Awesome Articles



Decoding Leadership – What Really Matters
Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan - McKinsey, Jan 2015

What’s the secret to developing effective leaders? New research suggests four specific behaviours are mission critical.


How to Start a Conversation You’re Dreading
Peter Bergman - HBR, Jul 2014

Do you know the ‘cringe moment’ – that uneasy instant just as you finish saying something risky, but before the other person responds?


The Authenticity Paradox
Herminia Ibarra - HBR, Jan-Feb 2015  

Authenticity has become the gold standard for leadership. But too simplistic an understanding can hinder a leader’s growth and impact.


Why Strategy Execution Unravels & What to Do About It
Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes, and Charles Sull - HBR, Mar 2015

It’s pretty dire when half the C-Suite can’t connect the dots between strategic priorities or what to do about it.


The Pros and Cons of Elon Musk’s Perfectionism
Oscar Raymundo - Inc., Jan 2015  

The SpaceX and Tesla founder doesn’t work well with ‘normal’ people, yet this has helped him succeed where no one else has.


Microsoft's New CEO on the Future  
Julie Bort - Business Insider, Oct 2014

Along with a new CEO at Microsoft has come a fresh look at strategy & BHAG’s. In this case, Satya Nadella phrases in two sentences what could be the next big innovation focus for Microsoft, and perhaps, next revolution for the industry. Definitely a point of interest to keep tabs on in 2015.


The Secret to Innovation Success  
Mark Caduc - Big Picture Innovation

“It’s the difference between success stories and those relegated to the footnotes of corporate history.” This insightful article from Big Picture Innovation (BPI) explores the need, and way, for organizations to shift innovation from sidelined strategic priority to fully leveraged core competency.


Essential Qualities from This Year's Top Rated CEO  
Jeff Weiner - LinkedIn, Aug 2014

Simple, elegant, and right to the point. LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner doesn’t pull punches when talking about the sort of people he most enjoys working with. No kidding, just check out the incredible culture he’s built! Wonder if the venn diagram appears on an application form.

The Great Transformation
Drucker Society of Europe – May 2014     

“We are at the beginning of a set of gigantic changes in society – for better or for worse… one thing we know says Richard Straub (President, Drucker Society of Europe): on this stage, managers will surely be of pivotal importance for shaping it.”

So begins Dr. Straub’s introductory article to this year’s Global Drucker Forum. It provides an intriguing line of sight into various global trends negatively impacting economies and societies today.

Of greater significance, Straub zeros in on the role of Managers in 21st century business and how these leaders will make a difference in the world via their knowledge, creativity, emotions, and values.


Why Can't We End Short-Termism?
Steve Denning - Forbes, Jul 2014     

As a leader, consider your response to the following statement – “The world would be a better place if businesses stopped thinking so much about short-term results and focused more on the long term.”

In another fresh take on the radical changes in management today, Steve Denning explores how maximizing shareholder value (a key driver of short-term thinking) has come at the detriment of prosperity for business and society. 


Lead Without Trying So Hard
Whitney Johnson - HBR, Jul 2014     

“Demanding nothing in return for his kindness, the sage eventually obtains everything…the more he gives to others, the more he has himself.”

This is a fantastic 3-minute read!  Whitney Johnson describes the significance of the Taoist principle Wu-wei. An ancient practice whereby leaders let their minds go, entering a state of acceptance where they can only win, if they don’t try to win.


First Know Yourself, Then Your Team 
Manfred Kets de Vries - INSEAD, Aug 2014     

This brief yet powerful article typifies the need for leaders to deeply understand their own behavioural traits, in addition to those of their followers, as key influencers of their effectiveness.

Of the eight leader archetypes noted in the article, which ones might you fall into? What of your team members? Perhaps of greater significance, how might these perspectives aid in your team’s relationships and effectiveness?


Managing Our Way to Prosperity
Steve Denning - Forbes, May 2014

In another brilliant epilogue to this year’s Global Drucker Forum, Denning chats with Rita Gunther McGrath regarding her recent book, The End of Competitive Advantage.

McGrath explores questions, or often excuses, critical to organizational strategy: Are organizations just ‘too busy’ to do strategy? Is it the transformation of strategy, or of management? Do we have the tools to do strategy in the ‘new way’?


Getting Past the Great Ideological Divide in Business Today
Rick Wartzman - TIME, May 2014

A prescient flashback from the 1940’s, the following quote from Peter Drucker captures the essence of a growing rift in business today: “What we need is not an ideology, but a science – a new science of industrial peace.”

