Archive for November, 2011

Celebrity Leadership – Continued (J Terry & M Johnson)

(these are the personal views of John Knights)
Both John Terry and Martin Johnson have been in the news consistently recently. JT is the England football team captain and MJ the just resigned England Rugby Union team manager (and former captain of the world cup winning team in 2003).

Despite what you think of their respective ethics, both are warrior leaders. Warrior leaders are fine when you have a well drilled group that knows exactly what they need to do in a given situation. The role of the leader in that situation is to be a good example and to fire up the emotions, determination and self-belief when things are not going to plan.

Martin Johnson was great at that and could maybe even make the odd short term tactical decision. Leading an organisation in the 21st century is totally different. It is about pull-leadership not push-leadership. It is about creating a team that can excel when the leader (the manager) is not there. It is about being visionary and strategic. I don’t think Johnson ever had the kind of support he needed to help him become the right kind of leader – but maybe Johnson was not enlightened enough to realise he needed that help.

John Terry’s case is simpler. Is he a role model for the youth of the country who look up to the captain of England? If not, he should not be captain. Many a commentator says it is only his ability to lead the England football team that is important. In my view, the captain’s job as a role model is much more important. Surely the morals and attitude of the next generation are more important than whether we win the next match. We should perhaps be looking for the equivalent of a Sam Warburton (current captain of Wales Rugby Union side) who showed great humility when and after being sent off during the recent semi-final of the World Cup.
As Jim Collins says, “Intense Will (Drive) and Humility and the two greatest characteristics of the 21st century leader”. Let that be a first test for any future candidate to lead a national team.

John Knights

Go East Young (Wo)Man – to India

I have just returned from Mumbai after an inspiring week meeting with senior business leaders at a conference on ‘Success through Corporate Sustainability’.

In contrast to the UK, Europe and the US, India is optimistic and there is a real buzz where their business people see a huge opportunity for growth. What is most noteworthy though amongst the business people I met is the importance they are putting on ‘the community’. They understand that sustainable growth in India depends on them sorting out the problems of the community where they are active.

Continue reading ‘Go East Young (Wo)Man – to India’

Values = Personal Conscience + Self Determination

Two insights came today while in Mumbai.

I was given a book by Anant Nadkarni (my friend from Tata who is VP for Group Corporate Sustainability) called ‘Power & Love’ by Adam Kahane and later he talked about ‘Integrity and Courage’ as someone’s definition of good leadership.

1st insight is described in the blog; Teachers vs Learners.

The 2nd insight was that these pairs of words offered by Anant fit like a glove with our Transpersonal Leadership definition of Values (as defined in our 8ICOL model) which are broken down into Personal Conscience and Self Determination. Love and Integrity fit into the Personal conscience space whereas Power and Courage are Self Determination characteristics.

So to describe a leader, you do need to have both elements: “Who I am” and “What I am going to do with it”.

John Knights

Teaching vs Learning – not necessarily connected

Two insights came today while in Mumbai.

I was given a book by Anant Nadkarni (my friend from Tata who is VP for Group Corporate Sustainability) called ‘Power & Love’ by Adam Kahane.

The first insight had no direct connection to the topic but was the tangential realisation when given the book that in the debate about enabling people to learn rather than just teaching (transferring knowledge), Teacher is the grammatical ‘subject’ whereas Learner is the ‘object’. We are familiar with the simple description that ‘Teachers teach students’ – basically they tell you stuff, but we have no equivalent concise phrase for who does what with Learners. ‘Enablers enable Learners’, maybe? It doesn’t exactly cascade off the tongue does it? ‘Enablers learn Learners’ would be a new way of saying it where the verb describes the object rather than the subject – if it didn’t sound so uneducated! You see, the ‘teachers’ have basically got it all sown up.

And that is a problem for those of us who believe enabling learners is the most effective way of educating, ie. ‘pull rather than push’. There seems to be no concise acceptable way to describe it. Any ideas?

John Knights