I’ve been thinking …

My daughter knows me well. She has learned that a failproof way to thrill me – and keep me quiet – at any celebration is through the gift of a book – a real, physical book. Christmas 2023 was no exception. Among other books, I was fortunate to be given by her Daniel Dennett’s latest […]

What if I get it wrong?

I was reminded over the Christmas holiday of the story – no doubt apocryphal, but interesting nonetheless – of the young girl whose class was asked by her teacher to draw a picture. When the teacher asked her what she had decided to draw, she replied that she would draw a picture of God. “That’s […]

As safe as houses

The desire for safety, for oneself and one’s loved ones, is deep-rooted in the human psyche. We go to great lengths to seek appropriate protection. The contemporary landscape reminds all too clearly of the impacts of this being brutally removed. Look at the Ukraine and Gaza for two horrific cases in point. Profound and shocking […]

The innovative gorilla

For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, I have had a lifelong passion for gorillas. These mammoth creatures, the largest primates, are at the same time majestic and intriguing, frightening yet adorable. I suspect it’s their intriguing behaviours that most capture my attention. And not only my attention – researchers also find many of their […]

The executive backhand

In an imaginative, if rash, moment I took up tennis again recently after more years away from the court than I dare to admit. It has been simultaneously a delight and an irritant, humbling and encouraging, a time of growth and a time of deep frustration. Perhaps I’m not alone in my love-hate relationship with […]

“I have your back”.

It was an honour recently to work with an inspiring group of healthcare leaders. We explored over five creative days the challenges of strategic leadership within the healthcare setting. The intrinsic nature of healthcare within the UK context as a complex adaptive system, together with the ever-present VUCA context, very much informed our approach to […]

Innovation and empathy

Very few of my executive coaching engagements pass by without the topic of empathy emerging – nearly always being raised by my client before I do. This is hardly surprising given the increased understanding of the role of emotional intelligence within transformative leadership. These conversations are invariably fruitful and open into avenues of emotional intelligence […]

Twelve paradoxes of innovation

In my leadership development programmes, I often cite the Eleven Paradoxes of Leadership that used to hang on the office wall of every manager at Lego. Their simplicity masks their profundity. And, as so often is the case, paradox – or perhaps better put, creative tensions – can provide powerful insights. To put it another […]

Ellen Langer on decision making

In her recent book, “The Mindful Body” Ellen Langer, a renowned Harvard psychologist known for her work on mindfulness, explores the concept of mindfulness and its impact on various aspects of life, including decision-making. Langer is considered a foundational contributor in the development of mindfulness. The London Times had a helpful review of her book […]

Work is love made visible

The famous quote “work is love made visible” from the Lebanese poet Kahil Gilbran is often quoted and often misunderstood. It is so often equated with the woolly and fluffy ‘soft skills’ which sound and feel ‘nice’ but which don’t drive impact. This is a fallacy. As intentional a body as the World Economic Forum […]

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