How being bold can help you be a better leader

Boldness. It's a trait my toddler son exhibits every day. I watch him growing in confidence as his world becomes more and more of an adventure, and it's struck me that he takes risks, he assesses those risks - and then he (literally) jumps in puddles. He laughs and he has fun. We can learn much from watching and observing those around us, seeing the world through their eyes. The best leaders I've worked with and for are those who are bold - not arrogant, but bold. They back themselves, the...
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Reviewed – High Wire Act: Ted Rogers, by Caroline Van Hasselt

Where to start in reviewing this 520-page tome? WHAT a book. This book is not just a biography on Canadian media / technology owner and magnate, Ted Rogers, although that's what I bought it for. It is much, much more than a biography, providing detailed insights into the personality and drive of Rogers, whose name adorns cable, sports, wireless and many other businesses in Canada. As well as the personal history of Rogers, the book goes into at times excruciating detail into junk bonds, merg...
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“You’ll be fine, you’ve got clean shoes.”

Funny thing, nerves. Sometimes they appear when you least need them - like when you're about to get up and speak! Three years ago I stood at entrance to a school hall full of high school-aged boys and their parents and teachers at a school in Canberra, as guest speaker for their commencement assembly for the year. I'd been to the school countless times as part of my role for work and had a cup of coffee with the headmaster beforehand. We then walked down to the hall and he went on stage. I...
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Reviewed – Beyond Band of Brothers (Major Richard D Winters)

This review coincides with the first anniversary of the passing of Major Richard Winters. Major Winters died in January 2011, aged 92. I was given this book for Christmas and finished it on New Year's Day. Beyond Band of Brothers was first published in the US in 2006, only a few years after the TV miniseries aired. It is a poignant, sad, reflective, and well-written book that at 290 pages is not a long read. It is a superb, moving book. Richard Winters was a ordinary man by his own standards,...
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‘Management 101’ – in two words

Recently, a newly promoted friend was having a chat about ‘management 101’ – the how to get your head around being a manager for the first time type of conversation. Halfway through the chat, my friend stopped and asked a very interesting question regarding the best way to communicate with their new team members. "What's the best phrase or couple of words I could use to really show I want to be a good, caring, leader?", they asked. It's a fascinating question and one that got me thinking. ...
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A maker of men

The tributes to Australian rules coach Allan 'Yabby' Jeans this week have focused on his legacy not only as a coach but as an exceptional leader. I often blog about leadership and read widely about leadership best practice. Well, throw away your leadership books - and read, and watch, and then listen to these tributes to Allan Jeans on Melbourne's 3AW website to start with, then read and watch some of the links to some great examples of journalism. Bookmark the video. Watch it over and over a...
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How a wrong number was a good reminder of great leadership

Earlier today I had a call from a colleague I used to work for and with in my previous role in Canberra. It was an, admittedly, unexpected call – he’d somehow still had my mobile in his speed dial and had meant to ring my successor. As it turned out, I was glad he got the number wrong! It was a brief chat and a chat that had all the qualities of why it’s easy to recognise good leaders: Humility, quiet humour, and a genuine desire not to talk about themselves but about you, people you both ...
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Reviewed – Barassi

At the outset, let me declare I’ve been a Melbourne Football Club supporter since I can remember. Flower, Grinter, Stynes. I wore number 2 on my school footy jumper and treasured the autographed photo from Robbie Flower. Barassi was a name spoken with the same reverence as Ted Whitten. That said, I knew little of the history of the Dees, less, to be honest about Norm Smith. I am therefore very glad I read Peter Lalor’s book, simply entitled ‘Barassi’. This book isn’t about one man; though it i...
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CEOs – leading – or waiting for the press clips when it’s too late?

Some months ago I posted the article below and for some reason it's come up as one of the most read pieces on my blogs in the last few weeks - I'm not sure why, but it has. It's a long article but some months later, I think the issues it raises are just as valid as even, if not more. Even in the last six-eight months since the Media140 conference in Canberra, Twitter has become more important for the dissemination and positioning of critical information, which if led properly and imp...
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Reviewed – Soldier

General Colin Powell, is, arguably, one of the most well-known Americans of the past decades - a solider, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, and then, eventually, Secretary of State. The biography on him, by Karen deYoung, is, to be honest, very long - but that's not necessarily to its detriment. It's as much a history of America and American politics, of American military history and of the Byzantine world of Republican politics in the first term of President Geo...
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