July 31, 2015

Shortly, LWD will be introducing new design features. watch this space.

Fidel Castro

Ryan Air share price soars as its leader ‘gets cuddly’

July 29, 2015

Ryan Air and Easy Jet are considered innovative and successful low-cost airlines. This week, [July 28th 2015] commentators were quick to point to the excellent financial results and growth figures from Ryan Air, and to compare them with the relatively modest progress made by Easy Jet over the same period

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How Charismatic are the Candidates in the Labour Leadership Contest?

July 26, 2015

Fidel CastroFour candidates are battling to become the next leader of the Labour party.   Here’s a lighthearted charisma league table which is currently headed by Fidel Castro and Boris Johnson Read the rest of this entry »

Nudge: The Implementation of a social innovation

July 23, 2015

NudgeThe UK Government’s Behavioural Insights team has been reported as implementing a highly successful social innovation through influencing or ‘nudging’ personal decisions

The announcement this week claimed that the unit has ‘signed up an extra 100,000 organ donors a year, persuaded 20% more people to consider switching energy provider, and doubled the number of army applicants.’ Plaudits were offered to

David Halpern, chief executive of the behavioural insights team, which has quadrupled in size since it was spun out of government in February 2014. Now a private company jointly owned by the Cabinet Office, Nesta and its employees, the “nudge unit” (nicknamed after the best-selling book by economist Richard H Thaler) permeates almost every area of government policy.

Unsurprisingly, the approach is likely to be seen by some as gentle persuasion; by others as a dangerous attempt at social engineering. To understand more, we need to go back to the publication of a best-selling book Nudge and how it attracted the interest of David Cameron.

[The following is based on my unpublished notes mostly over the period 2006-8. I have tried to acknowledge the sources, and welcome any suggestions of materials I may have left unattributed.]

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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.

Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata (1959-2015) was a great innovative leader

July 16, 2015

220px-Satoru_Iwata_-_Game_Developers_Conference_2011_-_Day_2_(1)The Nintedo organisation gave the brief official notification of the death of their President Satoru Iwata. There followed a flood of tributes to a remarkable leader

The notification [July 13th 2015]

Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth

  1. Name:Satoru Iwata
  1. Date of Birth:December 6, 1959
  1. Career Record:June 2000, appointed as Director; May 2002, appointed as President, appointed as Representative Director;June 2013,appointed as CEO of Nintendo of America Inc.
  1. Other Information:As a result, the following two Representative Directors remain at the company.Genyo Takeda (Representative Director; Senior Managing Director).Shigeru Miyamoto (Representative Director; Senior Managing Director)

An outpouring of respect and affection

The official corporate notification above was followed by an outpouring of respect and affection for a remarkable leader.

Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America commented:

Mr. Iwata is gone, but it will be years before his impact on both Nintendo and the full video game industry will be fully appreciated. He was a strong leader for our company, and his attributes were clear to most everyone: Intelligence, creativity, curiosity and sense of humor. But for those of us fortunate enough to work closely with him, what will be remembered most were his mentorship and, especially, his friendship. He was a wonderful man. He always challenged us to push forward…to try the new…to upset paradigms—and most of all, to engage, excite and endear our fans. That work will continue uninterrupted.


Satoru Iwata was born into a comfortably well-off family (his father was mayor of his home town of Sapporo ). From a young age he showed an aptitude for information technology, and electronic engineering, is some way echoing the stories of pioneering figures such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates before him.

As a schoolboy he also did freelance work as a programmer for HAL Laboratory, Inc., a game developer that often collaborated closely with Nintendo. This gave him access to Nintendo, so that after University he was able to join then quickly make significant contributions in its transformation from a modest manufacturer of had made playing cards to a global giant in electronic gaming.

In keeping with traditional Japanese corporations, Nintendo (roughly translated ‘leave luck to heaven’) retained an extremely stable corporate structure. In 2002, Iwata was to become only the fourth President in a hundred years of operations.

Nintendo’s growth was fuelled by the innovativeness of internal technical workers, often creating through spare-time activities, becoming legends in the fast-developing electronic games market.

