Rock On!!

Thursday 17th November was a big day for our clients, Virgin Money. By an astonishing quirk of fate, the opening of the first two of their new concept Lounges (Edinburgh and Norwich) coincided with the announcement by the chancellor, George Osborne, that the Northern Rock has been sold to Virgin Money.

This is a huge milestone for VM and one towards which they have been working for several years. They are determined to cause a stir in the world of banking – even though some in the industry are still describing their status as a minnow. If being 10th largest bank with 4 million customers makes you a minnow, it gives you some idea of the stranglehold that the big banks have on the market. Mind you, being smaller has never bothered Virgin businesses in the past – when VM first launched their internet based PEPS business  back in 1995, existing players in their market saw them as irritants – mosquitoes if you like!! And we all know how much trouble mosquitoes can cause, don’t we?!

Over the past 6 months Tom Peters Company has been running events for all existing staff to help them to see their part in building the bank of the future. The commitment in time and money to run these events was extraordinary, given the manic level of activity that was going on in the business. But Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the Chief Executive, has always set great store by keeping everyone involved – the events are designed both to communicate but also to give everyone the chance to have a say.

Virgin Money Edinburgh Lounge, November 2011

And as for these lounges – what on earth are they about? The answer is that they are all about relationships and definitely not about transacting or selling. The return on investment may be very difficult to quantify, but the stir they are likely to create may well be just what’s required in these times of financial stalemate.

It’s going to be an exciting time for VM – wish them luck!!



2011 Update

As we approach the end of another year, it is a good chance to look back and reflect. Here are some of the highlights from the last year in TPC.

De-mystifying Excellence

Our Excellence Model, the Future Shape of the Winner (FSW), continues to be well received by clients and consultants alike. People really appreciate the simplicity of the model and the fact that it gives them a bird’s eye view of their progress on their Excellence agenda. It forces them to consider every angle – and to step up to challenges that they wouldn’t naturally take on. Here’s how one client summed up his reaction to the FSW model:

…by accepting our outdated IT systems as a barrier (which I had), I am effectively limiting the ability of this business to provide the best customer experience that we can, so your project has inspired me to demand our own IT system and stop our lack of high level decision making (to sell or not to sell the business) impact the customer experience for this business.

Your (FSW) project was a moment of divine intervention, which I sincerely thank you for.” Managing Director, UK based plc

You’ll get an idea of the style and approach if you take a look at our free Excellence Audit taster – the LITE version. Prices of a full audit begin at UK£250/US$400 for an individual audit.

21st Century Learning

Amongst this year’s headlines is the news is that I have finally graduated with a Masters Degree in Open and Distance Education from the Open University. It’s taken me several years, but on the back of this study, we’ve now had three serious sorties into the world of Distance Learning. Our 5-week FSW/Excellence Audit training programme has involved 21 consultants from literally all over the globe. “DL” is the learning medium that everyone is talking about, so expect to see more Distance Learning offerings from us in the future.

What’s your experience of Distance Learning? Have you got any requests for programmes in this format from TPC?

Spreading The Word!

After over 20 years of designing and delivering in-company development and training events in the US and Europe, TPC has decided the time is now right to move into new territories by licensing other “local” consultants to use our unique IP and workshop materials. The audience for Tom Peters’ ideas is truly global these days and we are getting more and more interest from people who want to access TPC services from far and wide.

We began during 2010-2011 by licensing consultants in the use of our Excellence Audit. In 2012 we are extending the licensing arrangements to include three of our best-loved training products, Brand You, WOW! Projects and Creating Value for Customers. Our partners are a well-established training company in South Africa, Business Results Group, who have had a successful track record of delivering licensed training products for over 15 years. Once we’ve got our head around how the deal will work for both parties, we’ll be looking for more partners based in markets that are new for us. All advice and contacts gratefully accepted!


