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The Leader as a Sculptor

The Leader as a Sculptor

Chris Hirst

Chris Hirst

February 15, 2018

Leadership is a zero sum game, increased focus in one area must, as a direct consequence, lead to reduced focus in another. This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how hard people find it to do.

"The No Bullshit Leader must learn to filter."

LinkedIn

Chris Hirst

CEO, Havas Europe and UK

 

We live and attempt to lead in a world of unprecedented complexity and noise. It is easy for a leader in this context to be pulled hither-and-thither, what started as clarity and focus becoming lost in a welter of good (but unfocused and ineffective) intentions. Warren Buffet, on-and-off the world’s richest man, once advised his pilot that he too could fulfill his greatest ambition (note the singular), but he must first stop, discontinue and discard all others: a focused ambition can be achieved, a wish-list cannot. Success, advised Buffet, is a result of what you stop doing as much as it is what you start.

So many leaders become derailed through doing what they think a leader should do (often as defined by the received wisdom of leadership books or even peer pressure) rather than clearly identifying and acting in the areas that move them closer to their defined objective. The effective leader, therefore, must focus as hard on what she and her team are not going to do as much as they do identify what they will. Leadership is a zero-sum game, increased focus in one area must, as a direct consequence, lead to a reduced focus in another. This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how hard people find it to do.

In today’s complicated world there are many pressures on a leader that can obscure this clarity. We live in a world of HR programmes, security audits, timesheets and hiring policies; cultures, values, emails, speaker engagements, marketing, PR and social media, CSR programmes, and off-sites. All these things and many more, crowd into a leader’s day. Very rapidly the urgent forces out the important.

Furthermore, it is easy for any organization to see that many of these activities can be improved and how they are all important to the company’s future success. All seem to cry out for attention. The No Bullshit Leader must learn to filter. He or she must be ruthlessly single-minded in identifying where to start (and what to stop). 

Read the full article.

"The No Bullshit Leader must learn to filter."

LinkedIn

Chris Hirst

CEO, Havas Europe and UK

 

We live and attempt to lead in a world of unprecedented complexity and noise. It is easy for a leader in this context to be pulled hither-and-thither, what started as clarity and focus becoming lost in a welter of good (but unfocused and ineffective) intentions. Warren Buffet, on-and-off the world’s richest man, once advised his pilot that he too could fulfill his greatest ambition (note the singular), but he must first stop, discontinue and discard all others: a focused ambition can be achieved, a wish-list cannot. Success, advised Buffet, is a result of what you stop doing as much as it is what you start.

So many leaders become derailed through doing what they think a leader should do (often as defined by the received wisdom of leadership books or even peer pressure) rather than clearly identifying and acting in the areas that move them closer to their defined objective. The effective leader, therefore, must focus as hard on what she and her team are not going to do as much as they do identify what they will. Leadership is a zero-sum game, increased focus in one area must, as a direct consequence, lead to a reduced focus in another. This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how hard people find it to do.

In today’s complicated world there are many pressures on a leader that can obscure this clarity. We live in a world of HR programmes, security audits, timesheets and hiring policies; cultures, values, emails, speaker engagements, marketing, PR and social media, CSR programmes, and off-sites. All these things and many more, crowd into a leader’s day. Very rapidly the urgent forces out the important.

Furthermore, it is easy for any organization to see that many of these activities can be improved and how they are all important to the company’s future success. All seem to cry out for attention. The No Bullshit Leader must learn to filter. He or she must be ruthlessly single-minded in identifying where to start (and what to stop). 

Read the full article.

As UK CEO Chris leads 1,800 people across both Creative and Media disciplines working within the European HQ in Kings Cross.

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