On one side of this growing divide, champions of the classic Capitalism 1.0 mantra of ‘maximizing shareholder value’. On the other, those with a view of business at large as having an obligation to provide benefit to its stakeholders.

‘Two-sides, fundamentally grounded in separate camps and pitted against the other’s philosophy. A clash being waged by individuals blindly clinging to their own dogma.’

What might Drucker think of all this? Read on to get a glimpse!


THE Capitalist's Dilemma
Clayten M. Christensen and Derek van Bever - HBR, Jun 2014

Is your organization at risk of failing to invest in innovation and thus missing out on opportunities for growth? If so this ground breaking article, and the research behind it, are for you.

“In our view the crux of the problem is that investments in different types of innovation affect economies (and companies) in very different ways – but are evaluated using the same (flawed) metrics.”

Going further, and hence the ‘Dilemma’, he notes capital is no longer in short supply, and if companies want to maximize returns on it, they must stop behaving as if it were.


Don't F*ck Up the Company Culture
Brian Chesky - LinkedIn, Apr 2014

When it comes to building and sustaining an enduring culture of greatness, it doesn’t get much more straightforward than the title to this piece.


Help Leaders Be Less Useless at Strategy
Roger Martin - HBR, May 2014

Once again Roger Martin brings his practical no nonsense thoughts on Strategy to the fore. This two minute read provides three key takeaways to help you be better at Strategy tomorrow:

In essence leaders need to “Construct a more productive series of interactions on strategy”:

  1. Go early with the framing of the challenge you want to tackle
  2. Go back with the possibilities you generate
  3. Return a third-time when you’ve reverse engineered the possibilities


Mixing Business and Social Good is Not a New Idea
David Burkus - HBR, May 2014

As more and more business schools develop programs focused on leveraging business to do good, and companies strategically recruit talent that’s more interested in social impact than big bonuses, the shifting tides of modern day business and society are evident.

As these landscapes continue their dramatic transformation, perhaps leaders of today should look to those of the past who trail-blazed a history of business kindness.

This short yet powerful read reminds us there have been successful businesspeople throughout history who focused on creating a better life for their employees, and societies.


Bad to Great: The Path to Scaling Up Excellence
Huggy Rao and Robert I. Sutton - McKinsey, Feb 2014

Scaling an organization’s performance can be one of the most challenging tasks leaders face.

“What drives leaders, keeps them up at night, and devours their workdays is the difficulty of spreading excellence to more people and more places.”

Leaders aiming to boost performance should start by eliminating negative behaviours – selfishness, nastiness, fear, laziness, dishonesty – before attempting to develop best practices.

“Leaders and employees do the right thing when they focus, not on their own needs and wants, but on the people affected by their actions.”


Developing Mindful Leaders for the C-Suite
Bill George - HBR, Mar 2014

The use of mindful practices like meditation, introspection, and journaling in the C-Suite are taking hold at such successful enterprises as Google, Apple, and General Mills while contributing to the success of their success.

Executives in these organizations have recognized the power of taking time out to reflect on what’s most important in order to create ways to overcome difficult challenges.

As Bill George puts it, “It’s especially important that leaders with great responsibilities gain focus and clarity in making their most important decisions, creativity in transforming their enterprises, compassion for their customers and employees, and the courage to go their own way.”


Can Management Get Us Out of this Economic Mess?
Steve Denning - Forbes, Mar 2014

“Can the leaders of the world’s most important organizations transform their management practices so that their organizations get on a path to growth and prosperity, instead of steady economic decline?”

In this powerful leadup article to the 2014 Drucker Forum Denning explores this pressing leadership challenge along with the shifting tides in business consciousness as explored in his conference prelogue – The Great Transformation: Managing Our Way to Prosperity

“Either the world will embark on a route towards long-term growth and prosperity, or we will manage our way to economic decline… the very coherence of our societies is at stake. Incremental changes won’t suffice. What does it take to reshape management as an effective social technology… for transforming our institutions and organizations?”


The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Tool
Harrison Monarth - HBR, Mar 2014     

In this short yet intriguing blog post the author provides insights on the use of strategic storytelling as a means of connecting, directing, and building powerful relationships with followers.

An oldy and a goody, Freytag’s Pyramid of storytelling structure is noted as having worked for thousands of years and having incredible relevance still today.

“A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts. Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.”


17th Annual CEO Survey - Fit for the Future
PwC - Jan 2014     

As capitalism and the global economy continue to evolve, how are CEOs responding to this changing global footprint?

