4 Defenses for Leaders Riding the Speed of Change

Speed of changeWelcome to our latest issue focusing on 4 Defenses for Business Leaders in a geo-economy that can be highly unpredictable and hard to navigate. To find out more, please scroll down and read about the 1st defence in this blog. And if you are interested in utilizing our international expertise to build leadership confidence on every level of your organization, no matter where you are based, contact me on or view


1st Defense: Get your Organization to Function as a Whole by Jointly Developing Purpose & Vision

Madeleine van der Steege

Enabling those in the organization to function as a whole is much like preparing an orchestra to deliver its best performance. Each member is engaged to demonstrate mastery and to inspire others. The communal performance rests on solid, specific preparation, during which people make errors. They should play the parts they are comfortable with and flow with the unknowns that come up in the performance.

Paying attention to how people and functions interconnect across the organization and getting the peer economy to collaborate are often challenging. Centering activities, such as the clarity of a unified overall goal or purpose (‘we are in the business of’), acts like gravity. Yet an overall integrated performance involves so much more. An organizational vision is a practical tool, not just an abstract concept. It provides meaning and purpose to the existence of the organization and everyone in it.

“When people know the purpose of an organization, they don’t need to check in or get permission to take the next step; they just create value.  When people know the purpose, they are not waiting to be told what to do. – Nilofer Merchant 2012

IF you, the leader, and your leadership team, and the rest of the organization are not aligned to the essential purpose, vision and values of the organization (and this happens surprisingly often in the field), a systems coach can assist you in the process by collectively connecting you to your essential leadership and organizational purpose, vision, core values and a pliable strategy.  These organizational roots need to be deeply embedded for an organization to thrive in, let alone withstand, 21st century turbulence.

But how do you get everyone connected and caring while pressure is so high? Using systems coaching to reintegrate an organization creates sustainable improvements without excessively compromising ongoing operations. Systems coaching is an important organizational and leadership development process that spans multiple organizational levels. It is based on the notion that, as leaders, you are interested in getting support, but still want to own your organizational development. We use clients’ objectives (e.g. new vision or culture change) to strategically launch a combination of coaching forms, sometimes concurrently, to help organizations function collectively as more connected, integrated systems. These include one-on-one, local-global, divisional leadership, team, cross-functional, customer and cross-organisational coaching etc.

Leaders and teams can then reconnect on every level through more effective feedback loops and by crystallizing customer value and figuring out how to deliver this in unison.

Feedback on the Impact of systems coaching

We needed to strengthen our position in a highly competitive environment. To achieve this change, we looked for a company that would not only be able to help us define the direction, but also guide us in making it happen. We found an ideal partner in Synquity, with whom we worked very closely over a period of two years to incorporate changes we designed and which then enabled us to achieve a cultural change. I firmly believe that we as a company are now in a stronger place and better able to overcome the challenges facing us now and in the future. Ben Haneveld, CEO, NL.

I look forward to your comments or feedback. In our next blog we feature the 2nd Defense for leaders riding the speed of change : How to be a great Board member. Warmest regards Mads


Updates from our Partner Organizations

Women in Business – 17 – 18 March 2016
This two-day workshop addresses the issues of women in business.

Communication with Power and Impact for Women – 12 April 2016 Good leaders are good communicators. Come and find out more.

Fist Athena Award presented to Professor Dr Maria Grever in recognition of her contribution to promoting female talent. Professor Dr Maria Grever is the first recipient of this new award, which is intended for those who have made an exceptional contribution to promoting female talent and, as such, set an example for their colleagues. The Athena Award was set up by the Erasmus Network of Female Professors (ENVH).

Further details can be found at or contact our programme adviser Rianne van Reeuwijk

GLI’s new Leadership Quest App is now available.

For Global and Culturally Diverse Leaders and Leadership, edited by Jean Lau Chin, Joseph E. Trimble and Joseph E. Garcia:
How the Communal Philosophies of Ubuntu in Africa and Confucius Thought in China Might Enrich Western Notions of Leadership: Rob Elkington and Elizabeth Tuleja.

For Grassroots Leadership & The Arts For Social Change, edited by Susan Erenrich, and Jon Wergin:
The Notion of Ubuntu and Emergent Leadership as Expressed Through the Arts in Apartheid South Africa: Rob Elkington, Jennifer Moss and John Volmink.

