Category Archives: Blog

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 […]

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 […]

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.

July 06

Leadership hack 020 – how to help new team members hit the ground running

Much has been written about how to build and maintain high-performing teams (see here and here).  What is less well covered is how to bring on new members into a high-performing team. When someone new joins the team, you are probably thinking about the following: Getting them up to speed as quickly as possible Making the experience great so […]

June 08

What I learnt from the Oxford Said FinTech Course – part 1

I spent the last ten weeks taking part in the Oxford Siad Business School FinTech course.  The course was split into ten modules that cover the various aspects of the FinTech landscape. In a series of blogs, I aim to collect my thoughts and share what I learnt.  In this first blog, I have tried to […]

February 19

Leadership hack 019 – feedback

Anders Ericsson found that truly world class performers invested more time in deliberate practice (see his seminal paper) than their less successful peers.  Anders defined deliberate practice as: “repeated experiences in which the individual can attend to the critical aspects of the situation and incrementally improve her or his performance in response to knowledge of results, feedback, or both from a teacher.” The importance of feedback […]

January 15

Leadership hack 018 – direction is more important than speed

As a leader, you have limited resources.  Your time and energy are finite, and so you must put these scarce resources into what really matters.   It is very easy not to look up, not to step back and see the wider picture, or what Heifetz call’s ‘getting onto the balcony‘. ‘Getting onto the balcony’ […]

January 07

Leadership hack 019 – The one thing you can do to make the most of 2017

2016 was a tough year for most of us.  How was it for you? More importantly, what can you learn from it? I try to take two weeks off at Christmas.  This time off allows me to decompress and remind my wife and daughter what I look like, and also see my wider family.  I also […]

November 18

Leadership hack 017 – you can only fix what you can see

The amount work expected of leaders keep growing, increasing the chance that important tasks are missed.  As companies adopt a flatter, agiler, structure leaders get more responsibility and more people to work with.  It is now very easy for one of your many spinning plates to drop crashing to the ground. The way we manage tasks […]

November 11

Leadership hack 016 – what 80/20 actually means

5There is much advice out there ‘don’t boil the ocean‘ or be ‘80/20‘.  A lot of people think that this means just do 80% of the work.  Few understand its true meaning that you should only focus on the very small, but very significant 20% of the work which creates 80% of the impact. Understanding that […]

November 06

Leadership hack 015 – there are three ways to get people to do something

When you want somebody to do something, you have three choices: Rely on altruism by appealing to their better nature Threaten adverse consequences if they don’t do it Re-frame the request to highlight mutual benefit Each of these approaches has advantages and drawbacks, and the effectiveness of each will differ with context. Altruism is incredibly powerful, but you need a […]

October 28

Leadership hack – 014 asking questions is more powerful than telling people what to do

Evidence suggest that if you tell people exactly what to do, they will be less motivated, less likely to improvise if things go wrong and you will experience poorer results – see The Human Side Of Enterprise, published in 1960! So, if you are not going to tell people exactly what to do, how do […]

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