Let’s Talk Leadership for the Digital Age
Podcast Show with Des Walsh
Nigel Cumberland is a leadership coach & facilitator, author, and Co-Founder of the Silk Road Partnership, a leading global provider of executive coaching and leadership training solutions. He coaches and trains leaders with organizations such as the World Bank, United Nations, Google, Dell, LVMH and the Dubai Government. Previously, Nigel held multinational Managing Director and Finance Director positions with various UK and European multinationals. In addition, he co-created an award-winning recruitment firm based in Hong Kong and China, which he later sold to a listed UK group.
Click Here for More About Nigel Cumberland
Ethics in leadership:
Current phenomenon – in business, government, sport – of no admitting of having done wrong: “I made a mistake”, “There was an error of judgement”. Big issue of accountability and honesty.
“If we coaches fail to be pillars of ethical standards, what hope is there for everyone else?”
“Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“Integrity and honesty are core to leadership. The basis is self-leadership – being honest to ourselves.”
Forgiveness is important and that is harder to achieve, given in particular the “brutality” of the media and the “fear of life being over” if error or culpability is admitted.
Boards recruiting CEOs should require evidence of past ethical behaviour – including a clear indication of acceptance of personal responsibility for being wrong at some time and what the person did about that. Ethical behaviour should be a minimum requirement for a CEO position.
“The rate of technological change is now accelerating so fast that it has risen above our ability, as humans, to adapt to, and absorb, all the changes happening around us.” Eric Teller
Leaders need to think about getting ahead of change, not just playing catchup.
Sense-making and asking questions – see the Harvard Business Review article of April 2018: Better Brainstorming – Why Questions Matter More Than Answers
Values – and understanding the value of values
Story of a workshop with bank staff and looking at the correlation (or not) of personal values and bank’s statement of values.
Educated at Cambridge University, Nigel is a Fellow of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He is also an extensively qualified executive coach and leadership training professional holding the prestigious Master Practitioner title with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (“EMCC”). In addition he is a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Certified Coach and in 2011 was a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Coaching Professional Association, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. In 2016 he was made a Freeman of the City of London in the UK.
José Manuel (Pepe) del Río Zamacona’s motto is “Empower my clients” and in our conversation it was evident that he lives and breathes that. Pepe sees people in terms of their “enormous potential” and works with them on that basis. A master coach and President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC), Pepe specialises in executive and career coaching, communication and outplacement. He is a master trainer of public speaking, persuasion, media training and assertiveness. He gives workshops and conferences every day in Mexico and in different countries, on a range of topics including communication, coaching, transition, human development, and sales.
Click Here for More About Pepe del Río
Pepe’s work with executives, especially of late with corporate leaders going through a rough time, for example losing their job, and also top executives employing executive coaching when they want to engage more with their people and communicate with them more effectively.
The loss of a sense of worth and self-esteem when executives lose their job, especially those who have come to think of themselves as the position, not just playing that role for a time.
In these times, executives needing to train themselves like professional athletes, fit and ready to play for another team.
Story of the top executive who lost his job and could not tell his wife, and how with Pepe’s coaching he was able to make a very successful transition.
Importance of connecting with one’s values and vision.
Role of leader to develop leaders – everyone should be a leader.
Know that you can be a leader, even while working for somebody else.
Leadership as a process and as being about serving others.
Pepe quoted Johan Wolfgang von Goethe’s words as a guide to good leadership:
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and help them become what they are capable of.
Pepe said this:
You need to bring the best out of people. It’s very easy to bring the worst out of people. That’s an easy task – anybody can do it. But bring the best out of people. Let them connect with their values, with themselves. To know that they are special: and they will do a fantastic job.
Pepe shared a fascinating tip on how to keep people engaged, even when the job might appear repetitious and boring, and helping them see that their job, however lowly or menial, matters.
Pepe’s clients are high performance people who want to take their results to the highest level of personal performance. Executives in transition process between one job and another. People and companies that want to communicate better and persuade.
