Turn the Ship Around: A Book For Frustrated Leaders

8/15/2014 posted in Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top

Our annual global spend on leadership development is estimated to be around £30bn. With this size of investment you would expect to see a demonstrable improvement in leadership capability. However, one indicator suggests that this may not be the case - levels of employee engagement have remained largely static over the last 20 years. That could be seen as a pretty damning indictment of the effectiveness of leadership and therefore leadership development overall.

There is no shortage of leadership advice out there - 21,000 books available through Amazon, a multitude of executive leadership business school programmes and a healthy private sector provision. Yet despite this, we still struggle to see a good return on investment from these resources.

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Technically an Expert but You Can't Run Your Own Business!

8/14/2014 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top


I meet plenty of so-called experts. Right now, I keep encountering SEO and SEM experts, digital consultants, social media experts, marketing agencies. They really do know their stuff but often they seem to struggle to run the really great businesses they want to run.

Ask them to score their business out of 10 for operational excellence, doing what they get paid for doing, and they will score themselves at least 8 out of 10. They say things like, ‘I have been on all the courses… there’s little we don’t know about our subject… if clients want to talk to people who really can help them then we are the ones they should be talking to’. Excellent.

While their skill at ‘doing the doing’ is not in dispute, many are not so great at running a business. Just because you are great at putting together a digital strategy for your client doesn’t mean you know how to actually run a business yourself. Just because you are great at creating an effective social media campaign for your clients doesn’t mean you know how to market and promote your own business.

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How do you actually plan to achieve your goals?

8/13/2014 posted in Life At The Top, Time Management

Goals, benchmarks and targets. We’re all familiar with them and almost certainly use them in our professional and personal life to make improvements and to achieve more.

There will be many things that you want to achieve. Perhaps you want to improve your fitness and run that marathon. Or maybe you want to increase your business revenue by 25% this year.

But while we all know about goal setting there are some common misconceptions that can prevent us from achieving these goals:

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How to be Better at Conflict Resolution in 4 Simple Steps

8/7/2014 posted in Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top


As a leader, you’re going to face conflict. It comes with the territory. But before you try to deal with a conflict, you first need to stop and ask yourself the following question: what is your perfect outcome?

The preferred result is almost always a calm and positive one.

It is best to approach these situations in an personable and approachable manner rather than an emotional one.

While there is more than one way to resolve any conflict, there are certain processes that will enable you to manage the differences in open and honest ways without damaging the relationships at stake.

Here are four simple steps that will allow you to make the transformation from you against me to us against the problem. This model has evolved through my work on conflict management in many organizations and couple counselling.

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How to Achieve More Without Spending Even Longer in the Office

7/4/2014 posted in Business, Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top

How many hours have you worked this week? 40 hours? 60 hours? Rather not think about just how many hours?

Nearly a third of UK professionals are now working 50 or more hours each week, up from 19% in 2011. And, despite this extra time put in, only 21% of survey respondents said they received formal overtime.

But, actually, the number of hours you spend at the office isn’t the important metric here. What really counts are your achievements during these hours. Think about it this way, if you’re at the office for 8 hours a day, how much of that time are you actively working on the tasks and projects that you’ve decided are your business priorities? How many of those hours can you confidently say are completely productive? Or, do you find you get distracted? Emails come in, the phone keeps ringing and your sales director wants some support on a big new contract.

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The Reason Why I’m Not Retiring- Ever

6/18/2014 posted in Business, Life At The Top, Exit Planning/Strategies, Vistage Chair

I have no intention of retiring. None whatsoever. Even though I have spotted a few grey hairs now (how come you never spot them unit they are fully grown – at full length?)

I’m not saying that because I’m worried about my pension fund or keeping a certain salary coming in to protect my lifestyle. Working and being active is my lifestyle.

I love working – there I’ve said it.

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Why Business Leaders Need More Than a "Quick Fix"

5/28/2014 posted in Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top

‘Directors’ of growing businesses are not the same as ‘owner-managers’. They have different profiles, different leadership styles, different needs, different experiences, different resources and very different ambitions. However, the banks and much of the business support industry often like to lump all independent businesses together.

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10 Brilliantly Effective Time Management Tips for Busy MDs

1/29/2014 posted in Business, Speakers, Leading, Not Managing, Life At The Top, Time Management

The most successful business leaders seem to be able to achieve so much in the same amount of time as the rest of us. They are taking their company from strength to strength, somehow prepared for any twist of the unexpected. Year on year they deliver excellent strategic plans with the foresight (and courage!) to adjust their course of action in order to avert potential disasters. They always seem to be ahead of the game.

But, how do they do this?

– Simply put they have enough time to focus on the bigger picture.

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Self Awareness for the Cynic

10/18/2013 posted in Speakers, Work/Life Balance Issues, Life At The Top

Around half the content of senior management development appears to revolve around the “soft-stuff” of self-awareness. The MBA and the many in-house training courses for more junior people tend to be are the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ of business, particularly finance, some law and a stiff shot of marketing, engineering and strategy.

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Study reveals bosses' most hated admin tasks - and what they delegate

3/4/2013 posted in Life At The Top

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