We have recently launched our Masterclass series. There are a number of topics that we have been speaking on at café’s and other events which we found to be very popular and valuable to our clients, these are suggested here. We can also customise these to suit your organisational context and goals and they vary from 2-hour sessions to full-day sessions. Speak to us about conducting an in-house Masterclass at your organisation

How to manage innovation

As leaders and managers in businesses we know Innovation has become imperative, not a choice – but how do we manage innovation? Is there a difference between being a great manager and being a great manager of innovation? How do we take innovation from the presentation screen into everyday working life, and make it stick?

Telling people in your teams or organisations that innovation is important is not that difficult, but showing, walking the talk, and acting in a way that takes people along is a huge challenge. For instance (and this is a difficult one): in order to innovate we must experiment, which requires failure – but how often do managers openly talk about their failures? If we are successful in making innovation work, how do we keep that machine well-oiled? How do we constantly celebrate victories of innovation and the innovator to motivate, without it becoming a box we tick?

Teams for innovation

The competitive advantage for most organisations is the ability to be innovative – we believe one of the vital ingredients to innovation is building and enabling high performance teams.

Together we will explore the link between innovation and teams. We will look at what this ‘buzzword’ innovation means and how we can accelerate innovation through creating the correct teams and enabling them to be successful.

Do you have the correct potential and talent in your teams, but something is stifling the innovative work? How do you mandate a team to find solutions in a space where we don’t have the answers yet? What are the tools your teams need to be innovative? How do we create co-creative spaces for teams?

The Link between Culture and Leadership

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of definitions of both Leadership and Culture but let’s use these for now: Leadership is a set of behaviours which influences people in an organisation to align to a purpose, execute on a strategy and renew/adapt as needed, whereas Culture is the way we do things around here. The link is obvious, isn’t it!

Let’s explore this link in more detail and answer the question: how do we leverage this link and enable leaders to influence culture in a positive way?

Talent & Innovation

We all know that managing talent well creates business value – right? If you google ‘what keeps the CEO up at night’ Talent comes up in the top 10 (if not top 3) of almost all the studies conducted in the past few years. We must find the right people and keep them – and to make this more complex, these people needs to innovate to help us succeed in this rapidly changing world.

Future Fit Leadership

We live in a VUCA world with ever-increasing Volatility, Uncertainty (or Unpredictability), Complexity and Ambiguity. This leads to numerous (often unplanned and unexpected) leadership challenges:

  • A breakdown in shared understanding of what leadership is;
  • Greater, unrealistic expectations of leadership: ‘leadership on steroids’;
  • Accelerating mistrust, anger with, suspicion of, and disillusionment ininstitutional leadership experienced as a sense of alienation from leaders; and
  • Leadership no longer have any place to hide: in public, investor and regulatory eyes anytime, anywhere, anyhow.

How do we respond as leaders of our organisations to the challenge of building the leadership capability required to succeed in this environment?

Building adaptive capability

We have noticed that quite a few our clients are facing increasing complexity and a need for becoming much more agile or adaptive in how they organise and operate to remain competitive. We are interested in three major areas as they relate to organisations’ adaptive capability:

  • How organisations are designed to set up to respond to complexity
  • The shifts in leadership and culture required to become more agile and adaptive
  • The shift from individual performance to team performance, and building “team capability” as a performance differentiator in complex conditions

Navigating Traumatic Organisational Change

Tough economic conditions, combined with phenomenal shifts in the nature of organisational work itself (for instance the emergence of the 4th Industrial Revolution), strain the organisational world in various ways, the worst of which are company failures (such as bankruptcies and closures), restructurings (read redundancies, retrenchments, and so on), and of course, the spectre of unemployment. We do not exaggerate when we call these kinds of organisational change traumatic. We accept that organisations need to do what they must to survive, where they can, and in the current economic climate traumatic change is to a large extent unavoidable. The impact of this kind of change is multidimensional, complex and long-lasting.

How do we, as organisational leaders, members and practitioners, navigate traumatic organisational change? How do we respond to this kind of change in ways that are ethical and responsible, effective and healing? How do we support organisational communities while they are breaking up (because this is what happens during retrenchments), those who are no longer part of the organisational community, and the re-making of organisational community with those that remain?

What are the individual and organisational risks and challenges that we need to face?

What do leaders, HR, change managers need to navigate change and sustain performance in their organisations in times like these, in such ways that pain is transformed into healing, and challenge is transformed into growth, for all involved?

Servant Leadership

Is all about putting the wants and needs of followers first and those of leaders second, which is in stark contrast with the leader-first perspective where gaining control is a priority. Most of us have experienced (and sometimes practiced) the leader-first way in our organisations and society, and for centuries it has either made sense or was just the way things were done.

In today’s fast-changing world we have to be customer-centric, adaptable and flexible, make fast decisions, and innovate – all of this necessitates a different type of leadership, and this is what servant leadership offers us. But to become servant leaders, and to establish servant leadership as the way we lead in our organisations, require a major shift in how we think and feel about leadership, and how we show up as leaders – in others words, in our leadership culture.

Where leaders were previously expected (and allowed) to make things happen through command and control, the servant leader is expected to ask ‘how can I help’ – and mean it! Servant leaders replace power and control with authority and influence. Servant leaders lead from the back rather than from the front. And so on. What are the implications of this? How can the impact of servant leadership be sustained? Will it work in all organisations?

Organisation Identity and Reputation

Let’s explore the relationship between the experienced internal brand of an enterprise (sometimes also called culture) and the external brand (customer or stakeholder delight) as drivers of brand reputation. Recent events in companies such as Bell Pottinger, KPMG and McKinsey has brought into sharp relief the dramatic impact the perceptions of organisation identity and reputation can have on business sustainability.

Building resilience in a complex world

How can we and our organisations build resilience in this complex time?

We will explore the concept of resilience and how much this has changed recently, the sources of our resilience, such as purpose, relationships, community, meaningful work, service, empowerment, etc., and what can we do immediately to make our organisations and our people more resilient

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