Shan Moorthi is Director, Center for Coaching & Mentoring, at Teamcoach International. He is a Professional Trainer, Facilitator and Coach. He is Vice-President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC) and Member of the IAC Board of Governors.
Shan has been in Learning and Development for the past 20 years. He has been inspiring leaders to seek their purpose in Leading, Coaching and Mentoring others. He is the author of ‘Coaching with R.E.S.P.E.C.T’ where he shares his own Coaching journey and shares his personal insights in coaching others.
Click Here for More About Shan
A Taste of What We Discussed
Leaders and Ethics
- People often want to sweep the issue under the carpet
- Leaders need to clarify their purpose (why are they there?) – different from vision
- Need to constantly discuss ethics, so that it’s ingrained
Leadership is at every level. First of all we need to lead ourselves and then lead others.
Knowing about Emotional Intelligence is not enough. We need “emotional excellence” – the heart motivation to practice emotional intelligence.
Emotional excellence is very important in this digital world. We can be as high tech as we want, but we need “high touch” and for Shan that is all about practising emotional excellence.
Drum Circle Facilitation
Trained as a Drum Circle Facilitor, Shan finds value in using it to empower groups, and related it to the Bruce Tuckman “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing” development stages.
The digital revolution
A big opportunity. Automation helps us save time so we have more time available for conversation and interaction.
What keeps leaders awake at night
The question, “How do I continuously serve my purpose, despite all the challenges?”
An Internationally Certified Trainer, Facilitator and Coach, over the past 20 years Shan has trained, facilitated and coached participants across the Asian region on various aspects of Leadership, Team Development, Emotional Excellence and Performance Coaching. His innovative, interactive and high impact approaches empower his participants to experience, reflect and act for self and organizational improvements.
Dr Jennifer Frahm is a seriously accomplished change manager, communications professional, speaker, author, coach, and facilitator. Her professional experience includes change management, marketing and communication roles within a diverse array of industries and sectors. Recently she published her new book Conversations of Change: A guide to implementing workplace change.
What we discussed
We covered a bit of territory. Topics we discussed included:
- How and why Jennifer got into change management
- The challenge for today’s corporate leaders in how they lead change.
- The book – writing, publishing and marketing it
- The fascinating (for me) “Adventures” framework, different ways of navigating through change, which Jennifer created for the book
- Starting with the end in mind and also being open to unanticipated developments
- In-house resources vs hiring in
- Fads in change management & how to tell useful ones from the sprinkling of fairy dust
- Future of Work methodologies
- Feedback from readers and brown paper parcels (you have to listen for this, no spoiler here)
- The crucial importance of leadership for any change process
A couple of gems
Before the book was written:
My most frequent request on my website goes along the lines of “Help! I’ve just been put in charge of leading this major organisational change…and I don’t know where to start. I’ve got onto Google and i’m so confused”.
Änd later in the conversation:
If you go onto Google, or Amazon, to look for guidance in change management, you’re going to be guided by those who have the best SEO.
Get the Book!
I thought I knew a fair bit about change, before I read the book. Then I discovered how much more there was to learn! As the blurb on the book and website says: A “must read” for those new to change, a “should read” for those who want to improve how they do it.
More About Dr Jennifer Frahm and How to Contact Her
Jennifer graduated from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with a Bachelor of Business Management and Communication, plus QUT Medal. Her PhD is also from QUT, her thesis being on “The impact of change communication on change receptivity”.
Website: Conversations of Change
Twitter: Dr Jen Frahm @jenfrahm
Facebook: Jennifer Frahm
Kris Gale is Chairman of Michael Johnson Associates (MJA). The company specialises in helping Australian innovators make the most effective use of Federal Government industry assistance programs, especially via the Government’s R&D Tax Incentive.
He is a founding member of the Australian Federal Government’s R&D Tax Incentive National Reference Group.
Kris has lengthy experience in this field of Federal Government support for industry innovation. He joined Michael Johnson Associates in 1987 as a Consultant, became a partner two years later and in 1998 became Managing Partner. In mid 2014 he took up the role of Chairman.
