Leadership

The language we use in corporate life is often too impoverished for the purpose we expect it to fulfil. We cannot assume that technical language will engage, inspire and transform, yet I believe that too little consideration is given to more a ‘poetic’ lexicon that has more potential to reach into people’s hearts and minds. Yet ‘poetic’ language does not mean floweriness! I have been experimenting with film as a more ‘poetic’ transformational medium, and am convinced of its contribution to culture change, leadership development, and the enactment of strategy.

As her colleagues guarded turf in a complex discussion over resource allocation, the Chief Executive quietly left the stuffy room. Actually, ‘stuffy’ is an understatement – I was facilitating in a ‘greenhouse’ – a windowless, south-facing, glass-and-chrome building in which the air conditioning had failed on the hottest afternoon of the Summer. Patience was wearing thin and tempers were as high as the temperature. This meeting was pivotal – funding to secure the future of shared services in this region was being brokered between the CEOs of the different Public Sector agencies present.

A client of mine recently laughed when I talked about “sustainable solutions” in change management. Her experience as a director of a global corporation was that she often needed consultants like me to fix things that went wrong after previous solutions had either not lasted or not delivered fully on their promise. She joked that we consultants are “all on a gravy train of fixing the fixes that fail.”
 

I’ve come to the conclusion that leadership courses taught in the business world are largely ineffective. They might help people understand leadership as a concept; they might help people to take more effective action as a leader but they do not routinely help people be leaders.