms?

How should leaders enshrine innovation at the heart of their firms?

UK employees are disheartened that their thirst for innovation isn’t reflected among leadership figures. How can both sides work to resolve this?

It turns out that RADA – the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts – makes as much impact with its views on leadership as its finest alumni make on stage and screen. Part of the famed performance school is devoted specially to the business world, mainly to coach leaders on their body language and public speaking skills. But it also studies a whole series of business trends, and earlier this month it proved that a hotbed of creativity that people don’t usually associate with the cut and thrust of office life can bring some useful insights to the table on where companies may be falling short. Particularly when it comes to something that artists are routinely required to produce: innovation.

In a piercing study of 1,000 UK workplaces, RADA found that 81% of those organisations don’t currently support a culture of experimentation: the essential kindling for innovative behaviour. Indeed, just over one in five employees (21%) in those workplaces said that they didn’t believe senior figures were interested in hearing their ideas. A comparable number (18%) said that even when they did put their ideas forward, those brainwaves were rarely implemented. In the two most painful findings, as many as 16% of staffers said that their senior management teams actively treat new ideas with suspicion and criticism, while 15% believe that their leaders purposely discourage innovation.

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What kind of leader makes the best decisions in uncertain times?

What kind of leader makes the best decisions in uncertain times?

New research has highlighted the daunting range of decisions that firms are facing in the run up to Brexit. It will take a special blend of leadership qualities to light the way…

What kind of leader does an organisation need if it is to navigate a choppy sea of variables and arrive at its destination unscathed? What does it take to make decisions amid waves of jarring uncertainty?

Companies in Europe will have to square up to those questions with mounting urgency as the calendar gets ever thinner ahead of the UK’s 1 March 2019 Brexit deadline. Believe me, its pages are already tearing off into history at a dizzying speed: it is now seven months since Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the Article 50 countdown, and so far, not a single concrete agreement has emerged from the ongoing talks between the UK and EU teams. It is a uniquely testing and pressured time for organisational stability.

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Why a charisma overdose in leaders can be too much of a good thing

Why a charisma overdose in leaders can be too much of a good thing

Charisma is often thought of as an ideal personality trait – but does it encourage leaders to focus only on goals, rather than the finer detail of how you actually get there?

From self-help books to YouTube videos, from public-speaking clubs like Toastmasters to public-speaking gurus like Tony Robbins, and from Jennifer Lawrence to Will Smith, Rihanna and George Clooney, we’re surrounded by numerous, glittering reasons to boost our charisma. It’s an inescapable, mesmerising state of mind – and a powerful amplifier for body language, too.

For many people, charisma feels like a kind of riddle that they’re itching to crack. Everyone who’s famous and successful seems to have a spare bottle of it that they can uncork, swig and bask in the effects of, wherever they go. We gaze at the bottomless energies, and easy-going media personas, of business leaders such as Richard Branson and Tim Cook – or of top figures in the Arts world, such as the Young Vic’s new artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah – and we wonder where they get their charisma from, and how we could get it, too.

Charisma is, in many ways, a kind of drug. But as with any drug, there’s a line of smallprint on the packaging warning us, ‘Results may vary’ – and an ever-present danger of getting high on your own supply.

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How should leaders prevent an Uber-style exodus of top talent?

How should leaders prevent an Uber-style exodus of top talent?

Uber’s freewheeling corporate culture may have sparked rapid growth, but it has also left the firm’s senior leadership talent in tatters. What can other firms learn from this chaos?

Who’d have thought it – now Uber needs a taxi out of town. In a move that has upset commuters, tourists and frequent night-time travellers, Transport for London (TfL) has refused to renew the app-driven cab service’s licence to work in the UK Capital. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the company founded by the combative Travis Kalanick is suffering from a serious exodus of senior talent… one that, in the summer, even claimed Kalanick himself.

It may seem on the surface that the two developments have little to do with each other – the first being a local difficulty, and the second being a whirlpool of internal politics at the US head office. But in fact, they are intimately linked. To uncover the connection between Uber’s regulatory and commercial nightmare in London and its wave of talent departures back in Silicon Valley, we need only explore the reasons that TfL provided for banishing the firm from such a lucrative market.

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