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Recent leadership articles

Developing Subject Matter Experts - What is Expertship


We all understand what leadership is. It is the art and science of leading organisations and the teams of people within them. Leaders are people who inspire others, who set the agenda, who makes things happen. 
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Our mission to help 10,000 subject matter experts: can you help?


Can you help us help 10,000 subject matter experts become much more valuable by adding more value to their organisations?
Here’s how we are attempting to do it:
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The super development combo: coaching and mentoring


Executive coaching versus mentoring 
What’s the difference between mentoring and coaching? Can they work together? And what are the desperate downsides to poor mentoring program set up? Today’s best leadership development programs exploit both to accelerate the capabilities and careers of high potential employees. And importantly, increases the leadership brand of the mentors. Alistair Gordon explains how to get the settings right.  Text



Induction and Onboarding: is there a difference?


Yes, there is. HFL Principal Consultant  Maria Leske explains that while helping a client select external talent for a new role, the organisation was putting its significant investment at risk because it was failing to position the new hire for success. Text



It's time to kill off the Individual Development Plan


HFL works with more than a thousand leaders a year, and their experience – when it comes to IDPs – is astonishingly consistent. The vast majority find undertaking annual performance reviews, at best, uncomfortable and, at worst, phony or pointless. Text



Succession risk: New challenges require new techniques


Every organisation has pivotal roles – individuals who often make an impact well beyond their pay grade and tenure. These roles are increasingly complex which makes succession harder to plan and replacement an expensive and risky business. Text



The great talent divide


How expert are your technical experts, and how can you tell? What career paths exist for them, and where are these documented? There exists, in many organisations, a ‘Great Talent Divide’: plenty of resources, frameworks and support for people leaders, but little or none for technical leaders.  Text



The question leadership facilitators fear most, and why


Is it possible that developing high potentials via accelerated leadership programs could lead to an exodus of that talent? And what does this have to do with the question that most leadership facilitators fear most? Text



The Geek Gap


As organisations rely more heavily on their technical infrastructure, technical experts – or ‘geeks’ as they are sometimes referred to – are having a growing influence on how businesses operate. The issue is that, despite these people being in critical roles and very difficult to replace, they are often left sitting outside the formal leadership structure.  Text



Leadership in Action


HFL has been designing and delivering action learning in all its various forms (including business simulations and complex multi-stage role plays) for many years. Over this time built up our Seven Most Important Rules for Successful Action Learning Projects.  Text



How we really feel about feedback


Years ago, at a conference in the US, I met with a statistician who was responsible for processing all of the 360-degree feedback responses associated with a 78-question leadership questionnaire. He had been doing some “number crunching” – analysing a massive data set of more than 100,000 people who had participated in the questionnaire globally – to see if there were any interesting patterns  Text



There’s No Single Template for Innovation


There are three different kinds of innovation for which all businesses must strive in order to survive. HFL Principal Associate, Jolyon Bone, examines the different kinds of innovation and why they require different kinds of leadership. Text



Virtual Leaders need to learn to lead virtually


It has been a matter of great debate: Do virtual leaders need to lead differently to leaders who work with proximate (same office) teams? Based on extensive research, and the piloting of new modules aimed at helping virtual teams work more effectively, the debate is over, argues Alistair Gordon. Text



How to triple the ROI from your leadership programs


To achieve returns on investment from L&D strategies, programs need to focus on Return on Learning - before thought goes into workshop content and beautifully created workplaces. Leadership programs can deliver up to 3x greater ROI if effort centres on how new skills and behaviours are applied in the real world work environment. Overcome the 5 Killers of Return on Learning. Text



4 Steps to a Killer Internal Pitch


The role of leader comes with a certain authority that allows us to gain buy-in from others - simply because of our job title.  But this authoritarian approach is not only outdated, it’s also not very effective. It may appear that we’ve successfully engaged others in our plans, but are they really committed?  And, of course, there are those who are out of our span of control – the Board, for example. So, is there a better way?  Yes, of course.  We call it ‘the internal pitch’. Text



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