Archivi del mese: novembre 2014

A New View Of Leadership @leadmedit @WRicciardi @muirgray @pash22

By Nigel Nicholson

For every Winston Churchill, there is a Fred Goodwin. What makes some leaders soaraway successes, while others crash and burn?

When a flock of birds simultaneously takes to the air or when a herd of buffalo wheels and turns as one, it is a miracle of coordination. Who is leading? This is a very human question and presumption.

Sit in a packed stadium and watch the crowd rather than the sport and you will see waves of emotion and expression, uncoordinated except by the spontaneous urges of people infecting each other with thought and feeling. Not a leader in sight.

Picture the scene: I am working with a group of executives and the topic is teamwork. I ask them what the critical factors are to getting high performance out of a team.

It is only a matter of time before one person says that the group needs a leader. Lots of heads nod in agreement around the room.

At this point, I assign them randomly to groups to perform a task, and when we analyse what transpired, it is evident that the best performing team turned out to have no designated leader, and the groups that made a point of appointing a leader performed indifferently.

Look closer and you will see that teams lacking a recognisable leader do not lack leadership. It is present, no less than in the flock or herd, but it may be hard to pin down.

Leadership is not a thing but a process. It is something that helps systems to function; coordinating and directing effort. Yet, clearly, we are infatuated with leadership, which is why more space on business bookshelves is occupied by the subject than any other topic.

So why yet another book – mine?

Although there are lots of great leadership recipe books and stories of leadership success and failure, what I couldn’t find was any analysis that connected our biology as a species that loves to be led with what we see going on around us in business.

Cometh the moment, cometh the man or woman. History teaches us that just when we are in our darkest hour, a hero emerges to show us the way – Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela in politics, GE’s Jack Welch and IBM’s Lou Gerstner in business.

Smart businesses and societies organise themselves in ways that help these leaders to emerge, but history’s parade contains as many disappointments and disasters as successes.

In the new frontier of postDarwinian thought, this turning wheel of adaptation and maladaptation is called co- evolution.

What’s special about leadership is that leaders can be game changers; rewriting the conditions under which success and failure are defined. Leaders are the tools of historical forces, and the makers of history.

What comes out of this view is what I call the Leadership Formula. To be effective, a leader has to be the right person, at the right time and place, doing the right thing. This has some simple implications and some tricky ones. The simple ones are that there are many ways of being a leader, and there are many leadership situations.

But leaders need to watch out, for situations change faster than people do.

This is where it gets tricky. It turns into a strategic challenge of whether or not leaders can bend the situation to their will or be versatile enough to ride the waves of change.

One of the smartest things Nelson Mandela did was to quit while he was ahead, climbing off the turning wheel of history before it crushed him, making way for a technocrat successor, Thabo Mbeki, to move the country to its next stage of development.

With our leadership infatuation we have to beware of the football manager syndrome, replacing leaders as soon as things go wrong. Rather, succession should be strategic, to meet the needs of changing times.

Now let us climb into the mind of the leader to see how the process of leadership actually works. What you find is an interdependent triangle of being, doing and seeing.

Being – who you are – determines what you do. In leadership, character matters because we view the world through a prism of identity. Many leaders succeed and then fail because who they are filters how they see the world and scripts the actions they take. Look at Kenneth Lay, architect of the Enron disaster.

Doing – what you do can shape your character. This is especially true of malleable people not troubled by strong instincts and impulses. They can be conditioned. Tony Blair’s account of his ‘journey’ through his premiership seemed to involve a lot of development and discovery by doing, but it was seeing – his analytic capabilities applied to experience – that informed his choices.

Seeing – this is the most fundamental starting point for leadership, and the least regarded. It is the vision of leaders that drives them and us on. They see the world as it is and how they wish it to be. The challenge they face is to keep pace with the environment and the effects of their actions.

Being openminded does not guarantee you will see what is truly important. Perspective matters, and is the key to leadership effectiveness. Openmindedness is a mark of the new generation of leading-edge business leaders, people such as Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt at Google or Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook.

How Being, Doing and Seeing work together can be illustrated by thinking about change. Did you ever try to influence someone – like a spouse, a boss, or, worse, a teenager? Often we try to do this by direct attack on the Being part – ‘Get your mind right will you, please? If possible, be like me’.

Does it work? Does it hell! OK, next tack – try changing the Doing part, say by forcing a person down a new route, with the aid of rules, rewards and punishments.

Does this work? Sometimes, but it can take time. The mind has to play catch-up with behaviour, as was the case with banning smoking in public places.

