Diversity drives results | How to get your team out of a rut

Welcome to my weekly update of the most interesting news in the world of high accountability leadership.

Workplace diversity continues to be a widely discussed topic in Australian business. But diversity is also strongly correlated with the ability of a leadership team to deliver results.

We all know that diversity is about much more than the “quota” narrative. It’s all about motivating and exposing diverse ways of thinking to get better results. This week I’ve included new research that highlights the results gap between companies that have highly diverse leadership teams (and those that don’t). In addition there’s a range of great reads that will get you thinking about the role of diversity in a results oriented leadership team.

I’d love to hear how you’re using leadership diversity to drive results. You can always get in contact with me by replying to this email.

Kindest Regards,


Why the most successful companies have women and millennials in charge
The Global Leadership Forecast investigated 13,124 leaders from 48 countries. Companies with higher proportions of women and millenials in leadership roles significantly outperformed (with the top 20% of successful companies having twice as many women in leadership roles).

Fast Company

What to do if your team is in a rut
Is your team lacking creativity and recycling old and stale ideas? This article shares the best tips to solve this problem. Leaders need to create opportunities to expose their team to new perspectives and new points of view

HBR Blogs

The best leaders TALK the walk
Being able to think and talk about your business is as important as “walking the talk”. Can you explain what sets your company apart from the rest and makes you special?


Here’s why we need more female CEOs
Leadership team diversity is one of the best predictors of future company performance. Although many companies are making efforts to close the gender gap, we just aren’t moving fast enough.


Multicultural teamwork: accommodate multiple perspectives
Do you see the fish or the aquarium? Accommodating multicultural perspectives can be challenging. Yet when done well it can become one of your team’s greatest assets.

Knowledge @ INSEAD

Do your leaders deliver results consistently on-time and on-budget? Gillian Fox is an expert in leadership development to build accountability across your organisation.

Be a better delegator, Smartphones and accountability, Leadership is inspiration

Welcome to my weekly update on the most interesting news and thinking in the world of high accountability leadership.

This week we’re looking at best practice in delegation (as well as some other great leadership reads).

Delegation is critical to high accountability leadership. Yet it’s also a skill that doesn’t come naturally to most leaders. As a result, it’s something I’m constantly focused on for effective leadership development.

There’s some great reads here. Check out:

  • The difference between delegating tasks and delegating responsibility
  • Why Kraft Foods has pushed decision making to the front lines and made staff accountable to the consumer
  • What happens when you delegate problems you don’t really understand
  • How switching off your smartphone can promote decision making and accountability

I’d love to hear your tips for effective delegation. Let me know by replying to this email.

Kindest Regards,


This week in your essential leadership reading

Why you should lead by doing (not by delegating)
Delegation can only be successful when problems are well understood. An interesting look at the problems that can occur when managers delegate poorly understood problems.


Why the best leaders make the fewest decisions
A great read on the difference between delegating tasks and delegating responsibility. This is one of the biggest challenges in effective delegation that many leaders fail to grasp.


What you can learn from Kraft foods decision to delegate authority
Kraft foods have pushed decision making as close to the consumer as possible. A well executed strategy that’s delivered results by making lower-level workers accountable to the consumer.

Fast Company

Is your smartphone promoting a lack of accountability?
Switching off your smartphone will encourage your employees to make their own decisions from time to time. It will also make you a better leader and empower your employees.


Inspiration is the most important leadership skill
The leadership skill rated most important in a survey of 332,860 employees was “inspires and motivates others”. An interesting look at the state of global leadership (as perceived by front line managers).

HBR Blogs

Do your leaders deliver results consistently on-time and on-budget? Gillian Fox is an expert in leadership development to build accountability across your organisation.

Are you paying for results or appearances?

Welcome to my weekly update on the most interesting news and thinking in the world of leadership.

