George Osborne and Joe Root strengthen their cases as future national leaders

July 12, 2015

This week two leaders and their possible successors were tested. Alistair Cook opened the batting for England in Cardiff, and David Cameron started for the Government at Westminster

Here are my notes made at the time, [8th July 2015] which have been slightly edited for clarity purposes.

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Tennis tactics at Wimbledon: the curious case of two injury time-outs

July 7, 2015

The match between Andy Murray and Andreas Seppi in the Wimbledon championship of 2015 was noted for two incidents each involving an injury break called by one of players

Saturday July 4th, 2015. Home favourite Andy Murray was scheduled to play Andreas Seppi. Murray seeded No 3 was expected to win against the lower ranked player. His previous record against Seppi was 5-1. For two sets, expectations of crowd and presumably players were more or less fulfilled. Murray cruises to a 6-2 6-2 advantage. After some lengthy rallies, Seppi looked increasingly fatigued…

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Sisters Act starring Katy Perry and the Los Filiz nuns

July 5, 2015

Katy PerryLeadership stories come in all shapes and sizes.  One example this week is from a small group of nuns who took the initiative in securing their own future by ignoring the wishes of  their institutional leaders by rejecting a bid from celebrity singer Katy Perry

According to The Independent:

 A legal firework [pun on Perry’s musical act] has been set off in Los Feliz, California, after a group of elderly nuns sold their former convent to a local businesswoman against the wishes of the Los Angeles archdiocese – all to prevent the property being bought by the pop megastar, Katy Perry.

The hilltop property in question has been empty since 2011, when the five surviving Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary were relocated to nearby retirement homes.

The following year, Ms Perry expressed an interest in making the building her home and, according to the Los Angeles Times, recently agreed a $14.5m (£9.2m) sale with the archdiocese. The sisters, however, argue that the property is theirs to sell – and they don’t want it to be bought by the singer.

And so, two weeks ago – and without the approval of the archdiocese – the nuns sold the property to restaurateur and bar owner Dana Hollister.

The sisters of The Immaculate Heart first bought the estate in 1972 from a Catholic philanthropist who offered them a hefty discount. The archdiocese, led by LA Archbishop José Gomez, agrees that the proceeds should go towards the care of the five surviving nuns, all aged between 77 and 88.

 

Leadership: The Movie

The story has all the attractions of a Hollywood movie in which a group of feisty retired nuns take on the powers of the established church in rejecting the advances of a wealthy buyer.

But will Katie Perry turn out to be the heroine in the last scene, rescuing the nuns from designs of the dastardly Dana?


How to use the honour system for student self-assessment

July 2, 2015

The JudgeThe honour system of self-assessment is quick, easy to use, and a valuable approach in the classroom. Here’s an example from a leadership development workshop

There is an accepted place for the use of carefully validated psychometric instruments as a contribution to personal learning and development. Such methods have to comply with regulations about preservation of anonymity of data collected, validity of the instrument, and permissions which have to be obtained from respondents completing the instruments.

There is also a case to be made for much simpler means of self-assessment. One of my favourite ways of doing this is through the use of multiple choice quizzes. Examples can be found at the end of each chapter of the new edition of Dilemmas of Leadership, a textbook for executives and graduate students. These quizzes were developed for self-study through the internet. In my example I selected a self-assessment approach out of creative desperation when the computer system failed  during the revision session of a personal development workshop.

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Chris Evans and the charismatic denial

June 27, 2015

charismatic-leadership

When Jeremy Clarkson was fired from Top Gear in March, Chris Evans was always favorite to rescue the BBC’s biggest-earning show.

At first, Evans made unequivocal statements about his lack of interest in taking over, and then announced he been had signed up to replace Clarkson.

His behaviours capture aspects of what might be called the charismatic denial.

Background

Jeremy Clarkson’s high-speed career had crashed spectacularly. You might say he had been building up penalty points on his license to perform, even while he was transforming the BBC’s Top Gear TV programme into a global hit, transmitted to over 200 countries. Multiple controversies and his persona of the superstar petrol-head were essential elements in a show which was brilliantly filmed and produced.

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The $39 dilemma: should I start tweeting by buying a few thousand followers?

June 23, 2015

Twitter teems with offers through which you can buy followers by the thousand.  This seems the social media equivalent of the sub-prime financing of mortgages  

A few months ago I started tweeting more regularly. This relatively harmless occupation was rewarded as I connected with a small number of discriminating tweeters who followed me, and I them. Tit-for-tat following was part of social media practice.  It also explains how ‘like attracts like’.  My followers and following grew steadily month by month. The scale was still manageable.

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“Not today, not tomorrow and probably not anytime soon.” The tragedy of Charleston

June 19, 2015

 A foreign journalist captured the view that legal steps to deal with gun violence in America were only a remote possibility.

BBC journalist Anthony Zurcher wrote an article in the wake of the Charleston massacre this week [17th June, 2015] He outlined the events involved before a young man perpetrating a race-hate crime with the hand gun he obtained as a 21st birthday present, a few months earlier.

As Kurcher put it

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Mr Obama said on Thursday morning.

He continued: “I say that recognising the politics in this town forecloses a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.”

At some point – as in not today, not tomorrow and probably not anytime soon.

The outcry of pain and anger was none the less poignant for being over-familiar.

Deeply held and contrary belief systems were expressed with little evidence of willingness to understand contrary beliefs and fears. Clint Eastwood’s tweet was retweeted over a hundred times.Another tweeter expounded the dangers of churches being declared firearm- free zones.

Glenn Reynolds, a law professor with nearly 400,000 tweets to his name was cited by Kurcher as commenting that the President could always try being honest for a change.

The American Dream 

Around the world,  the American dream is increasingly being scrutinized with a mix of puzzlement and despair I have little to add to what I wrote briefly about the Sandy Hook school massacre last year. 

Tweeting 140 characters is as inadequate as writing another blogpost or even another book on leadership.


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