Want instantaneous change? Seeing is the key. Reframe safety as threat, danger as opportunity, desire as dependence and people can switch their goals and their actions in a flash.

That’s the thing – the only person that can change you is you. This is a special human gift: the ability to change our lives and states of being in an instant, like Saul on the road to Damascus.

It is an unfortunate tribute to human persistence and optimism that we are forever trying to change people by the hardest and most impossible routes.

Great leaders know that seeing – vision – is the key to influence. Steve Jobs enveloped people in his ‘reality distortion field’ (a Star Trek concept applied to him by a colleague) and Jack Welch was a master storyteller.

Let us now apply my leadership framework, which I call the Situations, Processes and Qualities model (SPQ) to unlock the secrets of why certain leaders emerge, and why others fail.

There are many different kinds of leadership situation – every time you get promoted, take on a new assignment or employ new people, your leadership situation changes. Look at financial services, where an almost nonexistent leadership culture with everyone contentedly churning inside a bubble of self-inflating growth now finds itself struggling to be reborn and crying out for a new style of leadership.

Fred Goodwin was more a dealmaker than a leader, who expanded RBS to gargantuan proportions, until its collapse revealed the fatal absence of a coherent vision that met the needs of a changing world.

The first lesson of the SPQ model is to read the world and understand how it is changing. This might sound simple, but it is fraught with difficulty, not least the problem that people around leaders inhabit the same reality bubble.

They only see what the leader sees, and those with a different perspective get scant air time or are suppressed. The more powerful and successful leaders are, the less likely they will be to hear dissenting voices.

Leaders like Robert Maxwell, Goodwin, and Al ‘Chainsaw’ Dunlap (of Sunbeam) were surrounded by likeminded supporters in a climate where bad news was often suppressed. Leaders have to go undercover in their own organisations, engage in counterfactual thinking and allow their vision to evolve with a changing reality.

The second lesson of the SPQ model is the importance of doing what is needed for the situation. In principle, anyone can learn how to craft and deliver a powerful message, practise the skills of empathy, build a team, and so on.

It just takes time, discipline and desire. The last of these – desire – is the Achilles heel of doing what’s needed. If your backhand is weak, you may find it easier to run round and play a forehand, rather than work on your weakness.

There is also a capacity problem, and here we are bedevilled by the lonely leader problem – where leaders are isolated, insecure and obsessively meddling in every detail. What is needed is not just a strong team and the ability to delegate but what I call Critical Leader Relationships – a handful of trusted confidants who can be eyes and ears, helpers and advisers, and sources of support and honest feedback.

Michael Eisner, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates enjoyed their greatest successes at Disney, Apple and Microsoft respectively through their partnerships with people with complementary gifts, who advised, challenged and supported them when needed.

The third lesson of the SPQ framework is that leaders have to know themselves and control themselves. Unfortunately there are major disincentives to self-control.

Leaders often find their narcissism and arrogance and unfettered displays of their identity – a surfeit of ‘authenticity’ perhaps – are not just rewarded but revered by followers longing for the magical protective power of heroism and charisma.

Indeed, at the heart of leadership lies a dilemma or rather a balance to be struck between instinct and insight, between shaping and versatility, and between innovation and adaptability.

On the one hand is the need for leaders not just to respond to the forces around them but to shape them, as Steve Jobs famously did. Power is not just an opportunity but a duty to make elements of their world follow their vision. Leadership is about taking charge. This goes beyond accountability.

The performance of your boss and your peers is not your remit, but if you can help them and share your vision with them you should do so.

On the other hand is the need for deep insights into the leadership situation – to anticipate the waves of change and ride them with agility and versatility. Welch’s virtue as a leader resided in his ability to change his strategy to match the new realities he had created.

There are many forces that the leader cannot control but must navigate with skill. To do this, leaders need to develop techniques of inquiry.

Asking questions is the least developed skill in management. Too many leaders see their role as being advocates, declaimers and speech-makers.

All useful at the right time and place, but reading other people is an equal need – using what I call the art of ‘decentring’ – knowing what the world looks like through the eyes of others.

Management-by-wandering-about is another time-honoured insight technique – mostly practised by new leaders when they are finding their feet, but too often neglected as their in-tray piles higher over time.

What leaders need most of all is clarity of vision founded on a secure sense of personal and business identity, and which can be communicated with passion. This does not mean speechifying from a podium but storytelling in ways that are simple, compelling and that make sense. People need a narrative that makes sense of their experience and connects the past, the present and the future. People need to see the logic of the journey and to be reassured that if the future is not going to be like the past, it is connected in ways that are also a part of their story.

