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So far Peter Lanius has created 59 blog entries.
20 01, 2016

Persisting With The Right Questions

By |2018-02-18T07:29:13+11:00January 20th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Following up from last week’s blog post on reducing noise and having clarity of focus, the second pattern we have noticed a lot more in recent years is that too often managers raise a key issue, don’t get an encouraging or even useful response and then drop the topic and move on.

We saw this again in action late last year when we worked with the senior leadership team of a medium sized business. In response to our prompts, a couple of key issues were raised by individual managers that were obviously known to the group as a whole, but had either been put in the ‘too hard basket’ previously or had been repeatedly drowned out by more immediate concerns which required less time to examine and decide.

Without our repeated intervention the team was not able to stay in the discomfort of having an in-depth discussion of such a key question […]

13 01, 2016

Clarity of Focus

By |2018-02-18T07:30:41+11:00January 13th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

iStock_000015521004SmallHere is something you should try at the end of today, on the way home. Ask yourself: ‘What did I do today?’ and make a list (in your mind will do). Once you have thought about all the emails you read, calls you made, meetings you attended, status updates you received etc., ask yourself another question: ‘What did I achieve today?’ and check how the two relate. At this point many of you may already feel slightly demoralised, but we are not done yet. Take it one step further and follow up with ‘What did I achieve today that was of value to me and the business I work in?’

Hopefully you didn’t end up empty-handed, but we have been observing a worrying trend from […]

22 09, 2015

Why Are Good Leaders So Rare?

By |2018-02-18T07:34:00+11:00September 22nd, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

A common complaint we get from executives and HR managers is the lack of good leaders today. This is curious, given we have had a massive leadership development industry going for over two decades. Perhaps to understand this seeming contradiction, we need to look at what lies underneath those complaints about the lack of great leaders. There are 3 factors that will impact perceptions about the quality of leadership:

  1. Our expectations of leaders have changed vastly. One result of training so many people in what makes good leaders is that this creates higher expectations in those being led. Especially in the area of emotional intelligence and providing quality feedback and coaching to develop employees.
  2. Second we have increased the complexity of the organisations that our leaders are expected to perform in. There is much more information to deal with, it travels faster, goes across traditional silos and demands faster and better decision making with incomplete […]
1 12, 2014

Corporate Zombies

By |2014-12-01T16:11:01+11:00December 1st, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

A lot has been written about the recent surge in popularity of the zombie genre. Since around 2000 there has been an explosion of zombies in video games, movies, books and TV shows. Mostly this resurgence in the genre has been linked to the rising fear of complete societal breakdown – zombies are a great metaphor for an unstoppable plague destroying our way of life. And yet the modern zombie genre goes far beyond that in that they are also a great metaphor for mindless consumerism – zombies have no purpose other than to turn humans into yet more zombies. So they reflect something most people today can relate to – the contradiction of feeling compelled to consume and they vague understanding of how dismal such an existence really is. Especially if you have to work long hours in a job you don’t necessary enjoy to earn the money to consume.

13 11, 2014

How to Make a Team Work

By |2015-01-06T11:01:24+11:00November 13th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

What does it take to make a team work effectively, to get it to operate as more than the sum of its parts? To answer this question, we need to admit first that without the right conditions a team will operate as less than the sum of its parts – there will be competition, mistrust, lack of commitment, different agendas, freeloading, working at cross-purpose etc. In fact, getting a team to function effectively is probably one of the most difficult challenges for any manager. Why? Because the pre-conditions for effective teamwork are hard to put in place and even harder to sustain in your average corporate bureaucracy.


2 11, 2014

The old order is dying…

By |2014-11-02T09:54:15+11:00November 2nd, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

…yet the new cannot be born. This prescient insight was recorded by Antonio Gramsci in the late 1920s in his prison diaries. He went on to say that ‘in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear’. Whilst Gramsci was talking about the political situation in Europe just before the rise of the Nazis, his quote is getting a lot of airtime recently. It would appear that we are in such an ‘interregnum’ period again, where an established order is in its death throes but no coherent narrative exists for what will replace this order. To me, this doesn’t just apply to neoliberal politics and economics, but also to the way we currently organise work. Over the past 13 years in our coaching business we have witnessed a steady increase of ‘morbid symptoms’ in all sectors of the economy. The broadly accepted model for managing work – the vertically integrated and hierarchical […]

19 10, 2014

When and How to Ask for a Raise

By |2014-10-19T18:35:14+11:00October 19th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

The huge disparities in behaviour and outcomes when it comes to salary levels and asking for increases continue to astound us even after all this time in working with senior managers and executives. But the lessons outlined in this post apply to any professional or manager. To illustrate the range, in the past couple of months we have had a client who hasn’t asked for a raise in 3 years and continues to languish at the bottom of the pay scale in his company, despite having earned nearly 50% more before he switched from IT to business consulting. At the other end we had an executive who got a $100K pay rise on the spot when threatening to leave. Beyond the anecdotes, most people we coach hold one of the following beliefs when it comes to salary and increases:

  1. You get what you ask for, if you don’t ask, you don’t get
  2. Great performance […]
6 10, 2014

Managing Your Boss

By |2018-02-18T07:38:42+11:00October 6th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

We are continuously surprised how few of the managers we work with understand that managing up is part of every manager’s role. It may not be in your position description and it rarely rates a mention in leadership or management training programs, but there is no such thing as a one-way relationship in an organisation. Yes, the relationship with your boss is strongly defined by the role authority differential, but it is still a relationship between two people. To make it work, it needs investment and effort from both sides.


22 09, 2014

Should You Become Your Own Boss?

By |2014-09-22T19:37:11+10:00September 22nd, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

There are many reasons to consider self-employment or starting your own business, but as it turns out the actual number one reason cited is not living the dream, but frustration! These are the findings of a study done at Stanford University that analysed detailed census and labour market data from Denmark. Periods of self-employment are very common, in the US around 40% of men in their early fifties will have experienced at least one period of self-employment (the rates for women are still significantly lower). Given the very high number of independent contractors in Australia, the proportion is likely to be higher here again. So the question they studied was why people chose self-employment, what drove the decision to go out on their own? The result was that most people decided to pursue self-employment because their career ambitions could not be realised with their current employer. They were frustrated and felt stifled […]

30 08, 2014

What gets measured…

By |2014-08-30T20:24:05+10:00August 30th, 2014|Blog|Comments Off on What gets measured…

…gets done. So the saying goes and so it is in real life organisations. But is that necessarily a good thing? How would we know? Whilst you read this post I would encourage you to think about the measures and evaluations you and your team/department are subjected to at work. Do these measures make sense? Do they have unintended consequences? Do they provide the right incentive to achieve the right type of results in terms of quality and customer expectations?


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