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An easy way for leaders to learn

Posted on: May 21st, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

It is said that a good or effective blog answers a relevant question. That being the case, here is a question every leader serious about being futurefit ought to be asking: How can I learn? Pause for a moment and think about leadership and learning. Many leaders are not learners. Learning is something that has […]

Leaders are the Brokers of Hope

Posted on: May 12th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

J.F. Kennedy once said that, “the problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by sceptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were”. And I am sure that by ‘men’ JFK would have also meant ‘women’ in the intent of his […]

Curiosity and How to avoid the ‘How To’ Seduction

Posted on: May 5th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

The statistics and our own research conclusively points to the fact that ‘how to’ headlines, titles and literature sells. (This being the case any article with not one but two ‘how to’s’ in the title ought to be a complete winner!)‘How to do this’ and ‘how to do that’ dominates leadership literature and has permeated […]

The One Thing Leaders Cannot Ignore

Posted on: April 28th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

The leader’s world is one that is busy, demanding and complex. Many leaders find themselves distracted to the point where they are no longer ‘present’. In this world there can be many ‘casualties’ as things get overlooked, taken for granted or ignored. Culture is one such thing. Peter Drucker once said that, ‘culture eats strategy […]

On Leadership: Disruption – Friendly Fire that doesn’t have to kill you

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

Friendly fire in a military context is often associated with tragic fatalities. However, it can also serve as welcome reinforcements, shift the momentum and win the battle. Disruption is ‘friendly fire’ and will either be the thing that kills you or the catalyst in winning the battle. The not so simple reality is that disruption […]

The question every CEO needs to ask HR

Posted on: March 31st, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

There is the well-worn clique that, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast every day’ but the reality is, it is spot-on. Organisational culture matters. It is within your culture – the way ‘we do things around here’, that your organisational DNA is located. Companies that are able to respond to an exponentially changing context, companies that […]

Change: The Marching Tune for Leaders

Posted on: March 24th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

In TIDES of Change TomorrowToday identifies five major disruptive change drivers shaping the new world of work. Understanding change is important if we are to engage with both the threats and opportunities that change invites. A brief synopsis of the five disruptive change drivers are: Technology: Technology has many faces but the one being felt […]

Leading Difference: 7 Questions Leaders Need to Ask.

Posted on: March 23rd, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

Anthropologist Kate Fox in her wonderful book, Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, makes the following point: The principal effect of globalization, as far as I can tell, has been an increase in nationalism and tribalism, a proliferation of struggles for independence, devolution and self-determination and a resurgence of concern about ethnicity […]

Of course you need to change, everyone does

Posted on: March 12th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

Credit Suisse, one of our major TomorrowToday clients, are currently welcoming new boss Tidjane Thiam into the chief executive hot seat. Thiam, formerly the head of Prudential, hails from the Ivory Coast and is a well-respected figure in the banking world. L&G Chief Executive, Nigel Wilson was quoted in City A.M. as saying that, “Tidjane […]

Play Well: A lesson for leaders when it comes to serious play

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

Who is the biggest tyre company in the world? You might be tempted to say Goodyear or Bridgestone but you would be wrong. In fact the biggest (or maybe the smallest) tyre company in the world is LEGO. Today, LEGO produces some three hundred million tyres per year more than either Goodyear or Bridgestone. Brick […]

The Quest for Atomic Fusion: A lesson for leaders everywhere

Posted on: February 24th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

When talking to Steve Cowley one is aware that you are in the presence of a great mind. Steve is one of the world’s leading scientists and is the CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Professor of Physics at Imperial College London and Head of the EURATOM / CCFE Fusion Association – the Culham […]

The Need for Leaders to be Future Fit: Why it is important and what it will take

Posted on: February 17th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

I am guessing that we have all had sporadic but inspirational bursts of the desire to get ‘into shape’- to repel the advancing years and waistline and slay the beast. The outcome is usually to get to the gym or don the less-worn running shoes and get to work. All too often these endeavours prove […]

Beyond titles and tag-lines: Bringing out the best in your team

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

It is an idea so simple, a suggestion so commonplace, it is hard to believe it can be something so overlooked or neglected. In their book ‘Organisations’ authors Bryan Bonner and Alexander Bolinger write about how to get the best out of a team formed to take on a task. Their findings? Get the team […]

The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory’ is a Chinese proverb that I recently stumbled upon and is one that I believe captures an important point for leaders. It is a good reminder to leaders for two specific reasons: Firstly, as a leader you will be part of many conversations. Some of […]

Uncertainty: The new uncomfortable terrain for leaders

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

Smart leaders know that things are shifting. Shifting rapidly. Actually, I don’t think that you need to be all that smart as a leader to know this! The full impact and messy reality of globalisation, intertwined economies, scary fundamentalism, clashing agendas, colliding worldviews and a creaking planet are all meshed together through rampant technologies that […]

Because I’m awesome: A Gen Y perspective

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

Sitting at my regular coffee shop recently (some enviously refer to it as ‘my office’) I overheard the manager interviewing a young man (he must have been around 18) who was obviously looking for a job. After the usual back-and-forth that didn’t deviate from the prescribed script, the manager comes up with this great question: […]

A Hitchhikers Guide to Leadership

Posted on: January 20th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

“Have your article in by close of play tomorrow” I was abruptly informed and thus another deadline monster comes menacingly to life. What to write? How can I attempt to add value to your life as a leader? What is it you need to hear….want to hear? Well, when it comes to leadership (and writing) […]

Six Things you need to know about Leadership Development Programmes

Posted on: January 16th, 2015 by Keith Coats No Comments

As TomorrowToday we have the privilege to both design and participate in Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) throughout the world. We work internationally with some of fineness business schools and blue-chip multi-nationals in this arena. We have seen a great deal: some of it excellent, a lot of it very poor. It is an area of […]

Six Things You Need To Know About Leadership Development Programmes #6

Posted on: October 3rd, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

As TomorrowToday we have the privilege to both design and participate in Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) throughout the world. We work internationally with some of fineness business schools and blue-chip multi-nationals in this arena. We have seen a great deal: some of it excellent, a lot of it very poor. It is an area of […]

Six Things You Need To Know About Leadership Development Programmes #5

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

As TomorrowToday we have the privilege to both design and participate in Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) throughout the world. We work internationally with some of fineness business schools and blue-chip multi-nationals in this arena. We have seen a great deal: some of it excellent, a lot of it very poor. It is an area of […]

Six Things You Need To Know About Leadership Development Programmes #4

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

As TomorrowToday we have the privilege to both design and participate in Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) throughout the world. We work internationally with some of fineness business schools and blue-chip multi-nationals in this arena. We have seen a great deal: some of it excellent, a lot of it very poor. It is an area of […]

Six Things You Need To Know About Leadership Development Programmes #3

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

As TomorrowToday we have the privilege to both design and participate in Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) throughout the world. We work internationally with some of fineness business schools and blue-chip multi-nationals in this arena. We have seen a great deal: some of it excellent, a lot of it very poor. It is an area of […]

Six Things You Need To Know About Leadership Development Programmes #1

Posted on: September 25th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

As TomorrowToday we have the privilege to both design and participate in Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) throughout the world. We work internationally with some of fineness business schools and blue-chip multi-nationals in this arena. We have seen a great deal: some of it excellent, a lot of it very poor. It is an area of […]

Six Things You Need To Know About Leadership Development Programmes #2

Posted on: September 24th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

As TomorrowToday we have the privilege to both design and participate in Leadership Development Programmes (LDPs) throughout the world. We work internationally with some of fineness business schools and blue-chip multi-nationals in this arena. We have seen a great deal: some of it excellent, a lot of it very poor. It is an area of […]

On leadership: If I don’t see you again, have a good life

Posted on: September 23rd, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

“If I don’t see you again, have a good life” was how a participant on global leadership programme  in Guangzhou ended a conversation with me as we parted. The comment immediately resonated especially as it had been said with a sincerity that made it seem as though it wasn’t something said without much thought or […]

Leadership Reflection: Goodbye and Aloha

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

I am about to embark on another stint teaching in the East West Center’s renowned, Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP). This will be my 13th straight year teaching in APLP, a programme that is itself only 14 years old. There have been additional leadership programmes added to the mix and I will also teach in […]

Seven insights to help you become a great leader

Posted on: September 3rd, 2014 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

The contemporary challenges facing corporate leaders are well documented. The context for leadership is one filled with complexity, ambiguity, volatility and uncertainty. They are challenges that aren’t going to go away or change anytime soon and if leaders hope to thrive in this new reality and context, new thinking and behaviour is required. Here are […]

On Leadership: The real innovation needed.

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Innovation has been a business ‘buzz’ word for some time now and has, in and of itself, become ‘big business’. Everyone wants to be innovative; everyone wants to be associated with the perceived benefits of innovation; everyone knows that they simply have to be innovative because the future will be unlike anything we have encountered […]

Leading in a Changing World

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Much of the work we do as TomorrowToday revolves around this particular theme: leading in a changing world. We help leaders both understand and respond to an exponentially changing world. Leadership is always context specific and this is why leaders cannot afford to ignore or turn a blind eye to what is happening ‘out there’. […]

The smart move is not to ignore China

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

I have the privilege to do repeated work in China. Frequent and regular trips have grown a respect, awe and amazement at what I see and encounter. My ‘Chinese experience’ and continuous education has fueled a deeper curiosity and appreciation for the unfolding story that is China. We are living in a time that history […]

Blackberry: Time of death…?

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

John Chen, the CEO brought in to arrest Blackberry slide into oblivion believes that Blackberry has turned the corner and can be saved. In an article by Nic Fildes in THE TIMES Business (6 August) Chen was quoted as telling staff that the worse was over although there was “no room for error” as the […]

Don’t trust Deutsche Bank…well when it comes to football at least!

Posted on: August 11th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, analysts within Deutsche Bank developed a computer model to forecast the results.  The winners? Why, England of course. It should be pointed out that they were after all ‘foreign exchange analysts’ which might just be submitted as mitigating evidence in their defence.  Another piece of mitigating evidence is that […]

Leadership Magazine finds its inspiration from the TomorrowToday Message

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

In the July 2014 edition of Leadership, South Africa’s premier leadership magazine (it also happened to be their 350 publication – congratulations!) there appeared an article by Dr Rene Uys, titled ‘Connecting the Dots: the Connection Economy demands a paradigm shift in leadership’. In the article Uys acknowledges that TomorrowToday coined the term ‘Connection Economy’ […]

Change is hard – I’ll be ready tomorrow

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Having breakfast with a CEO recently and talking about organisational change, he came out with the memorable line, “change is hard – I’ll be ready tomorrow”. It wasn’t a personal reference but rather the unspoken response he seems to encounter from his senior leaders at every turn when it comes to the organisational change he […]

On Leadership: The not-so-simple matter of translation

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Recently I had the privilege to attend a graduation ceremony. It was of course wonderful to see young people rewarded for years of hard work and was a forceful reminder of the importance of the academic contribution to our knowledge base. Theory forms the base that informs, guides and on which practice – of whatever […]

On Leadership: Failure Guaranteed – sometime, somewhere, somehow.

Posted on: June 17th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

There is a remarkable cricket statistic than not many who love the game would believe or even dream possible. Yet it is. Amongst all who play the game internationally, having your name inscribed at Lords Cricket Ground, the home of cricket, for either a batting hundred or an innings five-wicket haul if you are a […]

Reclaiming the Village: 4 Lessons from the San Bushmen

Posted on: June 3rd, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

In his amazing book Future Primal, Louis Herman, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii-West O’ahu, articulates how we should respond to our converging crisis of violent conflict, political corruption, and global ecological devastation. Herman’s sweeping synthesis is to point us back into our deepest past in order to recover our core […]

China: “It’s not pretty but it’s the bloody reality”

Posted on: May 28th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

I was listening to the head of a large multinational that have significant investments in China speak about the challenges and opportunities that is China. The one line that caught my attention? “It’s not pretty but it is the bloody reality”. That about sums it up for western businesses trying to make their way in […]

On Leadership: The glory of uncertainty

Posted on: May 27th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Leaders have traditionally been conditioned to be certain. Conditioned to know the answer and instill confidence in leading the way forward. After all, isn’t that exactly what good leadership is all about? Not necessarily. The problem with certainty is that it leaves no room for learning. Mark Twain said, “It is not what we don’t […]

On Leadership: Chiefs as thin as the rest

Posted on: May 20th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

The San Bushmen have no ‘Chiefs’. Every Bushman is considered “chief” over himself – or herself. This is strange for those accustomed to a society governed by hierarchy. In the unique Bushman societal structure there was a balance between communalism and individuality and no one had any form of formal authority over another. As I […]

Meaning & Measurement: The M&Ms of leadership

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

There are two important aspects that all leaders cannot afford to ignore: meaning and measurement. Both are in dire need of being rethought given the context in which we find ourselves. Meaning is not derived from work. It can be when your job is saving lives or the pursuit of some obvious noble cause that […]

Leadership: The Glory of Getting Stuck

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

Momentum is important. It is important in sport, it is important in life. We are always encouraged to keep moving and ‘moving forward’ is the marketing tagline for one of Africa’s most prominent banks. Making progress, constant motion, pushing on…the refrain however it is dressed-up is constant and unrelenting. It is what we are meant […]

The Enemy Within

Posted on: May 8th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

The best of strategies can be thwarted and undone by the presence of an enemy within the ranks. Even worse, an enemy within can sow the seeds that result in destruction and ultimate annihilation. As a company, you may well have an enemy within. Much of our time as TomorrowToday is spent helping companies and […]

Another leadership lesson from the kids: Change the conversation

Posted on: May 2nd, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Our youngest, Sipho must have been about four years old at the time. He was duly strapped into the car seat in the rear of the car as was the norm and was on yet another endless ride with Mom about some or other business that couldn’t have been of much interest to a four […]

On Change: Blue cheese, tastier than ever!