The clients who have continued to work with TPC over the past three difficult years increasingly have one characteristic in common. Sure, they have continued to invest in the aspects that they think make their business different and special, but increasingly the source of this distinctive difference lies the discretionary extra contributions that their people routinely bring to the business. When it comes to competing in ever more difficult markets, copying products and avoiding copyright legislation seems to be getting easier and easier. Copying the contributions special people make to special businesses is quite the reverse!

What are you doing to keep yourself ahead of the pack?

Is 2012 going to be an Olympian Year for you?

Tom Peters and Bob Waterman were the first people to link the concept of Excellence with business way back in 1982 in In Search of Excellence. They and their McKinsey colleagues, Richard Pascale and Tony Athos, operationalised this thinking in the still-famous 7-S model (Structure, Systems, Strategy, Shared Values, Style, Staff, Skills).

Many of the ISOE concepts remain relevant today, but in the intervening years, much has changed in the world of business. For example, it’s hard to believe that Information Technology got not a single mention in the book! And of course it was long before the internet crashed into our lives and changed everything. These days employees are less compliant and more opinionated than their ‘mustn’t grumble‘ predecessors of the 70’s and 80’s; customers demand more and more for less and less; and competition has become truly global. The current global economic crisis seems to be bringing this turbulent era to an anxious climax. Who knows what the next era will bring?

Tom has continued reflecting on the changing  world in his speaking, writing, blogging and (more recently) tweeting. In TPC, we decided our contribution would be to create an Excellence Operating model that would help people to convert Tom’s ideas into action. Like the 7S model, our Future Shape of the Winner™ Excellence model also has seven elements. But unlike 7S, we position people (‘Talent’ in our terminology) at the core of the model.  Leaders that manage to get the best out of their people have somehow managed to get the right balance between those various elements for their own situation.

To accompany our Excellence Model, we have a measurement instrument called the Excellence Audit™. Users rate themselves against our 50 Excellence Characteristics, and identify areas for future improvement. The definition of Excellence that is produced is therefore unique to each customer, as is the improvement agenda they create.

Reactions from users of the audit have been very positive, with some admitting that simply completing the audit was a useful experience – even before they saw their results. Here’s what one of them recently said:

“Just rating our company against the 50 Excellence characteristics helped me to become more open minded, to have a more ambitious picture of what we had to do to “reach excellence”, and to see how things were out of balance.” Fernando Marazón, General Manager, Grup MH, Barcelona

For the first time in our history, TPC is delighted to have an affordable tool that we can offer to any leader of any team, large or small, anywhere in the world. Participants complete the survey online, and results can be delivered in many formats. We also have a growing cadre of independent consultants around the world that are authorised to use this material with clients.

The start of another year is a great time to use this tool. As we look ahead to 2012, what are the challenges that you face?

  • How ready are you/your team for what’s ahead?
  • Are your people engaged enough in your plans?
  • Are you stretching your ambitions as far as you can?
  • Are your relationships with your people as good as they should be?

If you answered “No” or “Not Sure” to any of these questions, maybe the Excellence Audit can help you? Take a look at sample statements from the Excellence Audit on our Excellence Audit Lite, and contact TPC ( to find out more and get a quote.

Here’s wishing you a happy holiday season ahead and a successful 2012!

E-Learning – it’s life, Jim, but not as we know it!

I’ve recently sent in my final assignment of a long and grueling Masters Course in Open &  Distance Education – what a relief! I embarked on it way back in 2003, when all that most of us had was a dial-up connection; but even then the internet was beginning to change the way we all live and work. I had an inkling that a powerful bombshell was about to hit the world of training and development, and sure enough it has, although it has not been the magic bullet that some thought it would be. Nevertheless, a recent study I saw said that 50% of learning will be delivered online by 2015!! Quite a turnaround in the world of education, eh?