This week we’re focused on the state of pay for performance. It’s a pretty miserable picture when you read about:

  • How much more narcissistic CEOs get paid (even when they underperform)
  • The amount of the week than knowledge workers spend on ‘facetime’ (41%)
  • The stagnant gender pay gap (that doesn’t look like closing until 2056)

Unfortunately, pay for performance is an issue that’s likely to get worse before it gets better. It’s never been easier to find an excuse for why something didn’t get done. And over the next 10 years, we’re facing a business environment that will get more and more complex. Scary stuff indeed!

Do you agree with my rather blunt take on the state of pay for performance? I’d love to hear what you think.

Kindest Regards,

This week in your essential leadership reading

Why narcissistic CEOs get paid more, even though they don’t perform better
Do boards care about results, or are we paying for appearances? Stanford professor Charles O’Reilly shows that “narcissistic CEOs are paid more than their non-narcissistic (and merely self-confident) peers… The longer the narcissists have held the top post, the bigger the differential.”


Why you must make time for the work that matters
New research in September’s HBR shows that the average knowledge worker spends 41% of the workweek “on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others”. Why? Workers recognise pay is allocated on the basis of busyness, not productivity.

Harvard Business Review

Five big myths about the gender pay gap
More worrying research on ‘pay for appearances’. Research showing that barely anything has actually changed on the gender pay gap over the past decade. And the outlook? On the current trajectory it will take until 2056 to reach gender parity.

Washington Post

Does your company really keep its promises?
This Strategy+Business piece focuses on increasing corporate “commitment drift”. There’s also a bunch of practical tips for reducing missed organisational promises. My personal favourite: “make fewer, better commitments“. If you’ve been through one of my leadership development programs, you’ll know just how important this is for delivering sustained high performance.


For radical success, focus on no more than one thing
Making fewer better commitments is also the core of this article on Peter Thiel’s management philosophy. Thiel is billionaire founder of Paypal and a widely successful entrepreneur and investor. The secret to his success: every employee only has one objective.

Inc. Magazine

How to know if you’re volatile, vulnerable or overbearing at work
Greg McKeown has also written a great book on management focus in “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”. In this HBR piece he focuses on finding your emotional sweet-spot at work. For McKeown, that sweet-spot sits right in the middle of volatile, vulnerable, overbearing and walled off.

HBR Blogs

Why power in the workplace makes people feel they control time
Have you ever thought that your boss just doesn’t respect your time? New research shows that our social status in the workplace warps our perception of time. An interesting article to finish off on that will get you thinking.

Wall Street Journal

Do your leaders deliver results consistently on-time and on-budget? Gillian Fox is an expert in leadership development to build accountability across your organisation.

Leadership facetime, Why great managers must coach, Authentic leadership, Optimising your energy.

Welcome again to my weekly take on the most interesting news and thinking in the world of leadership.

Thanks for the great feedback to last week’s newsletter. I had some fantastic discussions and debates last week (you know who you are!).

Authenticity and transparency are getting plenty of attention in leadership thinking right now. This week there’s two fantastic interviews on the topic. Christine Lagarde is head of the IMF and talks about leadership, transformation and commanding a room. Bill George is ex-CEO of Medtronic and talks about his path and foundations of leadership.

If you’re after something practical this week, look at why you should spend exactly six hours with your manager. Or there’s a great HBR piece on how to develop your coaching skill-set.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can always reach me by replying to this email.

Kindest Regards,

This week in your essential leadership reading

Why managers should spend exactly six hours a week with each employee
Researchers found engagement, inspiration and motivation all increase with manager facetime. The climb is steady up to six hours a week. Easy application in how you think about your relationship with your employees and manager.
Fast Company

You can’t be a great manager if you’re not a good coach
A great article on why modern managers must be good coaches to be effective. The author has five easy tips to get anyone started.
Blogs at HBR

How would you lead if you only had a month left to live?
There’s so many distractions today that it’s easy to be busy without moving forward. Gregory McKeown presents a simple framework for figuring out what’s really important.

