Phil’s Picks for December: New articles for HR Director, and an impressive leader…

1) Online leadership communities: where are we at?

I’m writing a series of three articles for HR Director on the state of play in using in-house online leadership communities to develop leaders in a ‘community of practice’, as an alternative to, or to supplement, existing leadership development.

The articles are based on eight years of running such a community of practice for one of the largest companies in the world.

Article One: Open Source Leadership – The Future of Leadership Development?

Article Two: The Problem – And Possible Solution – With Leadership Development

2) A leader who really impresses me

One of the joys of running an in-house leadership community is you get to spot wonderful leaders who may not be known as such to the outside world.

These are every day leaders who do it right, in the moment, consistently, and lead by example.

After eight years of running IHG’s Leaders Lounge – their leadership development platform that we built and facilitate for them – I am so impressed by this leader and want to quickly share, as I think she models 21st century leadership for the rest of us.

Emily Chang, Chief Commercial Officer, Greater China, IHG

Emily Chang

Here’s what her colleagues said about her in the community when I asked them to identify great leadership within IHG and describe what it looks like:

“I would like to nominate Emily Chang, the Chief Commercial Officer of Greater China.

I think she is the only female CCO in our company as well.

Five reasons why Emily is an example of how to lead at IHG:

1. She is a smart learner. She joined IHG China from another great company (Apple) last year. She has worked for P&G before but IHG is her first hospitality experience. She learned very fast not through others but her own first hand experience. For example she went to “sleep with the enemy” herself for our competitor hotels. She set an example of how we can develop insights quickly from doing ourselves, not only listening.

2. She is a bold change agent. The first task when Emily started her current role was to tackle the decline RGI/market share challenges in July last year. She has implemented a new organization structure in sales marketing and put together an integrated action plan. She is daring to implement the changes under the performance pressure. The result? The whole team has turned around the RGI after 4 months in November. No risk, no gain. Courage is the first step to build a high performance team.

3. She is a great teacher. Despite her busy schedule, Emily organizes regular “Lean in Lunches” with the women in the office to talk about various topics on how to help them advance their career and life. She will collect the topics and put together the content by herself. Some topics cover, for example, “how to manage your energy to achieve work life balance”, “How to enter the boy’s club?”etc. She shared her knowledge and experience and I was often inspired by the conversation. She also set up a little library beside her office to share great books with us.

4. She brings energy. Energy is the new leadership. I was amazed often by how she can be a caring mother for 2 babies while managing such a big team and responsibility. She brings laughter and injects energy into every single conversation. It takes energy to inspire, motivate people during the change process.

5. She is a creative storyteller. Emily communicates in a very effective way. She can make complicated things simple, make simple things meaningful, and make meaningful things fun. She can not only explain well, but also draw well!

What I appreciate about Emily: she will always make the efforts to share her thinking from those senior meetings with everyone in her team (normally it’s live broadcasting as she does it right after the meeting; see below for example).  She prefers to build a flat, transparent communication instead of following the hierarchy.”


Here’s a link to Emily’s micro articles on LinkedIn, which are brilliant. You can find them here.

Look at how simple drawing can be used as a powerful leadership tool, not just words, in Emily’s micro-articles.

Congruency: Do you experience this every day? >>

Courage and Leadership: More from Alper Utku

More from Alper Utku’s Open Heart Leadership blog. He and I have a weekly dialog/ue where I challenge Alper’s ideas and the ones that survive being hit with a hammer go through to form Alper’s blog posts. Please feel free to comment on them yourself to help Alper sharpen his definition of a form of leadership fit for the 21st century. He’s posting on Courage this week and next. Here’s an excerpt from his second post:

I was talking with a friend, Stuart Turnbull, who is particularly interested in love in organizations, and we realized that the word ‘courage’ has its root in ‘heart’. ‘Cour’ = ‘coeur’ (’heart’ in French). That explains why Courage seems to sit at the core of Open Heart Leadership, as it is about acting from the heart.

In Turkish, we have the same connection as the Latin root: being courageous almost translates directly to being ‘heartful’. That brings us to the word ‘encouraging’, which also has ‘heart’ at its core, and is about nurturing courage in others to do the right thing – an essential part of leadership.

If we follow this ‘heart’ link, it is a vital topic in different philosophies. In Sufi-ism, the heart is the ‘house of the divine’ and you are promised a state of no fears, no worries if you connect completely with the heart.

Manfred Clynes, the psychologist (see the MindMap jpeg in the post below) has a basic construct of emotional rhythms he calls ‘Sentic States’. He says they are universal, shared across cultures by all humanity. The seven Sentic States have been linked to the seven chakras of the body by Peter Hawkins of the Bath Consultancy Group, who has used the model in training.

The seven Sentic States are:

Post continues here (August 26th)

Courage and Leadership

I’m working with Alper Utku to help him define a kind of leadership that matches what we need as individuals and organizations in the 21st Century. Alper dubs it Open Heart Leadership and has started a blog to try and define it in theory and in practice.

Here’s his first post on the subject, which I worked with him to create:

Courage and Open Heart Leadership

“OK, so we’ll use these posts to chip away at the definition of Open Heart Leadership, like a sculptor, by working through some critical elements – Courage, Realness, Intimacy and so on.

Let’s start with a few posts on Courage. Below is link to a MindMap on the Open Heart Leadership blog that I created to help me think this through. If you want to take a look, click on the jpeg of the MindMap a couple of times to get your ‘magnifier’ to work, so you can read it. Or, download the jpeg and use your viewer to magnify it so you can read it.

I’ll then blog further this week on some of the elements in the MindMap to pull together how Courage is part of Open Heart Leadership.

Here’s the link (It’s posted on August 25th): The Open Heart Leadership Blog: Courage; The MindMap