There are lots of books telling you what to do to be a great leader. Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How successful people become even more successful tells you what to stop doing!
Over the years I have tried many different ways to improve my use of time and be more productive at work. Whatever I try, I find that initially the new technique makes a real difference - but only for a short while.
I'm a long-term Apple computer user. When I came to buy my latest laptop, I had a choice from 6 models (the entire Apple laptop range) and was able to easily and quickly choose the model that best matched my needs. If I had been a Windows user, it would have been very different. I would have had a choice of thousands of different laptops from hundreds of manufacturers. To make the best choice then would have been almost impossible!
One of the frequent issues I come across in my coaching work is out of control diaries! What's in our diaries determines on a day to day basis how we spend much of our working lives. Unless we're disciplined, or we impose discipline on the other people who can add meetings and appointments to our diaries, we can very soon find we are run by our diaries - and run ragged!
Many years ago whilst an undergraduate at University College London I used to walk past a large glass-fronted case in which sat Jeremy Bentham (or at least his clothed skeleton topped by a waxwork head - see him here). In the 18th century Bentham proposed that the purpose of society be "the greatest happiness of the greatest number". And maybe this is an idea whose time is coming.
There is a lot of talk in organisations about competences - as in "High Performance Management Competences" and so forth. Being competent is of course very important - we need to have the skills and motivation necessary to do our work. But there is a paradox: if we are never willing to be incompetent then we can never grow, develop or change, nor will we ever achieve excellence.
Successful influencers know how to use their presence to have an impact on others. They are able to create an energetic field which affects those included in it.
Jim Collins showed that Good-to-Great companies (average companies that then out-performed the market) had a Hedgehog Concept - a simple, crystalline concept that guided all their efforts and which was based on deep understanding about three factors: what you can be best in the world at; what drives your economic engine; and what you are deeply passionate about.
People are often unaware of their particular strengths, often dismissing them saying "But anyone could do that" and not realising that what come easily to them others may struggle to do. Helping people be clear about their strengths helps them be better at playing to those strengths - but also its important to realise there are different types of strengths: Realised Strengths, Unrealised Strengths, Learned Behaviours and Weaknesses.