Posted on: April 29th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

In response to a client’s need to assist team leaders grasp and engage with some required internal change an old story was retold. The underpinning framework guiding the work that was done in Hong Kong and Singapore was that of Spencer Johnson’s ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ Much of the cheese is now of course  ‘blue […]

Succession Planning: 5 lessons from a fallen giant

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Something had to stop Manchester United from continuing their dominant ways and it came from what many thought would be the most likely direction: when it came time to change the leader (manager). We all knew that Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) couldn’t go on forever, although that is how it seemed for us long-suffering Liverpool […]

Loyalty: Red and Blue on Merseyside and what we can learn about loyalty

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

As I write this I am sitting in quaint little coffee shop on Liverpool’s main street, one minutes walk from The Cavern where it all started for The Beatles. As I watch people walk by on what is a rare clear yet chilly day, it is very apparent that one is either blue or red […]

Leading in a Changing World: Four things leaders can learn from Postmodernism

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

If the world has changed then we need a new kind of leadership. The world has changed. Much has been said and written about change and the importance for leaders – wherever they might be, to adapt to the changes that have taken place. In fact it is often highlighted that the ability to adapt […]

The ‘Tea Trap’: The correct way to make a cup of tea

Posted on: March 4th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Apparently, the ‘correct’ way to make a cup of tea is set out in a 5 000-word report by the British Standards Institution. Of course this is ludicrous for all those outside of Britain itself, where correct tea making, is viewed on a par with national security. It does of course provide us with further […]

Out of Africa: An open letter to all in Africa

Posted on: March 4th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills’… Recently I had the opportunity to visit the home of Karen Blixen, the author of, ‘Out of Africa’ – an autobiographical book penned in 1937 that was to become a Hollywood blockbuster and Oscar Best Picture winner (1985) staring Meryl Streep and […]

How to change history

Posted on: February 27th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Gustavo Gutierrez once said, “Those who change the course of history are usually those who pose a new set of questions rather than those who offer solutions.” Gutierrez, born in Lima in 1928, is a Peruvian Dominican priest who is regarded as the founder of Liberation Theology. Those are powerful words and true. We often […]

Leadership: Five things you need to do?

Posted on: February 11th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

Writing in USA Today journalists, Alistair Barr and Scott Martin, suggest five things that Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, needs to do. This advice includes, embrace the cloud; free its software from Windows; fix mobile; woo developers and focus. It is not bad advice at all for the giant that to some extent needs to […]

Your next step: Thinking like a Futurist in 2014

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

It is that time of year again when everyone is having their say about the likely trends that will dominate or surface during the course of 2014. Recent editions of Time, Fortune and the Economist have all run lead articles looking into the crystal ball of 2014. It is as predictable as the post-Christmas High […]

Facts: Much to do about nothing – or quite the contrary?

Posted on: January 22nd, 2014 by Keith Coats No Comments

  ‘Facts’ like statistics, can either be very insightful or actually prove to be somewhat unhelpful. Consider the following 10 facts:  88% of plane crashes occur in the first three minutes or the last eight minutes of a flight (reassuring as I am writing this in the middle of a seven hour flight to Zurich!) […]

Seven ‘Leadership’ Lessons from Santa

Posted on: December 18th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Let’s face it, the fat guy in the red suit is one impressive leader. He never misses a beat, has expectations to meet that would cause even Zuma to step-down and he gets reindeer to fly. Which reminds me: do you know why Rudolph and Prancer were not sold at the auction? They were two […]

Looking out the window: Four leadership insights from 2013

Posted on: December 17th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Currently I am on my last business trip for 2013. Soon it will be time for a short break before the travel begins once more in early January with a trip to Ecuador. By the time this trip is complete it will have meant 143 flights that have involved multiple trips to China and Switzerland […]

You are mistaken Mr Friedman, there was a miracle.

Posted on: December 10th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

It has been an interesting experience processing both the death and burial of Nelson Mandela from distant shores. Whilst I would have loved to have been home amongst ‘my people’ to fully enter into the emotion, celebration, mourning and expression of this momentous yet inevitable event, being in Dubai and then Switzerland has afforded something […]

TomorrowToday: Welcome to our world

Posted on: November 28th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Imagine a company with no written contracts between the business partners; no offices; no underpinning capital; as much – or little leave as you want; measured by outcomes; no HR policies or any policies really – just sensible agreements on how things should work; where everything is transparent, including take home pay; where home is […]

TomorrowToday: Welcome to our world

Posted on: November 28th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Imagine a company with no written contracts between the business partners; no offices; no underpinning capital; as much – or little leave as you want; measured by outcomes; no HR policies or any policies really – just sensible agreements on how things should work; where everything is transparent, including take home pay; where home is […]

Talent Management: It’s a three-door problem

Posted on: November 28th, 2013 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

The magazine ‘Parade’ had a column ‘Ask Marilyn’ by the person with the highest recorded IQ (according to the Guinness Book of Records), Marilyn vos Savant. In 1990 Craig Whitaker of Columbia wrote in with a question that is known as the ‘Monty Hall’ problem. The Monty Hall problem is as follows: Supposing you are […]

Two important questions every leader should be asking.

Posted on: November 26th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Over the past month I have been writing a series on how to be a great leader – how to become an adaptive leader. In today’s context there is an urgent need to rethink the approach and practice of leadership. This need to rethink extends to how we approach leadership development and education. The series […]

So you want to become a great leader?

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Transforming a good leader into a great leader means becoming an adaptive leader. In facing the future, it is the major leadership challenge that you and your organisation will encounter. Good leaders are hard to come by. Growing good leaders from within is perhaps even harder but the real challenge facing organisations today is not […]

Competitive advantage in the Connection Economy [video]

Posted on: October 18th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

With the emerging Connection economy, the rules across the board are changing. Nothing new in this as this has been a pattern that has imprinted all previous economic transitions from that of the ‘Hunter-Gatherer’ to the ‘Information era’. In this video (embedded below) the emergent Connection economy is explained and what this means for competitive […]

On Leadership: Riding Dead Horses

Posted on: October 18th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. This ancient Sioux saying seems obvious enough; I mean who in their right mind would try to ride a dead horse, right? Well maybe not. Strange as it might seem, I have met many in leadership who are attempting just […]

Memo to leaders: The 3 questions you really need to be able to answer

Posted on: October 16th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Of course there are lots of questions that leaders need to be able to answer and really smart leaders know that the essence of leading in today’s context is more about asking the right questions than feeling they always need to have the right answers. However, when it comes to your organisation, here are three […]

Sleepwalking Through Leadership: Neglecting Story

Posted on: October 8th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Margaret Wheatley has said that leadership is the simple act of stepping forward. Leading in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world – or what is commonly referred to as ‘VUCA’ requires a leadership response unlike anything we have known in the past. One could even take the ‘VUCA’ acronym and spin it into a […]

The Leader’s Challenge: Knowing What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Author Max de Pree has said that the first task of leadership is to define reality.  For many in leadership today, the reality is they don’t know what to do in a turbulent, complex and dynamic world. Leadership is not what it once was and nor will it ever be that again. It has changed […]

Curious about failure: 6 things leaders need to keep in mind

Posted on: October 1st, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

One of the smartest things you can do as a leader is to be curious about failure. Sounds like the entirely ‘wrong’ emphasis doesn’t it? But let me explain what I mean. In business today there is a lot of talk about the need for innovation and the subject of innovation is not unrelated to […]

Tomorrow’s Leaders and what to do about it today!

Posted on: September 23rd, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

In TomorrowToday we talk a great deal about the generations. Generational Theory is a framework we have shared in some 44 countries and I don’t think there can be any consultancy that can claim that kind of global footprint when it comes to this particular theory. Of course in the process we have learnt a […]

Miss America: Throwing down the gauntlet to leaders

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

The storm of abuse over the selection of Nina Davuluri as Miss America shows just how short America is in being the society and country Martin Luther King dreamt of all those years ago. The virile stirred up by Miss Davuluri’s selection reveals a dark undercurrent of racial prejudice and intolerance that is as illogical […]

How you see the cow might just determine your future!

Posted on: September 17th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

There are three company directors on a train going to Scotland. One of them heads-up marketing, one is in Human Resources and the other is the Financial Director. Out the window they see a field in which there is a brown cow standing parallel to the train. “Look”, says the Marketing Director, “the cows in […]

On Leadership: Difference matters

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Recently Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech has celebrated its 50th anniversary. In the speech King found a way to further unlock America’s founding promise that, “All men are created equal” and have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. In the 50 years since King’s speech American has changed […]

Leadership: Yada, yada, yada…

Posted on: September 4th, 2013 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Recently I had the misfortune to be trapped in a room in which an executive was enthusiastically ‘rallying the troops’. I am sure he thought that he was doing a good job and that those present were being suitably inspired with his every word. Fact is, I am pretty sure that what most in the […]

7 Stats that change everything: What to be thinking about as a Leader.

Posted on: August 27th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Benjamin Disraeli once said, “There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics”. Of course we know that statistics can be used to support multiple sides of an argument and as Mark Twain once observed, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable”.  However here are seven statistics that ought to challenge […]

On leadership: Your next 10 moves, think carefully!

Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

What is your ‘next move’ as a leader? Well, of course that would depend exactly on what it is we are talking about, but here would be a variety of topics – and some suggestions as to your ‘next move’. On ‘talent’: Ask if your current strategy and HR plan is really working. Don’t ask […]

The Future is leaving: how not to get left behind

Posted on: August 20th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

By 2014, the percentage of companies that generate at least 30% of global revenue from emerging markets will increase by 82%.  The key to that statement is, ‘from emerging markets’. The global economic epicentre is shifting and the future looks nothing like the present. It is forecast that by 2020 China will become the world’s […]

Bag Tossing, Rules and Leadership: A point worth consideration.

Posted on: August 19th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Stefan Kraemer is a happy and proud athlete. His throw of 24.21m was enough to see him win the gold in the World Cup in Bottrop, Germany. Right now you are desperately trawling your memory bank trying to locate ‘Stefan Kraemer’ aren’t you? Not wishing to be found wanting on something as important as a […]

Good news for animals…and vegetarians: but what about leadership?

Posted on: August 13th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

In London scientists recently (5 August) unveiled the first purely lab-grown beef burger and tested it on a select group of tasters (sounds like a good job to have…for the most part at least!). It is seen as the end of the first part in delivering lab-grown meat to the consumer market, something that research […]

The twin challenge that could sink your boat

Posted on: August 5th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

In TomorrowToday we have had the privilege to have been involved with several profession service firms internationally – both in the accounting and legal spheres. Such institutions are always quick to inform you that they are different – different from ‘the corporate sector’ – and of course they are different. The very business model and […]

The Ashes debacle: Maybe Australia should have done their homework!

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Australian cricket is in crisis and it is a situation that gift-wraps several important lessons for any executive team. Of course we are aware of the ‘homeworkgate’ episode with former coach, Mickey Arthur. Against the backdrop of poor results, Arthur had invited the team to submit reports as to where they could improve as both […]

The Missing Soul of Leadership: Our Story

Posted on: July 23rd, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

“Instead of telling our valuable stories, we seek safety in abstractions, speaking to each other aboutour opinions, ideas, and beliefs rather than about our lives” wrote Parker Palmer. He went on to say that,  “academic culture blesses this practice by insisting that the more abstract our speech, the more likely we are to touch the […]

Why Leadership Development needs to grow a pair!

