Tips, News & Views / 151 posts found

Authenticity is transient

by Iyas A
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You had one chance at leading authentically. That was when you were born. If you didn’t do it then, you’ve blown it! Because the only person who can be completely authentic is the one who has learned nothing and not grown since the day they were born. Authenticity is continually redefined. Learning, growing, interacting with people and the environment – all of these things continually shape and reshape us. Yet every motivator out there wants you to “lead authentically”. Let’s…
The only way to lead

Context is Everything

by Iyas A
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Context is Everything. I once directly managed a team of 60 people. Every HR consultant will tell you that’s wrong, and that you won’t do right by your team. A management catastrophe. So what was the outcome? The outcome was that the team doubled in size (while I still directly managed it), and the employee churn rate went from 40% when I took it on to 6%. We became a destination employer. We no longer needed recruitment agencies. We ranked in the top four agencies in Europe. We had a heck…

Don’t be cynical about leaders with purpose

by Iyas A
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There are 2 ways leaders come to lead their business with purpose. Some start their business with a view to serving a greater goal. Others create their purpose as they discover more about the business that they are leading. Both approaches are valid. However, those leaders who grow purpose rather than starting with it can often face cynicism. Not unsurprisingly. Those who have been with them either as team members, customers or observers may recall a time when the purpose was rarely if ever mentioned,…

All you need is a new strategy

by Iyas A
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Your strategy didn’t work out this year? Never mind. You can create a new strategy, and get a real buzz doing it. Then watch it slowly dissipate as the year goes by. Too pessimistic? Sadly, I’ve seen this cycle play out over and over. As much as our addiction to the new can make us miss opportunities with clients and team members, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, where it can get most systematically pernicious is when it extends to strategy. I’ve seen (and to be fair, been guilty of)…

Don’t Command and Control – Direct and Adapt

by Iyas A
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The cultural brainwash that leadership is all about command and control runs deep. It remains the default behaviour in many companies, including small ones and ones built on intellectual output. Command and Control IS a valid model. There are scenarios where it may be the best answer. And not the obvious ones – for example, some of the best performing military units don’t adopt it. I help companies execute on their strategies. I find that leaders (and systems) who direct and adapt are far…

Start with Why Sells

by Iyas A
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The coaching industry is awash with pseudo-Sineks* telling you to Start With Why. The challenge is that most of them don’t tell you anything of substance beyond the Why. It’s as if the job’s done once you’ve got your Why. And there’s good reason for that. It’s a lot easier to sell people on a vision than to sell them on the reality of what it takes to get it done. In my books, selling that way as they do is intellectual dishonesty at best, verging on fraud at…

All it takes to turn an idea into a business

by Iyas A
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At the BCS talk that I recently did on growing a business with profit and purpose, I asked the audience what it takes to turn an idea into a business. “Grit”. “Determination”. “Hard work”. “Action”. I suspect that came from the entrepreneurs in the room. “Passion”. “A why” (eugh). “Purpose”. “Courage”. I suspect that was the coaches. “Structure”. “Long-term vision”. I guess that was the consultants chiming in.…

Newer isn’t always better – 2 of 4

by Iyas A
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We crave the new. Last week I wrote about how this can hurt client revenue. But it also shows its addictive face when it comes to our teams. If your business needs a new hire, pause. Does this create an opportunity for someone in your existing team? Can someone fill the role and allow you to backfill with the new hire? Could this be a cross-skilling or promotion opportunity for someone already on your team, while someone new gets their current role? It’s a great way to reward your team while deepening…

Leading with values is a choice

by Iyas A
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So many people today have swallowed the values pill and say that companies *need* a clear set of positive values to succeed. Especially on the speaking or coaching circuit. Bullshit. Companies have succeeded without articulating any values. Some with a set of insidious (and not articulated) values. Heck, some have grown profitable off the back of killing kids in countries where tobacco laws are more lax. Or selling weapons to dictators. No, I look at it like the conversation our parents has had…

Newer isn’t always better – 1 of 4

by Iyas A
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We make running business a lot harder than it needs to be. One way is our addiction to the new when the answer is already under our noses. Here’s the first of 4 ways I REGULARLY see people, especially business owners, biting themselves in the arse. The thrill of the kill makes us obsess over winning new clients way more than new business with existing ones. If you’re in B2B, tell me honestly, does your team get as much of a fist bump / high five / British (non-tactile!) pat on the back from…