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Why leaders’ promises must be underpinned by a healthy dose of reality

Why leaders’ promises must be underpinned by a healthy dose of reality

Promises are a double-edged sword for businesses – and evidence shows that simply keeping them works better for customers than surpassing them

The dangers of a business stockpiling its promises and over-committing itself have been thrown into sharp relief by the traumatic collapse of infrastructure giant Carillion. Following the 15 January announcement that the firm was going into liquidation, the finger pointing began in earnest. No wonder: as the UK’s largest supplier of municipal facilities for a host of different public services, Carillion had instilled in its primary customer – the government – a major dependency, becoming pivotal to the fulfilment of numerous policy programmes.

Its failure bodes ill for the delivery of projects in both the near and long term – and for the health of the public purse, should the taxpayer be required to step in.

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What should leaders prioritise in recruitment: trust, or competence?

What should leaders prioritise in recruitment: trust, or competence?

In the interests of friendly familiarity, leaders may be tempted to hire people they trust over more competent candidates. But this may not always make for a smooth path

Amid the pressure of running a dynamic, ambitious organisation, one of the greatest comforts that a leader could have is the confidence to be able to say, “Someone has my back.” Often, the types of people that a leader wants by their side in a senior management team are those they have become accustomed to and grown to like – to the extent that those individuals are no longer merely professional associates, but bona-fide friends. And these will be the people in whom a leader will be happiest to invest their trust.

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A leader for all seasons: how to stay fresh and relevant

A leader for all seasons: how to stay fresh and relevant

Leaders may be lucky enough to stay in their roles for long stretches of time – but if they are trapped in a perpetual present, rather than eyeing the future, they will no longer be relevant

Before I get into the meat of this topic, I just want to drop off a quick phrase that encapsulates what I’m about to discuss: What got us here, won’t get us there. Keep that in mind… you may see it again very soon – and all will become clear! And with that, here we go…

It probably wouldn’t have escaped your attention that Robert Mugabe was recently deposed as leader of Zimbabwe. That watershed – which could easily have been a lot nastier than it was, but miraculously played out within reasonable boundaries – had occurred because, for all his love of power, and his Herculean efforts to keep it over the decades, Mugabe was no longer relevant.

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Why leaders should join the mindfulness mission

Why leaders should join the mindfulness mission

Mindfulness is sometimes dismissed in business circles as New Age fluff – yet it has a powerful knack for refocusing employees and helping them boost their performance

It’s no exaggeration to say that workplaces often feel like the working definition of chaos. Even when it isn’t necessarily the case that chaos is underway, the busiest phases routinely make us think that it is. The abundance of work that we need to get through during those times is often expressed in our physical actions. Gestures and tics become showier; struts down office corridors or around workstations grow more urgent and emphatic; typing gets aggressively louder – and voices climb in pitch. Those are the symptoms of organisations in full flow, and many workers find them unsettling. Could mindfulness be the cure?

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How corporate cultures must change to stamp out sexual harassment

How corporate cultures must change to stamp out sexual harassment

As careers crumble in the US film industry and UK politics, we explore the organisational costs of sexual harassment, and how the root causes can be effectively tackled

For anyone with even the faintest interest in the people politics behind the silver screen, the past month has been a grim cavalcade of dismaying revelations. Like boulders rolling down a mountain to become an avalanche, accusations of sexual harassment, serious sexual assault and rape, initially revolving around Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, have now ranged far and wide – mowing down careers not just on America’s west coast, but in the UK’s seat of government, too.

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