The latest insights on narrative, storytelling and leadership in higher education.

Category: Blog

Hong Kong skyline - University of Hong Kong case study

University of Hong Kong: Partnership with the Faculty of Science

  Paul has been a great help and collaborator over the last few years as we develop the Faculty’s capability.” Professor Matthew Evans Dean of Science The University of Hong Kong Since 2017 we’ve worked with the Faculty of Science at the University of Hong Kong, supporting emerging leaders and providing targeted academic development as new opportunities emerge. A client…

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From A to Z: writing that connects

What we say and do are regularly explored as ways we can improve our leadership. But what about what we write? How often do we think about the words that we choose to connect with others? Gathering together 25 insights from communications expert John Simmons, here’s how we can use writing to deepen our connections with the people that we…

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Chapter twenty-five: Y-z

You have been with me on this point-to-point exploration for something like 25 steps now. So you know that we’re nearing the end. And you’ve probably guessed that there’s only one subject to end with: endings. Writing is thinking, it is a thought rather than just a technique that provides the completeness.” Each piece of writing needs its own properly…

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Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser

Sustainability and leadership expert Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser is widely considered an expert authority on sustainability and leadership. Her current portfolio includes roles as Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, Secretary of State for Climate Change and Vice-Chair for the Resources Committee for the Peak District National Park, and as a Trustee for The Land Trust. What began as a love of…

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Chapter twenty-four: X-y

Xerxes is a favourite name from my childhood reading. My imagination was stirred by tales of the ancient world. Perhaps that’s why I quite like Xerox: it reminds me, deep down, of an almost legendary figure. We all have favourite words as well as favourite names.” We all have favourite words as well as favourite names. In workshops I often…

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Leadership in Culturally Significant Times

When we can no longer lean on predictability and predictive analysis, we need courage to face ambiguity, trust in ourselves and others, boldness in business continuity and – most poignantly – cultural leadership.

Chapter twenty-three: W-x

‘What’s in a name?’ goes the familiar quotation from Romeo and Juliet. Obviously quite a lot, as a name is the basis for our identities as individuals, brands or organisations. As Ruth Ozeki put it in her novel My Year of Meat: “How can you say ‘just a name’? Name is very first thing. Name is face to all the…

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Change is in the air

A braver and bolder look at what we do Under the lens of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve been reflecting more deeply on whether what we’re here to do stands-up to making the world a better place.” Like so many others, our thinking recently has been put into sharp focus. As it happened, 2020 was a…

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Chapter twenty-two: V-w

We demand individuality and memorability from our quotations.” Very few of you will have failed to notice that I like to use quotations. I like them for their own sake, because someone has said something enlightening, true or amusing, and also because they become part of the narrative argument. Last week I used the Dennis Potter quotation which, in a…

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Helena Clayton

Helena Clayton, leadership consultant, coach and advocate for leading with love, talks to Louise Clifton about what role love can play in the workplace.

Chapter twenty-one: U – v

The trouble with words is you never know whose mouths they’ve been in“Dennis Potter Usually adverts come one at a time and are soon forgotten. But when I was first writing The Invisible Grail, back in 2002, I arrived at Covent Garden tube station to go to work and was met by a long vista of Orange posters. Across the…

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Chapter twenty: T-u

Talking in someone else’s voice – is it ventriloquism? Impressionism? If so, a kind of impressionism that has nothing to do with Monet. Ironically, since I’ve been writing about finding your own voice, let me suggest an exercise that aims to do that by casting off your own voice altogether. Often you get a strange feeling reading something you have…

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What should we expect in the new academic year?

What values will we choose to shape 2020-21? Tweeting with staff developers and coaches, we lift the lid on what leadership, stories and purpose are being called for in the new academic year. As we step into a new academic year, we asked staff developers and coaches what values are being discussed in their institutions? How is their sense of…

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Chapter nineteen: S-t

Short words suit swift actions…But it can be a boring, monotonous diet for those having to take these words in.” Short simple words are the demands of the modern chief executive. Short words suit swift actions. Simple words fit clear decisions. But it can be a boring, monotonous diet for those having to take these words in. Or for the…

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Chapter eighteen: R-s

The sound of your words will tell you a lot – a stumble might point out the word you’re not sure about, a pause for breath might tell you when the sentence is too long.” Rise to your feet and feel the words coursing through your veins. Sometimes it’s no bad thing to stand and read your words aloud. The…

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The time to act is now: Embracing the leader within

In the frame of Black Lives Matter, is it time to find more fundamental ways to open our hearts and minds to greater humility, humanity and bravery in building our cultures at work? Undoubtedly, yes. But who should we look to, to unlock this potential? There’s a subdued frisson in the air. That ‘back to school’ feeling. September is around…

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