Posted on: July 16th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Developing leaders is big business. Developing leaders has become a victim of its own success in that there is little willingness to change the model that for years has delivered the success. This is incongruent with the message that business needs to overhaul and revamp successful models in the name of innovation and the often […]

The Future is China; The Future is Now.

Posted on: July 9th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

China is like a large building site. Well in truth, China is a large building site. Any visit to a Chinese city (and sometimes not even a city) there is evidence of building activity. From my hotel window in Guangzhou I counted 38 cranes and a building that was still having its foundations dug when […]

Leading Teams: Two further considerations

Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

“A team effort is a lot of people doing what I say” seems to be the approach of many a leader. Of course we all know that this is not how it should be but unfortunately, is often how it is. How many times have you spoken to someone who is ensnared in the trap […]

The Neglected Work of Leadership

Posted on: June 13th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

The practice of leadership has many important facets and nuances. Strategic formation and implementation is often regarded as the ‘most important of all leadership responsibilities’ and it certainly is important. Strategy almost always forms a core part of the curriculum in any leadership development programme. Leaders have come to both understand, and appreciate the need […]

Leadership: Hearing the Music

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

I remember reading a story about Mark Twain in Leonard Sweet’s excellent book, Summoned to Lead. The story goes that Twain had a bad habit of swearing, a habit that offended his wife’s sensibilities.  Having failed on numerous occasions to correct this distasteful habit Twain’s wife finally resorted to a shock tactic. One day, on […]

Leadership: The Right Trap

Posted on: June 5th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

There is a trap that leaders should work to avoid. Yet ironically, it is a trap that ensnares many a leader and one that they enter into willingly. It is the trap of being right. Being right? Isn’t that what good leaders do – get things right? Well, yes and no. Getting more things right […]

Leadership: The Right Trap

Posted on: June 4th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

There is a trap that leaders should work to avoid. Yet ironically, it is a trap that ensnares many a leader and one that they enter into willingly. It is the trap of being right. Being right? Isn’t that what good leaders do – get things right? Well, yes and no. Getting more things right […]

It makes no sense but what to do about it?

Posted on: May 31st, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

In one of the many Leadership Development Programmes (LDP) in which I have the privilege to be involved, it is a requirement that I set the participants an assignment. No problem there as it is what would be expected. However, given the nature of the work done in this particular LDP, I have chosen to […]

It makes no sense but what to do about it?

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

In one of the many Leadership Development Programmes (LDP) in which I have the privilege to be involved, it is a requirement that I set the participants an assignment. No problem there as it is what would be expected. However, given the nature of the work done in this particular LDP, I have chosen to […]

Cut the crap and fine your Consultants.

Posted on: May 15th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

My daughter has two Masters degrees, with her most recent one being achieved cum laude. Enough said. Parental squabbles persist as to the origins of such smarts. With these qualifications she is well down the pathway to being an academic with I suspect, a PhD more a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.  However, as […]

Generation Jobless: A warning to us all

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

The April 27th Economist ran a cover story about the ‘generation jobless’ – the global rise of youth unemployment. It is a serious concern for a number of reasons and one that could have long-lasting implications for both the global economy and political stability. Gen Y was the hardest hit by the recession that began […]

Generation Jobless: A warning to us all

Posted on: May 7th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

The April 27th Economist ran a cover story about the ‘generation jobless’ – the global rise of youth unemployment. It is a serious concern for a number of reasons and one that could have long-lasting implications for both the global economy and political stability. Gen Y was the hardest hit by the recession that began […]

Blogging the ‘Not So Smart’ Way by Jeff Bullas

Posted on: April 30th, 2013 by Keith Coats 5 Comments

I was really looking forward to reading Jeff Bullas’s ‘Blogging the Smart Way’ that I had downloaded. I was sure that there would be some worthwhile insights and some fresh lessons to be learnt. He did a pretty convincing job of setting up why reading this book was ‘for you’ be that you were an […]

Toxic Leadership: Recognising the signs

Posted on: April 24th, 2013 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Toxic leadership always ends badly but it doesn’t start that way. Toxic leadership (as is the case with any from of leadership) requires followership and to assume that at the outset the followership knew what they were in for is incorrect. Toxic leadership goes bad in stages and the followership are sucked in over time […]

Toxic Leadership: Recognising the signs.

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Toxic leadership always ends badly but it doesn’t start that way. Toxic leadership (as is the case with any from of leadership) requires followership and to assume that at the outset the followership knew what they were in for is incorrect. Toxic leadership goes bad in stages and the followership are sucked in over time […]

One Day Without Shoes

Posted on: April 16th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Tuesday 16 April is the TOMS ‘one day without shoes’. TOMS, founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie in Santa Monica, California is a shoe company with a difference. The company designs and sells shoes based on the Argentine ‘alpargata’ design that Mycoskie first encountered whilst a participant on the second season of the Amazing Race […]

Why current leadership development programmes are bound to fail

Posted on: April 9th, 2013 by Keith Coats 4 Comments

Leadership development programmes have become big business. Business Schools all around the globe serve as the default setting as to where to go when you want such a programme. However, There are early signs that this might not always be the case into the future. The generic approach adopted by many business schools is leaving […]

Life and Perspective: A Letter to Rebecca

Posted on: March 26th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

This was a letter penned some seven years ago on the arrival of  a very special little girl to a very special family – that of my colleague and friend, Graeme. I ‘publish’ it with their permission as I think it can serve as an important reminder to us all about life, what is important, […]

A Leadership lesson from Australian cricket: Do your homework

Posted on: March 19th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

There have been all sorts of comments around the debacle that is Australian cricket at present. In short we are talking about a cricket nation, for so long accustomed to looking down on all others playing the game, now firmly entrenched at number XXX in the test rankings. Worse still, they have been hammered in […]

Smart leadership: The Power of Questions – A (Japanese) Story.

Posted on: March 12th, 2013 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

“You can eat an apple,” I said, and gave him the green fruit. It was as if he had seen an apple for the first time. First he just held it there and smelled it, but then he took a little bite. “Mmmm,” he said and took a bigger bite. “Did it taste good?” I […]

Leading Diversity: three simple things you can do

Posted on: March 6th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Leading and managing diversity is not optional for the contemporary leader. It is also not as easily done as it is stated! Of course ‘diversity’ is as complex as it is nuanced and much has been said and written on the subject. I am currently in Istanbul doing a day on ‘leading diversity’ for an […]

Leading Diversity: three simple things you can do

Posted on: March 5th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Leading and managing diversity is not optional for the contemporary leader. It is also not as easily done as it is stated! Of course ‘diversity’ is as complex as it is nuanced and much has been said and written on the subject. I am currently in Istanbul doing a day on ‘leading diversity’ for an […]

From Dust to Dust: Making Conferences Count

Posted on: March 5th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

This has been a subject that I have wanted to write about for some considerable time. Somehow though, I have been procrastinating as it seems, well… so mundane. I mean let’s face it, an article about the role and execution of ‘the corporate conference’ is hardly likely to have scriptwriter clambering for the rights to […]

Best beats good every time – something smart leaders know.

Posted on: February 26th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Although individuals in leadership, those at the top of an organisation, might discover what is good for an organisation, contrary to centuries of perceived wisdom they will never discover what is best. The reason is simple. It is because, as the saying goes, nobody is as smart as everybody. It was Peter Drucker who first […]

Competitive Advantage: What matters most today and how we got here

Posted on: February 21st, 2013 by Keith Coats 4 Comments

The Connection Economy – Competitive Advantage:  What matters most today and how we got here By Keith Coats, TomorrowToday International Partner Competitive advantage has always existed and understanding the evolution of what constitutes competitive advantage in today’s context, is important for any business. It may seem obvious and yet there are many companies who persist […]

The Connection Economy

Posted on: February 21st, 2013 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Competitive Advantage – What matters most and how we got here Competitive advantage has always existed and understanding the evolution of what constitutes competitive advantage in today’s context, is important for any business. It may seem obvious and yet there are many companies who persist in playing by ‘old rules’ when it comes to their […]

Charred Lullaby: A Lesson in Leadership

Posted on: February 19th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

I want to share a hauntingly beautiful story with you. The source is E. Valentine Daniel, and is titled, Charred Lullaby. As you read it, contemplate what you understand and know about authentic leadership. The powerful story will doubtlessly invite you down other pathways, but I would at lease encourage you to pause and consider […]

Three Things Leaders Can Do To Maintain Their Balance.

Posted on: February 12th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

The captivating picture is of Licia Ronzulli and her seven-week-old daughter, Victoria. Periodically Licia would bend forward and gently kiss her sleeping daughter. It was an image that captured the media’s attention and was published worldwide. It was taken in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg where Licia is a MEP from […]

Practical ‘weapons’ in the war against flat-earth thinking

Posted on: February 6th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

In my recent ezine article I wrote about how leaders needed to avoid the trap of ‘flat-earth thinking’. I suggested three things that could be employed in avoiding the trap, namely: Curiosity, courage and commitment. I went on to say that whilst curiosity, courage and commitment may not seem the ideal ‘how to’ tools to […]

The Leader’s Magical Running Shoes

Posted on: February 5th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘Man these shoes are fast…I can hardly keep up with them’ I thought as I tried out my new ultra light-weight Adidas running shoes for the first time. My legs were a blur as they pumped furiously just to keep in touch with the bright neon shoes that screamed, ‘look at this guy – make […]

A Question to leaders: What do you love about leadership?

Posted on: January 29th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

A somewhat unusual question I know but an important one nonetheless. Leadership comes with various pros and cons and the responsibilities associated with leadership can cast a long shadow and present a heavy load. Some talk about leadership as being lonely and most understand it as the place where final accountability rests. I say ‘most’ […]

China and Ethics Matter: Two Bottom Line lessons for Leaders Everywhere

Posted on: January 23rd, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Two headlines in the Business Report caught my eye this morning. The first had to do with China’s economic performance.  Later today I am flying to Guangzhou, China for a day’s work with London Business School on the Nestle Leadership Programme. Given TomorrowToday’s extensive work in China and the region, articles on that part of […]

The Leadership Trap of Flat Earth Thinking

Posted on: January 22nd, 2013 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

It was 16 February 1600 and a crowd had gathered to watch Italian friar, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer Giordano Bruno being burnt at the stake having been condemned as a heretic. To go against the ‘truth’ as the church defined it was to run the risk of being labelled a heretic. Copernicus was also condemned […]

China and Ethics Matter: Two Bottom Line lessons for Leaders Everywhere

Posted on: January 22nd, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

Two headlines in the Business Report caught my eye this morning. The first had to do with China’s economic performance.  Later today I am flying to Guangzhou, China for a day’s work with London Business School on the Nestle Leadership Programme. Given TomorrowToday’s extensive work in China and the region, articles on that part of […]

Leadership: What is your ‘flat-earth’ thinking?

Posted on: January 16th, 2013 by Keith Coats No Comments

I have always been interested in trying to understand our current context when viewed from a future perspective. Of course this is an impossible task until that is time travel makes it way into our reality! However in the same way we look at the past and ask with a degree of incredulity, ‘what were […]

Leadership: What is your ‘flat-earth’ thinking?

Posted on: January 15th, 2013 by Keith Coats

I have always been interested in trying to understand our current context when viewed from a future perspective. Of course this is an impossible task until that is time travel makes it way into our reality! However in the same way we look at the past and ask with a degree of incredulity, ‘what were […]

Leadership: The Obvious Question

Posted on: January 8th, 2013 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

I know that Christmas has come and gone and we are already rushing headlong into 2013 armed with untainted resolutions and expectations. Reality will meet us at some point but before this happens I do want to pose an important question to get you thinking. During my December break I was given the David Walsh […]

Three Things Good Leaders Should Be Asking Santa

Posted on: December 14th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Of course only good leaders get to ask Santa for anything, bad leaders’ Christmas stocking is likely to be empty! So what would a good leader want from Santa for the journey marked 2013? The leadership context is one of a world where turbulence is the ‘norm’; one in which uncertainty, rapid change and connectivity […]

Four Leadership Lessons from the Road Most Traveled

Posted on: December 11th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

The curtain call on 2012 is almost due. It is the time to reflect on what has been and perhaps what might have been; it is the time to begin to contemplate what waits on the other side of 2012 and to again dream of what could be. This has been a busy year for […]

Leading Diversity: the work leaders cannot ignore

Posted on: December 5th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

One of the biggest challenges facing leaders today is that of leading diversity. It is also something that leaders cannot ignore, avoid or neglect – although many do. Diversity is a well-worn term and is often confused with variety. In fact understanding the distinction between diversity and variety is fundamental to the approach one adopts. […]

Leading Diversity: the work leaders cannot ignore

Posted on: December 4th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

One of the biggest challenges facing leaders today is that of leading diversity. It is also something that leaders cannot ignore, avoid or neglect – although many do. Diversity is a well-worn term and is often confused with variety. In fact understanding the distinction between diversity and variety is fundamental to the approach one adopts. […]

Four Titles I wish were mine: and four leadership challenges they pose

Posted on: November 20th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There is the title of Marshall Goldsmith’s book that details behavioural changes needed to get the summit of business. Goldsmith is an Executive Coach who I met at the Global Leader’s Conference in China a few years ago. The title captures the idea of journey – it epitomises […]

Fly Emirates: How an Airline gets it right in all but one thing

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

November. Dubai. Emirates business lounge. ‘Home’. I do a lot of flying. It comes with the territory and let me say right upfront, travel is not as glamorous as it is sometimes made out to be! Any frequent flyer will know this to be the case. Travel has taught me many things and by ‘travel’ […]

Fly Emirates: How an Airline gets it right in all but one thing.