Click Here for more about Kris
We talked about:
- styles of leadership and what might be appropriate at this time
- keys to successful leadership
- why leadership role might not be for everyone
- “dealing with difficult people”
- and a couple more items
Keys to successful leadership in large and small organizations
- Be decisive
- Be consistent
Especially, be consistent.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the time that I’ve been involved in leadership roles, it’s that consistency is the absolute bedrock of successful leadership.
More from Kris:
“I don’t think that consultative leadership is ‘no longer making decisions'”.
People need to do some soul-searching to see if they really want to be in leadership roles.
Not everyone has to be a leader.
“Dealing with Difficult People”
We had an extended, nuanced conversation about this.
A couple of key observations from Kris
My general experience is that over time you can divine whether someone wants to be (in your organization) and achieve and contribute, or they don’t.
Are people capable of change? The answer to that is completely yes and no.
Kris congratulated me on my receiving the President’s Award from the International Association of Coaching (IAC) and spoke about our coaching relationship, my style of coaching, and our friendship over many years and told me not to edit that segment.
He’s a man of many parts, a music lover and a DJ, a.k.a. The Godfather – his Twitter handle is @GodfatherDJ. He has diverse sporting interests. He’s a basketball player and coach, and I can attest that he has an amazing recall of cricket lore. He’s a died-in-the-wool supporter and Player Sponsor of the Wests Tigers Rugby League Club and co-hosts the very entertaining weekly segment on Rugby League Fireup! On FBI Radio and another program on Sunday nights, The Back Row on Triple M. With his friend Andrew Rose he also has a podcast, Losing My Edge. Kris never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge of US professional basketball and football.
And as any of Kris’s many friends will tell you, he’s a fount of information about pop culture.
In this episode of Let’s Talk Leadership, I’m in conversation with Deb Brown, from Webster, Iowa. Deb shares stories and advice on social media, working and living in a small town and creating the kind of community you want to live in. You might recognize her online as @debworks. She grew up in a town of 141 people, Geneva, Iowa. She loves to tell stories and share real world examples of how people are changing their small town into the kind of place the community wants to live, work and play in.
Or you can subscribe via Stitcher Radio or via email
Click Here for More About Deb
What We Talked About
We talked about leadership in small towns – and in neighbourhoods in big towns and cities. We swapped stories of communities, in Deb’s part of the world and in mine, who are leading by just getting together, sharing ideas freely and then doing: stories that include how the community saved the Webster City movie theater and made it a profitable concern again.
Some Deb Brown Pearls of Wisdom
Because of technology and where we are in the world today, leadership looks totally different and could look even better, if we all came to realize that there are no leaders. The crowd is in control.
The new way of leadership is very informal. You just gather your crowd…All of you get together.
One of my principles, in building possibility, is to tell your story. And tell it again. And tell it again.
In a small town “you have the opportunity to make a difference”.
SaveYour.Town is a partnership with Deb Brown and Becky McCray where they share their passion for small towns and share practical advice on how to shape a brighter future for your small town. They are both great ideas people and sharers. They speak, sometimes together, sometimes individually, at a range of events. You want to give your event participants a memorable experience? Do yourself and your community a favor and get in touch with them (that’s me, Des, talking, not their words and they are not paying me for those words 🙂 ). And remember, it’s not dot com, it’s dot Town.
Deb’s programs on small business, what to do with empty buildings, customer service, marketing and economic development have been received by chambers, economic developers, tourism specialists, museum experts, business groups, and small town conferences. Deb has keynoted at Rural X Summit, TEDx Brookings, Michigan Rural Economic Development Conference, Roscommon County Michigan, Central Iowa Tourism Annual Meeting, Milbank South Dakota Chamber Annual Dinner and several 140 Character Conferences, to name a few.
Email: [email protected]
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A 34 year command-level combat veteran of the Canadian Forces, Fred leads a consultancy team with an extensive arsenal of expertise for what he calls, “The Corporate Battlefield”. Fred has commanded everything from specialized strategic advisory teams of 20 to large multi-disciplinary task forces of 600, both at home in Canada and abroad in harm’s way. He was a highly experienced strategic planner in the Canadian Department of National Defence and has designed, managed and coordinated business plans, transformational “change management” campaigns and corporate level strategies with values in the billions of dollars.
