Viewing posts categorised under: Leadership

Measuring to drive positive behaviour

Leadership | 0 comments | by Simon Ricketts

Driving the right or wrong behaviours?

Are your KPIs or measures the first thing you think about when you wake up each morning and draw the curtains?

Are they your constant source of energy and inspiration that keep you working at peak performance?

Thought not.

Too often measures are imposed on us and they they often represent what the organisation needs rather than what is meaningful for us.

But it does not have to be this way. Measuring to drive positive behaviour change involves a subtle but significant shift away from using KPIs and measures to drive behaviours to one where leaders are using the measures to engage, excite and enable.

We should and can have an emotional connection with our performance objectives and KPIs. This does however require a different approach.

We help our clients achieve this through developing KPIs and objectives that are :

Stretching – to drive us beyond the comfort zone into real achievement
Meaningful – for us, not just for the organisation
Aspirational – so we want to deliver – rather than just complying
Rewarding – there must be a ‘what is in it for me’
Trust – small word, big meaning and effect…

How do your KPIs measure up to these more emotional criteria?

Use KPIs to move your people from mere engagement to sheer excitement and exhilaration!

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70-20-10 leadership development drives real behaviour change

Leadership | 0 comments | by Simon Ricketts

There is currently much talk about 70-20-10 approaches to learning and development in organisations, and with good reason. Consider the following question:

What was the most impactful event in your professional and leadership learning?

Having asked this question of a large number of people now, the answer always seems to lie in bosses they admired (or didn’t…), feedback they received or times when they were thrown in the deep end on a project or task.

Whichever is true for you – why do we not seem to recognise this and build this insight into our management and leadership development strategies?

We have long been impressed with the power of group learning (action learning in particular and variants of it), and the idea of learning that is more self-directed. It seems that we only really learn what is relevant to us at a particular time. For example, learning about strategic planning works particularly well at the time that your company is going through its strategy planning processes. Sounds obvious, but it is an often overlooked key that the real learning only happens when the new knowledge is used and applied. This is also the point where it creates value for the organisation too…

As a result of all of this, development programmes (and coaching) need to move into a phase where they are more varied in their approaches, relevant to peoples’ and organisations’ needs and combining traditional forms of learning with more experiential and social ways of making sense of the learning as it is applied to the learners’ work, and sharing the learning with others to help the organisation maximise the value of the new skills to everyone else. This principle is being expounded through the term 70-20-10, meaning:

  • 10% of development time should be spent on acquiring new knowledge or skills through training, on-line learning or other forms of knowledge transfer
  • 20% of time should be devoted to discussing the application of the learning in the workplace in groups, through social media or other forms of communication
  • 70% of the time should be in the doing – applying the new skills, techniques or behaviours in the workplace to integrate into the learner’s daily practice.

This creates a more varied, stimulating and ultimately impactful development experience that will in time make simple training courses look a little long in the tooth.

Click here to see an example of how we used 70-20-10 leadership development for the University of Exeter in their Leadership South West contract.

For a discussion on how to re-align your development programmes that are not quite delivering the behaviour change you want or need to the 70-20-10 model, contact Simon on or on +44 (0) 7711 831992.

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Building an innovation culture

Culture | 0 comments | by Simon Ricketts

OK, this is easy… install whiteboards everywhere, put the word ‘innovation’ in the mission statement and tell managers to think ‘outside of the box’. Right?

Yes I know, you are smarter than that – but what is the real answer to this challenge of building cultures within our organisations that encourage and foster creative and innovative thinking? Oh, and in a way that is authentic, aligned and useful…

Some surprising research has shown that the answer is essentially ‘investing in people who are motivated by work that they enjoy and which meets their personal goals, with managers who aren’t overly negative and who can create a supportive work environment’.

Great. But what does it all mean we have to do?

Get the right people on the bus. This is all very well for the Googles of this world who are starting with a blank sheet of paper, but for organisations seeking to get the best from their people this is not so straight forward. However, focusing on peoples’ emotional motivations and using these in the management of them can dramatically increase levels of engagement, and the good news is that there are many tools and frameworks to help leaders do just that.

Involve people. This is both a huge opportunity and a massive challenge for most leaders, as it entails that age-old problem of ‘letting go‘. Psychologically this really hard – most managers instinctively want to control, but the real trick is being smart about when to control and when to let go. A recent consulting project we undertook saw a director agree to a substantial piece of work being guided by a relatively junior group of people with both outstanding results, and fantastic levels of engagement. The keys were a sharply defined objective, lots of support (as opposed to interference) and space for the group to operate with some independence. Wonderful.

Watch the mood hoovers. They exist everywhere, the people who just seem to suck the energy out of an office or team. They make the culture negative and stifle innovation and creative thinking. They need managing so they do not kill the positive environment of possibilities that you are trying to create.

Support them. People are at their creative and innovative best when they feel that their ideas will be values, or at least considered. So explore their ideas with them – give them time and resources to rise to the innovation challenge, and have high expectations. They might just meet or even exceed them!

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Kaleidoscopic leadership

Leadership | 0 comments | by Simon Ricketts

You need to help your people see the patterns...

Is the future in focus for your organisation?


You have heard of servant leadership, even resonant, affiliative, coaching and heroic. But kaleidoscopic? Bear with me…

I think it is reasonable to say that no-one can predict the future, and to pretend to do so is possibly the second sign of madness. So why do we focus our leadership efforts on telling our organisations that we  can be sure of the future, setting these certainties into our strategic plans, budgets, KPIs and development plans?

I am sure that when you are a child you had experience of a kaleidoscope at some point. You will have experienced the child-like wonder of turning the lens to achieve ever-changing yet magnificent patterns of beauty.

Your followers need to see the same constantly adapting but coherent patterns in your leadership – helping them to see the messages and patterns without having to predict the future. Confidence comes from knowing you can respond to the change – not knowing what the change is.

Kaleidoscopic leadership helps people tune in to what is changing around them, see the patterns and trends, and as a result determine what needs to change. And to do this for themselves. From confusion to focus with a simple ‘twist of the lens’.

Is this what your followers are seeing? Or are you focusing on trying to direct the show and drive the response to the change. If this is the case, the chances are you are missing opportunities.

The most successful companies in the world right now understand that it is the capability of their team to respond in the right way at the right time in real time that is determining their success.

So the path to success is achieving a rate of capability improvement that is beyond your competitors. Keep the future in focus.

If this makes sense to you and you would like to know more email me at, or call on +44 7711 831992.

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Trust and believability

Leadership | 0 comments | by Simon Ricketts

Some very interesting stuff on trust and believability has entered into the conversations that I’ve been having with leaders recently. The question is, what does it take for a leader to be believable and to elicit high levels of trust from those they are trying to influence?

The thoughts that have been emerging on this are many and varied. Firstly, congruence and authenticity seem key. I am sure you have heard the phrase “I can’t hear your words, because your actions are drowning them out”. As leaders, we must exhibit high levels of personal congruence between our actions and words in order for us to appear authentic and consequently worthy of our followers to trust.

In addition to this, people very often believe what it is in their interests to believe. This may sound a little cynical, but I think represents more than a modicum of reality. We must therefore present our ideas, visions and thoughts in ways that are appealing to people. They must see hope for themselves personally in what we are saying, and the message must connect with their values. Otherwise we risk speaking a language they do not understand, or even want to understand.

There is then a whole raft of issues connected with the way in which messages are presented, in terms of body, voice and message that will either reinforce the authenticity and desirability of the message, or create doubt in the followers minds.

Whoever said leadership was easy?


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