Posted on: November 13th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

November. Dubai. Emirates business lounge. ‘Home’. I do a lot of flying. It comes with the territory and let me say right upfront, travel is not as glamorous as it is sometimes made out to be! Any frequent flyer will know this to be the case. Travel has taught me many things and by ‘travel’ […]

A Trait of Smart Leaders: Seeing With Your Ears – Listening With Your Eyes

Posted on: November 10th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

How do submarines ‘see’? Well, everyone knows that submarines ‘see’ by using ultrasound…essentially submarines see by hearing, by using their ‘ears’. So should leaders. Social intuition is the term used to describe the ability to spot and read clues around you very quickly without knowing how you are doing it. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about social […]

A Trait of Smart Leaders: Seeing With Your Ears – Listening With Your Eyes

Posted on: November 6th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

How do submarines ‘see’? Well, everyone knows that submarines ‘see’ by using ultrasound…essentially submarines see by hearing, by using their ‘ears’. So should leaders. Social intuition is the term used to describe the ability to spot and read clues around you very quickly without knowing how you are doing it. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about social […]

Leaders…attention! A vital lesson for all leaders from an unlikely source: the military.

Posted on: October 30th, 2012 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

“I might take a bullet to my head and so whoever takes my place needs to be better than me. I train and mentor others to be better than I am”. So said the Lt Colonel with whom I happened to be chatting to about the difference between the military and the corporate worlds when […]

The Goldilocks Principle: On Learning Leadership

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Some years ago I asked a friend who was responsible for some of the most successful TV adverts in South Africa – she was the advertising agency’s account manager for a fast food brand – what made the adverts so successful. “That’s easy” she said, “the client leaves me (and my team) alone to do […]

Neglected but Essential: The Work All Leaders Need To Do

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Thinking about today’s brand of leadership it seems to me that the shear pace and complexity that leaders encounter on a daily basis has all but eroded one of the fundamental leadership disciplines. I am referring here to the discipline of ‘reflection’: taking deliberate time to think about one’s leadership. It is the intentional pause, […]

The Goldilocks Principle: On Learning Leadership

Posted on: October 15th, 2012 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Some years ago I asked a friend who was responsible for some of the most successful TV adverts in South Africa – she was the advertising agency’s account manager for a fast food brand – what made the adverts so successful. “That’s easy” she said, “the client leaves me (and my team) alone to do […]

Fit bodies, fat minds: The need to read

Posted on: October 10th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Leaders read. Learning organisations have institutionalized a reading habit – it has become an essential part of their DNA and not to read, is not to fit with the organizational culture. Executives across the board have become lazy when it comes to reading and harnessing other digital forms of knowledge acquisition. It is a neglectful […]

Fit bodies, fat minds: The need to read

Posted on: October 9th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Leaders read. Learning organisations have institutionalized a reading habit.  It has become an essential part of their DNA and not to read, is not to fit with the organizational culture. Executives across the board have become lazy when it comes to reading and harnessing other digital forms of knowledge acquisition. It is a neglectful habit […]

Musings of a Time Traveller

Posted on: October 2nd, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Well to be honest, I’m not really a ‘time traveller’. However, if flying North, then over the top of the earth (in a North-East kind of direction I guess?), then South and finally West for 30 hours, plus 9 hours waiting in ‘departures’ and crossing 12 times zones in the process counts for anything – […]

Meaning: Your Responsibility!

Posted on: September 25th, 2012 by Keith Coats 4 Comments

During a recent conversation with my colleague, Dean, a conversation had whilst driving through the beautiful Ascot in England, a thought was expressed to which Dean responded, “Keith, you really need to blog that thought”. This then is the blog that captures that thought. It is a simple thought but one that I believe is […]

Humility in Leadership

Posted on: September 19th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Think Big, Act Small by Jason Jennings is a worthwhile read (Kindle edition here). He looks into what has made best performing companies (in the USA) sustain their ‘start-up spirit’. In the book Jennings offers some arresting insights based on solid research done at the coal face of business . (It was written in 2005, […]

Humility in Leadership

Posted on: September 18th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Think Big, Act Small by Jason Jennings is a worthwhile read. He looks into what has made best performing companies (in the USA) sustain their ‘start-up spirit’. In the book Jennings offers some arresting insights based on solid research done at the coal face of business. One of the companies examined is that of Koch […]

A question to leaders everywhere: What questions are you asking?

Posted on: September 11th, 2012 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

Most people collect something or other. For some it is stamps, for others it might be model cars or antiques or things that have little significance beyond the passion of the collector. I too have a collection, albeit an unusual one but one that I think every leader would do well to imitate. I know […]

A question to leaders everywhere: What questions are you asking?

Posted on: September 11th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Most people collect something or other. For some it is stamps, for others it might be model cars or antiques or things that have little significance beyond the passion of the collector. I too have a collection, albeit an unusual one but one that I think every leader would do well to imitate. I know […]

Leaders: Can you say this about your brand?

Posted on: September 5th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Recently I was sitting in an Executive meeting in which conversation was centred on rethinking the company’s vision and brand. To be honest what should have been an engaging, energetic conversation was rather like pulling hen’s teeth. There wasn’t much to enthuse over and I made a mental note to revisit the ‘why’ behind this […]

Leaders: Can you say this about your brand?

Posted on: September 4th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Recently I was sitting in an Executive meeting in which conversation was centred on rethinking the company’s vision and brand. To be honest what should have been an engaging, energetic conversation was rather like pulling hen’s teeth. There wasn’t much to enthuse over and I made a mental note to revisit the ‘why’ behind this […]

From Russia with Love: Pilgrim or Tourist?

Posted on: August 28th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

This week I will be in Moscow doing a day on ‘Leading Diversity’ as part of a leadership programme for Boehringer Ingelheim- one of the top twenty international pharmaceutical companies. I have been fortunate enough to have been to Russia on several occasions for TomorrowToday and it is place I always find challenging. I love […]

On Leadership: Regretfully…

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

We all live with a few regrets, or so a survey that I read the other day would have us believe. But I think it would be true that there can be very few people who, in all honesty can say, “I don’t have any regrets” when it comes time to taking stock – whenever […]

11 Things Smart Leaders Know, Do and Live

Posted on: August 17th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Charlie Parker, a genius when it comes to the saxophone, once said, “Jazz comes from who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” Charlie was spot-on – at least when it comes to leadership… I wouldn’t know about jazz! Leadership is about who you […]

11 Things Smart Leaders Know, Do and Live

Posted on: August 16th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Charlie Parker, a genius when it comes to the saxophone once said, “Jazz comes from who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” Charlie was spot-on: at least when it comes to leadership… I wouldn’t know about jazz! Leadership is about who you […]

Future-proof your Organisation: 4 things leaders need to know about tomorrow

Posted on: August 15th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

“Change is the law of life.” So said John F Kennedy.  He also said, “those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” The ability to change – or what can be referred to as ‘adaptive intelligence’ – is, I believe, the most important of all leadership attributes. Leading […]

Future-proof your Organisation: 4 things leaders need to know about tomorrow

Posted on: August 14th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

“Change is the law of life” – so said John F Kennedy and, “those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”  The ability to change – or what can be referred to as ‘adaptive intelligence’ is I believe the most important of all leadership attributes. Leading in this […]

The Best Way to Develop Leaders Yet!

Posted on: August 8th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

“I have done all the tests,” he said to me, “and the Enneagram is by far the best I have ever done. It really has made a difference in my life. Would you please come and do it for my team”.  So came the request that sees me once again presenting an Enneagram workshop- something […]

The Best Way to Develop Leaders Yet!

Posted on: August 7th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

“I have done all the tests,” he said to me, “and the Enneagram is by far the best I have ever done. It really has made a difference in my life. Would you please come and do it for my team”.  So came the request that sees me once again presenting an Enneagram workshop- something […]

Seeing Beneath the Surface: Innovation and Leadership

Posted on: August 4th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

These days there is a lot said and written about the need to innovate. Companies are encouraged to innovate and the topic is now a natural part of most MBA’s and leadership education programmes – something that is slightly ironic as many of these programmes themselves are in desperate need of a makeover! Innovation is […]

Seeing Beneath the Surface: Innovation and Leadership

Posted on: July 31st, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

These days there is a lot said and written about the need to innovate. Companies are encouraged to innovate and the topic is now a natural part of most MBA’s and leadership education programmes. Something that is slightly ironic as many of these programmes themselves are in desperate need of a makeover! Innovation is important […]

What you can tell about the ‘smell of a place’ by sitting in the reception!

Posted on: July 20th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

An 8am meeting with the head of learning and development at Zurich Insurance in downtown Johannesburg taught me more about the company than any Google search could have revealed. I say ‘could have’ because I had forgotten to bring my hub that would have given me Internet access meaning that I could have done some […]

The gift that wasn’t: Leading by doing nothing

Posted on: July 17th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

It was the kind of gift any twelve-year-old dreams about. In fact Michael had dreamt about it for some time in anticipation of his forthcoming birthday. Michael is the son of good friends and not from our cave, just in case you were wondering. The gift in question was a radio-controlled car, the control mechanism […]

Barclays and ABSA get the lesson: ‘culture matters most’.

Posted on: July 16th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Under the title, ‘Ramos fights on all fronts’ (Business Times 15/7/12), ABSA Chief Executive, Maria Ramos, tells parent bank Barclays of the concerns she has about their banking culture. She has every right to be concerned. When Barclays bought a 55% controlling stake in ABSA it was always going to be an interesting cultural fit […]

The future isn’t what it used to be: Neither at work nor it seems, at home!

Posted on: July 12th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

In the July-August issue of The Futurist (www.wfs.org) there was an interesting article on the shift from ‘smart houses’ to ‘networked houses’. Authors Chris Carbone and Kristin Nauth describe how tomorrow’s integrated, networked and aware home systems will forever change family life. Viewed from the vantage point of the future, current homes will resemble caves. […]

Your Real Work as a Leader: A sense of vocation

Posted on: July 11th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

“I love what I do!” I have come to realize that there are a lot of people who cannot say that- folk for whom their working life is something to get done so that they can carry on with what really matters to them. I believe in the message that is at the heart of […]

Your Real Work as a Leader: A sense of vocation

Posted on: July 10th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

“I love what I do!” I have come to realize that there are a lot of people who cannot say that- folk for whom their working life is something to get done so that they can carry on with what really matters to them. I believe in the message that is at the heart of […]

The Leader’s Role: To bring the future to life

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

I am often asked what it is TomorrowToday does. Some find the name intriguing or my title amusing (Director of Storytelling). “So what exactly does TomorrowToday do?” I am asked. My stock answer is, “we bring the future to life”. Many leaders drive forward with their gaze firmly fixed in the rear view mirror. We […]

Africa’s Future: A glimpse of hope

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Colourful, vibrant and alive with possibility. This was the WITS University graduation ceremony that I recently attended. There were responses both formal and informal that could best be described as, ‘only in Africa’. There was joy, celebration, humour and a light touch of somberness. It was all just right. It was a window of hope […]

The Leaders Role: To bring the future to life.

Posted on: June 26th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

I am often asked what it is TomorrowToday does. Some find the name intriguing or my title amusing (Director of Storytelling). “So what exactly does TomorrowToday do?” I am asked. My stock answer is, “we bring the future to life”. Many leaders drive forward with their gaze firmly fixed in the rear view mirror. We […]

Background Music: Essential for authentic leadership?