I signed up with the UK’s Open University, a remarkable organisation that has been a pioneer in delivering Distance learning for over 40 years. In the early days of the OU, students used to receive big boxes with course materials at the start of their courses, and were left largely to their own devices. But over the years, as technology has moved on so has the OU. Where better to learn about Distance Learning, I argued? As well as learning about the disciplines of Distance Learning, I got to be a Distance Learner myself.

I plan to try and capture some of the main learning points relevant to me and my practice whilst they are fresh in my mind. These reflections may well run to several blogs – maybe you’ll find them interesting too?

I’m kicking off by looking at the place where learning takes place – the virtual classroom, often called the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

As someone who has spent almost all of my ‘teaching’ career in the classroom, the face-to-face arena is where I have learned my trade. The social contact in the classroom plays a really important part in the way I do my job; being able to see the audience, judge their reactions to presentations/activities/group discussions, and then being able to adjust my teaching style to fit has become an instinctive matter for me. And the social contact also works well for students too – group discussions are very good for deepening learning, and the relationships that are developed between students often have carry-over benefits into the workplace.

Is there any way that this can be replicated online?

My short answer to that question is no, or at least not in the same way! The energy that can be generated in a lively classroom is well nigh impossible to create when you are separated in space and time from your audience. My three years as a Distance Learner have seen a few moments of high emotion, most notably when a ‘group’ online activity has been taking place and I have felt some sense of ownership of what was going on. But group activities are just as likely to lead to frustration, either because you can’t get others to join in, or because the group dynamics are hard to orchestrate when you can’t see what’s going on with others. On my most recent module, two of the group activities were abandoned due to lack of participation, and a third took place, but had very few participants.

The most important adjustment I  am struggling to come to terms with in the virtual classroom  is that the balance of power well and truly shifts from teacher to student. The student decides when, how, and how much they are going to contribute. If the material and activities are not of interest, there is not much the facilitator can do about it! Some might argue that the same is true in the real classroom – just because someone is present does not mean they are interested or are learning anything. But it does feel different!

My sense is that the way we deliver content and engage with our learners online has not yet come to terms with this new learning arena. Although there are many more organisations offering e-learning these days, its questionable just how qualified they are in the use of the new media for education. Few have got the pure track record of the Open University in delivering Distance Learning, and I’m sure the OU would be the first to acknowledge the challenges. The generation that is teaching today has learned its trade in a non-digital world, and is inevitably influenced by that. And the majority of (adult) learners have similarly developed learning skills in an era when the teacher was the fount of all knowledge. Both parties will have to learn new skills in this digital era – teachers seeing their role as guiding students to make good learning choices, and learners being more independent and choosing their own learning path.

Disappointing results of a study into student participation in e-learning (Garavan et al, 2010) are evidence how hard it can be to get engagement. In a large sample of students from 275 organisations they found that less than 50% of participants successfully completed their courses. Garavan and his colleagues observe that e-leaning is an isolating experience, and that this isolation is a major cause of attrition.

If teachers and students can’t make the shift to different ways of teaching and learning, its hard to see how the use of e-learning will deliver the results that our education systems need to deliver.

What’s your experience of participating in e-learning? Which methods of learning have you found work well for you, and which have been disappointing?

More later….


Garavan, T.N., Carbery, R., O’Malley, G., and O’Donnell, D., (2010) Understanding participation in e-learning in organizations: a large-scale empirical study of employees, International Journal of Training and Development 14:3, pp 155 – 168 ISSN 1360-3736

Are you being served?

There’s a statement on our Future Shape of the Winner (FSW) model that often gets singled out  – Statement 34. We exploit the latest techniques and technologies to deliver our products and services more efficiently, to provide a more intimate and personalized service, and to expand our offering through new products, features, and/or services for our clients/customers.

In an Excellence Audit Survey, this statement often has one of the highest gaps between the current  and future ratings, which puts it near the top of the list for improvement attention. It is also very common for people to point the finger at the IT department by way of an explanation – saying they don’t get enough support/investment for this kind of activity.

