Looking forward to working with a new client needing to review his career purpose, strategy and behaviours….

…because the start of a new client programme is always very interesting. I ask them to write an essay on their lives to date and I get feedback on them from five colleagues including and if possible their life partners. Then I spend a day – an Away Day – with them helping them write a new purpose, strategy and behaviour plan (a PSB Plan) using the tools and models I have developed in my model, The Fenton Model for Leaders. Then I help them implement the plan over a fixed term. The essays are always well written and invariably very moving. I feel privileged to read them. I never know for sure precisely what will happen during the Away Day but after 12 years and hundreds of clients I can be certain that there will be at least one ah-ha moment. That is a moment of breakthrough and insight which comes from the process which is robust and uncomfortable at times. But the breakthrough is the reward and it’s the fun part. For us both.

Ciaran

What leaders and lawyers can learn from Thomas Cook’s handling of the Shepherd case and what they should do now…

If yesterday’s newspapers are to be believed, Thomas Cook and its lawyers are accused of mishandling the emotional aspects of the Shepherd case. We train, indeed expect, our lawyers to suppress their emotions in their legal roles. But senior in-house lawyers are now operating as lawyer leaders and in that role they, as the CEOs they serve, must develop high levels of emotional intelligence and apply it. Whether they did or not we can only speculate. But the buck stops with the CEO, not the lawyers. He should apologise not just for what happened but for his mishandling of the case. Then he should meet the Shepherds and demonstrate, rather than assert, his sorrow. This much loved brand has a chance of turning this story around as others, like Perrier, have done.

Ciaran

First 100 Days Pro Bono Fenton Programme for The Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister

Congratulations on your appointment. Over the next 100 working days I hope you find my pro bono programme useful.

Mr. Crosby clearly understands that it’s not necessarily the best, but the least risky, who win at interview. And you have managed, rightly or wrongly, to persuade enough people that you are the least risky choice in your recent interview with the electorate. I also advise my clients to use this strategy. It works. In your case it was the economy, leadership and Scotland which won it for you. For my clients it might be sector experience, “chemistry” or say, number of years in role that might be the key issues. It doesn’t matter. What matters is a clear understanding of what the interviewer is worried about and then to demonstrate rather than assert that you are the least risky in closing that gap. I have prepared hundreds of leaders for interview and often they are afraid to ask what the panel doesn’t like about them and then to confront that head on. Perhaps Mr. Miliband might have fared better if he had grasped this nettle.

I’m sure you know this already but now you need to do what every new leader has to do:

1. Create an environment in which your team thrive.
2. Grow your business or organisation
3. Keep the people who pay the bills happy.

But you can’t do this until you have sorted your personal purpose, strategy and behaviour and how this links with your government’s purpose, strategy and behaviour.

At time of writing this isn’t very clear. During the Campaign you gave us some insight into your personal purpose and you have referenced a One Nation purpose for your government over the weekend. But these aren’t clear enough yet.

So in my next instalment I will give some suggestions about how you specifically, and leaders generally, can address purpose, strategy and behaviour. Without clarifying these at the start of your First 100 Days, the pain predicted for you in the Press over the weekend will, I suspect, come sooner than you will like.

Best wishes

Ciaran
helping leaders change