David Heron, Group CEO, writes:
On Thursday 8th November, I was lucky enough to attend The Centre for Army Leadership’s 2018 Conference at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Themed as “Leading Successfully Through Change”, it was fascinating and inspiring to hear from leaders in “thinking, business and the military”, and reassuring to know that at Wilton & Bain, we are on the right lines with some of our initiatives to make our firm “the best we can be”.
Somewhat dauntingly, we were welcomed to a quote from Steve Schwazman, CEO of Blackstone who stated that “the world has never been more unpredictable”.
From Brexit to Trump; from automation and robotics; to corporate and social hierarchies; nothing remains the same; and mankind is struggling to cope.
After 4 hours of stimulating speaking and debate, I have summarised and paraphrased my key takeaways as:
- It is critical that leaders, adapt, amend their perspective, and change their styles. News reporter Jeremy Vine, states that “the top end has been upended”. He says that listeners tell him the news now. They are in control; and so organisational and social structures as we know them, are transforming. It is no longer enough to assume you are doing a good job, by simply pleasing the person above you. Heroic/ Soloist leadership is becoming a thing of the past.
- For organisations to flourish, they must nurture ‘generosity, reciprocity and trust, enable people to speak up, ask questions and challenge’. The highest performing teams in the world, are not simply made up of the aggregate of their IQs. The new world of leadership is about EQ and networks. Every network, has nodes, and the nodes are the leaders. This is where organisational information is transmitted, at the edge of your business, not in the centre.
- Margaret Hefferman (who is an absolutely brilliant speaker) urges leaders to give people distinct roles, allow them to speak, and praise good ideas loudly. It’s the mortar, not the bricks that make the best teams. She also says that most organisations are (wilfully blind) as a consequence of their lack of diversity. Exclusion shuts down perspective. If you aren’t diverse, and inclusive, you will see less.
- Organisations need to stop doing, and start learning. If you run your business through giving instructions, you are actually simply suppressing it. Create an environment where your people can do their best; exactly as they are.
And in conclusion, brilliantly captured by the incredibly engaging, and humorous David Marquet, it is time to Lean back and let your people in……