Sports management: Coaching the coaches

July 20, 2015

Tudor RickardsSport is big business. Do you know how to apply the latest business ideas into your sports management courses?

For over thirty years I have been working with colleagues at Manchester Business School introducing experiential learning ideas into business courses. More recently, we found out that our work with business managers could be transferred into sports management courses.

Why sports management and business management are similar

The discovery was unexpected, but afterwards was rather obvious. It came about when we realized that professional managers and athletes have similar developmental needs.

The Manchester Method approach

The approach was recently described on the MBS website

The Manchester Method is a practical, situation-based way of studying business that runs through all of our programmes.

It pushes you to your limits to bring out your best, focusing on group work, practice-based learning and self-reflection. You use and build on your own experiences to improve your leadership skills and manage complex projects.

Living cases

On important feature of the approach is the use of living cases. The term indicates that the topic under study is not bounded by the text provided.

Web-based work is increasingly important. Students, often working in teams, search for the most recent information of the current situation in each project. The work is evaluated from two perspectives, one its critical understanding, and one for evidence of appreciation of the practical aspects of the case.

In longer projects, a business client brings his or her ‘living case’ into the Business School. In shorter projects the business client is role-played by a tutor. These cases are chosen from the recent posts on leadership to be found in leaders we deserve. These have the added attraction of being updated regularly, giving emphasis to different leadership dilemmas.

A suitable course textbook is Dilemmas of Leadership which encourages students to examine the living cases for the tough decisions business leaders are taking. In its most recent edition, it comes with web based Tutor’s guide, power points and chapter by chapter revision quiz.

Sports based applications

Although the cases are selected for their business relevance, some have been sports-related. The role of the coach in team sports such as football and rowing has been studied, as well as the nature of charismatic leadership of managers and of on-field leaders. Another shared issue is that of Corporate Social Responsibility

For more information

I would be pleased to share experiences with sports management professionals interested in exploring the methods outlined in this post. You can contact me by email by submitting a comment below.


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


What makes a great leader?

July 16, 2014

Nominated for a LWD posting by Dr Dina Williams

In her TED talk, [Oct, 2013] Roselinde Torres of BCG describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.

Her three questions are essentially:

Where are you looking to identify change?

How are you managing diversity?

Are you courageous enough to abandon what made you successful?

Rosalinde’s studies show there is a ‘leadership gap’ regardless of efforts to bridge it through leadership development programmes. The video makes an excellent introduction to discussion of 21st century leadership and why it requires different behaviours from those associated with the omniscient leader heroes of the past.


Dilemmas of leadership: Test your judgement on creative leadership

June 5, 2014

Dilemmas of Leadership 2nd EdnTest your judgement on this five minute quiz on creative leadership. The questions are based on the chapter on creative leadership in the textbook Dilemmas of Leadership.

The challenge

A sample of students helped ‘test the test’ and scored around 60% (3-10 range).

Click this link to find the quiz


Developing global leaders

October 25, 2013

Leaders We Deserve subscribers are invited to view and use a presentation on Developing Global Leaders, which is trending at the moment on slideshare

The presentation by LWD founder and editor Tudor Rickards suggests that Global Leadership is increasingly concerned with dealing creatively with complex business dilemmas. The presentation was produced to accompany the textbook Dilemmas of Leadership.


Lessons for Leaders from the People Who Matter (Followers)

February 20, 2012

Tracy Killen John Lewis PartnershipAn international report, Lessons for Leaders from the People Who Matter, finds two thirds of employees found their line managers ineffective, and a half were rated as lacking empathy. In contrast, Tracey Killen of the John Lewis Partnership (pictured above) suggests a way of improving matters.

The survey for DDI [Development Dimensions International] by Harris International pollsters was reported in HR Magazine :

Simon Mitchell, director at DDI UK and one of the report authors, said: “We wanted to hear how the customers of leaders themselves saw their managers and bosses. These findings should be of enormous concern to any business. They show that leaders are failing in their obligation to employees and, therefore, their organisation. The consequences of managers and bosses with poor leadership skills are enormous, and the impact good leaders have in terms of employee motivation and productivity are significant.”

The report found one in three respondents (34%) only sometimes or never consider their leader to be effective, and over a third (37%) are only sometimes or never motivated to give their best by their leader.
The survey also found nearly half (45%) of respondents think they could be more effective than their manager, but only 46% would actually want to. Respondents cited the additional stress, responsibility and pressure as reasons for staying where they were. This has implications for the future supply of leaders.

