We’ve revamped the Leadership Hub open learning platform to be less about conversations and community posts and instead to focus on a series of ‘bitesize’ learning modules. All free.
The Leadership Hub was the world’s first global online leadership community of practice when we created it in 2007. Things have to evolve, so we’re trialling these new learning ‘bites’ as they fit in with the overall proposition in The 60 Second Leader – that people don’t have time for long drawn out training any more, and need regular, short, sharp blasts of learning in few minute ‘chunks’.
Yep, it’s the attention-based learning model that leadership neuroscientists Geoffrey Schwarz & David Rock wrote about as being more appropriate for time-poor busy people now.
From 30SecondsMail (who have undercut me by 30 seconds, but I don’t care as it’s a great idea).
“We recently launched our “Book Distillery“: We create super short and crisp 5 minute animated video abstracts of famous business books. There’s no easier and funnier way to digest a whole book in such a short time. And it’s 100% free (and always will be) We thought maybe your readers would like to know about it.
There will be one new “video-book” every week.
Here is our first video “Zero to One – by Peter Thiel”
Coming up: The Lean Startup, the 4-hour work week and many many more.“ – Ajie
Check out Aije’s site by clicking here, or try a video by clicking the picture.
I know you shouldn’t Google yourself, ever. But, I just learnt from doing so that I’m number two on the UN’s recommended reading list for its in-house leadership development.
The 60 Second Leader book, that is. And when I say “Number 2”, I just mean it appears second on their list.
Still, nice to know the UN thinks the book is important for developing the leadership competencies of its employees. I mean, they’re peacekeepers, diplomats and the like. Serious stuff.
On this page, the UN tells its staff that the 60 Second Leader “offers a high impact, time-saving guide to the essentials of leadership.”
Well, that gives me a warm, useful, smug feeling.
As an introvert who teaches leadership (?? How did I end up doing this ??) I love Susan Cain and her growing movement that says you don’t have to be loud and proud to be a great leader.
I particularly love, from this talk, “There’s zero correlation between the best talker and the person with the best ideas.”
The leaders Susan Cain talks about tend to be ego-lite, thoughtful, analytical, and they listen a lot instead of pushing their own ideas.
In the world of business that’s equated with ‘weak’ quite often.
I love also the way she points out that the people who really ‘get’ the power of ‘quiet leadership’ is the military. Surprising, huh.
She argues for more quiet thinking time, leading to better, more creative decisions.
Because this is an age of information overload and too many people fighting to get their opinion heard.
Here’s her website. If you haven’t heard her 2014 TEDTalk yet (I’m not sure it’s even on the TED site yet: the one we’ve posted here is a couple of years old), there’s a transcript on her site.
Over at the Leadership Hub we are running a competition to hear your stories about a leader who inspired you. The prize is a free book.
Obviously, I can’t submit this to the competition as a story. ‘Cos, er, I decide who wins it. And I’ve already got the book anyway (Greg McKeown’s Essentialism. Brilliant new book, re-defines productivity).
But, I’ve written up the true story, below, as an example of what we want: a true leader story with some learning in it for all of us.
And here’s the entry form if you want to submit a story about a leader who inspires/inspired you.
I worked in a team of 12 in a large organization that was going through a severe budget squeeze.
Our boss, like the head of all departments and units, was asked to make a large percentage cut in expenditure, fast.
Everyone across the organization knew this exercise was was a “Who you gonna fire?” exercise for the department and unit heads – management as do-ers and the rest of the organization employees as ‘done to’.
Because reducing headcount was the only way to hit the savings targets.
So, my boss calls us all together for the meeting where we’re told who’s got their job and who hasn’t.
“I reported back to the Board on my recommendations for achieving our budget-saving targets.
I said we could lose three of you or one of me. My recommendation was that we lose me. I attempted to hand in my resignation.
This recommendation was refused.
They’ve given me two months to come up with something else.
So, what shall we do?”
What we did was each come up with savings in how we worked that cut 20% from the budget without losing anyone. Especially without losing her. And we did it with a sense of urgency and commitment you wouldn’t believe.