But in these days of Social Media, surely this kind of connectivity is much more freely available? And do we really need the IT folks to lead the way for us?

Frank Eliason, (formerly of Comcast and now of Citi Corp), has become a bit of a guru of the use of Social Media to connect with customers. In a recent interview,with Social Media Examiner, he explains how SM can be used to transform relationships with customers. His early experiments focused on dealing with unhappy customers, and nipping service issues in the bud before anyone had the chance to get the word out in the Twittersfere!! But what he/Comcast discovered was that the potential of SM is much greater than that. Well handled, these virtual conversations with customers became a revolutionary way to connect with both happy and unhappy customers. And as well as providing great customer experiences they are also great for getting the Brand message out to a wide range of people.

This is a brilliant example of our Excellence Model (FSW) in action. FSW focuses on the options leaders have to put their people into a position to do their best work. The model also acknowledges how interconnected the various elements of an organization are, and how it is people that are the constant factor. Rather than people being seen as one of the elements within an organization, we make people the central element. Take a look at our Gyroscope model to see how we explain the model.

In Frank’s example, the use of social media gives people a simple and immediate way of delivering a personal service to clients and lets them put their own personality into their work.

Have you dipped your toes into the Social Media waters yet, and if you have, how is it going? Tell us about your experience!

Full Steam Ahead!

It’s that time of year again! However well we’ve done on meeting this year’s targets, 2011 looms large. So what does next year look like for your business? What fresh initiatives are you dreaming up to add impetus to your efforts?

If you are finding the challenge a bit uninspiring, it could be that others in the organization can provide some fresh insights.  TPC’s Excellence Audit is designed to do exactly that.

In one recent audit, the boss of a manufacturing organization that has weathered the recession surprisingly well was keen to build on the year’s success. He instinctively felt that he was getting moderate rather than excellent levels of commitment. As well as his executive team colleagues, he chose a broad range of people that he trusted from right across the organization, and asked them to complete the audit.

His data pointed him squarely at specific aspects of leadership in which he and his executive team were found lacking; in particular people questioned whether innovation and innovators were valued, and did not feel enough effort was put into their development

Here are some of the verbatim comments which put a bit more relief around their survey scores:

  • “Our Function doesn’t encourage us to think about self-development. This makes it hard to stay self-motivated.”
  • “Leaders give too much time to day to day and operating stuff (they generally “do” too much). A way should be found to dedicate more time to strategy, tactics and implementation around people”
  • “Although management gives the sales force the impression that they do not trust them, the salesforce has a very, very high level of self-motivation. Management should be happy having such persons.”
  • “Not everyone currently demonstrates high commitment. I see that we have departmental thinking and it seems that different goals among Functions reduce commitment.”

These audit results sparked a lively debate amongst the executive team. We discussed reward and recognition and whether their moderation in these areas was stifling innovation. We also debated their conservatism around investing in people; what kind of message was that giving about the confidence they had in people?

We went on to discuss how to incorporate the survey findings into their plans for the year. Times are difficult, and there is not much spare money around, but it turns out there is a lot that can be done at very little extra cost;) Here are just three of the decisions the team made:

  1. They will choose a small number of projects and use them as development for their people; invitations will go to people who don’t normally get considered, and they will encourage the team to be creative and come up with ideas outside of the norm.
  2. They will target themselves on regularly finding and acknowledging individual acts of excellence.
  3. They will host a meeting of all the survey participants to discuss the results of the ExAud and to make a commitment to act on the feedback. Who knows what else will surface as ideas for improvement from that meeting?

So, one way or another, next year’s plans will definitely have a different flavor.

How does 2011 look to you? What is going to be different about the plans you are making?

Are you ready to Get Going?