Click Here for More About Fred Aubin
Red Teaming and How it Helps Business
Fred explained that on leaving the military several years before he had seen – in comparison with what he was used to in the military – a gap in business operations, in terms of planning and especially business simulations, including such things as decision support simulation, war gaming and red teaming. Hence the focus of his consulting to business and government in the intervening years.
Red Teaming is a branch of war gaming.
There are many books on war gaming for business. See below for Fred’s specially recommended ones and other sources of information on the subject. For a one page synopsis, see this page on Fred’s website.
There are three types of war gaming, with same basic elements, different outcomes:
- Course of Action War Gaming
- Rehearsal War Gaming
- Red Team Exercise
Course of Action War Gaming
A series of at least two, possibly more, sequential and comparable war games. Used in plan development stage to determine the most viable options in terms of the various factors to be considered, such as risk, execution and payoff.
Rehearsal War Gaming
When the course of action has been established, when you are getting ready to act, but “haven’t thrown the switch yet”. A rehearsal process, with all the key actors, prior to the plan’s execution. To “reduce risk by turning hindsight into foresight”.
Red Team War Gaming
Red team war gaming is not entry level. Where it happens it is a capstone exercise that follows course of action war gaming and rehearsal war gaming.
The Red Team exercise is similar to the Rehearsal war game, with the exception that ideally, the red team members are not drawn from the organization’s stakeholders. Each red team member is a subject specialist and is only given the amount of information about the organization that a normal competitor would have. Their task is to put the organization’s plan under “extreme competitive stress”.
The whole idea is you reduce risk by turning hindsight into foresight, turning individual knowledge into collective knowledge.
A Hack for Economy with Effectiveness
In the conversation, Fred explains the ideal composition of the Red team in a Red Teaming exercise. He also provides an option for corporates wanting a more economical setup without prejudicing effectiveness (find this at or about 22 min 35 sec into the episode, just after the music-backed interlude).
Business War Games: How Large, Small, and New Companies Can Vastly Improve Their Strategies and Outmaneuver the Competition by Benjamin Gilad
Wargaming for Leaders: Strategic Decision Making from the Battlefield to the Boardroom by Mark Hermon, Kark Frost and Raymond Kurz
Fred recommended looking for military publications, especially the Joint Operational Planning Process (“the JOPP”) by the military in various countries. I went looking online and quickly found various documents in the public domain, such as this in the US, this in Australia, and this in the UK.
A firm believer in the principle that “all strategic issues are leadership issues”, Fred has been used extensively in executive leadership consultancy and strategic planning capacity building portfolios at Head of State, Ministerial, Ambassadorial, CEO and Senior Executive levels in Canada, Africa and Afghanistan. He holds a Masters in Military Technology from the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham, a Baccalaureate of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Ottawa, and is a graduate of the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College Kingston, the UK’s Joint Command and Staff College and the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.
And as I’ve learnt from a number of extended conversations, Fred is a fund of information and wisdom about leadership.
If you think Fred and his team can help your company, organisation, government agency, get in touch with him, have a chat. If my experience is anything to go by, you will at least come away from a conversation with Fred knowing something new, or seeing something with a fresh perspective. Make contact with Fred through the website for Strategic Red Team Consulting at this link: http://stratredteam.com
And follow Fred on Twitter: @FM_Aubin
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From sunny California, via London and Paris, and with a formidable array of degrees ranging from Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, through the Universities of Portsmouth, Sussex and Middelsex (DProf, Executive Coaching from the last-mentioned), to South Africa, Dr Sunny Stout-Rostron has a deep and wide understanding of leadership and the profession of coaching executive leaders. She is based in Cape Town and has an office in Johannesburg.
Sunny coaches at senior executive and board level, with a wide range of experience in leadership development and business strategy. With 25 years’ international experience as an executive coach, working with executive leaders and their teams, Sunny believes there’s a strong link between emotional intelligence and business results.