There are four stories, actually, that all leaders need – not necessarily to tell but to keep in their hearts and minds in how they act and communicate:1. Who am I and why I am here? This is not a recital of one’s CV but is about how to be real to people around you and show that you have chosen to be where you are for a purpose.

2. Who are we and what do we stand for? This is the ‘I’ of identity, that declares the purpose and raison d’etre for the part of the organisation the leader is responsible for.

3. Where are we going and why? This is the mission story, hard to tell when the future is shrouded in fog, so often a message of commitment, hope and determination.

4. Why we must change – this is the call to people on the journey to let go of the past and embrace the future. The ‘I’ of leadership is also the eye of leadership – identity plus vision, communicated with passion.

Nigel Nicholson’s The ‘I’ of Leadership: Strategies for seeing, being and doing, is published by John Wiley & Sons at £18.99.


PER UNA RIFORMA DEL REGIME FORFETTARIO PIÚ GIUSTA @WRicciardi @drsilenzi @Giorgioinfranca @OGiannino

di Giorgio Infranca, Avvocato in Milano 

Diciamolo chiaramente. Il regime forfettario, così come disegnato nel ddl stabilità 2015, non risponde minimamente alle attese dei piccoli imprenditori e dei giovani lavoratori autonomi ma, a dire il vero, nemmeno alle esigenze del Paese.

In seguito alla decisione del Consiglio UE n. 2013/678/UE del 15 novembre 2013 che ha autorizzato l’Italia ad aumentare la soglia di esclusione dall’Iva fino a 65.000 euro, ci si aspettava una riforma diversa, di tutt’altro spessore.

Capisco che innalzare la soglia dei ricavi a 65.000 euro mantenendo l’aliquota attuale del 5% sarebbe stato eccessivo ma prevedere un sistema di tipo progressivo sarebbe stato opportuno.

Il sistema disegnato dal Governo nel ddl stabilità prevede delle soglie di ricavi differenziati e dei coefficienti di redditività diversi in funzione dell’attività svolta che, a semplice lettura, si pongono in contrasto con gli artt. 3 (principio di uguaglianza) e 53 (principio di capacità contributiva) della nostra carta costituzionale.

Il nostro ordinamento è fondato (o lo dovrebbe essere) su un principio semplicissimo: chi guadagna di più, deve pagare di più.

Decidere, sulla base di presunzioni, l’accesso differenziato a un regime fiscale agevolato in funzione dell’attività svolta non è in linea con questo principio (peraltro, come sottolineato da molti commentatori, il limite di 15.000 euro per i professionisti è evidentemente un non senso).

Una soluzione ci sarebbe, ovvero quella di immaginare un sistema progressivo, basato su una soglia di ricavi massima maggiore di quella attuale (magari fino a 45.000 euro), uguale per tutti e tre aliquote crescenti in funzioni del reddito.

Determinato il reddito imponibile secondo la disciplina attualmente in essere (reddito di impresa o di lavoro autonomo costituito dalla differenza tra l’ammontare dei ricavi o compensi percepiti e le spese sostenute), si potrebbero prevedere tre aliquote diverse.

Se il reddito:

– è pari o inferiore a 15.000 euro, imposta sostitutiva pari al 5%;

– tra 15.001 e 30.000 euro, imposta sostitutiva pari al 10%;

– tra 30.001 e 45.000 euro, imposta sostitutiva pari al 15%.

Un sistema così delineato darebbe ai giovani imprenditori e professionisti una prospettiva di crescita e una grossa spinta al Paese.

Una cosa è dire: superata la soglia dei ricavi fissata a 15.000 euro, devi passare al più oneroso regime ordinario, un’altra sarebbe dire: man mano che cresci paghi qualcosa in più (un 5% in più) fino alla soglia massima di reddito pari a 45.000 euro (preciso che prevedendo quale limite dei ricavi euro 45.000 difficilmente qualcuno potrà avere un reddito imponibile di 45.000 euro. Questo vorrebbe dire infatti avere costi zero, il che è praticamente impossibile).

Lo Stato peraltro recupererebbe anche del sommerso: con la soglia fissata a 15.000 euro il rischio di evasione è ovviamente molto più alto, specie in considerazione delle conseguenze gravose di uscita dal regime.

