Posts tagged ‘authentic leadership’

November 19, 2015

#7 Leadership

When Richie McCaw announced his retirement from Rugby today it was in the same matter of fact and calm way in which he has led the world of rugby for what seems like forever.

I didn’t think I would but I felt quite sad. He’s become so intertwined with the All Blacks that even when he wasn’t on the field, somehow we knew he was there. It feels like a loss.

His leadership has been remarkable – from the front, never giving up, calm and resolute in the face of incredible aggravation, determined – the best role model you could ever hope for.

I said a couple of years ago to someone “you know, we’re in a golden era of Rugby right now”.  And we were, and I hope we still are!

It’s been an amazing ride to be on and I didn’t realise until today quite how important McCaw has been to my own enjoyment of the game. He didn’t just sneak the ball out of the ruck. He sneakily led us all along on a great journey with a climatic end at Twickenham. I was very honoured to see the All Blacks play a few weeks earlier at Olympic Stadium in London. I’m very glad I did, especially now.

Thank you is what to say to Richie McCaw. Every leader can take so much from you, including things we don’t even understand yet, but the results of your leadership are there for us all to revel in. Achievements that will go down in history. And the best Rugby ever!


May 25, 2015

A testament to our own choices in time

In the movie Testament of Youth young men enthusiastically head to war in 1915 to “do the right thing”, for a bit of an OE and to join their mates. When I walked out of the cinema the phrase Testament of Stupidity came to mind.

Most of the people I know are fortunate to have choices in life. Some people don’t because of restricted society rules, war, cults and other tragedies of humanity.

The young men in the movie appeared to be making free choices. No doubt those who survived would agree that they had far from full information.

We start the Authentic Leadership Programme this morning with 18 managers embarking on a journey of discovery about themselves and others. We’ll start by learning about individual preferences and what others say about us. It won’t be exact information, but time, space and resources will be freely given to enable all the participants to interpret the information and plan for their individual next steps.

Taking new information on board to develop our leadership requires deliberate actions to be made by leaders to ensure the new insights are properly understood, interpreted and acted on. It can’t just be accepting someone’s interpretation of “the right thing” or what our mates are doing.

On the first day of the Programme, and in the ensuing months, our managers will be encouraged to make deliberate choices and changes in their leadership based on full information, reflection and planning. What will matter will be what is best for each leader to grow his or her leadership potential, their teams and their organisation.

Pressure will come for sure, it’s not always easy making changes, but the pressure will be based on honest and full information.


Despite my post-movie reaction, Testament of Youth is a powerful story and a great movie.

March 12, 2015

A picture of leadership

I’ve already mentioned Selma in a recent blog. Then it was music. Now it’s a picture. This cover page from the New York Times says so much that is good in leadership: Out the front, sleeves rolled up, a purpose, all sorts of ordinary people on board, some real stayers who have been with the challenge since the beginning, reflection on past battles, never growing weary and together.

A picture of leadership's many facets.

A picture of leadership’s many facets.

What would your picture of your leadership look like?


March 11, 2015


In the movie Force Majeure Tomas, Ebba and their two children are holidaying at a French ski resort. During lunch at the outdoor restaurant on the second day they observe what they think is a controlled avalanche. Suddenly it becomes apparent that it might not be controlled and a wall of snow is about to engulf the family. The children scream and Ebba attempts to protect them. Tomas grabs his cellphone and runs for safety leaving them behind.

It's  a perfect day, but you need to be ready for that to change.

It’s a perfect day, but you need to be ready for that to change.

It’s a false alarm, the wall of snow was fog and the avalanche had stopped clear of the resort. Tomas returns to find his family shaken, and they resume their lunch.

Nothing is said in the immediate aftermath of the incident but it places a dark cloud over the family and their holiday. Eventually Ebba confronts Tomas on why he abandoned his family in the face of such a devastating threat.

Tomas denies Ebba’s version, telling her she is entitled to her perception of events and suggesting that he couldn’t have run anyway, as he was wearing ski boots. A video of the event is produced which shows Tomas doing a runner but he remains unapologetic.

I couldn’t help think that Tomas’ behaviour was probably a “fight or flee” reaction, but leaving the children behind was not something Ebba (or others she engaged about the incident) could really understand.

Much of the movie was spent by me thinking “why don’t you just man up and accept it was a reaction, but wrong?”.

None of us is perfect, and neither is any leader. But we try. When we fail it’s time to man or woman up, acknowledge it, do what is necessary to fix it so everyone can move on.

Ebba and the children couldn’t move on.

Neither could Tomas – that was a big insight for me.

Anything you need to man or woman up on today?


Next blog about a stunning picture of leadership.

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