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Is a New Style of Leadership Needed for the Digital Age?
Leaders today need adaptability:
- to understand the tech world
- to understand the cultures of difference age groups
Between Millennials and Baby Boomers, basic assumptions are completely different, requiring a different type of leadership.
On South Africa, Leadership and Coaching
An experiment in democracy, “coming out of a very violent history, which had a soft landing…Mandela.”
What’s happened in the workplace is that the diversity is extraordinary. 11 official languages, 12-13 spoken.
And cultural differences.
“You have tribal culture, you have mixed race culture, you have Afrikaans culture, you have South African English culture.”
Then there is the difference between the metropolitan areas and the country areas.
Another key difference: individualistic culture (Western) and collective culture (African).
Religious tolerance: South Africa is a faith-based country and that comes into the workplace.
Very patriarchal society: gender diversity a particular challenge.
Individualism vs Team Culture
In the corporate world, there is a lot of team-based work and individuals, including quite talented ones and potential leaders, can get “lost”.
In smaller, entrepreneurial companies, there is more opportunity to provide scope for individual talent.
Coaching in South Africa
Mentoring is part of how things are done in the broader society, especially for males. The case still has to be made for coaching.
Sunny’s experience is that where there is no buy-in for coaching, that is where the top level is not being coached.
“It’s almost like you have to have success in order to prove it (the value of coaching), but you can’t get success if your senior leaders aren’t behind you. So it’s a bit of a Catch 22.”
Boomers, because of their own life/cultural experiences, are “beautifully place to work with Millennials”, wanting to do it their way (just as the Boomers wanted to do it their way).
Be open minded to who the people are.
- They want to be understood
- They do see things differently
- They’re very individualistic
- They have a different way of operating and being
The Recurring Question
I asked Sunny the “What keeps business leaders awake at night” question I regularly ask in these conversations.
There are some great observations and advice for leaders in her response. Especially about understanding and acting upon the fact that, to deal with conflict in the workplace, leaders need to be aware of and address the problem of lack of inclusivity.
“Diversity is all about inclusivity and exclusivity.”
You can contact Sunny via the website – http://www.ssra.biz
Or via her email – [email protected]
Donna Karlin is a global leadership coach. She works with senior-level clients on six continents: N. America, S. America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. She is a coach and mentor to TED Fellows, a Founding Fellow at Harvard Institute of Coaching, McLean Medical School, creator of the Shadow Coaching® Methodology, an international speaker and award-winning author.
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Donna was previously a guest on Let’s Talk Leadership back in late 2015. This time around we talked about Donna’s new venture, the No Ceiling, Just Sky® Institute, launching officially at the end of this month.
I have never ceased to be amazed at the depth and range of Donna’s work and the extent of her client group. In this conversation she shared a bit about how she keeps track of it all. I’m still amazed.
The No Ceiling, Just Sky® Institute
The Institute is about providing a “360° approach to human evolvement. Working with the intersection of human and organizational systems and their influencers“.
The Institute had its origins in:
- an intention made by Donna in early 2016, about learning and sharing, and
- a conversation with a friend
The Institute enables Donna to bring together under one umbrella her various resources – the School of Shadow Coaching, A Better Perspective, and her R&D team – and draw on all those resources to meet the needs of her various and disparate clients.
I asked whether, in an age when so many people in business are urged to develop expertise in one niche, someone might ask if the scope of the Institute was too broad.
The response would be that it might be too broad for someone asking, but not for Donna.
Which led to these observations as food for thought for coaches:
Are we giving clients what they need, or what they think they could get?
And maybe it’s time that more coaches… worked with their clients to co-create an intervention that was not only powerful, but was true to them.
Which. said Donna, is “what this Institute is all about“.
Observations on a hypothetical about decision-making at a senior level
Too many issues are seen as “either/or”, or “this or that”, when a better approach might be “why not both?”,
Or issues are approached from a perspective of scarcity rather than abundance.
We also talked about
Ideal clients and the pleasure of working with people who are eager to try things out, “dancing in realtime with potential change”.