I well remember a big “debate” that flared up in Tom Peters Company some years ago when, at the end of a successful client project, a senior colleague here bragged that we had “changed Company X!” Tom’s response to this claim, well the printable version anyway, was:“People and organizations, if they do change, change themselves. At best, we consultants can hold their individual/collective hands, and whisper words of wisdom and encouragement, which will never be heard until the exact accidental moment when they are ready to hear them for their own sweet reasons!

This was the thinking behind our annual Summer Research Project this year. We had been detecting a distinct shift in the tone of conversations with some of our clients during the spring and wanted to find out more. Despite their weariness (and wariness!) from the recession, people were ready to look ahead. It appeared to be, as Tom said, an accidental moment when some people at least were ready to move on.

We decided to invite a cross section of people from our network to have a free go at the Excellence Audit™, our online tool designed to help leaders compile their own description of what Excellence looks like and to consider how they currently shape up against it. We were pleased to find that a highly disparate group of participants, 143 people from 29 countries and 6 continents, took up our offer! Some feedback we heard:

This has forced me to think about what was important for our clients and staff as distinct from what was good for us (managers) alone.”

By accepting our outdated IT systems as a barrier (which I had), I am effectively limiting the ability of this business to provide the best customer experience that we can. This has inspired me to demand our own IT system from the Group and to stop our lack of high level decision making impacting customer experience in my business. Whilst spending most of last year at warp factor nine, the Excellence Audit was a moment of divine intervention!

(I think this is at least one person who was ready to hear!)


So what is the potential take away from this for readers who did not participate in the Summer Research Project? If you are at the point where you want to leave the malaise of the recession behind you, my suggestion is to devote some time now to working out where you most need to make progress. My guess is that you already have a good inkling of where you should be focusing your improvement efforts. And if you don’t, I’m sure your employees, partners and clients will enlighten you if you find the right way to ask them! You can also take a look at the findings of our Research Project – you might get ideas from where others are seeing the need to move on.If you take a look at the Tom Peters Website, you’ll find many different inputs and titbits from Tom that can help you construct your own excellence action agenda. Two in particular I would recommend are his new master slide set. Another is his new Synopsis series, which incorporates highlights from his recent book, The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence .

To get a personal copy of the Summer Research Project Report, contact We’ll be happy to share all our findings.

Good luck, and do let us know how you get on!

What did you do this Summer?

Some people might think of Summer as a time to relax and unwind?? Not us!! Having detected a distinct upturn in the tone of many of the conversations we had been having with clients about the future,  we decided to use our annual Summer Research project to find out more. We hoped this group of Tom Peters Company aficionados could shed some light on the most pressing business improvement challenges at this particular time. Sorry if that makes us sound a bit sad, but we’ve had a fantastic time studying the responses!

We wanted to find out how has the experience of coming through the recession influenced people’s development concerns and priorities. Are there any common themes emerging now that might be of interest more generally to leaders as they make plans for their own future success and for the future success of their business?

This selection of people were offered one-off free access to the Excellence Audit in return for structured information from them on their current priorities for business improvement. 143 willing souls from 29 different countries spread across six continents actually submitted Excellence Audit surveys.

Completing an Excellence Audit enabled respondents to identify their most urgent priorities areas for improvement. As expected, each respondent defined “future excellence” in their organisation in their own unique way. But looking across the whole group of 143 respondents, the Excellence Audit identified a substantial 22% “Now” to “Future” improvement requirement in the coming year, with areas of need evenly distributed across our Future Shape of the Winner business excellence model.

One of our participants, a Director of Community Regeneration in Europe summed up the challenge ahead this way:

‘To survive and thrive, organisations will need leaders who have the capacity to organise resources in a way that allows them to deliver and dream simultaneously.”


The main business improvement focus areas selected by all the survey groups were Talent Leadership, (Customer) Experience, Architecture and Execution. Within these focus areas, the biggest priorities for immediate improvement action were:

  • leaders investing more of their time finding, deploying, encouraging, and protecting champions of change, and
  • businesses exploiting the latest IT and web based systems; to deliver products and services more efficiently: to provide a more personalised service; to ensure all relevant knowledge and management information is accessible at every desk/laptop, and to improve business processes and methodologies.

