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by Alan Hargreaves

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Entries in management (61)


Charisma: have you got any?

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Has the “celeb” thing plundered this old word?

Charisma derives from Charis, an associate of Aphrodite in Homer’s Odyssey. Charis was beautiful, but not a central character. Nothing about her seemed particularly special. She was like many of today’s “celebs”: she looked OK but didn’t do much. 

We could make similar observations about celebrity CEOs. They don’t make much difference either. Several studies show corporate performance to be anywhere from average to disastrous under so-called charismatic leaders.

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Getting most of what you want

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They are feeling the heat too

What surprises me most in negotiations is when the other side folds. It comes out of the blue. It doesn’t seem to reflect the strength of my position. It’s often contrary to how they had presented, even the table-thumpers.

I’m not a particularly skilled or highly experienced negotiator. But one thing I’ve noticed is it’s always darkest before dawn. Just when I think I have been worn down, I find out they have been too. 

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Reframe your business thinking

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The lever you need to press is attitude.

We often think we are letting go of old ideas when in reality we are just adjusting our grip. Our lateral notion of change turns out to be cosmetic, not fundamental.

We sometimes see change only in physical terms, like an actual product or an operational process.

Those things are an outcome of change, not a driver of it. What needs to shift first is attitude.

Exactly what is a lateral idea in business?

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Timing and luck

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Are successful people right, lucky or both?

In the mid-1980s, I listened to Nobel prize-winning finance professor, William Sharpe, address the Hong Kong Society of Securities Analysts.

Sharpe was one of our heroes, having developed the Capital Asset Pricing Model, or CAPM. (We don’t need to go into that here but for investment geeks CAPM is up there with sex).

Then the professor told us it was impossible to consistently beat the market.

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What I learned at the Olympics

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Focus on the now, not the result.

My daughter, an equestrian, rode for Australia at the London Olympics.

Her campaign, however, started long before that. She moved herself and her horse to Germany almost two years before to lift her game. She needed to train and compete at the elite level. Olympians in any sport do much the same.

Performance on the day is the ultimate test, but the preparation is crucial. It requires intense commitment in the right environment.

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