Ideas and Insights

Performance: The Holy Grail of Leadership



Click here to view or download a paper exploring useful concepts related to how leaders can approach the sometimes elusive improvement of performance of their organizations, teams and  people. It describes the nature of changes that need to occur for breakthrough performance to be achieved.

Jill Tideman


How our beliefs can get in the way of achieving results


We live in a world of beliefs that we self-generate based on conclusions made and inferred from what we observe and from past experiences.

Our ability to achieve results can be eroded by feelings that,

  • our beliefs are the truth
  • the truth is obvious
  • our beliefs are based on true data
  • the data we select are the real data

Peter Senge, in the Fifth Discipline, outlines a model for this dynamic called the Ladder of Inference.  It describes how data and information are filtered through our values and beliefs in such a way that we arrive at specific assumptions, conclusions and actions. He, in turn, was building on the previous work of the late Chris Argyris and the late Donald Schon.


Read more…


Not stepping up – pitfalls in making assumptions



Like many other phrases, “stepping up to the plate” has entered our lexicon from the sporting world.

Literally it means for a batter in baseball to move near home plate in preparation for striking the ball when it is pitched. Figuratively it has come to mean  —

To move into a position where one is responsible and ready to do a task. Read more…


Better conversations with your team – Part 4



So far in this series of short articles, which give guidance on how to improve the quality and effectiveness of your conversations with your team, I have covered 3 of the 4 steps,

  1. Preparation
  2. Starting the conversation
  3. Guiding the conversation

Now the conversation needs to be brought to a close. Read more…


Stepping up to the plate – tackling the un-discussables



Stepping up to the plate – surfacing an “un-discussable”

There is one way of stepping up to the plate, that isn’t for everyone, yet reaps huge rewards. It’s by exposing the silent taboo subject, the ghost issue that is impacting and hindering an individual, a group or perhaps an entire organization.     Read more…


Better conversations with your teams – Part 3


This is the third part in a series of 4 articles on a step by step guide to improving conversations with your team. After you have thoroughly prepared and got the conversation underway there are 4 important aspects to actually guiding conversations with your team.  Read more…


Handling the grey


When someone does something that is blatantly wrong, most leaders know what is asked of them in how to respond. If it is very serious then the usual consequence is that the person responsible is removed from employment.


But when someone does something that is borderline how should you respond?


There are many guidelines within well-established companies on how to handle both the blatant and the borderline. We offer you one simple model that can help you in your decision-making and may be a good adjunct to that which your company already uses.


The table below is derived from the work of Royal Dutch Shell Company.  It was originally developed as a map for handling safety decisions but can in fact be used for guiding managers and leaders across a wide range of situations.






Consequence for the individual


1 Compliance Did they follow all procedures and best practices? Receive encouragement and recognition for good working practices Provide praise and recognitionEnroll person as a coach to guide others
2 Unintended Did they think they were doing it the correct way? No blame and receive training to raise awareness of correct practice Provide simple guidance re techniques
3 Routine Other people here do it the same way. Whole team to receive coaching for condoning rule breaking and not intervening Coaching for improved performance around techniques and expectations
4 Situational I can’t follow the procedure and still get the job done! Receive coaching on the need to speak up when rules cannot followed and explain why that had not happened and work had continued Coaching for improved performance around expectations, consequences, boundaries and KPI’s
5 Optimizing I thought it was better for the company to do it that way. If the violation was to improve performance or to please the supervisor then should receive coaching or discipline if repetitive. Coaching for performance for the individual and their supervisor re expectations, consequences, boundaries and KPI’s
6 Personal Optimizing I thought it was better for me personally to do it that way Formal discipline and formal warning. This is beyond coaching
7 Reckless I meant to do it my way & I thought I would get away with it! Final warning or dismissal for willful and reckless violations This is beyond coaching.


If the behavior or event falls into the range of Level 2 – 5 then, as a leader or manager, you are required to intervene and become a coach for the individual concerned and possibly his or her superior. If the event falls into Levels 6 or 7 then you should probably be asking for direct assistance and support from your superior and the HR function.


Tim Dalmau


An end to hallucinating.


Ongoing conversations in organizations are more important today than ever, due to the dynamic environments in which we find ourselves.  Whilst being so much more connected to the wider world has proved invaluable in so many ways, it has not been without its challenges: changes in far away countries have far reaching consequences on many scales be it large business, small business or our day-to day lives. Read more…


Better conversations with your team – Step 2

Master-for-Ideas_and_Insights_700px_group_of_3In the last newsletter I introduced a 4-step process for improving the quality of your conversations with your teams. I then covered the first, and perhaps most important step, PREPARATION.

But once that is done and you are about to get underway how do you start the conversation?

Step 2 – Starting the conversation

  1.   Welcome
  2.   Setting context and expectations
  3.   Check-in Read more…

Talk, Inc.


Talk, Inc. How trusted leaders use conversation to power their organizations by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind, was named the Best Business Book for 2012 by the magazine, strategy + business.


For this reason I thought it was worth a read, and it may be of interest to some of you.


This book is aimed more at large organizations, and how they can recapture or simulate the cohesiveness of many small companies, who benefit from proximity between all in the company, and from clearer line of sight by employees to plans and priorities. Read more…


Buy Tim & Steve’s Book

''A truly useful and practical book'' Rich Shapiro, EY

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