Posted on: June 19th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

A mentor of mine recommended a book for me to read by James Kugel titled, In the Valley of the Shadow. Seven years ago, Kugel, a retired Harvard professor of Hebrew literature, was diagnosed with an aggressive, likely fatal form of cancer. Given two years to live he has since made a full recovery from […]

An Open Letter to TomorrowToday: A reminder from Starbucks for all of us!

Posted on: June 12th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

I am reading Howard Schultz’s Onwards.  Schultz is the founder of Starbucks and Onwards is the story of Starbucks post 2007. I loved Starbucks right from the time I first had a ‘Starbucks experience’ and that was deepened with the reading of a couple of books on the Starbucks story, including Schultz’s account. I love […]

Living Up To Expectations: Understanding Generational Expectations in the Workplace

Posted on: June 9th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Not only are expectations subject to personal nuances, they can be further understood by looking at broad generational values that underpin behaviour. Generational Theory as originally promoted by Howe and Strauss, two Yale and Harvard trained political economists, suggests that there are value bases to each generation that have been shaped during our formative years […]

Tomorrow’s Leaders have to be better than today ‘s leaders

Posted on: June 5th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

The occasion was the launch of a senior leadership development Programme with an International blue chip company. The CEO made the customary welcoming speech at the opening evening in which he made the attention grabbing statement: “Tomorrow’s leaders will have to be better that today’s leaders”. All at once it provided both the incentive and […]

A Leadership Pill

Posted on: May 29th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

I recently watched the movie ‘Limitless’ which explores the concept of a pill that leads to acutely enhanced awareness and performance. Obscure facts tucked away in the recesses of one’s subconscious become accessible; patterns hidden by details become clear and decision-making confusion gives way to alarming clarity. Things happen, there is an air of invincibility […]

The Rocket Science of leadership: Dear Keegan, as you leave

Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

I wrote a letter and slipped it into Keegan’s luggage before he set out on his overseas adventure that would last a year (at least) having finally done with school. It was one I had long been composing in my head and would be the expression of so much that I wanted to say but […]

The Revenge of the Boomers – why Boomers need to become techno-literate!

Posted on: May 15th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

I heard a great story in a workshop in which I was involved with a group of educators. We were talking about ‘Rethinking Education’ and in particular the way in which technology is impacting on education. As you can imagine it was an emotive and challenging discussion as assumptions, worldviews and even values were all […]

The Nightmare of no more silence: A leadership challenge.

Posted on: May 15th, 2012 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

It was a statement that immediately arrested my imagination. A statement that was simple yet profound and one that conveyed an idea that proved unshakable. It was a statement that demanded contemplation and had me immediately reaching for a means to record it before it got lost in the unfolding storyline. I was watching the […]

Barefoot Leadership: The neglected activity of leaders

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Play is important. For any child, play is serious stuff and central to their daily activities. We have lots of expressions that would underscore the importance of play (all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy is one I recall). But as adults we don’t really believe it. At least not if we […]

Write drunk, edit sober. Good advice for leaders?

Posted on: April 24th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

“Write drunk, edit sober” is something Ernest Hemingway allegedly once said. I think it is good advice, except maybe for alcoholics! The kind of writing that tends to inspire me is writing that has passion, flow and somehow captures grand ideas in a way that imprints them on both head and heart. It is writing […]

Barefoot Leadership: The neglected activity of leaders

Posted on: April 24th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Play is important. For any child, play is serious stuff and central to their daily activities. We have lots of expressions that would underscore the importance of play (all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy is one I recall). But as adults we don’t really believe it. At least not if we […]

BRICS: The Building Blocks for the Future – and five things smart leaders understand!

Posted on: April 24th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

It was Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, who some 10 years ago, coined the acronym, ‘BRIC’ – a grouping of emerging economies namely, Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Then, in a more recent move in 2012, South Africa was officially added to the club and so ‘BRIC’ became ‘BRICS’. A recent trip […]

BRICS: The Building Blocks for Future – and five things smart leaders understand!

Posted on: April 17th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

  It was Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, who some 10 years ago, coined the acronym, ‘BRIC’ – a grouping of emerging economies namely, Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Then, in a more recent move, South Africa was added to the club and so ‘BRIC’ became, ‘BRICS’. A recent trip to India […]

Light-hearted Leadership Lessons from Wembley & the Red Men

Posted on: April 16th, 2012 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

It started as an overheard conversation in Delhi, India and ended up as an unforgettable day in London, England. Specifically, Wembley stadium. The over-heard conversation was between delegates on a leadership programme in which I was involved. They were chatting about how one of their number had tickets for the soon to be played FA […]

Switching off the sun: Preparing for the next generation in the workplace

Posted on: April 11th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Hannah (the daughter of a colleague) was strapped in her car seat as her parents headed off for a weekend away. Hannah is a bright, engaging two-year-old and no doubt had thought plenty of thoughts from this particular vantage point, one that I might add she was well accustomed too – as are most two-year-olds. […]

Switching off the sun: Preparing for the next generation in the workplace

Posted on: April 10th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Hannah (the daughter of a colleague) was strapped in her car seat as her parents headed off for a weekend away. Hannah is a bright, engaging two-year-old and no doubt had thought plenty of thoughts from this particular vantage point, one that I might add she was well accustomed too – as are most two-year-olds. […]

The Magic Hill: Avoiding the optical illusions of leadership

Posted on: April 4th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

They told me it was caused by the fairies who lived under the road. I don’t know about you, but I for one don’t buy that explanation at all. I mean, everybody knows that fairies don’t live under roads. Caused by the fairies, indeed! The locals call it The Magic Hill and it is tucked […]

The Magic Hill: Avoiding the optical illusions of leadership

Posted on: April 3rd, 2012 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

They told me it was caused by the fairies who lived under the road. I don’t know about you, but I for one don’t buy that explanation at all. I mean, everybody knows that fairies don’t live under roads. Caused by the fairies, indeed! The locals call it The Magic Hill and it is tucked […]

In the search for logic: Please help.

Posted on: March 27th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

There must be a reason but I sure as heck can’t find it! For that matter nor could the staff of Mango. Yes, it is another airline saga and one that perhaps you can enlighten me on. The other day I was flying from Cape Town to Durban, ticket booked and paid for by the […]

Understanding the Social Agenda: what every leader needs to know about tomorrow

Posted on: March 20th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

The Social Agenda will define the future of your company. It is that big, it is that important and it is that unavoidable! Let me explain what is the social agenda and why it is that important. The social agenda is made up of two aspects, namely, ‘social media’ and ‘social business’. There is a […]

Seeing the real magic: A reminder for all leaders!

Posted on: March 13th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

It was a party. Not just any party, but a ‘fairy party’. The occasion was the fourth birthday of my godchild Jordan. It had been her call and fairy theme it was to be. Now that was fine, except for the only boyfriend invited to the auspicious occasion. Fairies and boys aren’t usually compatible. However, […]

The Critical Core of Leadership

Posted on: March 6th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Adolescence is a tricky period. It has been described as that period in a young person’s life when they refuse to believe that some day they will be as dumb as their parents. As Mark Twain so eloquently put it: When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have […]

I Love Travel: Wisdom from the Journey

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

I love travel. It is early Sunday morning (or at least I think it is) and I am sitting in the Emirates business lounge awaiting my connecting flight to Gaungzhou, China. It is a whistle-stop trip – just four nights away and two of those will be spent at 35 000’.  This will be my […]

Knock, knock . . . who’s there? Leadership and reciprocity: What goes around comes around

Posted on: February 23rd, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘He should represent South Africa at sleeping,’ was the SMS we received from Keegan’s host after he had been in the UK for a few days. Any parent of a teenager will know about the amazing capacity for sleep that the average adolescent carries. In fact, it is sure sign that your kids are about […]

Too Big to Fail: The Need for Leaders to Remember

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Imagine a workforce that takes initiative, accepts responsibility for their work, their learning and their company. Imagine an environment where there is energy, goodwill and a shared camaraderie. Image! Anybody who thinks that this isn’t desirable, who thinks this impossible, let me make a recommendation: go see a movie. Not just any movie but one […]

Too Big to Fail: The Need for Leaders to Remember

Posted on: February 20th, 2012 by Keith Coats 4 Comments

Imagine a workforce that takes initiative, accepts responsibility for their work, their learning and their company. Imagine an environment where there is energy, goodwill and a shared comrade. Image! Anybody who thinks that this isn’t desirable, who thinks this impossible, let me make a recommendation: go see a movie. Not just any movie but one […]

Leadership: What Is Your Training Schedule?

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Swimmers take your marks . . . All three of our kids can swim. Two of them, Tamryn and Sipho, rather well. In fact both have won Victrix/Victor Ludorum for their aqua efforts and Sipho has gained his provincial colours. ‘So what’s the big deal,’ you ask? Well, here’s the strange thing. All three kids […]

Pies, Profits and Paris: Leadership and Dreams

Posted on: February 7th, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

It started out as a pie business during a school entrepreneur’s week. The girls were required to work in teams and start some sort of business, the proceeds of which were to be shared with the school. Tamryn, Ronwyn and Jill decided that they would sell pies during the lunch break. It was a simple […]

Smart Leadership: Looking for Answers by Inviting the Questions

Posted on: February 1st, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘But why?’ can be two exasperating words, words that chisel away at parental resolve like water dripping on a tin roof. Of course the fact that they are used in a highly concentrated way at around the three-year benchmark makes it even more unfair and harder to endure. But that is the way it is […]

Smart Leadership: Looking for Answers by Inviting the Questions

Posted on: January 31st, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘But why?’ can be two exasperating words, words that chisel away at parental resolve like water dripping on a tin roof. Of course the fact that they are used in a highly concentrated way at around the three-year benchmark makes it even more unfair and harder to endure. But that is the way it is […]

The South African, the Australian and the Blonde: The flawed maxim of leadership

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they more often than not repeat exactly what you shouldn’t have said. In response to the Sunday School (what a terrible name for any freedom loving kid! – it should have been ditched decades ago) teacher’s question of who in the class would like to stand up and repeat […]

Note to Leaders: You are not alone

Posted on: January 18th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

How often have you heard those in leadership positions utter the mantra, ‘It’s lonely at the top’? They usually serve it up in a sort of self-congratulatory and somewhat condescending manner that expects no one but themselves to really understand. It is almost as if the mantra is the coded password to an exclusive club […]

Note to Leaders: You are not alone

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

How often have you heard those in leadership positions utter the mantra, ‘It’s lonely at the top’? They usually serve it up in a sort of self-congratulatory and somewhat condescending manner that expects no one but themselves to really understand. It is almost as if the mantra is the coded password to an exclusive club […]

Exploring the Future: What Leaders Need to Learn

Posted on: January 10th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Sitting with two of my kids the other day I asked them, “so what can we learn from the great Explorers of the past?” – a probing question fueled by something I was reading at the time. “Like the guys who sailed around?” responded one of the Saplings … (this is what I get for […]

Exploring the Future: What Leaders Need to Learn

Posted on: January 10th, 2012 by Keith Coats No Comments

Sitting with two of my kids the other day I asked them, “so what can we learn from the great Explorers of the past?” – a probing question fueled by something I was reading at the time. “Like the guys who sailed around?” responded one of the Saplings … (this is what I get for […]

Can I drive, Dad? …Leaders and Control.

Posted on: January 3rd, 2012 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Control is a word that is arguably the source of the greatest conflicts, whether you are a leader or a parent. In the early years of parenting the issue of control is often reminiscent of a ‘phony war’ – one easily ‘won’ by the oversized and dominant parent who terminates any debate with the evergreen […]

Getting Fit For The Future: Essential Questions For Leaders As You Enter 2012

Posted on: December 27th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

It is that time of year that invites reflection about what has been and what might be. We stand on the cusp of 2012, about to confine 2011 to the scrapbook. It is a good time to be asking questions about the past and a good time to be asking questions about the future. What […]

In the Land of the Blind, The FA is King: The Luis Suarez Case

Posted on: December 23rd, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Let me state my bias. In this case I have two that are relevant: Firstly, I am a Liverpool fan – something that I see as a bias, not a handicap as my Manchester United friends might claim! Secondly, I am against racism – in all its forms. However, the guilty verdict against Luis Suarez, […]

Santa CEO: Leadership Lessons from Santa

Posted on: December 20th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

The big guy in the red suit heads up a pretty impressive outfit. A year of frantic, precision driven preparation, keeping a host of little people motivated, focus and warm in extreme conditions and then all culminating in a mind-boggling devilry schedule that would do FedEx proud – and this with nothing more that a […]

It was well intended but…Understanding the Connection Economy

Posted on: December 19th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

I recently got ‘an end of year wish you well’ kind of email, the type that we all experience at this time of year. The email subject title was, ‘Best Regards, Personal!!!!’ Such a title is sure to grab your attention and most certainly create expectations. On opening the mail what became immediately apparent was […]

The Great Sofa Surprise: The difference between net and com

Posted on: December 14th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

I recently read a story in our local newspaper, The Mercury of a situation that I can only imagine how it must have played out and is the stuff of a Monty Python sketch. It seems that the Archdiocese of Manila invited devotees to watch the live broadcast of a ceremony honouring Archbishop Luis Antonio […]

10 Leadership Lessons from Santa

Posted on: December 13th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Ho, Ho Ho…it’s that time of year again when the tinsel comes out, trees get decorated and dietary regimes along with turkeys get stuffed. The old guy with the impressive beard comes out from his reclusive lair to both delight and terrorize little people and of course has parents reaching deep into weary pockets. I […]

Preparing to Leave: An Essential Reminder to Leaders Everywhere

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

The countdown has started. Of course there are many ‘countdowns’ as kids grow up, but this one is perhaps the biggest whilst they remain under your roof and in your fridge. The one I am referring to, of course, is preparing to leave home. In just a few days Keegan, free at last of school, […]

Preparing to Leave: An Essential Reminder to Leaders Everywhere.

