‘Whole systems’ team alignment – case study

Why a 'whole system' approach to alignment? Traditionally, alignment is defined as the extent to which employee goals match with functional and organizational goals. However, research in the social sciences informs us that misalignment occurs strategically as well as...

When clarification is hard work

Some clarification questions   Imagine you’re a leader and one of your direct reports likes to clarify things. The kind of clarification questions they would ask might go like this: What would this development mean to our various stakeholders? What is the rationale...

Spotting the gaps in team alignment – a can of worms?

If you exposed some alignment gaps within a team, would this be opening a can of worms, or helping them move closer to success? Maybe I've been living in the Netherlands for too long. Here, I see that when two people at work discover a difference of opinion, they...

Immediate, effortless results

When you're feeling annoyed and negative about your differences with someone, it always seems to come as a surprise when the right words said in the right way and in the right setting can immediately set it all free. Effortlessly.  At no cost. All people want is to be...

Keeping Your Team Aligned – in 5 mins pw

OK. Your team is aligned, pretty much. You’ve invested time in developing a common understanding around why, what, who, how, where and when, and clarity is in the air. But how can you keep your team aligned when the workplace context is constantly evolving? This...

Why MBTI looks out of date to me…

The more we learn about the power of context, the more we see that rigid rules or principles about the way we behave don't serve us. Of course, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) isn't the only personality typing inventory out there, it just feels more rigid than...

Engagement is NOT about discretionary effort.

Enough of people talking about engagement for the purposes of enabling employees to put in more discretionary effort! That's like saying "You're working hard, but if you get what's going on around here then you'll feel like working even harder." It's as if all the...

GUEST BLOG: Congratulations! You’ve been promoted. What next?

From guest blogger Stephen Welch... I’ve been working on a development guide for people who have just been promoted. The brief was to give the happy new employee a guide to how to behave in the new job. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised context was...

Making Context King

We hear a lot about situational leadership - how leaders at all levels are more effective if they adapt their behaviours to suit their context. Yet the tools and models out there that help leaders understand what their context or situation is, are largely theoretical....

Ambiguity in business

For a long time I was an enemy of ambiguity.  I saw it as the opposite of clarity. Being in ambiguous situations would make me feel dis-empowered, excluded, and unequal.  I felt ambiguity the negligence of people who wanted to retain information for themselves, or who...

Leaders have it tough

The ‘hero leader’ is an old-fashioned notion that is still perpetuated in places by good actors who put on that show, and by people around them who would like them to be heroes to solve their problems. Even the Nobel Prize committee is looking to award prizes to...

Seeking ‘Reality’

I recently came across a blog by Robert Fritz, author of “The Path of Least Resistance” and “The Managerial Moment of Truth”, both books containing some fabulous stuff about creating a shared reality.  And in today’s world of fake news and low trust in leaders –...