Stephan Thoma was responsible for learning & development at Google and now advises mostly European companies embracing the Silicon Valley spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. He gave an inspiring talk to a group of leadership professionals gathered by Circleradius. He confirmed the common beliefs about leadership at the GAFA’s (Google, Amazon, Facebook & Apple) &…
I had the honor to be in the room with one of the leaders of the ecological movement, Satish Kumar, two days before this defining moment in our society, the election of a dark leader as ruler of an important part of the world. And it was fun and inspiring to be with him. He is over 80 years old and has the energy of a twenty-something. “We live in a great time for activism. Now…
I’ve always dreamt of being a peace warrior, not in the sense of soldier, but rather as a zen buddhist warrior centuries ago, in Asia. There’s for me an aura that emanates from these warriors. As if they were embodied wisdom: right action, right view, right words – all at once, all in one. Inner and outer in full alignment. Just recently I was in a five-day silent retreat…
The role of leaders at the top is changing. They are no longer the “boss” as they used to be, the person in charge of an organization with a clear reporting line to their board of directors. Their formal authority and power has declined in this age of interdependency. This affects their leadership in three fundamental ways. Their leadership has become more trans-organizational. Trans-organizational…
Sharon Hill worked as a member and leader of global virtual teams and experienced firsthand how hard it was. She got the opportunity to do research on the topic and she is now one of the leading researchers in the field. She blends academic rigor and practical relevance, but it was her passion and the warm co-leadership with Karen Wouters, friend and ex-colleague, that turned this…
“Can an organization be too divergent?” asked a middle manager of a large bank me in a development journey? He was taking up the role of Facilitating Adaptability a lot lately.  And the answer seems yes. I’ve seen it in several organizations that promote shared leadership. The top keeps repeating their mantra ‘everybody is leader’, ‘come with new ideas’, ‘it is…
The other day I was reading the hobbies of several C-level executives. And once again I found the usual suspects: cooking, history, art, classical music, old-timers, wine, golf, walking in the mountains … I’ve always wondered, do they do this because it is just part of the social class they belong to (cf. Bourdieu)? Or do they really enjoy it?  And why have these hobbies…
The other day I was reading the hobbies of several C-level executives. And once again I found the usual suspects: cooking, history, art, classical music, old-timers, wine, golf, walking in the mountains … I’ve always wondered, do they do this because it is just part of the social class they belong to (cf. Bourdieu)? Or do they really enjoy it?  And why have these hobbies never…
This summer I’ve interviewed 44 leaders in 4 organizations that are empowering their teams in their primary processes*. The organizations come from different sectors: public administration, health care, production and engineering. Which preliminary  lessons do I draw? 1) Self-managing teams are an illusion We have to stop talking about self-managing or autonomous teams.…
 “Could you do a 2 hour leadership workshop for our young entrepreneurs?” a client asked. “Off course”, was my reaction, “I love the spirit of start ups & entrepreneurs and would be more than happy to challenge them on their leadership.” “Great. And remember, it should be very hands on, not too theoretical. Entrepreneurs don’t like to waste their time,…
Leadership development starts with developing as a human being. The classical Greek philosophers such as Plato discussed already the properties of being: Beauty, Goodness  & Truth. So, in a way I’m the business of Beauty, Goodness & Truth. As a scientist Truth is the obvious one, and as a leadership scholar Goodness as well, but what about Beauty? I therefore followed…
“Evolutionary leadership theory provides an answer to why modern leadership often fails, by suggesting that there is likely a mismatch between our evolved leadership psychology and the challenges of modern environments” (Van Vugt, 2012, p.166). 1) Leadership emerged in prehuman species (e.g. foraging patterns of insects, swimming patterns of schools of fish, flying pattern…