Posted on: December 6th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

The countdown has started. Of course there are many ‘countdowns’ as kids grow up, but this one is perhaps the biggest whilst they remain under your roof and in your fridge. The one I am referring to, of course, is preparing to leave home. In just a few days Keegan, free at last of school, […]

Stuck Noses: Leaders who help others ‘get it’.

Posted on: November 29th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘Daddy, my nose is stuck,’ was the somber diagnosis from three-year-old Keegan who was playing host to a heavy cold. I had never before heard it put that way but could certainly identify with the sentiment. After all, who amongst us has not experienced a ‘stuck nose’? And a wretched condition it is too. Somehow […]

Who is the referee? Leading without a stunt double

Posted on: November 22nd, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Saturday afternoon weddings. Why is it that weddings always seem to clash with the one sports event that you have been waiting months to attend or watch? And how come this head-on collision between the wedding and the sports event always escapes radar detection until it is too darn late, and how come the wedding […]

A Warning to Leaders: Turbulence is not the Danger

Posted on: November 16th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Flying into the small South African regional airport of Port Elizabeth recently I was reminded why it is I hold to the wisdom, ‘the bigger the plane the better’! As we were tossed around by the not-so-clear-air turbulence in the small twin prop plane, flying seemed so unnatural. Man was meant to walk the earth […]

A Warning to Leaders: Turbulence is not the Danger

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Flying into Port Elizabeth recently I was reminded why it is I hold to the wisdom, ‘the bigger the plane the better’! As we were tossed around by the not-so-clear-air turbulence in the small SAA Express plane, flying seemed so unnatural. Man was meant to walk the earth and had no business being found in […]

Living Up To Expectations: Understanding Generational Expectations in the Workplace

Posted on: November 8th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Not only are expectations subject to personal nuances, they can be further understood by looking at broad generational values that underpin behaviour. Generational Theory as originally promoted by Howe and Strauss, two Yale and Harvard trained political economists, suggests that there are value bases to each generation that have been shaped during our formative years […]

Innovation: Failing into the Future

Posted on: November 8th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

If you want your company to be innovative, failure is not an option…it is essential. Innovation is built on the willingness to try new things and the understanding that failure will be an inevitable road-hump along the way. It is that simple and it is that difficult. Innovation is a buzzword that is much bandied […]

Leadership in the New World of Work

Posted on: November 5th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

One of the biggest challenges Leaders face is an understanding that the wisdom and leadership practice that has brought us to this point, is unlikely to get us to where it is we need to be in the future.  The point is, that in a world of change, leadership needs to change. Of course we […]

Living Up To Expectations: Understanding Generational Expectations in the Workplace

Posted on: November 3rd, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Not only are expectations subject to personal nuances, they can be further understood by looking at broad generational values that underpin behaviour. Generational Theory as originally promoted by Howe and Strauss, two Yale and Harvard trained political economists, suggests that there are value bases to each generation that have been shaped during our formative years […]

Leadership in the New World of Work

Posted on: November 1st, 2011 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

One of the biggest challenges Leaders face is an understanding that the wisdom and leadership practice that has brought us to this point, is unlikely to get us to where it is we need to be in the future.  The point is, that in a world of change, leadership needs to change. Of course we […]

Reverse Mentoring: What Leaders Can Learn From The ‘Young Snots’

Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

It did not take very long for me to realize that, in this instance, I had more learn than to teach. It was to prove an accurate assessment. As coffee was served, Mike sat opposite me having requested the meeting, about what exactly I wasn’t sure. It was one of those meetings that you arrive […]

Reverse Mentoring: What Leaders Can Learn From The 'Young Snots'

Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

It did not take very long for me to realize that, in this instance, I had more learn than to teach. It was to prove an accurate assessment. As coffee was served, Mike sat opposite me having requested the meeting, about what exactly I wasn’t sure. It was one of those meetings that you arrive […]

A Leadership Lesson from The Velveteen Rabbit

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

One of my all-time favourite stories is Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit, the enchanting story of how a toy rabbit becomes real. Like most good children’s stories, it holds valuable lessons for adults as well. The story helps us learn that sometimes what we go through for a friend may make us a little worn […]

“It’s not important”: Leadership and Integrity

Posted on: October 18th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

The mobile phone had been stolen. It was the end of the world – well, certainly the end of all meaningful existence. Replacement costs were high and money in the bank was low. Hadn’t we told him to save for just such a contingency? was the smug thought of the parents who, of course, had […]

CEO: The Director of Storytelling

Posted on: October 13th, 2011 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

‘Once upon a time . . .’ . . . Such magical words, spoken often in a home with little people – words that contrive to conjure up all kinds of memories and emotions, unleash expectations and hold promise; words that children instinctively understand and that capture their attention; words that release us to be […]

The irrefutable ‘Law of Gifts’ & The Cost of Procrastination

Posted on: October 12th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

The older they are the more expensive they become. It is an irrefutable law of parenting. I remember the days when I could arrive home after a business trip and any small, inconsequential thing would appease the kids and serve as an ‘I’m home’ gift. Often these small but important sacrifices were the shampoo from […]

Leadership’s Hardest Task

Posted on: October 3rd, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

I don’t know how he did it, but he did. Already running late, we were rushing to join friends for a social occasion when a distant cry echoed from the smallest room in the house. Keegan had locked himself in the toilet and was trapped like a bug in a jar. After several frantic but […]

What is Your Question? Four Things Leaders Need to Understand

Posted on: September 29th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

The world’s fragile economy teeters once again on the edge of the abyss. For those who don’t understand the intricate economic mechanics of how we got to this place, but fully appreciate the impact of any recession from personal experience, it is a scary place. Some years ago there was an educational research project hosted […]

The Leader’s Challenge: Curiosity rather than Certainty

Posted on: September 29th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Sipho’s adoption meant that the lily-white Coats herd now acquired its own resident ‘black sheep’ – a literal rather than figurative turn of phrase, naturally. Of course Sipho’s presence in the family has given us our own unique insights and laughter. And of course there have been a few tears along the way as well. […]

Global Leadership Principles from which to Lead: learning from the Asia Pacific Leadership Program

Posted on: September 9th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

For the past 10 years I have had the privilege to be part of the teaching facility of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) based at the East West Center in Hawaii. And yes, Hawaii is not too shabby a place to work! Given the destination, trying to summons some degree of sympathy for the […]

Global Leadership Principles from which to Lead: learning from the Asia Pacific Leadership Program

Posted on: September 8th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

For the past 10 years I have had the privilege to be part of the teaching facility of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) based at the East West Center in Hawaii. And yes, Hawaii is not too shabby a place to work! Given the destination, trying to summons some degree of sympathy for the […]

Speaking for God: Leaders who think CEO spells G-O-D

Posted on: August 30th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Keegan and Tamryn are playing in the bedroom. I am within earshot and party to the following conversation which has to do with Keegan asking for a turn at whatever it is that Tamryn is doing. ‘What does God say?’ came Tamryn’s response. ‘To me or in the Bible?’ asks Keegan. ‘In the Bible,’ replies […]

Sperm and Cells: Leading in a Connected World

Posted on: August 25th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

It all started when I was on the phone and in walked not one but two neighbourhood cats. Showing little, well actually no respect, they sauntered over to Tigger’s food bowl (that’s our feline resident) and began to tuck in. If at this point they had encountered Vicky instead of me, it is quite likely […]

Sperm and Cells: Leading in a Connected World

Posted on: August 23rd, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

It all started when I was on the phone and in walked not one but two neighbourhood cats. Showing little, well actually no respect, they sauntered over to Tigger’s food bowl (that’s our feline resident) and began to tuck in. If at this point they had encountered Vicky instead of me, it is quite likely […]

As Easy as A B C: Questions Leaders Need to Ask Themselves

Posted on: August 16th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

I once wrote a newsletter to friends using each letter of the alphabet to share an item of family news. Here is an extract of two of the news items that appeared under ‘V’ and ‘W’ – not easy letters to lead with, I might add: Vicky: Domestically challenged with clear expansive voice. Works hard […]

The Fundamentals of Physics: Trust – the Leader’s Greatest Measure

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Kids and bikes. Every parent can tell stories about this subject. Recently a friend and former BMX champion excitedly told me about the bike he was choosing for his daughter’s third birthday. Detailed explanations were offered about the aerodynamics and styling of the very expensive mode of transportation, none of which I felt would be […]

The Future of Leadership: Authenticity and Adaptive Intelligence

Posted on: August 4th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

“The problem is not that they are not watching what you do, the problem is they are” is something that Tom Peters once said. He is right. Leaders are under greater scrutiny than they have ever been due to the available technology and the context of a connected world. Of course leaders have always been […]

The Future of Leadership: Authenticity and Adaptive Intelligence

Posted on: August 2nd, 2011 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

“The problem is not that they are not watching what you do, the problem is they are” is something that Tom Peters once said. He is right. Leaders are under greater scrutiny than they have ever been due to the available technology and the context of a connected world. Of course leaders have always been […]

The Bomb, the Keys and that Damn Phone: Learning from Chaos

Posted on: August 2nd, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

It was always going to be a close call. The misplaced keys simply made it impossible . . . But let me backtrack to the beginning. It was the beginning of the notorious ‘flea season’ – that time of the year when the little black pests start to make their presence felt and the ‘take […]

Dad, what’s a virgin? Leadership and Communication

Posted on: July 26th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Keegan’s birthday. The decision is that he can take a select few to a movie and that mom and dad will act as chauffeurs for the occasion. The select few turn out to be the entire rugby team; well, so it seems. Cars packed to make a sardine tin look like a spacious condo, we […]

Self-evaluation: the means to enduring effectiveness

Posted on: July 19th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

I unashamedly love Christmas and all that it brings with it. Deep down I suspect that some mistake was made in the cosmic scheme of things as I would be far better suited to a northern hemisphere Christmas than to our southern beaches, barbecues and sweltering heat as we sing about a one-horse open sleigh […]

Leadership and Diversity: Naming Body Parts

Posted on: July 13th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

I remember once reading that middle-age happens when you keep thinking that in a couple of weeks you’ll be back to normal. To be honest I am not sure that I am clear as to exactly what constitutes ‘normality’ – or at least if I once was, I no longer am. This applies particularly when […]

The Nature of Leadership:The Grace of Great Things

Posted on: July 12th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

  The Sioux believe that children are a gift from God – a  gift so sacred, so holy, that they are kept off the ground for the entire first year of their life. The Sioux also believe that children are sent as messengers and so the naming of a child takes place long before birth […]

What women want – The future of leadership

Posted on: July 10th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

A few years ago, I reflected on an article in the February 2004 fast Company magazine about why women have not rushed into the top bosses positions. In the last few years, that reflection has not changed. Women still have a lot of work to do to influence the culture of the world of work. […]

Leadership and Diversity: Naming Body Parts

Posted on: July 5th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

I remember once reading that middle-age happens when you keep thinking that in a couple of weeks you’ll be back to normal. To be honest I am not sure that I am clear as to exactly what constitutes ‘normality’ – or at least if I once was, I no longer am. This applies particularly when […]

Eyes Wide Shut: Visionary Leadership

Posted on: June 27th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Here is another extract from Keith Coats’ excellent book of leadership reflections, “Everything I Know About Leadership I Learnt from the Kids” (buy it now from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com). Eyes Wide Shut: Visionary Leadership ‘It’s your turn,’ accompanied by a rib-breaking jab to my side proved to be a firm deterrent to any further sleep […]