Examining the different survey subgroups for functional or geographical differences, the main conclusion is that those with Manager positions are the most anxious group to get going with improvement action. Managers in North America give the heaviest priority to getting on with improvements to the business Architecture and Execution, whereas Western European Managers show the highest anxiety to start to address their Talent Leadership responsibilities

In a nutshell, it’s a case of finding the right combination of  “systems plus passion leading to excellence!”  In the full report, we explain our findings in more detail, and suggest an action agenda for anyone interested in getting active around this research. If you would like a copy of the full report, please email us on

We’d love to hear how are things looking for you and your team or your clients? What is your sense of what you should be focusing on for the future?




My Brain Hurts!

My holiday reading this summer included a book by Nicholas Carr, The Shallows, a fascinating book which looks at how the internet is affecting the way we think, read and remember.

In the 20 years of its existence, the internet has had a remarkable impact on most peoples’ lives and in particular on the way that we communicate and interact. In this book, Carr has looked at whether there is anything about this revolutionary medium that has deeper implications. I think there are messages here for anyone involved in education and training, for students, their parents and researchers, and also for leaders who are looking for their team members to be productive and creative. For myself, I was interested to understand how the internet might be affecting learning and development – a particular focus of mine. On the face of it, the internet is a boon for learning, making information and learning communities readily accessible to many people, but are its benefits balanced by any disadvantages? And if so, should we be doing anything about it?

Carr’s is a scholarly book that tracks the essential roles that language, literacy, and reading have played in human development, particularly in the 500 years since the Gutenberg press democratized  reading for the masses. Some would argue that the internet gives even more people even greater access to information than is possible via books, but there is an important difference in the medium of the internet, which centres on the attention we pay to material delivered that way.

A critical step in the conversion of information into knowledge and wisdom that can be applied may not be obvious at first glance. For information to be useful to us, a period of deep thinking has to take place. New information enters the brain through the short term, working, memory. That information becomes useable when it moves from our short term (limited capacity) to our long term (infinitely capacious) memory. We must put effort into creating new or revised mental models that incorporate any new data. This can only be done in a gradual way, and requires attention and reflection; we need to take control of our thinking process and this is done by applying focus.

The bad news for learners is that focus is something that humans instinctively find difficult. We are much more inclined to let ourselves be interrupted – after all, in the early days of man’s existence, being alert to both threats and opportunities may well have been the characteristic which ensured the survival of the species. The ability to read and reflect is a relatively new skill for humankind and not one that comes naturally.

We find ourselves today in an Aladdin’s cave of potentially limitless interruptions; text messages, emails, twitter feeds, rss feed readers, facebook messages, the list is endless! And the interruption goes further when you consider the way text is presented on the internet – multimedia presentations of all kinds, and the ‘helpful’ addition of hyperlinks to enrich our reading. No wonder it is almost impossible to persuade young people to read books these days – they’ve got much more rewarding things to spend their time on! Unfortunately, all of these distractions end up diminishing our learning experience because they block and overwhelm our short term memory, serving up tit bits of data in bite-sized chunks that reward our desire for new things, but not converting into anything useful.

The more sinister undertone to Carr’s findings is that this shift in the way we use our brains actually alters the brain’s neural pathways. Neural pathways that are heavily used come to dominate the way we think, and those that are underused diminish – use it or lose it, as the old saying goes!! Thinking about my own working habits, I can see the lack of focus creeping into my daily practice. Leaving open applications like Twitter, email and Facebook which tell me when something new has been posted is energizing, but distracts me from any activity that requires concentration. I often find that I have wiled away several hours following links from one blog, article or website to another, without anything meaningful having been achieved. Many times, I forget how I actually got started on a train of thought. And having got into the habit of summarizing interesting snippets in Twitter means that I tend to reduce my thoughts to catchy sound-bites – hardly exercising my grey matter to any real extent. Oh dear;-( Something has got to change!

