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April 2014
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Book news

Mick contributed to "New Eyes: The Human Side of Change Leadership".

Mick addresses the leadership implications of Big Data, and suggests its value can best be realised by enterprises fully embracing customer centricity and creating strong networks of innovation.

He then shows how the 4Es leadership framework can enable organisational change to capitalise on this revolution.

Get the bookNew Eyes

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Blog archives

Business Ethics, Business Schools, and the World of Work - University of Leeds


I am pleased to announce that I will be speaking at a conference on Business Ethics, Business Schools, and the World of Work, at the University of Leeds.

The Conference is Wednesday 2nd – Thursday 3rd April 2014, at the Leeds University Business School. It is organised by the Business School and the Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre. Topics include: 

  • What are the key ethical challenges facing business today?
  • To what extent can business schools, ethicists, the professions, and the business world work better together to address the issues of ethical conduct in business practice?
  • What are the key issues in business ethics that business schools and the professions should be addressing?
  • Are there new or better ways to teach business ethics?

Together with Dr. Kevin McNeish, I will be addressing the issue of “Ethics and Big Data“.

Keynote presentations include:

  • Professor Amanda Mellor, Group Secretary for Marks & Spencer plc. and Visiting Professor, Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre
  • “Business Ethics and the Culture of Banking”, Margaret Doyle, Head of Financial Services Insight at Deloitte, LLP and author of “The Culture of Banking”
  • “Ethics as a playground for blind man’s bluff”, Professor Paul Dembinski, Director, Observatoire de la Finance, Geneva, Switzerland
  • “What’s wrong with Bankers Bonuses?”, Dr Tom Simpson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

There are also four parallel workshops over the two days, with 3 tracks in each.


Leadership Challenges Today

A presentation given as Visiting Professor for the MSc in Management program at Leeds University Business School.

Mick addresses some of the fundamentals of leadership, and the implications of 6 of today’s most pressing Leadership challenges: high performance systems, democratisation, innovation networks, global-local paradox, employee engagement and the data revolution

Exceptional Leaders Aren’t Well-Rounded - Jim Clemmer

From Jim Clemmer’s excellent blog

“I’ve been guilty of perpetuating the misconception of the well-rounded leader. Like many training and development professionals I used to believe that leadership skills development comes from assessing leaders against a leadership framework or competency model and developing an improvement plan to round out the flat or weak spots. But this long-held view is no longer supported by more recent research. And it fails the common sense test when we think back on our experience….

Think of the best leader you’ve ever known. What strengths made him or her really stand out? Typical responses often include outstanding communicator, superior strategic thinker, exceptional coach and developer of people, very high trust and integrity, extremely inspiring and motivating, stretching others to reach higher, brilliant technical/analytical skills, or excellent team builder. Often 3 or 4 of these skills done extraordinarily well lifted this leader to lofty heights.

Did he or she also have any weaknesses? Of course; they weren’t perfect — they were human. Responses sometimes include inattention to details, poor time management, moody, narrow focus, inflexibility, intolerance, weak technical/analytical skills, not a people person, or low charisma.

When we really analyze the outstanding leaders we’ve known very few are well-rounded. All have flat spots or weaker areas. But their strengths were so towering they overshadowed these weaknesses. We were willing to “cut them some slack” or accept — and even compensate for — their weaker areas in order to be elevated by their exceptional strengths. If, however, a weakness was big enough, it has the reverse effect and this person’s “fatal flaw” sinks them to the average or even worst leader categories.

Zenger Folkman’s research on this halo effect is very clear. You can read more in our white paper “Developing Strengths or Weaknesses: Overcoming the Lure of the Wrong Choice .”

ZF Chief Operating Officer, Bob Sherwin just published an excellent article on “The Power of Counterintuitive Thinking in Leadership Development” in Chief Learning Officer magazine.

It’s time to shift thinking about leadership development from well-rounded to well-grounded — in strengths.

Read Jim’s original post

Joan Didion on Self-Respect - Brain Pickings

Joan DidionA very thoughtful post from Maria Popova at Brain Pickings. Quote:

“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.”

And a terrific illustration, which is a venture between Maria and Lisa Congdon for their “Reconstructionists project.

For the past half-century, Joan Didion has been dissecting the complexities of cultural chaos with equal parts elegant anxiety, keen criticism, and moral imagination. From her 1968 anthology of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem , comes “On Self Respect” — a magnificent meditation on what it means to live well in one’s soul, touching on previously explored inadequate externalities like prestigeapproval, and conventions of success.

Didion writes:

The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others — who are, after all, deceived easily enough; has nothing to do with reputation, which, as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara, is something people with courage can do without.

To do without self-respect, on the other hand, is to be an unwilling audience of one to an interminable documentary that deals with one’s failings, both real and imagined, with fresh footage spliced in for every screening. There’s the glass you broke in anger, there’s the hurt on X’s face; watch now, this next scene, the night Y came back from Houston, see how you muff this one. To live without self-respect is to lie awake some night, beyond the reach of warm milk, the Phenobarbital, and the sleeping hand on the coverlet, counting up the sins of commissions and omission, the trusts betrayed, the promises subtly broken, the gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice, or carelessness. However long we postpone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously uncomfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.

Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.

Self-respect is something that our grandparents, whether or not they had it, knew all about. They had instilled in them, young, a certain discipline, the sense that one lives by doing things one does not particularly want to do, by putting fears and doubts to one side, by weighing immediate comforts against the possibility of larger, even intangible, comforts.

To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference.”

Read the rest of this fascinating post