Carolyn Dean's Blog (22)

What Makes a Leader Inspiring?

Recently, I attending an event that featured Fiona de Jong, CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee. Fiona’s presentation and the answers she gave to questions left me pondering why I felt inspired by Fiona and for me, what is the source of inspirational leadership.

Fiona talked about her vision of “being the most respected team in the world” and her three personal values that for me, underpin that vision –

  • Giving her best and expecting only the best…

Added by Carolyn Dean on June 23, 2016 at 10:30 — No Comments

Is your leadership team a team of leaders or a group of managers?

This sounds like a dumb question but when I look back on the number of executive and leadership teams we’ve worked with in organisations it’s clear to me that in many instances the members of those teams were technically competent, and nice people, but not great leaders.

That begs a couple of questions, the first of which is - how am I measuring the…


Added by Carolyn Dean on January 29, 2016 at 16:00 — No Comments

There is no I in TEAM

This saying – ‘there is no I in Team’ – is a well-known one, and the ‘I’ refers to someone whose behaviour runs counter to engagement, collaboration, support and synergy.

This TED talk ‘Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work’…


Added by Carolyn Dean on December 11, 2015 at 14:00 — No Comments

When is a team not a team?

When it comes to developing a group’s ability to operate as a team it is important to determine whether or not the people in that team have high or low degrees of interdependency.

I worked individually with a number of senior executives in a large company who all worked within the same area of the business but whose work was not heavily dependent upon one…


Added by Carolyn Dean on November 26, 2015 at 8:30 — No Comments

You might be surprised by what’s really happening in your team

We have often started working with a team that we have been told by its leader is working very well only to find that in fact there are a myriad of issues underneath the surface that no one is talking about.

As you can imagine, this can be a surprising discovery for the leader of the team who thought everything was pretty good. The interesting question for us is…


Added by Carolyn Dean on November 10, 2015 at 8:00 — 1 Comment

Integrity and Executive Team Performance

A team’s performance is built on a foundation of integrity. Just like a building, the bigger it is the deeper its foundations need to be, and those foundations need to have absolute integrity or the consequences will be catastrophic.

An executive leadership team’s accountability is an awesome ‘structure’ they have to build and/or manage and too often the level…


Added by Carolyn Dean on October 22, 2015 at 11:41 — No Comments

Leadership teams - a safe space?

Last weekend's AFL and NRL Grand Finals were a fascinating opportunity for anyone obsessed with leadership teams and their performance, like me. Being a Victorian, I spent more time on the AFL than the NRL – although the hype about the cliff-hanging final moments of the NRL final did draw us to take a look.

Watching Hawthorn play was mesmerising, and I’m not a…


Added by Carolyn Dean on October 9, 2015 at 16:00 — No Comments

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

I spent 2 days with a senior leadership team this week and as preparation for the workshop I had them take Simon Baron-Cohen’s (yes, he is related to Borat) ‘Mind in the Eyes’ Test.

I came across this test in an article on research done by MIT’s Centre of Collective…


Added by Carolyn Dean on September 30, 2015 at 14:42 — No Comments

Leadership teams - the leadership development focus of the future

The qualities of organisational leadership have evolved considerably since the command and control model that reigned up until the middle of the 20th century but in reading Peter Wilson’s second edition of ‘Make Mentoring…


Added by Carolyn Dean on August 24, 2015 at 12:00 — 1 Comment

Symbiosis, fusion and interconnectedness – Why?

There is a big difference between a team of champions and a championship team. That difference is very hard to pin down, let alone create, but I think it has to do with these 3 things – symbiosis, fusion and interconnectedness.

The dictionary defines symbiosis as ‘a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups’; and fusion as ‘the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single…


Added by Carolyn Dean on August 14, 2015 at 15:30 — No Comments

Being inspired by what's possible in organisations

I spent time with one of our clients last week as they requested support for one of their new managers to become a better leader. I know this…


Added by Carolyn Dean on July 31, 2015 at 13:31 — No Comments

Learning to be accountable may be a matter of unlearning

In his small yet powerfully insightful book ‘Teaching Smart People How to Learn’, Chris Argyris makes the case that business success increasingly depends on the people in the business continually learning but that the majority of well-educated, high-powered, high-commitment professionals who occupy key leadership positions are lousy at learning!

Further, Chris said that most…


Added by Carolyn Dean on June 29, 2015 at 13:48 — No Comments

High-performance is a matter of being, not just doing

It is interesting to me the way in which words acquire potency and meaning beyond their original definition. Take performance for example. In the dictionary you will see something like this:

1. A display of exaggerated behaviour or a process involving a great deal of…


Added by Carolyn Dean on May 14, 2015 at 9:00 — No Comments

What is your leadership team modelling?

As a leadership coach and team performance consultant I am highly aware of the influence leaders have on the culture and behaviours of their organisation and it is something that is firmly on my agenda when working with them.

In my early years as a leader I received some great coaching on re-orienting my view of myself from being a private individual to a public person. Initially…


Added by Carolyn Dean on April 27, 2015 at 15:00 — No Comments

The team that learns together, grows together

I watched an inspiring movie last week called ‘The Good Life’ about the plight of a group of Sudanese children displaced by war and their journey to resettlement in the US as young adults. It was a very moving story and I recommend watching it, but the thing that caught my…


Added by Carolyn Dean on March 9, 2015 at 10:32 — No Comments

Creating a Culture of Accountability takes Courage

Accountability is a buzzword in business today and an issue that we often hear complained about in our work with leadership teams around the country.  Our view is that high performance is founded on integrity and accountability, without those two elements the performance of any team, business or project will be undermined.

You can view accountability from two aspects – Being Accountable and having the structures, systems and processes that allow for an accountability to be managed…


Added by Carolyn Dean on February 3, 2015 at 14:10 — No Comments

Managing Paradox

One of the most common issues we encounter in our work with leadership teams is the struggle they have in getting their people to be accountable for communicating delivery problems early to allow time for the creation of a solution, as opposed to finding out at the time that something is due that it hasn’t happened.

When I ask the leaders why they think people cover up, hide or try to work problems…


Added by Carolyn Dean on January 30, 2015 at 12:01 — No Comments

Leadership Team 'Axis of Accountability' – Creating a High Performance Culture

An axis of accountability in a leadership team is the point at which there is an explicit shared accountability, as opposed to a group of independent accountabilities.  If there is no axis of accountability for a group, then there’s no need to develop the group as a team because there is no requirement for them to function as a team.

It could be argued that if you are a member of an executive or senior leadership team then it is implicit that you are accountable along with your fellow…


Added by Carolyn Dean on November 3, 2014 at 15:00 — No Comments

Develop High Performance Leadership Teams not just Leadership

Senior leadership teams, like other teams, need expert help in learning how to become better at working together over time.  It is important not to confuse leadership team development with a range of other activities such as facilitation, consultancy, team-building, group counselling, leadership development programmes or everyone on the team receiving individual coaching.

The reason why it is not sufficient to put a team into any exercise that is aimed at leadership development is…


Added by Carolyn Dean on August 25, 2014 at 15:16 — 2 Comments

Leader as Master Communicator

Being a great communicator is often associated with having the ability to speak well, but I think it’s worth looking more deeply into what being a great communicator means and its relationship to leadership.

What is it that we are really talking about when we label someone as a ‘great communicator’?  If they spoke articulately, but the people they are talking to are not moved in some way - have they gotten the job done?  If they spoke articulately, but they didn’t listen – would we…


Added by Carolyn Dean on September 4, 2012 at 16:32 — No Comments

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