While opportunities for strategic growth grow tougher, twice as many CEOs as polled in the 2013 survey believe the global economy will improve in the next 12 months.

CEOs feel three fundamental external forces will most greatly impact their businesses in the next five years:

  1. Technological Advances – harnessing technology to create value in new ways
  2. Demographic Changes – capitalizing on shifts to develop tomorrow’s
  3. Global Economic Shifts – serving consumers in a new economic landscape


The Big Lie of Strategic Planning
Roger L. Martin - HBR, Jan 2014     

Strategy-making forces executives to confront a future they can only guess at. It’s not surprising they try to make the task less daunting by comprehensively planning how to achieve its short and long-term goals.

But good strategy is not the product of endless research and modeling; it’s the result of a simple process of thinking through how to hit a target and whether it’s realistic to try.

Discomfort is part of the process. As Martin says, if you’re entirely comfortable, your strategy probably isn’t very good!


Why Most of What We Know about Management is... Dead Wrong
Steve Denning - Forbes, Jan 2014     

Wondering how your organization and management will evolve in the new age of Capitalism and a changing global economy? 

Denning states two distinct economies have emerged on the heels of recent incredible social and economic changes: 

  • Traditional – the one of factories, command and control, economies of scale, big hierarchical bureaucracies
  • Creative – the technology-driven one of continuous innovation, transformation, and profitable ecosystems

Organizational shifts toward a more ‘Creative’ management structure will directly impact companies’:

  • Organizational Goals – shifting focus from inward (shareholders) to outward (ecosystems)
  • Organizational Structures – from controlling people to enabling collaboration
  • Coordination of Work – from hierarchical bureaucracies to regular direct interaction
  • Firm’s Values – from single-minded profits to growing accompanying ecosystems
  • Communications – from top-down directives to multi-directional conversations 


Southwest Motivates... With a Purpose
Carmine Gallo - Forbes, Jan 2014     

Do your employees feel as though they’re part of something, something with a purpose, a purpose far beyond receiving a cheque twice a month?

In January 2013 Southwest unveiled a new corporate vision and purpose, intended to motivate an internal audience of employees to raise their game.

Incredibly their plan will leverage the power of storytelling to ensure its 46,000 employees deeply understand and engage with the company’s strategy and vision every day.


Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance
Michael Mankins and Richard Steele - HBR, Jul-Aug 2005

The majority of business strategies deliver only a fraction of their intended value.  Why is this?

The answers cut across a spectrum from initial strategy development to ongoing strategy execution – with leadership providing a critical foundation that builds the culture necessary for great organizational performance.

This article provides seven simple yet highly effective rules for helping leaders stay focused and deliver superior business results:

     •  Keep it Simple, make it concrete
     •  Debate assumptions, not forecasts
     •  Use a rigorous framework, speak a common language
     •  Discuss resource deployments early
     •  Clearly identify priorities
     •  Continuously monitor performance
     •  Reward and develop execution capabilities


Sustainable Business: Where Our Moral Compass Meets the Bottom Line
Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever) - Huffington Post, Oct 2013

Unilever CEO Paul Polman is renowned for his progressive approach to business leadership and being outspoken when it comes to the challenges of the current model of capitalism. 

Paul’s October 2013 article in the Huffington Post points out the serious problems he sees with our traditional business model that myopically focusses on short-term shareholder value or “quarterly capitalism” – and provides insight into the tenets for Capitalism 2.0 that promises long-term business success across a broad range of key stakeholders.


Why So Many Leadership Programs Ultimately Fail
Peter Bregman - HBR, Jul 2013

Why do so many leadership development and executive coaching programs fail to get traction when it comes to having leaders fundamentally change their underlying behaviours?

Peter Bregman argues that it has little to do with what we know about leadership and more about how we internalize our leadership journey in practical and tangible ways. 

In this article Bregman provides helpful insights into two factors that help organizations close the gap between theory and application by:

     •  Integrating leadership development into the work itself, and
     •  Teaching leadership in such a way that requires emotional courage


Storytelling That Moves People
Bronwyn Fryer - HBR, Jun 2003

Why should leaders be effective storytellers and what qualifies them as such? Put simply – a leader’s persuasive influence and ability to inspire their vision in others are pivotal aspects to business success.

In this article Robert McKee, an award-winning writer and director who consults with CEOs, provides his thoughts on how leaders can more powerfully connect with others on deeply emotional levels by telling compelling stories to persuade – instead of relying on dry, traditional, PowerPoint decks that present a rationale case based on logic and intellectual reason.