The head of the IMF on leadership, transformation and never having a career plan
Christine Lagarde on what she’s learnt about leadership and transformation from her time at the IMF. She also recounts a conversation with Hillary Clinton on how to command a room: “Stop being obsessed about losing weight… You have to first of all be okay with yourself, accept who you are, and not fight against yourself all the time.”
Washington Post

Bill George on what it really means to be an authentic leader
Bill George was CEO of Medtronic for a decade. He’s since joined faculty at Harvard Business School and served on the boards of ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs. This is a great interview on everything he knows about authentic leadership.
Knowledge at Wharton

How not to cut 12,500 jobs: a lesson from Microsoft’s Stephen Elop
Maybe this had to happen, but it didn’t have to happen like this. Stephen Elop is coming under criticism for a long email update that devotes just two sentences to job cuts of 12,500. It’s clear that Elop needs to take full ownership of the future of the business (and maybe also needs a new editor).
The Guardian

82% of leaders don’t have the right energy level
82% of business leaders aren’t working at healthy energy levels, according to the USC Center for Effective Organizations. 61% of leaders are working below optimal energy, whilst 21% are above. The consequences are reduced productivity and effectiveness.

When work becomes a haven from stress at home
Something interesting to finish on. Mothers who work full time report better physical and mental health than mothers who work part time. Researchers showed many found it less stressful to be at work than at home.

Do your leaders deliver results consistently on-time and on-budget? Gillian Fox is an expert in leadership development to build accountability across your organisation.

How to be resilient, Strong leadership, ‘Supervising’ social media, Should the Board and CEO be friends?

Hello and welcome to my weekly take on the most interesting news and thinking in the world of leadership.

There were a number of examples this week of low accountability leadership. From the utter chaos at GM (and Ford), to the latest research showing that bosses use social media more than their subordinates.

In all of these cases it’s interesting (and concerning) that the underlying cause is accelerating business complexity. Given the technology and generational changes we have up ahead, it’s unlikely we see these kind of headlines go away any time soon.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can get in touch by replying directly to this email.

Kindest regards,


This week in your essential leadership reading:

Why the CEO and the board shouldn’t be friends
An interesting write up of a recent academic study that goes directly to leadership accountability. Researchers looked at the impact that friendship has on contentious compensation decisions. And that impact is significant.

Are we seeing the end of ego in leadership?
This is a great article from Theresa Tedesco on the extinction of the ego driven CEO. “Everyone is focused on credibility and not celebrity and that’s a big part of how boards envision the job of CEO today”
Financial Post

What GM can learn from Alan Mulally’s leadership at Ford
The stories from GM’s leadership crisis just keep getting worse; Bureaucracy gone crazy, zero accountability and even worse communication. This piece looks for the lessons for GM from Alan Mulally’s turnaround of leadership behaviour at Ford. As always, It’s amazing what can be achieved when you align individual interests with organisational strategy.
NY Times

The myth of the strong leader
A fascinating perspective on the myth of strong leadership. The book under review is about political leadership, but the lessons are just as relevant for business. Hard to argue that business leaders are equally at risk “when they come to believe too strongly in their own powers and perception”
The Guardian

When work conditions are tough, Machiavellians thrive
Some interesting new research that shows when budgets are cut or time is short, the people who are most likely to succeed are Machiavellians. More reason to make sure everyone is aligned!
The British Psychological Society

Bosses use social media at work more than subordinates
A rather concerning look at the state of social media in the workplace. Whilst managers worry about reductions in productivity from subordinates on social media, they’re the greatest problem!

How to be resilient: 8 steps to success when life gets hard
I loved this fun and helpful article from Eric Barker. A great ‘bookmark’ resource in increasing your resilience as a leader. Lots of practical, research supported tips in an easy to read format.
Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Do your leaders deliver results consistently on-time and on-budget? Gillian Fox is an expert in leadership development to build accountability across your organisation.

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