Leadership for productivity

Do you and your colleagues work in a highly productive environment? Whatever business sector you are in quality, motivation and productivity are vital. As I read some recent journals, these factors kept emerging in for me and so here is a trot through some of my recent reading about leadership – hope it raises some interesting questions for you.

The HR Magazine (September 2014) poses a number of highly pertinent questions about leadership and leadership development. Key points include:

  • The need to move towards an inclusive, collective approach to leadership. As Prof West states “Command and control was the dominant culture” and yet he proposes it is the most ineffective in a healthcare setting. His research supports the argument that much more appropriate is collective leadership that engages and connects people.

Read more

Tips for workplace conversations

A recent article in a Times publication offered 5 top tips for journalists. Three of the tips are relevant to ensuring that we have productive conversations in our workplace.

Here is a very brief overview of the three top tips.

Wear a watch. We are all busy and so using time will help us to manage our own time pressures and to show respect for the other person. Read more

Teamwork steps into the limelight

Last Saturday I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. One of the female leads was taken, with very short notice, by the understudy. She was superb; this lead me to reflect upon the importance of teamwork, so here are some key points. Read more

A dog’s tale

Hi, I’m Jasper; a young spaniel puppy and now a guest blogger. Being quite entrepreneurial, it’s anything for extra dog biscuits.

I was invited to blog after being spotted in the local park. Let me paint the scene: there is me, full of energy and keen for new challenges; a few other dogs, friendly enough but rarely up for a REAL run. Who is that walking towards us? Long legs, thin and keen – it’s a greyhound – all legs and speed. Read more

Confident, powerful & strong leadership.

Playing To Their Strengths

Finding and retaining passionate people. As the economy is recovering this can present a challenge of getting and keeping people who will be fully engaged and productive. Strengths-based recruitment (SBR) is gaining momentum, as described in HR Magazine (May 2014).

The article illustrates how, as employers strive to hire talented and motivated people, there is growing interest in SBR across a range of sectors, including the NHS, banking and retailing.

Starbucks is quoted as using SBR to find people with potential. It recognises that “if it wants to be the employer of choice in this industry, it has to recruit partners[i] who are passionate about its products and customers ..”

The businesses quoted each support the view that competency-based recruitment has several drawbacks and may alienate some potential candidates. One recruitment consultant is quotes as suggesting:

“Talent doesn’t want to .. be hammered by a competency-based interview. They are not engaged with that. They want something more personal.” Read more

Leadership for a Hollywood smash

I read recently ‘my 13 rules for a Hollywood smash’ by David O Russell, the director of American Hustle (2013) and many more successful films. As his most recent film has been nominated in 10 categories for the Baftas, I read his ’13 rules’ with interest and could see strong links with leadership in organisations.

Here are his top 3, with my thoughts on links into the workplace. Read more

circle of a team

Leading with your strengths

Improved business results and customer care can be significantly improved by focusing on strengths. Increasingly I am interested in how strengths can maximise the performance of individuals and teams.

Cath Heath, like myself, takes a strengths-focused approach to developing people. In this article she has shared with us her views, supported by current theory, for ‘putting your best self forward in challenging times’.

At Development Solutions we work with strengths to achieve personal and team development and to increase resilience in the workplace. To find our more please get in touch.




Reflections on leadership from Rudolph

At this festive time I thought you may welcome a few reflections from myself as I gear up for the busiest day of my working year. As you probably know I am a member of ‘Santa Worldwide’, a global enterprise led by Mr & Mrs S. Claus. Each year we face new challenges and have to meet these with the same resources, hence working together as a team with good leadership and a sound business sense is vital to our continued success.

Reflections on leadership:  Mr & Mrs Claus are very keen on shared leadership and they each play to their strengths. For example, Santa is very good at the loud laugh that entertains many of our customers, while Mrs C is much better behind the scenes – her strengths are project management and personal development. She ensures that each elf and reindeer is fully able and confident to meet new and changing demands. Each year they ensure that the whole team reflects on the Christmas Eve just gone – what can be learned? – and looks forward, revisiting our vision and purpose. Read more

Knowledge is finite – so be curious

 ‘I don’t know!’ … so be curious

Celebrating our ignorance can release us from the pressure to know, to have the answer, to be the expert.

Let us ensure that we have a solid foundation of knowledge and capability; on that we can build an inquisitive style that will open up new possibilities.

Asking questions, genuinely listening, observing, seeking out different viewpoints. All these can expand our ability to engage with others and to make robust decisions.

Often we appreciate that change is all around and yet get stuck in patterns of behaviour – repeat what we did before – draw on old habits. Habits that once served us well may need ditching now – ‘unlearning’ can be hard but worth the effort. Doing things differently may well deliver different outcomes.

Why not take a few moments to question how your ignorance can help you see the world differently. Ask a few questions. See where it all leads.


looking ahead to achieve stretching goals

Learning and talent management – the start of my journey

To-day I am taking my first steps on what will be a long journey. Over the coming 12 months I am going to be writing five sets of module materials for a Masters in Learning and Talent Management. Along the way I will share with you my highs, lows and my leaning; plus, I invite you to share with me your questions and suggestions.

I am excited about this journey and also appreciate that it will hold for me many challenges – the stuff of learning! At an intellectual level I recognise the challenge of engaging others in this continually developing field and of offering a broad coverage to such a rich, diverse topic.  At a more practical level there is the need to write lots of words – don’t ask, its LOTS!! Thus, time and energy management will be vital.

I feel confident that as I progress I will learn; about myself, the topic and resources that can aid my progress. I am keen to engage with different forms of social media to support, inform and challenge my thinking.

I intend this to be the first of many blogs, offering you a picture of my progress. Read more