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Viewing entries tagged with 'leadership'

Leadership vs representation

Posted by Philip on 27 May 2015, 10:10 am in , , , , ,

What is the distinction between leadership and representation? If I were to draw a diagram it would be a triangle with leadership at the pointed end and representation at the flat end.

I'm not sure which way up the triangle is – it may change from time to time and from situation to situation, with the point being at the top, bottom or even on the side.

It seems to me leadership has sharp focus and works best with fewer people. The more leadership becomes representative, diversity increases, the softer the focus and the more people, issues and opinions there are to accommodate.

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When everything goes wrong rightly

Posted by Philip on 24 May 2015, 11:25 am in , , , , , ,

"Incorrect" with "in" crossed outKathryn Shultz quotes Ira Glass in her excellent TED Talk, On Being Wrong. She does so to add another example of how we go through life in "a bubble of feeling right" when, in fact, we seldom are.

"I thought this one thing was going to happen and something else happened instead. And the thing is, we need this. We need these moments of surprise and reversal and wrongness to make [our] stories work." — Ira Glass, Host, This American Life.

Leadership, diversity, complexity and change, the spaces in which my work most often falls, are bastions of wrongness.

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Should entrepreneurs close things down?

Posted by Philip on 9 May 2015, 11:37 am in , , , , ,

closed signThe easiest way to define an entrepreneur is "someone who starts things". I've been given the mantels of both creative and social entrepreneur (it's one of those things you are recognised for – you don't decide for yourself). Entrepreneurship might be explained as "start-up leadership".

So as a creative and social start-up leader, I've started lots of things – organisations, projects, websites – in the realm of creativity and social issues or change. Many have concluded of their own accord (projects, for instance, because they have a beginning, middle and end); and others I've walked intentfully away from (organisations where people have taken them in directions I've disagreed with, or I've realised I with my penchant and skills for starting things, need to be replaced by someone who can maintain and grow the entity).

In 2005 I started Diversityworks Trust Inc., the only start-up I have stayed with (as trustee and Executive Director) since its inception. I originally started the Trust to fundraise for Momentum'09, an international symposium on creative diversity. Due to the financial crash in 2008, we lost critical funding and had to downscale from the planned four-day event at SkyCity to one day in Royal Oak.

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Individual vs collective impact

Posted by Philip on 14 April 2015, 6:23 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today at a hui of one of my regular clients I was reminded of an important tension and interesting phenomenon in organisational dynamics. It's blogged about ad in finitum.

The tension is the value of meetings over that of individual productivity. The phenomenon is the power of "collective influence" (Alex Smith).

Meetings get a bad rap these days. Particularly online businesses favour virtual teams, online collaboration etc. Alex reckoned 90% of meeting content is irrelevant. People are busy. Time is precious.

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Fringe leadership – what are the alternatives?

Posted by Philip on 1 April 2015, 2:43 pm in , , , , , ,

When it comes to leading change and creating social movements, particularly when it involves people on the margins of society, it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming success means “widening” the mainstream to accept a new group of previously excluded citizens.

Reverence may be paid to new rituals and customs. Changes may be made to environments to make them more accessible or representative. Language may be scrutinised and modified to create a more welcoming lexicon. Laws may change to increase rights and entitlements.

In themselves these acknowledgements are important and meaningful. They achieve their intent – to decrease exclusion and increase participation.

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When success becomes excess

Posted by Philip on 15 March 2015, 12:48 pm in , , , , , , ,

People at PasifikaSaturday 14 March's NZ Herald editorial questions the future of the Pasifika Festival, dubbed the "biggest celebration of Pacific Island culture and heritage in the world". A short-notice move from its Western Springs Park home, because of the Queensland fruit-fly quarantine in the area, has been eclipsed by allegations of inauthenticity, over-commercialisation and anti-competitive sales restrictions by major sponsor Tip Top.

Amid threats of boycotts by Pasifika founders, Ateed, the Auckland Council's tourism, events and economic development agency, insisists that the Festival’s “uniqueness and charm” will remain intact. This despite “palagi” (non-Pacific) PR company Orange Productions scooping the contract to stage the event this year and allegations of non-consultation.

Pasifika turns 23 this year. It’s had a pretty good innings as far as events go, particularly spawning from cultural and community roots. I can’t think of another running as long in New Zealand.

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Urgent, important, essential

Posted by Philip on 21 February 2015, 1:21 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Guy with post-it notes covering his face pulling his hair outThis week saw me recall Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, one of those nuggets I picked up years ago — probably at some time management course that followed another gem, the 80/20 or Pareto Principle — buried in the 20% of information worth retaining.

Eisenhower divided tasks into four categories:

  1. Important and urgent [I'll call this IU].
  2. Important but not urgent [InU].
  3. Not important but urgent [nIU].
  4. Not important and not urgent [nInU].

The principle creates a framework with which to prioritise activities and also what to do with them. Simply put:

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Resignations & employment relationships — what gives?

Posted by Philip on 7 February 2015, 1:39 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I quit! noteI’ve been reflecting on the complex dynamics of employment relationships — let’s call them ERs because of the acronym’s somewhat appropriate onomatopoeia — and what it means when an employee resigns without giving notice.

ERs are tricky things, without a doubt. They are usually initially awkward, in that most ERs begin with a stranger needing to get to know others — at a more than leisurely pace — at least well enough to work toward common goals and outcomes.

An ER, unlike most relationships, is a legal relationship. It shares a latent litigiousness with two other common types of relationship: that between a client/customer and supplier; and, ironically, a marriage. Like the former but unlike the latter, an ER involves an exchange of money — although, well…no, let’s not go there.

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Q2 Debate: Society Would Flourish Under Female Rule

Posted by Philip on 26 January 2015, 2:52 pm in , , , , , , , ,

This debate is part of a series called Big Ideas from Australia's ABC. It's very funny; makes some great points about leadership, diversity, complexity and change; and features my new, favourite person Helen Razer, co-author of A Short History of Stupid: The decline of reason and why public debate makes us want to scream, available on Kindle and hard copy. Enjoy! (Apologies for absence of sub-titles.)

Watch the debate here »

Published 21 November 2014 | Source: ABC Big Ideas

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A life of paradox, power and privilege

Posted by Philip on 17 January 2015, 11:01 am in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

arrow pointing left and rightFollowing on from my last post about rebranding, I’ve also changed how I describe myself or, more accurately, my experience. I talk about "my paradoxical experience as a queer, caucasian, cisgender man with unique function (disability).”

Even doing this is paradoxical, given I argued the point in 2012 at TEDxAuckland that we need to decay labels to reveal diversity. But I’m doing it to explain a phenomenon of power, privilege and paradox, rather than to label myself.

Power and privilege have long been part of the politics of diversity and discrimination. Recently I heard another diversity expert, Leslie Hawthorne, encourage those with privilege to raise awareness of it by, for example, not using the word “lame" to describe something that is bad or stupid, because you are implying that people who can’t walk are bad or stupid*.

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