And we were all fiercely loyal to that boss for ever after.
Her name is Mary Scott. Wonder what she’s doing now; I lost track of her.
Real leaders provide air cover for the people who work for them; they stand up for them, go to the wall for them, put the service the unit provides first, and their own career second. And by giving like that they reap far more in loyalty, engagement, innovation in the face of adversity, passion, productivity and team spirit than leaders who put themselves first. That’s what I learned. And I will always try to lead like Mary Scott led me; she inspired me with what’s possible.
PS She was canny and calculating (in a good way) , not naive and self-sacrificial. She knew she was so good (but she was humble with it) that they’d never let her go; but that it would buy her time to work with us. And that she could present us with the challenge, and there was a good chance we’d be energised to come up with the solution together, focussed on that by her willingness to put herself on the line to protect us and our service. Yes, it was a calculated gamble. But she assessed the risk, innovated, and got it right
I love Dan Rockwell’s Leadership Freak blog.
I love Dan’s proposition of “Empowering leaders 300 words at a time”.
And I love the clarity and elegance and relevance with which he executes that.
Here’s his latest: How to stop de-energizing the team
Leadership Hub Founder, Curator, Caretaker
Our top five regrets on our deathbeds.
So, we can do something about them now
Source: as reported by hospice workers, who look after terminally ill people.
Warren Bennis, the ‘Dean of Leadership’, according to the FT, says a lot of leaders are forged through adversity – going through something tough in their life that he calls ‘the crucible’.
Jane McGonigal went through her own crucible. Then thought ‘What if you could have the transformation into someone far more capable, living a better life, as a better person, for longer, and healthier, without having the trauma of the crucible?’
And invented a way of doing that. Just watching her video can make you live seven and a half minutes longer. Following her methods, outlined in her talk, can add 10 years to your life.
Which company created on-line bookselling in the 1990s? Amazon.com? Nope. The first on-line bookstore was set up by an Ohio-based bookseller named Charles Stack in 1991. Jeff Bezos didn’t launch Amazon till four years later.
We’re constantly being told that leaders need to foster a culture of innovation, to move into Blue Ocean spaces where no competitors exist, then profit from the customers before our competitors copy us and move into the space we have created.
Well, not always. Henry Ford used to argue that it made more sense to be second to market – let someone else take the risks of seeing if something new is what customers will buy. Then, when the market is proven, often at great expense, follow in and do it better. That’s the core argument in this book, and the authors lines up plenty of examples to prove their point.
And they do have one. The argument against them is the first mover advantage argument – That markets move so fast nowadays you need to be first to market with something new so you can mop up the customers. That may be true if there’s only room for one dominant supplier, and if your aim is to be that dominant supplier – the Amazon of your marketplace, if you will. But there’s usually plenty of room for smaller niche players who take the main innovation, tweak it a bit and find a space in the market that way. It’s like ‘the long tail’ argument.
Tom Peters argues that markets move so fast that trying to be second to market means you will just be mopping up the leftovers as those who were brave enough to lead and create a new market take all the prizes. Well, sometimes, maybe. But, not always.
The uncomfortable answer is that sometimes being first to market is the winning strategy and sometimes being second or even third, when the pioneers have proved what works and what doesn’t and lost all their money in the process, is the right strategy.
It seems odd to say ‘Take the lead on being second or third’ but leadership doesn’t always mean being first to market. That’s my view, anyway (in synch with the authors of this book).
Nobody can tell you which one works in your particular situation (a strategy of being first, second or third to market). But, the closer you are to knowing your customers’ or potential customers’ needs – to instinctively know what they want even before they know it themselves – the more likely your innovation is to be a winner.
And that, though it doesn’t explicitly say so in this book, is why leaders need to be as ‘close to the customer’ (thank you Tom Peters, even if it was 25 years ago he said it) as possible. That means interacting with customers whenever you can, not receiving reports from middle managers about the customer base, but immersing yourself in the customer base, no matter how lofty your role in the organization is.
End of preachy bit. Anyway, interesting book…
Little bit more about it here: Fast Second on Wikipedia