Category Archives: Leadership

Around the web this week

A few things that have got me thinking and musing this week.

Justice and phones
What’s your phone got to do with a war?

Via Robin Peake

One of a few helpful pieces from Tearfund Rhythms on phones and conflict minerals. One of the reasons why I bought a Fairphone – topic of a future blog!

 

Football
Breaking news: Fifa say Hell will host 2026 World Cup

Via Gary Lineker

Great piece from the Telegraph on the farce that is FIFA.

 

Politics
Experiments show this is the best way to win campaigns. But is anyone actually doing it?

Via Tom Baker

From the US – What is the most effective form of political campaigning and why is it not used as it should be? I resonated with this in terms of my likelihood to vote for candidates I have the opportunity to engage with on the doorstep.

Thank heavens for Justin Welby

Via Pete Greig

How Lambeth Palace is worth listening to again and Justin Welby’s taking on of Wonga and payday loan companies by providing an alternative.

Sweden’s Prostitution Solution: Why Hasn’t Anyone Tried This Before?

How the Swedes have tackled traficking with incredible results.

 

Young people, riots and character
The New Politics of Character

Via Robin Peake

The results of a study into young people participating in riots in London revealed that the key factor was not lack of money or lack of morality but lack of character. What follows is an interesting discussion on defining and developing character in young people.

Cities
For the sake of our cities, it’s time to make town planning cool again

On the need for visionary planner more passionate about flourishing than bowing to the whims of developers.

Leadership, change and church
“The Top Ten Reasons This will Never Work”: On Leading Change in the Church

Via David Fitch

Despite my not being a fan of numbered lists there is some helpful stuff in here on  leading change in churches and some of the many objections…

A quote

And finally a couple of tunes for the weekend…

Leonard Cohen – Did I Ever Love You?

And Springsteen from Dublin back in 2006 – When the Saints Go Marching In

 

 

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The Books I’m Planning to Read in 2014

Gemma inspired me to be a little more intentional with my reading so I’ve put together a list of the books I’d like to read in 2014. I’m sure it will have a degree of flexibility.

Have you read any of them? What did you think? Any you think I should add or not bother with?

Fiction
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Canada – Richard Ford
May We Be Forgiven – AM Homes
Best Of Our Spies – Alex Gerlis
Biography
The Governor – John Lonergan
Conversations With Myself – Nelson Mandela
Once Upon A Country: A Palestinian Life – Sari Nusseibeh & Anthony David
Leadership
Boundaries for Leaders – Henry Cloud
Authentic Happiness – Martin Seligman (Psychology as related to coaching)
Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
Thanks For The Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well – Sheila Stone &Douglas Heen
Theology
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatious
A Theology of Work -Darrell  Cosden
Introducing Liberation Theology – Boff & Boff
Why Cities Matter – Stephen Um & Justin Buzzard
Doing Local Theology – Clemens Sedmak
And looking for some good stuff on Isaiah
Have you read any of them? What did you think? Any you think I should add or not bother with?

2013 in Books: Leadership (Non-fiction part 2)

leadershipbooks2013Given what my day job is I tend to read a lot of books around the broad themes of leadership. These are the ones I found most helpful  – which of course was related to where I was at when I read them.. Or maybe I just got sucked in to buying books with red, white and black covers…

Heroic Leadership

Despite the title, this was a fascinating look at the Jesuits through the lens of leadership, distilling out many of the leadership traits valued and practiced by the order. The author left the Jesuits to pursue a career as a management consultant so writes with deep experience of both.

Manage Your Day to Day (99u)

The 99u site is full of helpful articles and tips. This book (which also has one of those covers that feels really nice!) pulls together a selection of articles. Obviously some resonate more than others and there are some gems that not only inspired me but helped me to be more focused and work more effectively. Things like challenging the ‘conventional wisdom’ of starting the days with some small easy tasks, and obvious yet wonderful advice such as not opening your email for the first few hours to allow you to get the important work done.

The Icarus Deception

Seth Godin at his best. We’re all familiar with the story of Icarus and the warning not to fly too close to the sun. the bit always left out was that he wasn’t to fly too low- too close to the sea either. Godin is the master at motivation and this book really inspired me. One of the things that really stood out was about not wasting time and energy trying to create ‘art’ for the masses who aren’t interested but instead concentrating on those who really want/need what you are doing. I found this really helpful in work as we are building and growing Innovista.

The Advantage

I think Patrick Lencioni is one of the best writers on business/leadership around. His books aren’t manuals or textbooks but parables with the theory in a small section at the end. Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a must read for everyone. The Advantage distills material from all of his books to date so isn’t written in the fable style yet is peppered with real-life examples. The focus of the Advantage is that organisations need to be healthy, not just smart (clear vision, strategy etc.).  Some of his material on the importance of recruiting for values led to us overhauling our recruitment policies and processes. This is one of those books that I should read every year.

Leadership and Self-Deception

Big shout out to Andy Masters for recommending this to me. My first read of 2013. Brilliant short book that uses story to unpack the ways in which we deceive ourselves and the consequences for our relationships. One of those books that could be Christian if you change the language…

What were your best leadership reads in 2013?

Coming up – 10km of obstacles and muck

runamuckThis time next week, with 7 others I’m taking on the mud and obstacles of Runamuck. Will you help get me over the finish line by sponsoring me? (click here if you’re a UK taxpayer as we can reclaim tax through Justgiving)

We’re running/jumping/wading and whatever else is involved to raise money for RISE.

RISE is an Innovista leadership programme which equips teenagers (particularly from tough inner city environments)  to be sources of hope in their community. As part of RISE they will come up with and carry out a project that will create positive change in their local community.