Il tempo per cambiare rotta nella direzione giusta ancora ci sarebbe, la volontà chissà.

di Giorgio Infranca, Avvocato in Milano 

Studio Roveda e Associati


What Makes an Authentic Leader? @Medici_Manager @WRicciardi @LeadMedIT @pash22

We listen to someone on stage. The message resonates yet we wonder if this person is really authentic.

We listen to an interview and the conversation seems authentic. Yet we wonder if a similar tenor of exchange happens in the privacy of their home or office.

We call individuals to be an authentic leader yet there may be as many definitions on what authenticity is as there are perspectives.

We hear someone bluster on and we grow tired. Yet being brash is who this person is. They are being authentic.

We hear of a leader really believing that working in an office is better for the organizational culture than working from home. We disagree. Yet this is the individual’s core belief. They are being authentic.

We want authentic leaders yet whose definition of authenticity applies?

What Makes an Authentic Leader?

With authenticity, we think:

  • Trustworthy
  • High integrity
  • Genuine

Each is a characteristic and each is important. Who defines authenticity though? With some research, I found a TED Conversation in which the following question was posed – What does it mean to be authentic? There were 108 responses! There are varying views on authenticity.

In a recent Forbes blog by Jan Bruce, she highlighted three things leaders must do to stay authentic. Each are important elements. Actions define authenticity. For me, there needs to be more to define what makes someone authentic. A group of diverse individuals could outline many other actions authentic leaders should take. There isn’t a set standard of actions for authentic leaders.

Characteristics are important to being authentic, just as actions are. Interpretations vary though. What one finds authentic, another may not. The key may be found in how authenticity is realized. Authenticity needs to be a part of our very being. Interpretations may come and go. Distractions will definitely come and go.

What needs to be steadfast is our authentic being. We need to have an authentic intelligence about who we are as a leader and person. We need to be smart in how we engage and maintain our authenticity.

What Makes an Authentic Leader? 4 Ideas for Authentic Leadership Intelligence

There is a smartness to authentic leaders. Smartness does not mean all-knowing; it does mean approaching your leadership craft with an authentic intelligence, knowing the impact of how you lead. To develop this intelligence, highlighted below are four ideas to consider in building your authentic leadership capabilities.

Embedded empathy. Authenticity needs to be other-centered. If it is all about an individual, then the self-centeredness will eventually harm many more than any potential good done. In other words, authenticity needs to connect to others, understand one another, and raise each other up to do more in better ways. Authenticity and active empathy need to be tied tightly together. Empathy raises a leader to consider what works best for more than just one.

Enabled community. Empathy leads to a leader’s embrace of community. How a leader enables a greater community raises their authenticity because it moves from a one-dimensional view to a multi-dimensional one. More than this, whatever action we take as a leader has a multiplier effect. The multiplier effect needs to be an enabled community working toward a higher-purposed mission or goal. An enabled community holds a leader accountable and keeps their focus on what is best for a broader base of people.

Empowering beliefs. Every leader has a certain set of beliefs, whether defined or not. To be an authentically intelligent leader, the beliefs should be empowering, not limiting. Beliefs pursued by a leader need to pass a test of:

  • Do they make others better?
  • Do they call on others to raise their game in how they work, live, and lead?

Authentic leaders embody a belief system that empowers all to look beyond themselves and foster a respect-filled and trust-filled environment.

Preventing harm. Another key authentic leader idea is to always say and do things to prevent harm. The old principle of “do no harm” is as valid as ever. Authentic leaders do not incite others to act in harmful ways. Authentic leaders keep environments safe for honest, meaningful interactions and build cultures to encourage problem-solving, innovation, and productive working relationships.

Questions to Check Authentic Leadership Intelligence

This post is a work-in-progress. It is one of the reasons they are called ideas rather than principles of authentic leadership intelligence. I do believe we need to be open to how we view a leader’s authenticity. I also believe we need to think through what enables us to claim to be an authentic leader. If we don’t understand what our authenticity consists of, then we will likely get off track and become inconsistent and inauthentic. Our trustworthiness is put at risk.

To begin to sort through the state of our authentic leadership intelligence, we may need to begin with these questions:

  1. What percentage of our inner circle thinks very differently from me? When they do offer differing ideas, do I really hear and understand them? What practices do I have in place to really understand others and make connections outside my comfort zone? (empathy)
  2. How do my actions enable other worthy actions? What am I doing to gain positive momentum in moving initiatives forward? (community)
  3. What are my core belief? Which of my core beliefs raise others up in taking positive action? How am I setting an example of leading with my beliefs? Be specific. (beliefs)
  4. How am I ensuring no harm is being inflicted on teams in undertaking their goals and objectives? How am I building a culture of innovation and problem-solving? (do no harm)

More than actions and characteristics, I believe we need to have an authentic being and intelligence on what makes us real, positive, consistent influencers. So, the question is clear: What makes someone an authentic leader?