Eyes Wide Shut: Visionary leadership

Posted on: June 21st, 2011 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

‘It’s your turn,’ accompanied by a rib-breaking jab to my side proved to be a firm deterrent to any further sleep and left me in no doubt that to protest would be about as successful as Custer’s last stand. Arising from the fog of coma-like slumber when all the sane world is sleeping is never […]

A Leadership Reminder: Life is Seasonal

Posted on: June 14th, 2011 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Let me start at the beginning. Some time ago I arrived home to be greeted by Tamryn’s: ‘Dad, can I please have a horse?’ I remember being asked a similar question by her older brother once, though if my memory serves me correctly it was a kangaroo that he wanted. In his case a ‘Sure […]

“You Can Call Me Mr. Coats Now”: Leadership & Faith

Posted on: June 3rd, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

“You can call me Mr. Coats” was the empathic reply given by one Sipho Coats age five to ‘Lochie’ (abbreviation for ‘Loch Ness Monster’ i.e. Vicky’s mom). All this transpired during a telephone conversation which became embroiled in why Lochie called the Zulu on our stoep ‘Daniel’ – his first name, and not ‘Sipho’, his […]

Because You’re Not a Business School

Posted on: June 1st, 2011 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

Not too long ago TomorrowToday was invited to throw our hat into the ring for the procurement of an Executive Leadership Development Programme for an International Developmental Agency that falls under the auspices of the United Nations. I had done some work for this organization in the Dominican Republic as part of another leadership development […]

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learnt From The Kids: Part 1

Posted on: May 31st, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Our colleague and co-founder of TomorrowToday, Keith Coats, is one of the world’s leading experts on leadership development. He is also a remarkable story teller and writer. A few years ago, we encouraged him to put into written form some of his thoughts and stories on what we can learn about leadership from our role […]

“I’m Six now” – An Invitation to Discovery

Posted on: May 31st, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

“I’m six now” were the first words to greet me on the morning of 1 December (a nice change to the usual rasping…”coffee”, emerging from the semi-comatose form lying next to me). It was also the first morning in six that the sun had shown itself, a nice touch I thought and somewhat appropriate for […]

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learnt From The Kids: Part 1

Posted on: May 24th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

I will never forget the emotions that accompanied holding my firstborn, a son, in my arms for the very first time. I felt so proud. Well actually, I felt so very clever, like I had achieved this amazing feat all on my own – an illusion that was quickly dispelled and something which I have […]

SAA Express…Another Oxymoron!

Posted on: May 17th, 2011 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

The first warning sign was a message informing me that my booked flight had been cancelled and I was now on a flight that departed some 30 minutes later. Not great but this seems to be something of a frequent occurrence these days. What can you do? Not much but little did I know how […]

What will be funny in Egypt? A Leadership Lesson

Posted on: May 10th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

What will be funny in Egypt? Well right now, not much perhaps but this question isn’t connected to current events unravelling in that part of the world. Rather, it is a guiding question that underpinned the making of the Mr Bean movie: What would be funny in Egypt? provided the creative platform to explore a […]

What will be funny in Egypt? A Leadership Lesson

Posted on: May 10th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

What will be funny in Egypt? Well right now, not much perhaps but this question isn’t connected to current events unravelling in that part of the world. Rather, it is a guiding question that underpinned the making of the Mr Bean movie: What would be funny in Egypt? provided the creative platform to explore a […]

The Simple Complexity of Hiring Grandpa

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Many, including TomorrowToday, have been saying for years that the aging population in Europe (and elsewhere), poses the the biggest economic challenge of the future. A recent Economist (April 9-15th) made this theme their cover story and for Boomers and Gen Y alike, it didn’t make for comfortable reading! The underpinning message was that plans […]

The End of Control

Posted on: April 19th, 2011 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Recently I was part of an innovative process design to explore how a business could either make or save money through the use of using social technology. The participants were put into groups and the process involved incubating and hatching ideas with lots of participation from all involved. There was no shortage of ideas on […]

Hearing God Thinking: Journeying Towards the New World of Work.

Posted on: April 19th, 2011 by Keith Coats 5 Comments

“In the beautiful complexity of a new universe that Einstein has shown us, I for one, have no doubt I can hear God thinking” – the words of Arthur Eddington, the British scientist, in the wake of him having proved Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Eddington’s proof of what Einstein had theorized not only made […]

Trapped in Kulula Limbo Hell

Posted on: April 12th, 2011 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

Kulula owe me 18 hours of my life back. That is the delayed time that they have cost me over the past couple of weeks as a frequent flyer on their carrier. In addition to this did I mention the two canceled flights that led to havoc with my schedule? Enough is enough. I now […]

The Black Shoe Conundrum

Posted on: April 5th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

A hectic domestic travel schedule sees me go through the motions when it comes to packing and unpacking. The self-imposed checks have proved reliable and tend to minimize or reduce loss and forgetfulness. Well until that is, until this present trip: a two-day facilitation involving the merger of two successful IT companies. Travel weary I […]

Social Business: Just Another Oxymoron or the Future of Business?

Posted on: March 29th, 2011 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

I have always enjoyed the often subtle and inherent humour embedded in an oxymoron, a term which could be described as two contradictory words that find themselves as unlikely bedfellows. Several immediately come to mind: plastic glasses, jumbo shrimp, airline food, military intelligence, civil war, pretty ugly, larger half and my all time favourite…Virgin Active. […]

One Sentence That Will Kill Innovation

Posted on: March 22nd, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

A lot is written and said about innovation. Leaders are exhorted to innovate at all costs and there is no shortage of hired help when it comes to the theory, formation and implementation of innovative procedures. But there is an inherent problem. The context in which we hope innovative practice will flourish is floored. The […]

Online Sales Leads: Best be Quick!

Posted on: March 15th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

In a recent HBR there was an interesting article titled ‘The Short Life of Online Sales’ by authors Oldroyd, McElheran and Elkington in which they research online sales effectiveness. Their findings? Most companies are simply not quick enough. Increasingly various industries, including financial services, the auto industry, education, software, professional services and health care are […]

What to do when rules don’t make sense: Mount from the right!

Posted on: March 8th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

In the horse world, mounting your steed from the left side is taken as ‘the way to do it’. This conventional wisdom has lead to horses becoming accustomed to being mounted from the left, reinforcing an important conditioning behaviour concerning how horses learn. Horses see independently with each eye, meaning that what the left eye […]

Savvy Leadership: Learning from Horses

Posted on: March 8th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

As I write this I am once again in the Dargle area located in the picturesque Midlands of Kwa Zulu Natal. It is a place that when created surely must have brought a smile to the Creator; reflection of a job well done!  It is a special place, made even more special by the activity […]

The Sheen is off Charlie

Posted on: March 1st, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

If what we read is true then we might well have seen the last of Charlie Sheen and Two and a Half Men. Sheen’s inability to act like a normal human being has seen the plug being pulled on one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. It is a great pity as there […]

A Leadership Lesson from History: On Impetuosity & Avalanches

Posted on: March 1st, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

One of the greatest strategists, a hero in his time who undertook one of the most daring feats in military history, paid the price for his own arrogance and impetuosity with the loss of achieving the thing he desired most – the conquest of Rome. A single act of impetuosity led to the destruction of […]

Leading Innovation: Is it not just about a Faster Horse?

Posted on: February 22nd, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse” is something attributed to Henry Ford. It was Ford’s ability to see the unseen that fuelled an entirely new habit of transportation in America. The innovative mass production of the Model T was underpinned by his dream to make the […]

Fox or Hedgehog? How you think will shape your future.

Posted on: February 15th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

In 1953, well before the information revolution seized the planet, philosopher Isaiah Berlin divided thinkers into two basic categories: the fox and the hedgehog.  The difference is that hedgehogs know ‘one big thing’ whilst foxes know ‘many things’. A hedgehog will focus on one overriding idea whilst the fox darts from one thing to another, […]

RIP: The Death of the Middle Manager

Posted on: February 8th, 2011 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

One of the implications of the convergence of Gen Y and technology in the workspace could well be the demise of middle management. If that is you, then you have every reason to be concerned with this possibility. As with every new generation who enter the workplace, changes occur. Boomer led organizations are currently scrambling […]

Resilience: Why It Is Important & How to Develop It

Posted on: February 1st, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Any leader if asked whether or not he / she would like to have a resilient company or organization, is unlikely to give any answer other than an emphatic, “Of course I do”.  And whilst resilience is something ‘hoped for’ amongst leaders when thinking of the organization they lead, there seems to be little intentionality […]

The Most Important Work Leaders Need to Do To Lead Into The Future.

Posted on: February 1st, 2011 by Keith Coats 6 Comments

Recently a CEO asked me an interesting question: What did I think is the most important quality or skill that leaders will need as they lead into the future? It is an intriguing question yet I found my answer without the slightest hesitation: Adaptive intelligence. The context of leadership is that of relentless change and […]

Eating Humble Pie: A Lesson in Customer Service

Posted on: January 25th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

There is no doubt that the closer top management is to the customer, the more successful an organization is likely to be. Customer experience has long been mooted as the next battleground where competitive advantage will be won or lost. There needs to be intentional investment in truly understanding not only our existing customers but […]

The Invitation of the Blank Page

Posted on: January 11th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

The turning of the page from one year to the next invites both reflection on the year lived and aspirations for the year to come. Surveying the script on the worn and dog-eared pages of the past year invites reflection on the good and bad; the ups and downs; the routine and the unexpected – […]

A Lesson & Warning from Stan the Dinosaur

Posted on: January 4th, 2011 by Keith Coats No Comments

Were you to enter Google’s Googleplex you would come face to kneecap with Stan. Stan is the nickname given to the bronze replica of a skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that guards the entrance to this impressive place of work. A dinosaur located at such a hi-tech place would seem strange at best until you […]

On Hairballs and Innovation

Posted on: December 21st, 2010 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

I am currently reading a great ‘little’ book with big insights. It was given to me by my colleague Barrie with a, “you simply have to read this” dictum that I dare not ignore. Written by Gordon Mackensie the book’s title is somewhat intriguing: ‘Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with […]

Friends, Facebook & Filters: The Boomer Challenge.

Posted on: December 14th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

An old school friend, with whom I had long since lost touch with, recently made contact with me via Facebook. It turns out we live in the same area and so naturally made time to meet over coffee. Hair is greyer or thinner; waistlines are undoubtedly thicker but much is still intact.  Within the first […]

1Time Airlines Encourage Customers To Use Other Carriers!

Posted on: December 13th, 2010 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

I’m standing in a queue at gate C12 OR Tambo airport waiting to board a 1Time flight (IT 221) to Durban. The boarding is already delayed by 5 minutes when a 1Time staff person walks the line announcing that the boarding procedures will be delayed by 10-15 minutes. In my experience this is completely par […]

Missing the Point: Control, Leaders & Social Technology

Posted on: December 7th, 2010 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

“Over the last two decades, the world has changed substantially. The economic, political, social, corporate, and personal rules that now apply bear scant relation to those applicable two decades ago. Different times require a different script” writes Kenichi Ohmae in his book titled, The Next Global Stage. Coming to terms with this shift is often […]

Start Thinking Younger

Posted on: November 23rd, 2010 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

In their recently published book, Hacking Work, Bill Jensen and Josh Klein argue that business has lost control of the conversation with their employees and still hasn’t admitted that or dealt with the shift in control that has occurred. I think they are right on the money! The authors argue that three things are ’killing’ […]

Beware What You Tweet!

Posted on: November 16th, 2010 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

On my way back to SA yesterday I read an interesting front page story in the New York Times. Titled, ‘Rand on Twitter Turns Briton Into a Criminal, and a Cause’. It is the account of how a certain Paul Chambers (26), thwarted by a snowstorm at his local airport that grounded his flight whilst […]

The King’s Dilemma: Leadership & Control

Posted on: November 2nd, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

In her book, ‘Open Leadership: how social technology can transform the way you lead’, Charlene Li defines the concept of open leadership as,’ having the confidence and humility to give up the need to be control while inspiring commitment from people to accomplish goals’. Fundamental to this is the acknowledgement that open leadership fosters new […]

Your Next Recruit

Posted on: October 26th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Intel has employed a cultural anthropologist. At first glance that seems like Ferrari taking on board an estate agent. Why would a chip-making tech company rope in the services of an anthropologist? Genevieve Bell (the cultural anthropologist in question) goes by the title, ‘ Director of Interaction and Experience Research’ or as she describes it, […]

An Open Letter To Boomer Bosses Everywhere:

Posted on: October 20th, 2010 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Dear Wally, (if the name fits or even if it doesn’t…) I need to speak to you on an important issue.  For some time I have been watching a tsunami looming large on the horizon and it seems that the majority of corporate leaders I get to engage with remain oblivious to the impending danger.  […]

Want a Value Add: What About ‘Story’?

