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Issue 17 October 2013
The leader’s focus
Leaders can dramatically boost their performance by paying attention, says Emotional Intelligence author Daniel Goleman in an interview with Forbes Magazine. Focus, he argues, is crucial to achieving outstanding results. Goleman identifies three types of attention: “inner” focus or self-awareness, "other" focus or our ability to empathize with others and "outer" focus, which allows leaders to anticipate developments. Goleman cites Steve Jobs as an example of a leader whose single-minded focus shaped Apple's winning business strategy. He advises leaders seeking to improve their attention skills to focus fully on their work, to gather feedback on their performance and to repeat winning moves, as this strengthens the brain circuitry for them. Focus is like a mental muscle, says Goleman. Leaders need to learn how to flex it.
> Full story: Daniel Goleman: “Why Professionals Need Focus”, interviewed by Forbes Magazine, (8 October 2013)
For further information: “Focus – The Hidden Driver of Excellence” by Daniel Goleman, HarperCollins Publishers, 2013.
Corporate governance: tackling moral issues, not ticking boxes
When it comes to corporate governance most companies prefer to tick boxes rather than tackle messy questions of morals and cultural values, writes author Joseph Zammit-Lucia in The Guardian. But today’s citizens expect more socially responsible approach from business, he warns. Activist groups and, increasingly, governments and other institutions, will denounce firms that are perceived to be behaving unethically, even if their conduct is technically permissible. What are the implications for business leaders, asks the author? They need to start a dialogue and make social, cultural and moral discussion the subject of every project or investment proposal. Firms that succeed in growing acute and sensitive cultural antennae to supplement their understanding of markets, customers, ROI, will easily outperform their competitors, the author concludes.
> Full story: Joseph Zammit-Lucia, Businesses cannot avoid involvement in cultural, social and moral issues” in The Guardian (24 September 2013).
Chief Marketing Officer: changing role breeds new “species”
Radical changes in the business environment and multi-dimensional professional demands are forcing the CMO role to evolve, giving rise to a new species of leader. The profiles of two successful CMOs can now look so different that it is hard to believe they hold the same positions, according to Egon Zehnder consultants Dick Patton and Rory Finlay in BusinessWeek. In their view, the CMO role is quickly diversifying across five critical axes, each marked by discrete tensions. These axes include, for example, the all-round business leader vs. the specialist marketing guru or the forward-looking innovation champion vs. the sales-now shopper expert. Few CMOs currently have a broad enough palette of competences to span these borders. The next step in the CMO evolutionary chain, say the authors, will be a leader who blends both comprehensive and specialized perspectives to guide the company’s ever-widening range of strategic marketing demands.
> Full story: Dick Patton and Rory Finlay: “The Evolution of a New Species of CMO” in BusinessWeek (23 September 2013).
Academic leadership: time for a brave new business model?
After flourishing for decades, MBAs are now undergoing a major transformation, driven by a growing focus on specialization and disruptive technological innovation, reports The Economist. While distance-learning is nothing new, many of the more prestigious universities are now investing heavily in online classroom technology, in a bid to stay on top of the game. But with MBA students given more choice, business schools may be forced to compete on price. Change management is therefore near the top of the agenda of higher education leaders, who need to review their business models to keep their institutions innovative yet profitable, the magazine concludes.
> Full story: “The MBA is being transformed for better and for worse”, in The Economist (12 October 2013)
For further insight, read: “E-Literacy: The Need for Leadership Change in the Business of Higher Learning” by Victoria Dimitrakopoulos, Egon Zehnder.