September 13

What leaders can learn from Google’s Project Oxygen

Google ran an experiment to prove that managers are unhelpful.  The found something different – the right managers can be very helpful. Google established the 10 Oxygen behaviours of Google’s best managers (behaviours 3 and 6 have been updated and behaviours 9 and 10 are new): Is a good coach Empowers team and does not […]

September 07

Leadership hack 026 – the three steps to mastery

“Learn to ski on piste before you ski off-piste” Army Ski Instructor   One of the biggest problems I face when teaching and coaching is that people often try to do too much too soon.  Without a mastery of the basics I find some of the following problems occur: Paralysis of decision-making.  When someone is […]

September 06

My top business of 2017

I try to read a book a week.  In 2017 I only managed to read 21, well short of my goal.  To be fair in 2017 I left McKinsey to put myself through a Coding Boot Camp and built a bank. Of the 21 books I did read, these are my top five: How Google […]

August 24

What you could learn from ‘Change by Design’ by Tim Brown (2009, 242 pages)

Customers are changing.  Brands and companies have repeatedly experienced shifts from consumption to participation.   Many products are now co-created with customers, be it choosing the fabric and colours on your next pair of trainers, or curating and sharing playlists on Spotify. Tim Brown in his book ‘Change by Design’ suggest that companies need to adapt by focusing […]

August 16

Leadership hack 025 – quantative data tells you what, qualitative tells you why

We now have access to too much information rather than too little.  Making great decisions requires an understanding of the limitations of data and the importance of analysis and dialogue. Modern digital products have no little limits on data you can collect.  Here are a few examples: How quickly a user moves a slider when selecting a loan size […]

August 09

Leadership hack 024 – is getting better more important than getting work done?

“Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work” Gene Kim You never have enough time and resources, so you throw everything at the task at hand – getting the product shipped or the problem fixed. We have all been there.  It is very, very easy to focus relentlessly on getting your work […]

August 03

What you could learn from Scrum 101 by Lowe, Wyllie and Vara (2017, 126 pages)

Scrum 101 is a refreshingly clear, helpful guide to Scrum.  The book starts by explaining the Agile manifesto and principles directly and thankfully will little interpretation.  The book then situates Scrum within Agile by describing it as a framework for achieving the values and goal of Agile (a great description).  The book also outlines the […]

August 02

Leadership hack 027 – as a leader you need to change when the problem changes

We all know there are different types of problems.  Noble prize winners in physics solve different problems to firefighters rescuing people from a burning building.  David Snowdon attempted to categorise problems into four types of simple, complicated, complex and chaotic. Leaders need to adjust their approach based on the problem they face.  The first thing […]

July 27

What you could learn from ‘Agile at Scale’ this months HBR (May/Jun 18)

In brief analysis of the top articles in the most recent Harvard Business Review.

July 26

Leadership hack 023 – setting team norms helps your team perform after the honeymoon has ended

Building great teams is notoriously difficult.  Setting an agreed list of team norms can help teams become more productive faster. Teams take time and investment to become high-performing (see here).   The most challenging phase is what Tuckman called the ‘storming’ phase.  Once the team has formed and after the honeymoon period is over, team members soon get […]

July 23

What you could learn from ‘Beyond Measure’ by Margaret Heffernan (2015, 100 pages)

Creating a culture that allows constructive conflict to flourish will lead to better solutions, more value for customers and more value for your business.  In her book ‘Beyond Measure’ Margaret Hefferman suggest that there are many small changes to improve your company’s culture. Difference makes a difference.  Teams need to include people with differences in […]

July 20

Leadership hack 022 – it’s OK, teams change

I have found it helpful to use Tuckman’s (1965) stages of team development (expanded by Edison) to show how teams change over time, and it is normal for teams to dip and rise in performance.

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