Gunpei Yokoi developed ideas for the Japanese toy industry in his free time. Yokoi was moved from maintenance to the new “Nintendo Games” department as a product developer. He later hit on several creative ideas of enormous importance. In 1979, Yokoi conceived the idea of a handheld video game, while observing a fellow bullet train commuter who passed the time by interacting idly with a portable LCD calculator, which gave birth to the Game & Watch suite of games.

Another innovator working with Yokoi was Shigeru Miyamoto. Recruited as a young student, he went on to create, direct and produce some of Nintendo’s most famous video games, including Gameboy.

Among other global successes were the Super Mario games in the fictional Mushroom Kingdom. Its successive developments made it one of the most downloaded of computer products.

At the start of the 21st century, with the leadership of President Satoru Iwata, the company was facing serious competitive challenges. Under difficult trading conditions the company recorded a substantial drop in profits in 2014, prompting Iwate to take a substantial salary cut.

However, in Fiscal 2015, the company returned to profit although this was partly through favourable exchange rates.

Leadership and culture

In the Anglo-American culture, Iwata would have been lauded as a creative genius (think Gates, Jobs, Branson). In a Japanese context, It is easier to see the more subtle notion of distributed leadership playing out.

It is also instructive to note that the engineering culture in German manufacturing has also been more aware of the power of distributed leadership. You can see the examples of the link between the power leader (machtpromotor) and operational leader (fachpromotor) outlined in the various editions of Dilemmas of leadership in the chapter on project management.

Iwata’s insights into celebrity leadership

Iwata had the grasp of social media which allowed him to revolutionize Nintendo’s relationship with its army of faithful gamers. His appearances as a game character and as his corporate self, produced strong bonding and interactions. Shortly after his death, a tribute went viral showing a sleeping Iwata character surrounded by weeping Nintendo characters.

George Osborne and Joe Root strengthen their cases as future national leaders

July 12, 2015

This week two leaders and their possible successors were tested. Alistair Cook opened the batting for England in Cardiff, and David Cameron started for the Government at Westminster

Here are my notes made at the time, [8th July 2015] which have been slightly edited for clarity purposes.

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Tennis tactics at Wimbledon: the curious case of two injury time-outs

July 7, 2015

The match between Andy Murray and Andreas Seppi in the Wimbledon championship of 2015 was noted for two incidents each involving an injury break called by one of players

Saturday July 4th, 2015. Home favourite Andy Murray was scheduled to play Andreas Seppi. Murray seeded No 3 was expected to win against the lower ranked player. His previous record against Seppi was 5-1. For two sets, expectations of crowd and presumably players were more or less fulfilled. Murray cruises to a 6-2 6-2 advantage. After some lengthy rallies, Seppi looked increasingly fatigued…

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Sisters Act starring Katy Perry and the Los Filiz nuns

July 5, 2015

Katy PerryLeadership stories come in all shapes and sizes.  One example this week is from a small group of nuns who took the initiative in securing their own future by ignoring the wishes of  their institutional leaders by rejecting a bid from celebrity singer Katy Perry

According to The Independent:

 A legal firework [pun on Perry’s musical act] has been set off in Los Feliz, California, after a group of elderly nuns sold their former convent to a local businesswoman against the wishes of the Los Angeles archdiocese – all to prevent the property being bought by the pop megastar, Katy Perry.

The hilltop property in question has been empty since 2011, when the five surviving Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary were relocated to nearby retirement homes.

The following year, Ms Perry expressed an interest in making the building her home and, according to the Los Angeles Times, recently agreed a $14.5m (£9.2m) sale with the archdiocese. The sisters, however, argue that the property is theirs to sell – and they don’t want it to be bought by the singer.

And so, two weeks ago – and without the approval of the archdiocese – the nuns sold the property to restaurateur and bar owner Dana Hollister.

The sisters of The Immaculate Heart first bought the estate in 1972 from a Catholic philanthropist who offered them a hefty discount. The archdiocese, led by LA Archbishop José Gomez, agrees that the proceeds should go towards the care of the five surviving nuns, all aged between 77 and 88.


Leadership: The Movie

The story has all the attractions of a Hollywood movie in which a group of feisty retired nuns take on the powers of the established church in rejecting the advances of a wealthy buyer.

But will Katie Perry turn out to be the heroine in the last scene, rescuing the nuns from designs of the dastardly Dana?

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.

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