RISE is currently running with an inner city girls school’s transition year class and a church youth group in Dublin 8. In the next few weeks, two more groups will be starting with community youth groups in Ballymun and Inchicore. We’re really excited by the potential of RISE to inspire and equip teenagers. You can read about the first school pilot of RISE here.

runamuck sponsor.ie pageWe’re working with schools and inner city community groups who are doing incredible work on a shoestring. It costs us €50 for each teenager to participate in RISE. I’d love to raise €500 by completing Runamuck.

If you would like to help me reach that target click here to go to my sponsor.ie page.

(If you are in the UK you can give tax-efficiently through my Justgiving page.

Thanks!

Learning from Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho about leadership development and succession

How do you replace the most successful football manager in your history if you are Manchester United?

If it was me my initial reaction would be to look at the successful coaches around who have a track record at winning trophies.

alex and joseInstead of talking trophies, the language coming about the appointment of David Moyes (who has won no trophies as Everton manager) as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor were phrases like:

“long term commitment”
“ability to develop young players”
“tactical acumen”
“delivering champions league football on a minimal budget”

Instead of looking for a star like Jose Mourinho, Man Utd have decided to recruit on values. They have chosen a manager whose values fit with the club and who can bring a high level of performance from a club with a miniscule transfer budget.

Recently in work we have been doing a lot of work on values, behaviour and culture. Inspired and reminded by Patrick Lencioni in The Advantage that in recruiting we should recruit for values as cultural fit is vital.  At this week’s Leadership Conference I was intrigued to notice how Bill Hybels has added ‘culture’ to his c list (of character, calling, competency and chemistry).

Jose Mourinho seemed an obvious choice for Man Utd in terms of his success and ability to deliver, however it was obvious that he wasn’t seen as a cultural fit, especially by Sir Bobby Charlton.

Which leads me on to something I’ve noticed while looking at both Sir Alex and Jose, also highlighted by a friend on twitter last week.

There is no doubting the track records of both managers in terms of trophies.

It is interesting however to look at their ability to develop others – and by this I mean other coaches. I acknowledge plenty of Ferguson’s former players have become coaches/managers.

How many of Sir Alex’s assistants or coaches have gone on to become successful coaches in their own right?

To my knowledge, none. Sir Alex is an old style manager/leader who appears to have a fairly autocratic style. He seems to choose people who will work under him but is not a developer.

Jose Mourinho is a different story. Three of his backroom staff during his first spell at Chelsea are now Premier League managers in their own right. And very competent top eight ones at that. Brendan Rogers at Liverpool, Steve Clarke at West Brom and of course Andre Villas Boas at Tottenham.

For me Mourinho models a different style of leadership that develops others. I have no doubt this is rooted in his experience of working under Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon and following him to Barcelona. Jose started at Sporting as an interpreter. Robson saw his obvious potential and invested in him, becoming a mentor. The culture of developing others that Jose experienced has also become something he now appears to espouse and model.

Two examples of leaders who get results. One who appears to develop and release those under him into their own leadership, one who very much keeps his position as the kingpin.

Most importantly a visible reminder in both cases of how values create culture and how those values are learned and then shared and multiplied.

What do you think? (Has my Chelsea supporting skewed my perspective?)

Who are the prophets of our day?

I’m reading a little book at the moment called Four Modern Prophets. Written in the 80s it looks at Walter Rauschenbusch, Martin Luther King Jr, Gustavo Gutierrez and Rosemary Radford Ruether. All were prophets who spoke into the society of the time and who stood up for the rights of the oppressed – whether those were people who were poor, black or female (or all three). Many might have some issues with elements of their theology but it cannot be argued that their concern is not rooted in the Old Testament prophets and the teaching of Jesus.

I’m wondering who the prophets of today are?

A few year years back Stocki penned ‘The Rock Cries Out‘ in response to a sense that  musicians were speaking out on issues that the church was too silent on.

Currently the media only seem to hear Christian voices in debates on marriage,sexuality and abortion.

Too often at the moment it seems like the Christian voices we hear are about ‘our rights’ and less so about standing up for the rights of the marginalised and the oppressed, for justice and for the dignity of people created in the image of God.

Where are the modern-day prophets who are able and willing to speak out on healthcare, on education reform, on housing, on behalf of  the marginalised. In 2012 Ireland who is prepared to speak out on behalf of the urban poor, the rural poor, the asylum seeker, the traveller?

And what is my role?  Is it time for me to look for and encourage the Gutierrezes and MLKs of our day and our time? Is it time for me to agitate in my church that we need to be serving and speaking up on behalf of the oppressed in our little part of Dublin? Is it time for me to step up?

Who are the prophets of our day? Can you help me find some?

Will you help me make it over the finish line of the 2012 Innovista challenge?

In just over 8 days my feet and tyres will be pounding the Glens of Antrim in Innovista’s annual fundraising adventure race.

There are 35km to be conquered including an assault course at the end. Why you ask?

Last year Becca, one of the young people from the youth group I’ve been helping out with said  “what’s the point – nothing’s ever going to change around here”.

I believe that change is possible and that teenagers can become sources of hope in their communities.
For that reason I’m taking on an intern (who has more experience working with teenagers than I do!) to develop a leadership programme that will equip teenager with  leadership skills and get them involved in a community project.
Most of all my hope is that in seeing something small change we can begin to break the cycle of hopelessness.
To help raise the funding I’m competing in Glenathlon – running,cycling and assault course on 8th September.
Would you help us to raise the funds we need to inject hope into the lives of teenagers like Becca?
To sponsor me go to:
or if you are a taxpayer in the UK:
Thanks!