Dierke Houben Insights

2016-01-14

Article, originally published in German, in: OrganisationsEntwicklung. Zeitschrift für Unternehmensentwicklung und Change Management

"Systemically considered, a cat and a tiger are pretty similar – however, you would do best to treat them quite differently!" This metaphor by the British historian Robert Conquest succinctly summarizes the challenge of team coaching at the top: Top management teams are an exceptional species. Successful coaching work with these teams, is critically dependent not only on recognizing their unique characteristics, but also on turning them into key levers for team development.

2014-10-01

Interview, originally published in German, in: OrganisationsEntwicklung. Zeitschrift für Unternehmensentwicklung und Change Management

Alpha managers’ strengths are top team’s burden. In an increasingly complex, uncertain and volatile world, effective collaboration in the C-suite is a key lever for success. Yet too often, non-teams prevail at the top: Individualistic mindsets and unilateral agendas of alpha executives determine the path taken, thus leaving significant potential untapped. In order to realize the full "Return on Collaboration", teams have to develop a practice of reflective dialogue.

2013-11-01

Article, originally published in German, in: managerSeminare. Das Magazin für Führungskräfte

Teams at the top are non-teams: groups of highly self-assertive alpha executives, whose autopilots direct them to thrive primarily for individual results. But lasting outstanding corporate performance can only be achieved through a collective logic of performance in the team at the top. CEOs and their top teams have to master thoroughly Seven Disciplines of Team Success to overcome the barriers that block effective team performance.

HHL - No. 1 Business School in Germany

It is an honor to be part of the HHL faculty as HHL once again is named the No. 1 Business School in Germany 🏆. In a comparison of 107 universities in Germany, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management reached the top rank in five out of eight categories, once again leaving behind a large number of private and public business schools. The empirical basis of this year's trendence Graduate Barometer "German Business Edition" are the responses to a survey from 13,646 students during the 2017/18 winter term.

Digitization and "good old things" at HHL

At HHL Forum on "Leadership in the Digital Age" at Leipzig Graduate School of Management, we had the pleasure to talk to Prof. August-Wilhelm Scheer, "the" pioneer on digitized processes. Scheer was just appointed to the "Hall of Fame of German Research" for his unique Integration of innovation spirit and entrepreneurship. He highlighted that digitization will have one major impact, not to be underestimated: to gain time and energy for "the good old things", like sharing experience, personal coaching, building relationships, talking to each other. This hits the core of our work: For us, leadership in the digital age is all about enabling and empowering individuals and people networks throughout the organization to collaborate for innovation and superior results.

Great to learn from Jim Collins in London

"OK – so, who has looked in the mirror this morning and saw one of those visionary, larger-than-life leaders?" In his first interactive Leadership Session in Europe since 20 years, Jim Collins got it straight at the start! NOBODY, nobody should ever stop learning. Exactly this learner’s attitude and curiosity enabled him to define The #1 differentiating step from "Good to Great" – "Level 5 Leadership". Indeed, he wanted to take "Leadership" off his research agenda and had to question his own basic assumptions as he learned quite the contrary from his team: It is Level 5 Leadership, framed as Personal Humility, that makes a Great Leader – quite a challenge to the heroic leadership attitudes that we often observe. To create motivation and buy-in effectively and lasting, leaders have to neglect their ego and focus on the purpose: "Personal Humility channels the energy to the cause, not the person. Thus, make people follow the cause, not the person!"

Integrating Google's Mindfulness Practices

"Search Inside Yourself", an awareness training developed for Google to enhance personal growth, is nowadays an integral part of our clients' Leadership Camps and Leadership Teaching. We had the privilege to take part in the first European training in Berlin, today offered in multiple major cities across Europe. It is a refreshing practical reference to Daniel Goleman who taught us years ago about the power of Emotional Intelligence. What sticks still in our minds? Well, learning to be in the "here + now" takes time, endless efforts, it doesn’t come easily – thus, it's best if you do it with a benevolent "grandmotherly mind"! When your thoughts start wandering around and you need to refocus your attention to the breathing, do it with a light heart and a smile. Remember: What was your grandmother’s reaction when she found her sofa covered with coloured hands from your paintbox – while you were hiding, feeling guilty? "Oh, never mind, that’s alright, my darling, you creative little artist". Yes, that's a "grandmotherly mind", forgiving, generous, tender, loving!

Our Executive Training on Leadership at HHL

Leading your Self; Leading your Team; Leading your Organization - this is the core of our Executive Programme on Leadership at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management that we lectured in May 2018. Our next Leadership Training at HHL will be in February 2019. Again we focus our teaching and interactive learning for a group of international executives on our major goals: The executive students learn... to reflect one's personal contribution to effective/ ineffective leadership; to understand the strengths and weaknesses of specific leadership styles; to analyze real-life leadership challenges within teams and organisations based on state-of-the-art theory. The programme uses a combination of lectures, group discussions, self reflection, case studies, small team assignments and action learning – highly effective and appreciated by the executives as the high gradings in course evaluation feed back!

7th series of our Top 100 Leadership Camps

In 2018 we will run our next Leadership Camp series for another one of our clients. Again, we design and run this Leadership Camp in 6 waves with our client’s Top 100. We will work with small cross-functional groups of 15-20 managers, focussing on two major goals: 1. "Aligning the Top 100 Management Team" to jointly reflect and adapt behaviours according strategy and to collaborate more effectively; 2. "Developing the individual’s leadership capabilities" to enhance self-reflection and personal growth and to connect on a personal level for trustful relationships. Enriched by state-of-the-art knowledge and Insead Group Coaching, the Camps are a unique, highly appreciated and effective blend of small team assignments, group discussions, self-reflection based on 360° feedback reports, open peer feedback, case studies, action learning, and Google’s Mindfulness Practices. As "culture is behaviour", our Leadership Camps serve not only as a powerful engine for culture transformation. The Camps serve also as a highly powerful lever for bringing and keeping strategy alive, recalling Peter Drucker’s famous warning "culture eats strategy for breakfast"!

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