Category: Leadership

Lessons From a 40-year Old Business Book

‘Managing in Turbulent Times‘ by Peter Drucker was published in 1980, and makes for an interesting read, even today. We’re generally not great at learning from history – “Why bother looking back? We live in a fast moving, ever-changing world.” There’s definitely some truth to that – so how much can we really take from a book like this? Quite a bit, as it turns out. There are some core themes that are just as

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Input and Output

I spent some time recently chatting with the wonderfully perceptive Sonia Gonzalez. In our conversation she touched on the difference between – and importance of – having both ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’. ‘Inputs’ include the experiences we have, the courses we take, the books we read – the time we spend learning and growing. ‘Outputs’ are the chair we make, the logo we design, the customer service we deliver – the value we bring to the

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Are BrewDog ‘beerwashing’?

This week, BrewDog launched their ‘anti-sponsor‘ marketing campaign, which aims to highlight the human rights abuses in the 2022 FIFA World Cup host nation, Qatar. On the surface, this seems like an admirable stance from a purpose-driven company … but there has been huge pushback. Why? To begin, it’s worth being clear on some of the recent history:June 2021 :: ‘Punks With Purpose‘ published an open letter to BrewDog, highlighting what they called “toxic workplace

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Do I want to write a book? Or be a famous author?

Do I want to:Lead a business? Or be a ‘successful entrepreneur’?Write a book? Or be a ‘famous author’?Run a marathon? Or be a ‘race winner’? In each example, doing the first part is hard. The second is what we might become when we do the first thing. When we chase being the successful-famous-winner without doing the work, we are on a path to disappointment. At the same time, focusing only on doing the leading-writing-running can

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I’m A Hypocrite. [And That’s OK].

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, has just given his company away. As he says, “instead of ‘going public’, you could say we’re ‘going purpose’.” Transferring the entire billion-dollar business to a trust “dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature” is the latest example of how they are reimagining capitalism. Patagonia are a company I have long admired. They openly confront the tension of both being a clothing company and thereby contributing to the

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Awareness » Knowledge » Action

“The ocean starts in your sink.” Pascal Lamy. [Awareness]. The UK ranked dead last in Europe for bathing water quality in 2020, and water companies leaked sewage into UK waters 370,000 times in 2021 – while the execs gave themselves an average bonus of £100k. [Knowledge]. I just emailed my MP about this, because I can literally see how bad the water quality has been where I live. [Action]. Will it make any difference? Maybe,

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Effective and Good

Being effective is important. Effective means it works – it does what it is designed to do. Seatbelts are effective. They reduce casualties on the roads. Social media is effective. It’s designed to keep our attention as long as possible, in order to sell that attention to advertisers. Just being ‘effective’ isn’t enough. We also need to be good – to do the right thing [at the right time]. Some other examples:Apple iPhone.Apple Newton.Coca-Cola.New Coke.Boeing

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Can You Walk The Plank?

Imagine a thick, strong plank of wood – 30cm wide and 10m long. Can you walk along that plank without falling off? If it’s lying on the floor – sure. That’s pretty easy. A dozen steps is all it takes. All of us could manage that. What if we suspend the plank between two chairs, so it’s 50cm off the ground? Ok, that’s a little trickier … some of us would manage, some might not

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Why Am I Eating An Elephant?

You’ve probably heard the question – how do you eat an elephant? [In case you haven’t, the answer is – one bite at a time]. There’s undoubtedly wisdom in that advice … but it’s not the whole story. Often, it helps to understand why we’re eating the elephant in the first place. Taking a task that’s easier to define than elephant-eating:How to cover 30km in 30 days? Options could include:Smash out all 30km on Day

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How [Not] To Be A Leader

This seems like a good day to talk about leadership. One way to lead: Have no identifiable values. Change your mind based on what seems to be popular, rather than what you actually believe. Adopt a “do as I say, not as I do” approach. When faced with a crisis, dither and procrastinate. Blame everyone else when things go wrong. I doubt many people would see that as a good list. Posting this today makes

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