Entries in Leadership (12)


Attfluence or Doing Leadership Differently?

Mt Eliza Senior Leadership Program and Others

Kirsten McMahon-Cook credits the Mt Eliza Leadership Program with being one of the most confronting and insightful experiences of her professional development to date.

The program had such a profound impact, she says, it helped her to reach a recent life-changing decision to temporarily exit corporate life and complete her Executive MBA full-time at MBS.

It was a bold move for the mother-of-two to resign from her role as Oceania Fuels Marketing Manager for Shell Australia and commence full-time study. But she sees it as an essential step in her professional journey from a manager to leader and an investment in her future career.

"The Mt Eliza Leadership Program is a very individual program in which everyone gains their own experience of growth and insight," she explains. "It has certainly made a considerable difference to how I view myself and how I perceive leadership."

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The cult of performance

...what are we doing when we don't know what we are doing?

Executive development and education have proceeded on the basis of two developments as a result of shifts in government policy over the past two decades. The first is marketisation, the belief that marketplace ideology is best, and the belief that the private sector functions better and more rationally than the public sector. The second is performance, the belief that performance can be controlled. It is argued that these trends are myths that have developed into the performance cult. This paper argues that even knowing you cannot be in control doesn’t stop you trying to be in control, but understanding what is happening enables us to stay active in negotiating our daily lives moment by moment.

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Leadership and Spirituality

Purpose – This paper seeks to suggest that effective leadership can be achieved by, and can drive, an integral spiritual connectedness between governments, organisations and society as a whole.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature search to map the history and the underlying philosophies that have led to the current popular concept of leadership, and to suggest a different worldview to bring about a change to these underlying philosophies in order to enhance leadership effectiveness.

Findings – Effective leadership is multi-disciplinary, involving not only those disciplines of sociology, psychology and technology, but that of spirituality as well. This new approach is effective because of the different ways it offers of gaining deeper insights into a leader’s own spiritual self, but also beyond this to others with whom the leader interacts, and others who are affected by the results of their leadership.

Research limitations/implications – The paper is not an exhaustive literature search and is primarily limited to selected authors of futures studies, psychology, psychotherapy, economics and business.

Practical implications – The paper proposes steps to guide how organizational leadership can lead to more effective workplaces as well as benefiting the global society as a whole.

Originality/value – The paper is current in today’s environment and offers a practical epistemological explorative approach into what effective spiritual leadership could mean and to consider the impact of leadership decisions and actions as a result.

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Future scenarios for Australian leadership

...No vision, no victory.

The inclination of Australians to look overseas for leadership is not the inevitable result of a national lack of cleverness or creativity. It is the result of an often faulty perception of ourselves and our world stemming, to a considerable extent, from our infamous and enduring 'cultural cringe'. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must dispense with both misleading perceptions and the cringe, not just to keep the commercial benefits of Australian inventiveness at home, but to keep control over our social and political future as well.

Certainly, our deference to things foreign has cost us dearly in economic terms. The most famous - or infamous - example of Australia failing mightily to capitalise on its people's inventiveness is probably the aircraft data records now known as black boxes. This sorry tale is worth repeating, because it's an even worse indictment of the lack of foresight and initiative in both our public and private sectors that most people realise. And, as Santayana put it, "those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it".

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Beyond Strategy: Leadership, Futures and Ethics in a Complex World

The basic premise of the "Beyond Strategy" approach is that in business we put up fantasy measures that we call business planning, such as budget planning and strategic planning, which Stacey claims is a political process, primarily as social defences against anxiety. This distorts what we are actually doing and distracts us from the actual direct experiences we are having of each other as what happens through conversation.

Another premise is that the most important things we do can't be measured. These are open ended conversations around identity of "who are we?" or "What are we doing together?" This is the actual strategy we are involved in and is emergent strategy where we are endlessly searching for enough agreement to take the next steps. The next steps are iterative temporal processes, which are basic patterns of interactions moving recursively through time, of what we are doing together.

"Beyond Strategy" can be described as "Leadership, Futures and Ethics in a Complex World". Leadership because ultimately this is where courage and will resonates, Futures because of its epistemic challenges and Ethics because we are here talking about moral philosophy and its consequences on organisations and individuals. Complex, but not necessarily complicated, because complexity, by its very nature, is the consequence of human existence and behaviour experienced in the world.

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