The manifesto for the Institute, including “Dance with change”, “Embrace chaos”, and “Move”.
Marrying flexibility of decision-making and action with highly organised systems and protocols, as in – especially – the military, security services and such. Donna shared a fascinating example from her work with the military, with applicability in a broader range, beyond the military. NB for anyone interested in helping avoid leadership burnout. .
How she does it all. Yes, she has a team of people to call on, including the Strategic Red Team Consulting, of which Donna is an associate. A very flexible and adaptable team from the sound of it.
And two more quotes
We need to bring more of the curiosity kind of conversation into boardroom meetings.
I really believe there is no ceiling, just sky.
Note: there are a couple of references in the interview to Thomas Leonard (or just “Thomas”), a legendary figure in our coaching world, who died suddenly in early 2003.
Contact Details for Donna and Info about the Institute
For more information about Donna and her various activities, and about the Institute, just go to her Donna Karlin website at http://donnakarlin.com. And her LinkedIn profile is at http://linkedin.com/in/donnakarlin.
Councillor Hermann Vorster represents Division 11 on the City Council of the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. He also chairs the Council’s Economic Development and Major Events Committee. He also serves on the City Planning and City Infrastructure committees.
Just before Christmas 2016 Cr Vorster was the guest speaker at the end of year event hosted by the IT Forum Gold Coast. I was very impressed with his vision of the economic development potential of this local region and seized the opportunity to invite him on to the Let’s Talk Leadership show. Happily, he agreed!
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Click Here for More About Cr Vorster
With 38 kilometers of white, sandy beaches, ancient rainforest and hinterland, the city has great lifestyle appeal and on that basis has had extraordinary growth in a relatively short period: it’s now Australia’s 6th largest city and in area the second largest local government area in Australia.
Historically the economy has depended on construction and tourism, both subject – positively and negatively – to fluctuations in the economy.
The Council’s aim is to position the city to embrace the digital economy, in a way that adds value.
Download the Council’s Economic Development Strategy at this link.
We’re a city that has that entrepreneurial, “have a go” spirit.
Having gained experience in “the crucible of family business”, Cr Vorster became involved in public policy and the media.
Like a lot of people, I got a little bit frustrated with the decisions that were being made around me and decided – foolheartedly, I think – to enter public life.
Leadership and Balancing Interests
We talked about the Council’s decision to make a major investment in telecommunications infrastructure – historically in Australia the preserve of the Federal Government (with some partial involvement at times by State governments). So this was being done in the clear knowledge that there was an element of political risk involved.
Cr Vorster commented that when investment decisions are made for specific economic development projects, some may not see the benefit for them and may feel left out. It’s essential to communicate openly with them and, for instance, point to spillover benefits for other areas of the community.
Bringing the Community with You
To bring the community with you on big decisions, it’s necessary to:
- speak to people in their own language
- research what their priorities are
- respond to what that tells you
He gave the example of a street with schoolteacher residents but no broadband. People understand when the need to remedy that is explained in terms of enabling those teachers to prepare better to teach the community’s children.
The upcoming Commonwealth Games, to be held on the Gold Coast, is a major event, which, like an Olympic Games, is over in a short period of time. What people want is a legacy, so there are key decisions about how to achieve that.
There have been global success stories for businesses built on the Gold Coast.
Important to get those who have success to stick around and thus encourage others.
The Council’s role is to do what it can at a public policy level to create a supportive environment for that.
People do not like change and there is a challenge in how to talk to people about change.
A former Bond University Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar, he has degree qualifications in accounting, corporate strategy and business information systems.
Elected in 2016, Councillor Vorster became the City of Gold Coast’s youngest ever Councillor at age 30. He has had a number of leadership roles in community groups including Gold Coast District Neighbourhood Watch Incorporated and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Regional Policy Board.
Email: [email protected]
Phone (mobile/cell): In Australia – 0405 414 931 From outside Australia – 61 405414931
- Surfers at Snapper Rocks – Des Walsh
- Gold Coast view by night – Yupeng Wu via Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0