Monday, 18 July 2011


The recent fast moving saga of the collapse of the Evil Empire has many lessons for anyone in a leadership role. Foremost amongst that must be how the leadership of an organisation - in our sector the Chair and CEO - have the prime duty to set the culture and tone of the organisation.

Is the culture dynamic, flexible , ethical, go getting and results focused? Or blame orientated, macho and results focused by any means fair or foul?

A recent book on Leadership is fascinating and worth a look. The Shift: the future of work is already here (Harper Collins). Lynda Grattan has been conducting research into 60 companies worldwide on challenges facing them in Globalisation , fast moving technology and society changes.

One of the key conclusions is the need for Leaders to build deep relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders, to behave in an authentic manner and to collaborate.

The Shift describes 3 types of relationship working; those that connect to a small group of like minded people, (the posse), those large diverse relation networks that encompass many different types (the big ideas crowd) and those based on deep and loving relationships (the regenerative community).

The first 2 are the basis of much leadership work and are needed. But Lynda suggests that it is the later - regenerative community- that enables a leader to be "authentic".

Many bad leaders we know- or are reading about - are clearly acting in ways that are not authentic. So having a baseline of values and beliefs is ever more crucial.

What is amazing about this book is that it is based on company research but it so very accurately describes why third sector Leaders can be the best leadership model there is. We know this stuff. We know it is right and we can't actually enthuse staff and volunteers without that deep sense of purpose and belief in what we do!

And we know the value of stakeholders and relationships. It is the bedrock of the Leaders task. It is why you cannot be a CEO without the networking and relentless focus on people and partnership. Its what we do. We do it with aplomb when we are at our best.

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