– See more at:

Perché l’euro non è ancora crollato?

Keynes blog

euro-morto1L’euro è un morto che cammina, ma gli zombie sono piuttosto resistenti

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Is your work environment dynamic? @LeadMedIt @WRicciardi @pash22 @muirgray

By Simon Collyer

If you are working in a dynamic environment then some of the dynamic project management techniques in this blog might be useful to you, but how do you know you are working in a dynamic environment?

Lets contrast two extremes, … a project in a static environment with one in a dynamic environment…

Table 1 – Comparing static with dynamic (Collyer 2013, p142)

Static Environments

Stability Is the Norm

Dynamic EnvironmentsRapid Change Is the Norm

The future is mostly predictable

Goals are stationary

Environment is relatively static – changes yearly or over decades

The future is difficult to predictGoals are moving

High technology –

changes daily or weekly

Change brings more harm than good

Allowing change is mostly damaging

Change brings more good than harmResisting change is mostly damaging

Work is directable like a bullet –

like a factory production line

Work is guidable like a missile like –cars in traffic guided by drivers, rules and signs

Business cases stay valid

Business cases change constantly

Strategic input is required at the start

Strategic input is required throughout

Goal Achievement

Targeting system compatible with stability of target

Aimed bullet 

Aim, aim, fire

A detailed plan hits a stationery target –

Initial plan focuses on maximum accuracy

An accurate plan saves repetition

Goal: Time/cost/quality

Guided MissileAim, fire, aim

Rapid feedback hits a moving target

Initial plan focus on expedient–adequacy

An adjustable plan achieves expedience

Goal: Optimised business benefits



Control approaches compatible with predictability of environment

Control with detailed plans,- processes and checklists

Guide with a framework plan, -boundaries, inputs, goals, discussions

Higher emphasis on control to achieve goals (reduce change)

Higher emphasis on adaption to achieve goals (relinquish some control)



Project duration compatible with component product lifecycles

Gain economies of scale with size

Achieve relevance with quick iterative releases 



Flexible, collaborative, organic, adaptive



Authoritarian, tall hierarchy

Planned, strict, structured

Stakeholders expect and –

understand static environments

FlexibleFormal framework, informal core

Collaborative, flat hierarchy

Organic, experimental, adaptive

Stakeholders expect and –

understand dynamic environments



Rapid Informal complimenting Less Regular Formal

Only formal counts

Slow, formal, thorough

Tall hierarchy

Formal informs informal

Mix of formal and informalIncludes rapid, informal, and practical

Flat hierarchy

Informal and formal inform each other



Exploratory Vision driven using Collaboration and Delegation

Drives down path

Clear view of path

Highly structured

Knows the path

Leads a hierarchy

Plans dictated centrally

Manages with plan

Workers follow plan

Team driven from above

Explores around the pathClear vision of destination

Highly adaptable

Knows the jungle

Collaborates with a team

Actions decided by team

Guides with intent

Specialists deliver vision

Team pursues goals


Decision Making

Rapid – adequate – in time

Decisions focused on accuracy

Accuracy achieves lasting perfection

Intent and objectives set at top

Decisions made at the top based –

on information passed up the – hierarchy

Action taken when confident of –right  decision

Planning for the next stage occurs – when execution for previous stage is complete



Decisions focused on expedienceSpeed capitalises on fleeting opportunity

Intent and objectives set at top

Decisions made in the middle –by experts with situational/subject –

matter knowledge

Action taken in time to capitalise –

on fleeting opportunities

Planning for the next stage occurs in –parallel with execution, and some –decisions prepared in advance based –on intelligence gathering on possible –outcomes

The reality is most projects lie somewhere in between these two extremes, and so we need to use professional judgement to work out which techniques to apply to a given project.


Collyer, S. (2013). Managing Dynamism in Projects – A Theory-Building Study of Approaches Used in Practice, The University of Queensland. PhD

Collyer, S., Warren, C., Hemsley, B., & Stevens, C. (2010). Aim Fire Aim – Project Planning Styles in Dynamic Environments Project Management Journal, 41(4), 108-121. doi: 10.1002/pmj.20199

Collyer, S., Warren, C. M. J. (2009). Project Management Approaches for Dynamic Environments, International Journal of Project Management, 27(4), 355-364