Insights

Why leaders must steer clear of blame culture when plans don’t work out

Why leaders must steer clear of blame culture when plans don’t work out

As she publishes her side of her 2016 election defeat, Hillary Clinton stands accused of deflecting blame elsewhere. Here’s why leaders can’t afford to operate a blame culture

It probably wouldn’t have escaped your notice that Hillary Clinton has just published a book. Indeed, over the past week, coverage of the publication has flowed at a seemingly uncontrollable rate, with the former US Secretary of State decisively breaking her silence over a host of deeply uncomfortable matters. Titled What Happened, the book recounts the tumultuous course of last year’s US General Election campaign, which propelled Hillary’s opponent – Twitter-twitching tycoon Donald Trump – into the White House. (Incredibly, that jaw-dropping result is now almost a year old.)

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How Tim Cook knocked it out of the park in the empathy league

How Tim Cook knocked it out of the park in the empathy league

With his morale-boosting email to staff affected by Hurricane Harvey, Apple’s CEO masterfully showed how leaders can achieve empathy with their workers

There are few things in life more soothing than the message, “I know how you feel.”

Empathy is a precious commodity – much sought after, but not even half as widely available as it should be. And that’s particularly true within leadership. So we must welcome the intervention of someone with a neon-lit public profile riding into the agenda like a one-man cavalry charge to show us all how it’s done. Someone, for instance, like Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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Don’t want a whistleblower? Then maintain an ethical culture!

Don’t want a whistleblower? Then maintain an ethical culture!

It’s never on a casual whim that an employee becomes a whistleblower. Whistleblowing is a big deal – an arduous process that immediately puts a member of staff at odds with a huge, established machine. The act of speaking out when others won’t poses clear risks for an employee’s wellbeing: stress will rocket immediately at the prospect of a damaged career. This will only worsen when lawyers get involved. Who wouldn’t suffer in a climate where one has to put in full-time hours and yet must also spend a great deal of extra time doing casework relating to the very same workplace? It’s exhausting just to think about.

So, why do employees do it? What’s the trigger that makes the deeply unpalatable, not to mention daunting, prospect of whistleblowing something that must be done… a moral duty? Taking a glance at some recent cases will provide us with a few clues…

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Eager to diversify? Then get good at risk management!

Eager to diversify? Then get good at risk management!

Diversifying a business is by turns one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking processes that a manager or entrepreneur can go through. So many opportunities! Yet so much risk! Among the long grass in that commercial garden of delights could lay one or two casually placed rakes. And it doesn’t take an expert in slapstick to know that when you step on the functional end of a rake, it’s not long before you get whacked in the face.

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Why firms need to get serious about reputation management

Why firms need to get serious about reputation management

Fear of being talked about negatively behind our backs is the square root of countless social phobias. We have a few defence mechanisms at hand – such as getting busy and ploughing on with our lives – but it’s a spectre that’s becoming ever harder to ignore, particularly given the ultra-tempting distractions provided by social media. Our profiles and output on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide complete strangers with at-a-glance hints of the kinds of people we are. While that may not completely cement a reputation, it certainly lays a lot of groundwork for people to build on.

Now, let’s go wider and consider the reputation challenges faced not by individuals, but organisations.

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