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Leadership Lessons for 2018

Updated: Sep 4, 2019



During 2018 we had the privilege of learning from some wonderful leaders and companies. We have selected 13 of these learnings and want to share them with you in the hope that you will share them with your team. They are real issues and learnings from real people, anonymized so that all can benefit. We hope you enjoy them. Happy holidays and best wishes for a successful New Year.


One of the most powerful research findings in human selection is that leaders tend to pick people like themselves. Stop denying this and deal with it.

Leadership Lessons

  1. Doubling down and defending bad decisions diminishes your leadership. Accept your error with humility. Own it and then drive hard to make the change and correct it.

  2. Stop being a slave to your structure. What works in one situation might not work when circumstances change or high performance isn’t forthcoming. Stop being frustrated and create the new structure that will deliver what you need. Don’t build the structure around people. Fit the people to the best structure.

  3. I ought to be able to talk to every senior leader and hear consistency in how they describe the top 3 strategic priorities of your organization. This rarely happens and you must never tire in trying to solve this problem.

  4. You can’t make a determination of effective leadership absent of the performance those leaders create. If your overall company performance is average to your market, then you have an average team.

  5. Accountability requires consequences. If there are no consequences you have poor accountability.

  6. When selecting from candidates to join your leadership team, career experience, technical knowledge and skill are table stakes – TALENT is a force multiplier.

  7. Leaders who reference external issues…issues “beyond their control”… as reasons for not meeting their commitments, are rationalizing poor performance and failing to own their actions and decisions.

  8. When making key decisions, ensure you consult with those implementing the decision, and those affected by the decision, before you take it.

  9. One of the most powerful research findings in human selection is that leaders tend to pick people like themselves. Stop denying this and deal with it.

  10. We all want to achieve the ideal of taking fast, perfect decisions. Don’t delude yourself into thinking this is what you achieve. Better to be a little bit more thoughtful…and get it right…than be fast and wrong.

  11. Don’t wait for the downturn to change the players on your team. Make changes when you are succeeding and you might not see a downturn at all.

  12. Every hire you make sends a message to the organization about what you value and the standards you are prepared to accept. Don’t waste time trying to rationalize why that “B” candidate might fit.

  13. If you aren’t inspiring, energizing, motivating and engaging your organization, don’t expect others to do this for you.

TIM SCANNELL | GROUP PRESIDENT, STRYKER CORPORATION

Over the last five years, I have had the pleasure of working with Barry Conchie on a wide range of issues including team effectiveness, strategy, succession planning, talent selection, and executive coaching. He brings advice based on proven research and extensive real world experience. He will stretch and challenge your thinking and deliver advice in a well-reasoned, direct manner. I have been delighted with my interactions with Barry and appreciate the opportunity to frequently benefit from his wisdom.

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