Mitchell continues, “Workers report that managers fail to ask for their ideas and input, are poor at work related conversations and do not provide sufficient feedback on their performance, so it’s no wonder employee engagement levels are low. Leaders remain stubbornly poor at these fundamental basics of good leadership that have little to do with the current challenging business climate. It’s important that organisations equip the people managing their workforce with these basic leadership essentials, and that managers are aware of their own blind spots in these areas. The good news for businesses and employees alike is that many of these leadership skills can be learnt.”

The Good News

The good news expressed in the news story supports the views held by those who believe in leadership development. It leaves open the vital questions of the nature of those ‘fundamental basics of good leadership’,how to ‘equip the people managing their workforce with these basic leadership essentials’,how to ‘raise [managers’ awareness] of their own blind spots in these areas’,and how ‘many of these leadership skills can be learnt’.

The Dilemmas

The dilemmas for business are clear. Many leaders today are appointed after some form of appraisal. DDI, authors of the report, are themselves advocates of the battery of assessment methods available to identify leaders (and, as its corporate name suggests, to develop their potential). One of the oldest leadership dilemmas is whether leaders are born or made. The report suggests they can be identified (‘born’) and developed ‘made’. The evidence suggests also that for the most-part that leaders are too often failing to show either natural or developed leadership capabilities.

To go more deeply

Of interest is the approach followed by John Lewis partnership through which HR is placed more centrally with corporate operations in this highly successful and unusually democratic organization. The image above is of Tracy Killen, HR director of John Lewis Partnership. The link outlines the way in which John Lewis integrates HR with the planning and operations of the company.

See also Training Industry’s list of top 20 leadership training companies (which includes DDI).


Business consultancy appoints classical ballet dancer

August 15, 2008

A former ballet dancer has been appointed to apply his leadership skills to help individuals and teams survive and thrive in corporate environments. Lee Fisher joins the ranks of horse whisperers, therapists, actors, poets, magicians, entrepreneurs, explorers, firewalkers and voice coaches who have appeared in support of leadership development courses

Our eagle-eyed technology correspondent sent us the story of Lee Fisher, the latest addition to the ranks of personal development consultants. No, I don’t know whether there is a technology link, or whether he just likes ballet.

According to the publicity release, Lee has joined Lane4 which was co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Adrian Moorhouse, and Sport Psychologist Graham Jones. Lee is artistic director of Freefall Dance Company, a company for young dancers with severe learning disabilities.

Lee trained at the Royal Ballet School and enjoyed 17 years as a soloist with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Since retiring from full time performing in 2005, Lee has made guest appearances in London, Shanghai, Birmingham and Oxford.

He was the Dance Fellow 2005/06 on the Core Leadership Programme – an initiative that identifies and develops leaders in the cultural sector. The programme included leadership training, mentoring and placements at the Eden Project and BBC2.

Ruth Cavender, head of human resources at Lane4 commented: “We’re always on the look out for talented individuals. We’re not necessarily looking for qualified trainers … we’re seeking candidates from diverse backgrounds who don’t necessarily [have formal qualifications but] have a ‘degree in excellence.’ From our experience, candidates from the worlds of psychology, organisational development, performance and elite sport make great [Lane4] performance consultants.”

Ballet and rugby training

The story took me back many years to a failing rugby team in Wales. Shock tactics were called for. After one defeat too many for the exasperated coach, players turned up for evening training, to find they were to be taken through their paces by a frail-looking waif who turned out to be borrowed from a school of ballet down by Cardiff.

The puzzled and grizzled forwards were told that their line-out leaps work was in need of improvement. They would, after the right training, leap like salmon. Their new coach explained that they would first have to learn some new exercises he was going to show them.

An hour later they dragged their sorry limbs off the pitch. Ballet training did have something to teach the local rugby heroes. It taught them they were not as fit as they thought they were.

I’d like to say the team went on to win the Welsh league, and that it was all down to ballet training. But they didn’t. Even in the interests of a good story, I must confess that the training never went much further than a short sharp shock, and a news story in the Western Mail, that weekend.

Leadership Development and Ballet

Why not? As I mulled over this news item I recalled the more recent story of Tai Chi and ‘cow whispering’ as the secret weapon for a rugby team. After which, the application of ballet principles for leadership development did not seem quite so bizarre.

I started listing other leadership development approaches I have come across. Sporting celeberities are taken for granted as possible leadership role models. So are military heroes. But what about horse whisperers, actors, fire-walkers, poets, magicians, entrepreneurs, explorers, and now ballet dancers?

Which says a lot for the belief in the leadership development fraternity in the transfer of learning from one field to another. Or maybe I should say, from one stage to another.

Acknowledgements

To Jeff Butler, Editor R&D Management, for sending in the story, which can also be traced to a personnel review item.

To San Francisco Sentinel for the Ballet image


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