In 1886, William Gladstone was up against Benjamin Disraeli to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In the very last week before the election, both men happened to take the same young woman out to dinner. Naturally, the press asked her what impressions the rivals had made. She said: "After dining with Mr Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest person in England. But after dining with Mr Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest person in England." This story, from Olivia Fox Cabane's book The Charisma Myth, illustrates a key ingredient of charisma: the ability to make people feel important. Former US President Bill Clinton was renowned for this ability. At a breakfast Continue Reading
Many of us look back on the London 2012 Olympics with fond memories. For me, it was about memorable days at the volleyball and badminton with my sister and two nephews. But it was also about the sheer energy and excitement that surrounded the event. The success of the London 2012 Olympics makes it a great engagement case study, so I was delighted to be invited to the London Business Forum recently to see a presentation by Jean Tomlin, the event's HR Director. You can view the full talk and also download the audio at the London Business Forum site. Here are just five of Jean's insights that resonated with me. 1. Clarity of mission, vision and values Establishing a clear sense of Continue Reading
"At some point in the last few years it became okay for people to ignore the majority of words that cross their desk." So begins Ian Harris's Hooked on You, which advocates using stories to cut through your readers' attention deficit issues, and gives you practical advice on how to do so. Having seen Ian's talk at Google - which you can see at the foot of this post - I was excited to read more about his approach. I've had a keen interest in storytelling for several years. As it's increasingly become an industry buzz word, books extolling its virtues have proliferated. I really liked the similarly-titled Hooked, which also offers a practical approach but focuses more on Continue Reading
This post was originally published in October 2014 as a guest post for the Department for Work and Pensions 'Leadership Matters' blog. David Wraith has worked in internal communications and employee engagement roles for over 20 years, and was part of the DWP Internal Communications team between 2006 and 2011. He is currently Engagement and Communications Manager at global services provider Sodexo. In 2011, he set up the website www.movieleadership.com to promote how movies can be used to inspire leaders and build leadership capability. In his blog, David looks at how the site came about, what he gets out of it and some key lessons from popular movies. Five years ago I was on a DWP Continue Reading
Recently I joined over 400 people at a talk by Tal Ben-Shahar, one of the world's leading happiness researchers, organised by Action for Happiness. Action for Happiness? Sounds a little 'new age' doesn't it? And, until a few years ago, you'd never have caught me at a happiness event. But in the last few years, I've become more acquainted with positive psychology and research around wellbeing and happiness, including studies featured in Tal's book Happier. As a result, I've changed my outlook completely. And I came away from this event feeling lighter, more empowered, and full of ideas and positivity. Understanding the factors that increase personal happiness can not just help us as Continue Reading
Several colleagues of mine recently attended the Changeboard Future Talent Conference, and we watched one of the sessions at a recent meeting. Sir Anthony Seldon is the Master of Wellington College, biographer of three recent British Prime Ministers, and the co-founder of Action for Happiness.
In this entertaining TED-style talk, he touches on the state of education, lifelong learning, mindfulness, and the importance of living your life in accordance with your deepest values.
It’s also a great example of how a talk with no slides can keep an audience completely engaged – and really make you think.