On The Road

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Last week was the first of three weeks “on the road” for me in the UK and Europe. I am doing a series of corporate education sessions, and book-related presentations at business schools and management associations. The past week was spent in London on an intense development program for corporate managers for a large global company. I ran a 1½ day “learning” session, based on my work, and sat in on 3½ days of sessions run by others.

There were about 130 managers in total, divided into three groups – about thirty senior managers, who I was working with, another forty middle managers and sixty more junior managers. It consisted of a variety of feedback instruments ranging from the level of the personality to 360-degree feedback on their leadership styles together with sessions on leading change, power and influence and decision-making. Fortunately the dimensions of these different tests could be mapped onto the ecocycle and the ecological perspective seemed to help as an excellent integrating framework for the participants. The biggest hit during my session was when I used Itay Talgam’s great TED video to illustrate the different forms of power and influence and mapped it onto the navigation tools in the ecocycle.

As I write this blog I am travelling to Nottingham, where I am doing an executive briefing on the book at breakfast this morning. It was set up by Professor Ken Starkey, who, together with his colleagues has been writing for some time about the need for a different narrative and an evolutionary approach to management. He has also paid close attention to the reform of the business schools and suggests that through greater engagement with the arts and the humanities they can be made into more creative institutions. I am really looking forward to the Q&A session after the presentation to hear about their perspectives.

On Thursday May 2 I will be visiting Celebrity Speakers, one of my speakers agencies to “fire up the troops” before speaking at the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce at Macdonald House in Grosvenor Square. This networking event has been organized by Doug Ross and his colleagues at Square Peg International, a consulting company that is celebrating its tenth year in business. It is an affiliate of the Berkeley Consulting Group in Canada, where I have been a senior associate with Jim Mackay and Judy Huntingdon for several years. I will be giving a short presentation about the book followed by a Q&A. It promises to be a very pleasant evening.

On Friday, May 3 I will be teaching part of a class at London Business School on the role of analogy in creative thinking. I will be using the hunting dynamics of the Kalahari !Kung to illustrate entrepreneurial activity in cyberspace and how using analogies between very different domains can lead to innovation. One of my favourite video illustrations of what is possible is that of the musical stairs in Stockholm’s Metro system. It’s a great example of the ability a well-designed environment to change behavior.

My last gig on this three-week trip is in Lithuania. I fly to Kaunas, the academic centre of the country, on Wednesday, May 8, and spend May 9 and 10 at the conference of the Baltic Management Development Association. I will be the last speaker at the conference and will stay on for a Gala Dinner before returning to London on Saturday the 11th and thence home to Canada on the 12th.

The topic of my sessions and presentations throughout this trip is The New Ecology of Leadership, aspects of the ecological perspective and its virtues. By the time I am finished I am hoping that there will be a slightly better appreciation of it and the benefits it promises.

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