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Pure Leadership

I've written a book!

a couple of years ago, a good friend and colleague, Andrew Scowcroft, suggested we draw together our experiences in developing managers and write a book. Well, I’m delighted to say that "Essential skills for managing in Health Care" will be published by Radcliffe in October.

What have i learned? Unless Andrew had suggested it, i would probably never have thought to write a book. I thought that only gurus and professors were able to do that sort of thing. I was wrong. Sometimes we discover that things we thought were impossible are right within our grasp

Traffic Lights

A piece in last Saturday’s papers caught my eye. Here’s an extract..

"Most traffic lights should be torn up as they make roads less safe, one of Europe’s leading road engineers said yesterday.

Hans Monderman, a traffic planner involved in a Brussels–backed project known as Shared Space, said that taking lights away helped motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to exist more happily and safely.

Road users take more care in Drachten as signs have been removed

Residents of the northern Dutch town of Drachten have already been used as guinea–pigs in an experiment which has seen nearly all the traffic lights stripped from their streets.

Only three of the 15 sets in the town of 50,000 remain and they will be gone within a couple of years.

The project is the brainchild of Mr Monderman, and the town has seen some remarkable results. There used to be a road death every three years but there have been none since the traffic light removal started seven years ago."

Later in the article, Mr Monderman explains that as drivers take more responsibility for their own actions, they drive more safely. Is there a lesson here for organisations who overload staff with procedures, targets, audits and checks? Maybe these actually make us act less, rather than more, responsibly?

reading about leadership

There are so many books about leadership that choosing one can be really difficult. Here are some of the most useful books I’ve read on the subject;

– The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge (Random House). A thoughtful take on how organisations really work. This is a book that repays a careful reading.

– Leadership and the New Science by Margaret Wheatley (Berrett Koehler). Absolutely fascinating exploration of what post–Einstein science can teach us about leadership and organisations.

– The Gospel of John. Lessons in leadership from the master. Try reading it in a modern translation such as The Message

– Birth of the Chaordic Age by Dee Hock (Berrett Koehler). Dee Hock is the man responsible for establishing Visa, a genuinely new kind of organisation. He has some profound and innovative thoughts on the future of organisations

– Leadership is an Art by Max DePree (Currency). I’ve just re–read this remarkable book. It’s a million miles away from the idea that leadership is just a set of techniques or clever tricks that anyone can master for any purpose. Instead it underlines the incredible responsibility, challenge and privilege of leadership. Inspirational