A shudder of sand dusts the tent walls as he flips over for the umpteenth time, sleeping bag mangling in the decision-burdened wakefulness of the long night. Backwards and forwards, body echoing mind – get on the river, or get out. Ke garne? The sleepfree mangler: Pat O’Keeffe: white-water adventurer; charismatic guide and pioneer of big river journeys in the world’s wilder places. A man with a fearsome reputation and, tonight, a head full of

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There’s nothing new about VUCA. And nothing bad about it either Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous “The world is changing too fast!” “I don’t understand it – scary!” “Crikey –it’s all so vague” ‘Doomed!’ ‘Everybody panic!’ This is what I’m hearing and reading in leadership conferences, papers, coffee time chats and with continuous splatter across social and mainstream media. Really? Is it really any different to what has gone before? Is the world really wobbling and

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Vision is dead (long live visioning) It’s time to stop focusing on vision – on peering forward into the mystical never-never prescribing an ideal state And expecting leaders to have a magical ability to predict, present and make possible the future Let’s let go of confining ourselves to a potentially unrealistic and inherently limiting end-point, to a ‘vision’. Because whilst vision may be a “compelling picture of the future that inspires commitment” (Manasse 1986[i]), it

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Leadership is agency + recognition (no followers needed) Leadership is… Which leadership? Strong, authentic, dispersed, distributed, collective, authentic…. the list of collocations, of adjectival friends to leadership is an indicator of how confused we are about what this slippery word actually means. It means many things to different people. The meaning is, I would say, different contextually (according to the situation), spatially (according to the place, the location) culturally (according to our philosophical origins, the

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Reflecting on a recent leadership development program delivered in Peru that brought university leaders and Ministry of Education agencies together at this critical change point for Peruvian HE, I’m struck once more about the relationship-leadership nexus. How important it is to value and to create more value from our relationships in order to know and then achieve our aims, to have a presence and create impact. Is the glue of leadership the practice of relationships?

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Old world leadership in a new world of change and uncertainty Yesterday-today: the past lingers on The mainstream view of leaders and leadership (in the media, in organisations, the public, in leadership development providers) seems to be that leadership is vested in one individual (leader). The leader is there for his (and it is gendered [Ford, 2006; Sinclair 2007; Sandberg 2013 [i]etc]) followers and supporters as one or all roles: spokesperson, decision-maker, driver, motivator, ideas

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Some work I was involved in supporting the effort to rebuild tourism, to rebuild economies after the devastation of the April 2015 earthquake (and the subsequent and equally crushing media coverage) Tourism represents around 4% of direct GDP and has a multiplier effect of 9x, so 36% It is an economic / livelihoods pathway out of disaster, out of poverty. It is also hugely valuable for inter-cultural relations, for self-esteem, for knowing we’re not forgotten.

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“Before you speak, think: is it necessary, will it improve on the silence?” A few weeks ago I was invited to deliver a session helping leaders be better public speakers. The inviter is the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS), a flourishing contributor to thinking on new ways of developing leaders, and indeed on leadership- leading itself. Set in the magnificent landscape of the UK’s Lake District, a place I know and love, and on

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In my professional consultancy career to date working with organisations large and small in the private, third and government sectors; and un-organisations (for example the quake-hackers[1] movement in Nepal) facilitating leadership development in various contexts I have experienced both new and incumbent leaders failing, growing and succeeding in their leadership roles, and in their development of leaderfulness, at all stages of their careers. One of the key questions I have asked, and that leadership studies

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