If you are a leader, an educator, a learner or a parent, I’d highly recommend that you read the book, but in the meantime here are a few of the resolutions that I have decided to incorporate into my daily routine;

First of all, I am separating my communications and interactive activities from my reflective activities – putting aside at least half of my available work time for thinking that requires focus.

Secondly, I will always have a new serious/business book ‘on the go’ and I will discipline myself to spending time collecting and using my thoughts in some tangible way (hence this blog!). I might still Twitter about it a bit, but that won’t be my only reflection – honest!!

Thirdly, I will occasionally buy myself a paper version of the online newspaper that I subscribe to. The paper version will induce deeper reading than its online ‘cousin’!

Fourthly, I will resist the temptation to complete my sudoku puzzles (a favorite hobby of mine) using my digital version of the game – the help that this version gives me is actually getting in the way of my being able to improve my own skills – a common problem with digital help features.

Every generation is suspicious of the inventions and new habits of the next, and the internet is no different in that. On the other hand, its advantages are many and undeniable. But this book makes a strong case that if the internet really is going to accelerate the development of the human intellect,  we would be well advised to nurture our hard earned deep thinking skills. I, for one, am resolved to do my bit to hang onto mine;-)


Nicholas Carr, (2010) The Shallows – how the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember, Atlantic Books, London

The Noise is Deafening!

A good client of mine confided recently how devastating the experience of running his business has been for him over the past two or three years. He talked about uncomfortable decisions he was being routinely required to make to keep the business afloat, like which suppliers to pay and when, which facilities to cut back on, to sell or to close down, and whether or not to lay off employees, many of whom were known to him personally. All this grief has been going on at the same time as he has had to negotiate new contracts with customers, trades unions and suppliers to give his business a good chance of returning to profitability when things improve. To say that he has felt a bit stretched is an understatement, and he confessed to me that he was feeling bad about having neglected his leadership, an aspect he has worked hard on for the twenty years I have known him. I am wondering how the experience of the past few of years will affect him and other thoughtful leaders like him in the future?

For consultants like me, it is extremely tempting to watch what is happening in businesses out there, to take the moral high ground, and to offer what is sound, well principled leadership advice that is meant to be helpful but is in fact worse than useless. And the fact that social media have become so easy and cheap to access has given us a even bigger platform to broadcast our perceived wisdom. Whether it’s because of a general state of under employment or not, we’ve all been making a lot of noise lately!! However, my suspicion is that the last thing leaders are doing right now is reading the outpourings of people like me. They’ve got much more challenging things to be getting on with!

A shock to the system is well known as a call to action, and economists like Anatole Kaletsky are predicting a new era for capitalism. But will there be a new era for Leadership? People-centered approaches to management (à la Tom Peters!) have been widely espoused for years, but cynics would say they have been ‘talked’ rather than ‘walked’! The dominance of western style scientific management has had a stifling effect, especially in larger companies. But with the future continuing to look much less certain, maybe now is the time for a sea change in approach for many managers? My hope is that the current economic turmoil will be the catalyst that jolts managers and organizations into a new era of productivity through people.

I know many managers who are still caught up in Shock and Anger responses to their current work situations. The big moment of truth comes when they feel ready to move into Reflection and then make up their own minds on how they are going to Operate going forward. Then we will all see what the shape of post recessionary management looks like, and whether healthier organizations emerge like the proverbial phoenix from the flames?

We are doing our bit on this blog to encourage and inspire leaders by showcasing examples of what we see as the future shape of winning organizations. We’d love to hear any real cases that you know of, and any other points of view you have about the challenges ahead.

Reference:“Capitalism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy” Anatole Kaletsky;

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