GLI also offers online university-accredited leadership certificates at

GLI’s book Visionary Leadership in a VUCA World due for release in June 2016. Managing Editor: Madeleine van der Steege.

For more information contact Jill Sheen at UnitedSucces










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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Business


Top tips for Hi-Po talent

Top tips for Hi-Po talent
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  • Step up to the plate
  • Show your team and manager what you’ve got: do the hard work and deliver results with your projects, showing your value to the team
  • Find ways to enhance your self-understanding and clarify what you want to achieve
  • Review your tasks, projects and loose ends weekly and re-organize yourself so you can focus strategically and know where you are going
  • Evaluate: even if no-one else is evaluating and giving you feedback, take the time to evaluate projects yourself
  • Take initiative
  • Let your manager and team know specifically how to guide you in achieving your growth goals
  • Communicate often with managers about your challenges, career goals, feedback and needs
  • Communicate often with managers to get to know their needs and expectations for projects, your role, etc.
  • If you don’t know what to do, take the first step to figure it out
  • Seek out mentors from inside or outside your organization and industry to provide you with valuable insights
  • Create networks of other young talent
  • Continue learning: on the job, from research, read books, look online… keep developing yourself

Intergenerational teamwork helps you gain more benefit from organisational diversity. If you want coaching or training in these areas, please e-mail me on view or call me on +31 6308 85046.

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Business


Best intergenerational tips for managers with Hi-Po teams

Best intergenerational tips for managers with Hi-Po teams

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  • Create productive and innovative conditions for development
  • Provide stretching assignments that balance skill and challenge: if an assignment lacks challenge, it will move the employee towards boredom. However, if the assignment is too challenging without the necessary skill, it will create anxiety. If the balance is right, excitement and flow will develop
  • Give permission to make mistakes – most is learnt from failure, and failure can often stimulate deeper creativity
  • Focus on and role model what is important vs. only responding to urgent directives
  • Provide appreciation and feedback – acknowledge a job well done, give people a chance to speak without interruption, continue treating people with respect vs. “inferior”
  • Create mutual understanding of communication e.g.:
    • Regularly meeting to review during project lifetime vs. only at the end
    • Face-to-face feedback vs. written
    • Discuss and consult vs. “tell, announce”
    • Create clear mutual expectations
    • Discuss goals upfront
    • Provide role-description parameters (“You are leading/and responsible”) or you are facilitating and learning, but the Manager is responsible”)
    • Indicate expected standard of performance

Manage the intergenerational dynamics at the workplace, prevent disabling intergenerational conflict, improve intergenerational teamwork and gain more benefit from organisational diversity. If you want coaching or training in these areas, please e-mail me on view or call me on +31 6308 85046.

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Business


Are your leaders abusive?

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Are your leaders abusive? Ethical? Transformational?

Try out these free quizzes by the Queen’s School of Business and get feedback here:
If you want management coaching or training please e-mail me on view or call me on +31 6308 85046.

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Business


Mistakes to avoid in intergenerational conflict 

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  • Poor match between a manager and Hi-Po (high potential talent) team
  • Not alerting mixed-generational team of the possibility of upfront, unconscious biases and expectations
  • Allowing misperceptions to stockpile and reinforcing negative generational stereotypes
  • Exercising poor team practices (not clarifying goals or expectations upfront, absence of a forum for open communication, creating unsafe environment where people can’t learn from mistakes)
  • Incongruent and poor self leadership behaviour by manager (taking things personally and becoming insulting and attacking, publicly dumping negative perceptions about the team, becoming vengeful)
  • Reactive institutional support after problem arises (HR arbitrating communication and role expectations)
  • Absence of proactive mandate for good team practices, failure to train Hi-Po mentors and provide all-round education on good intergenerational dynamics and conflict-resolution mechanisms.

Preparing managers who are appointed to mentor a Hi-Po team, reduces the possibility of destructive intergenerational conflict that can stunt productive teamwork. To gain more benefit from organisational diversity, you can improve your Diversity IQ with our coaching or training in these areas. E-mail me on view or call me on +31 6308 85046.

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Business



Reference: The Divergent Generation: Will you be left factionless? Paper presented by Barron, Dykes, Gilbert, Lemaster and Whyte, ILA Conference, Barcelona, 2015

Intergenerational dynamics at the workplace and intergenerational conflict is common and can impact negatively on teamwork. To gain the benefit from organisational diversity, get coaching or training in Diversity IQ email me on and view or call me on +31 6308 85046.

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Business

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