Issue 7: Winter 2010Subscribe via RSS

Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading

by Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky; Harvard Business School Press, 2002 Leadership on the Line is oft-cited by tenured leaders as a favoured text, perhaps because the book offers a highly empathetic perspective. Heifetz and Linsky argue that leadership is a dangerous undertaking. They encourage those who want to “step forward, make a difference, take the heat, and survive to delight in the fruits of your labor.” This book helps leaders face and mitigate … Continue reading

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Book Review: Blessed Unrest

Book by Paul Hawken. Reviewed by Jonathon Fisher. “Only connect,” wrote the British author E.M. Forster. This is the message I take from Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest, a book which has important lessons for those of us catalysing social change movements. Blessed Unrest suggests that although there are vast numbers of people and organisations who share the desire for a transition to a saner and wiser culture, most of them are not connected with each … Continue reading

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How to Start a Movement

by Derek Sivers,, filmed February 2010 and posted April 2010. How do you spark a movement for social change and what is required? It may not be what you suspect. The talk, “How to Start a Movement,” by Derek Sivers is really about courageous followership. In his words: “The first follower is what turns a lone nut into a leader.” Based on a video of concert goers, he draws out lessons about how movements … Continue reading

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Imagining the Future of Leadership

Harvard Business Review Blog Series,, April- May 2010. This six-week blog series arose when Harvard professors were asked how leadership might look in the future. Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, was Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s answer to the question: Who do you imagine as the future face of leadership? She pictures Indra Nooyi because she is: “cross-cultural, female, visionary, and values driven.” Under Nooyi, PepsiCo has created innovative public recycling kiosks and … Continue reading

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The Normative Problem with the Term ‘Next Generation’ Leaders

by Rosetta Thurman, Stanford Social Innovation Review; January 25, 2010. This piece suggests that the normative problem with the term ‘Next Generation Leaders’ – as applied to young leaders in the nonprofit sector – is that it limits these individuals’ impact today. The author posits that by waiting until these young leaders have sufficient characteristics to make them “now” leaders, they will have to wait until the Baby Boomers have left their posts. But Baby … Continue reading

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What It Takes to Make Star Hires Pay Off

by Boris Groysberg, Linda-Eling Lee, and Robin Abrahams, MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2010. The authors cite plenty of people and organisations across sectors that have fallen prey to the appealing ‘Legend of the Lone Star’. It turns out no one individual can single-handedly turn around an organisation. How disappointing. Rather than let stars peter-out, companies can enhance their lustre through considering them part of a constellation. Surrounding star employees with high quality colleagues is … Continue reading

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A CEO’s Guide to Reenergizing the Senior Team

by Derek Dean, Strategy and Leadership in Turbulent Times, The McKinsey Quarterly, Number 1; 2010. CEOs wear many hats including Chief Inspiration Officer. Effective CEOs teach their top talent how to lead others. This article is written for CEOs coaching their senior team after the global financial crisis, but it is equally valid for leaders of social impact organisations who must help their teams adjust to new rules. What happens when a top executive team’s … Continue reading

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Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change

by Adam Kahane, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010. Adam Kahane spoke about Power and Love to a Sydney Leadership audience at The Benevolent Society earlier this year. After two decades of work with seemingly intractable conflicts around the world, Kahane understands the challenge of wedding principles to practicalities. He pins the failures of the Copenhagen climate change summit to bring together the greenies’ love camp with the industrialists’ power camp. Rhetorical pleas to save the planet for … Continue reading

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A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Leadership

Book by Brad Jackson and Ken Parry, Sage Publications; 2008. Hats off to Jackson and Parry for a book that exceeds the expectations set by its cover. This somewhat short, quite relevant, and loaned book came from a colleague who just finished his PhD in the field of leadership studies. Written by two professors of leadership studies – Jackson is a professor of leadership at Auckland Business School and Parry is a professor of leadership … Continue reading

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How the Best Indian Companies Drive Performance by Investing in People

by Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra V. Singh, and Michael Useen. The Harvard Business Review, March 2010. Practices associated with effective leadership vary across cultures. This piece from the Harvard Business Review highlights the ways leaders of highly-regarded Indian companies focus their energies. The findings are based on interviews of 105 leaders from 98 of the largest Indian-based companies, such as Tata, Reliance, Aventis, and Infosys. Unlike Western CEOs who often claim that cleverness at … Continue reading

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