Jérôme Ravet is chief engineering at Sabca, one of the main aerospace companies in Belgium. Yesterday, during the Agoria seminar on the value of strategic partnerships, he told us an inspiring story about the extended manufacturing process of airplanes and how suppliers work together in close collaboration. Airplanes are so complex that they have to be built in a network. Critical…
“Tell me about your leadership,” I asked the division manager in front of me. “Well, a typical day starts with scanning my environment for relevant information and dispatch it in my organization. I also check on the numbers and answer urgent questions or complaints. I am responsible for 4 units with a total of +/- 50 people. I spend a lot of time being available for them,…
Many years ago, I sang Leonard Cohens Bird on a wire over and over again as a lullaby for my twin baby sons. It was one of the few songs I knew by heart. 'Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.' I sang it as much for them as for myself. New fathers know what I’m talking about. It’s a song about struggling your way to life…
I had an interesting discussion this morning with managers from the public and social profit sector about giving and receiving trust. As an example I told them that a colleague of mine didn't have the habit of putting me in copy of mails, although those mails were of interest for me. "At first I felt frustrated," I told the group. "I was no longer able to evaluate if the delegated…
Radja Nainggolan plays a great season as midfielder for AS Roma. He's also been drafted regularly for the succesful Belgian soccer team and scored recently in a qualifying match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Great was my surprise when I read that he never has had a personal meeting with the trainer of the "Red Devils": "Some coaches talk with their players, he doesn't. I know that…
“A shared or distributed leadership model is better suited for guiding companies that are facing more uncertain, more changing, and more complex markets “(p.23) is what is argued in the book ‘Boards that lead. When to take charge, when to partner, and when to stay out of the way from’ (2014). Although it is clear that the authors are not familiar with the shared leadership…
"The entrepreneur's world is becoming everybody's world," is the big idea in the latest book of Joseph Badaracco (2013, p. 7) about responsible leadership. It resonates intuitively with two evolutions in the economic landscape: the wave of start ups and free agents and the transformation of big organisations into clusters of different mini-enterprises. As a consequence: "the venerable…
"It's like you showed me the pole star," said an HR manager after my talk about happy shared leadership for the PM club audience of HR specialists and managers. "But I'm stuck on earth and I don't have a clue what to do next." I liked the image. Shared leadership is not a tool or model. It's a bright idea: "What if we see leadership as working together for a bigger idea?" This…
I once interviewed a CEO of an international company about his leadership. He was frustrated with his managers. They didn't take enough initiative and turned too much to him for minor issues. He didn't seem to be aware that he was part of this dynamic. His managers probably acted on his distrust and negative perception by playing safe and taking no risks. In a workshop, participant…
The second lesson I took from the training "flawless consulting", besides "naming the resistance" was how to give feedback in a deliberate way. Getting feedback is essential to keep our self-image realistic and to tame the forces of self-deception. Giving feedback is an important way of actively engaging in influence and showing leadership. And yet, it's a difficult skill to…
I spent the last three days in a training program called "flawless consulting". When I had to write down my key learnings, I didn't have to think twice: the power of naming resistance. I'm convinced it's essential for leaders who want to try to change the behavior of their teams and organisations. "Resistance is a sign of change and learning. You can't have learning without resistance,"…