Posted on: September 8th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

In his book, Eyewitness to Power, David Gergen writes, “I asked Reagan how he wanted to explain what he was seeking there. “ “Let’s tell a story,” he responded.  Reagan, ‘The Great Communicator’, regarded storytelling – or narrative, as one of the most effective weapons in his repertoire. I think this ‘weapon’ goes beyond a […]

Wave the Flag…Today!

Posted on: August 11th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Tonight Bafana Bafana take to the field. New game, new era, new Coach, new goals to achieve…and hopefully score. In a way this represents a rebirth of sorts following all that was experienced and accomplished during the World Cup. The challenge is for all South Africans is to get behind our team, to continue waving […]

SPAR, Good for You: Real Learning

Posted on: July 30th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

“Let’s get rid of the tables” came the suggestion.  An innocent enough suggestion but one that signalled a significant shift had taken place. It was the SPAR Leadership Development Programme (SLDP) reunion and the 2009 / 10 cohort had organised a reunion. The room was full of expectancy and the event had been at the […]

Career Development: Understanding that you are paid to KIS

Posted on: July 13th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

“You’re getting paid for your knowledge, intelligence and skills” was the message I heard a Director share with young staff that were on a two-year entry-level management development programme. He was encouraging those present to accept responsibility for their own development and he was right to do so. Taking personal responsibility for the development of […]

Opinion: Ashwin Desai… What a Loser!

Posted on: July 12th, 2010 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Everyday during the course of the World Cup I have kept a newspaper. Why? Well I’m guessing that some day down the road it will be good to review the amazing period we have just lived through. I am sure hindsight will add perspective and I’m sure we will point to this period as one […]

The Leader’s Challenge: Knowing What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Posted on: July 12th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Author Max de Pree has said that the first task of leadership is to define reality.  For many in leadership today, the reality is they don’t know what to do in a turbulent, complex and dynamic world. Leadership is not what it once was and nor will it ever be that again. It has changed […]

The beautiful game: Is it just me?

Posted on: June 22nd, 2010 by Keith Coats 5 Comments

Is it just me or have football players taken acting lessons? The FIFA World Cup has been littered with theatrical dives and players going down as if they have been poleaxed by a Mike Tyson hook when in fact replays show there has been no contact whatsoever! It is sickening and will stain the beautiful […]

Change, Change, Change…Context, Context, Context!

Posted on: June 4th, 2010 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

At the Global Leaders Conference I listened to an American professor speak on change. It was his first trip to China. What I heard, which at face value made good sense, was your typical ‘change theory’ proposition. There were two obvious problems with what I heard.

Creating Raving Fans: Something to learn from Liverpool Football Club

Posted on: June 4th, 2010 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Liverpool Football Club (LFC) has long enjoyed manic support from the terraces and I for one include myself in that tribe. It is a club with a rich heritage and traditions that evoke envy and admiration in equal measure. Yesterday I read of manager, Rafa Benitez’s departure, a turn that many have been waiting for […]

The Janitor: A Reason Why The World Cup Will Succeed

Posted on: May 25th, 2010 by Keith Coats 4 Comments

Once again I found myself at O R Tambo airport eagerly waiting to get a flight home after yet another week in Johannesburg.  No surprises there! If they could just move the Johannesburg economy and business buzz to Durban, without the traffic, road works and of course the Lions (the local rugby team)…now that would […]

How We Do Leadership Development Needs To Change

Posted on: May 13th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Traditional leadership learning programmes are in need of revision. In spite of a massive emphasis and investment in leadership education, the return on this investment has often disappointed. This in part can be explained by traditional models of developing leaders not keeping pace with the rapidity and complexity that characterize the context in which leaders […]

Trust Matters

Posted on: April 28th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

In a technological age of instant, easy and cheap communication speaking to one another has never been easier. Why, just in a few hours I am scheduled to be in a skype conference call that links Hong Kong, Boston and Durban! So although it has never been easier to connect, knowing who to connect with […]

R-E-T-A-I-L: Six Leadership Practices for Smart Retailers

Posted on: April 12th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Here are six reminders to leaders in retail, but in truth, these reminders can serve leaders everywhere. Taking the word ‘retail’, here are six things, which if done, will enhance your business success. 1 Rethink your business. The global recession has forced many back to the drawing board and sadly for others, it has meant […]

Are you wasting your money on leadership development?

Posted on: March 16th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Behaviourist B.F. Skinner maintained that education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten. There has been much written about the need to create learning organisations and more resources than fleas on a stray dog have been spent on leadership formation (learning) within organisations. The fact that leadership formation assumes such a […]

Savvy Leadership: Leading in the Connection Economy

Posted on: March 8th, 2010 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Challenged recently to ‘frame’ a leadership development process has led me to set out the following offering. Having had the opportunity to participate in several international leadership formation programmes I am, for the most part, left with a disquiet that is hard to articulate. For one thing much of leadership formation is seen as a […]

Bacon or Pork: Either Way the Piggy Bank is Toast

Posted on: March 3rd, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Commitment to breakfast means different things to the chicken and the pig. Well unless that is, you’re inclined to favour KFC for breakfast! Nowhere has the shock to perspective that the global recession emitted been more keenly felt than in the banking / financial sector. The collapse in asset prices, a surge in distressed debt […]

Redundant: The School Reunion: A Reminder to Leaders Everywhere

Posted on: February 10th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

It was one of those father / son conversations that fathers are inclined to indulge in from time to time and that are usually invoked by some or other important milestone or ritual. The ritual in question? My youngest son beginning his University career. Well let’s hope it isn’t a ‘career’ but rather a short […]

Learners with Disabilities

Posted on: February 8th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

It was an interesting sign to have on the school bus I thought – ‘Learners with Disabilities’. Soon the school bus was to take another route to that of mine and then it was gone. The bus was no longer in sight but the bold sign emblazed across the back of the bus stuck with […]

Knowing What You Don’t Know is Important

Posted on: February 5th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Yes it’s true. I’m getting coached in ‘Social Media’. “About time” some might say but it’s not just about how to engage in the various kinds of social media available – it’s about learning how to, ‘connect the dots’. It is about understanding how to work with all the options in an integrated manner that […]

Once Upon a Time: The Power of Story to Connect

Posted on: February 1st, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

I find myself at a large hospitality group’s General Managers Conference. The group has seen a lot of change over the past tumultuous year and as a result, about 40% of those attending the conference are here for the first time. That’s a significant percentage. The exercise I have facilitated to help people connect and […]

A Note to CEO’s…everywhere.

Posted on: January 28th, 2010 by Keith Coats No Comments

Guiseppe Garibaldi, the old soldier-patriot who unified Italy in the mid-nineteenth century, following his military campaign was quoted as saying, “We have made Italy, now we must make Italians” In South Africa the ‘Proudly South African’ campaign is widely known and I recall my colleague, Barrie once saying something along the lines of, “They’ve missed […]

The Anatomy of Strategy – 3 Simple Questions to Test Your Strategy

Posted on: January 21st, 2010 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

Strategy formation has been elevated to the realm of the MBA. Curriculum is developed, courses are taught and only the chosen few get to play in this elite playground. Here the air is thin and we have come to accept that only those accustomed to flying at high altitude are entitled to be the ones […]

Back to the Future: Rethinking Strategy

Posted on: December 3rd, 2009 by Keith Coats 6 Comments

How do you speak in a new way about strategy when an old language dominates the topic? This is a major obstacle standing in the way of thinking about strategy in a new way for a new world. Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase was quoted in Fortune (January 26, 2009) as saying, “I […]

The Hand of God – Part 2.

Posted on: November 19th, 2009 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

I watched in horror last night has one of the world’s finest footballers, Thierry Henry cheated in order to secure his country’s participation in FIFA’s World Cup next year. His blatant handball allowed France to score the goal that broke Irish hearts and shattered the potential upset that would have dumped the previous finalist out […]

Help! Linking Theory & Practice

Posted on: November 19th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

I am attending a leadership symposium titled, Indigenous Knowledge and Leadership in Africa Colloquium: Leading in Africa hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Leadership Centre and Africa Ignite. Gathered here are some of the Continent’s most impressive minds when it comes to the subject of African leadership.  Academics are a strange lot. They are a […]

A Sandpit to Entice

Posted on: October 28th, 2009 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Just been part of a conversation that happens all too infrequently. You know, one of those conversations that leave you buzzing, unable to sleep or concentrate on the ‘next thing to be done’. A conversation that ‘gets the juices going’ – a conversation in which you suspect the seeds of greatness sit; A conversation in […]

From Hawaii: Four Things About Globalization

Posted on: September 29th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

The stated goal of the East-West Center’s International Forum for Education 2020 is, ”to address the need for new paradigms in higher education that will respond to transforming economic, social and cultural changes”. The belief is that the capacity to address these dramatic changes lies in the educational system. The challenge of course is the […]

From Hawaii: The Real Learning for Teams

Posted on: September 28th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

Had an insightful conversation today. As with any education programme orientated around leadership, standard practice is to have participants work in groups, teams or in business-speak, cohorts. Where do they come up with this terminology, some of which is part of the problem but that is another subject! There are always two main arteries to […]

From Hawaii: What Survives?

Posted on: September 25th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten (Skinner). The real test of any educational programme can only be truly tested after a significant period of time. This makes a mockery of the way in which the majority of executive educational programmes are currently measured.  The measures are usually immediate and […]

Complex Diversity even in Paradise

Posted on: September 23rd, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

My current visit to the Asia Pacific Leadership Program is the eighth time I have had the privilege to visit Hawaii and experience the ‘aloha’ spirit. The traditional aloha greeting, goes far beyond the simple ‘hello’. The traditional greeting would involve a touching of foreheads in the course of greeting and aloha literally means exchanging […]

Pursuing the ‘Better Way’

Posted on: September 10th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

There is always a ‘better way’ to do things. It is a mindset. What often serves as a roadblock in pursuing a ‘better way’ are the default setting within our organisations. Default settings dictate how we operate as a system and are learnt behaviours to secure reward, avoid conflict, create efficiencies, acknowledge status, maintain comfort, […]

The Proof is in the People

Posted on: August 31st, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

We in TomorrowToday have been saying for a long time that the biggest global strategic challenge is what has been called the, ‘war for talent’ – or what is essentially the attraction and retention of talent. There has been some earlier research on this but a recent global research done by the Boston Consulting Group […]

Be the Change You Want to See

Posted on: August 27th, 2009 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

Watching last night’s Champions League play-offs proved to be a disheartening experience for one particular incident I witnessed. It was in the game between an impressive young Arsenal side and that of Celtic. The game loaded in Arsenal’s favour following their 2-0 away win, then tilted completely to Arsenal’s favour through a piece of prime […]

What makes for good learning?

Posted on: August 5th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

We have all been in ‘the classroom’. For some a refuge and brief respite from the turmoil of the office; for others a world they have never left for the reality of the outside world; and then for many, a world escaped and to which they have no intention of very revisiting. But we have […]

Can I help you pack Sir?

Posted on: July 14th, 2009 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

An amazing article appeared in the Business Day on the 8th July 2009. It was a Business Day interview with the former Anglo American deputy chairman, Graham Boustred, 84. It was an interview at his request in order for him to share his views on the current state of Anglo American. What follows has one […]

Keeping it Simple

Posted on: June 1st, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

Reading Gillian Tett’s excellent book, ‘Fool’s Gold: How unrestrained greed corrupted a dream, shattered global markets and unleashed a catastrophe’ (Little, Brown 2009 – buy it now at Amazon.co.uk or Kalahari.net) reminded me of a memorable saying of the legendary Liverpool Football Club manager, Bill Shankly. Shanks, commenting on the Beautiful Game once said, “It […]

One Race CEO’s won’t Win…but need to!

Posted on: May 29th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

Technique lags technology. Fact. The need for leaders to keep pace with technology is relentless and never-ending. It is a race that can’t be won. However leaders today cannot afford to hide behind walls excusing techno-illiteracy on their part. As decision-makers within their organisation they need to understand the possibilities and limits offered by technology. […]

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – the essential role of feedback for the Leader

Posted on: May 20th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”  So goes the question embedded in the fanciful world of a children’s tale and a question that hauntingly stalks most of us for the remainder of our adult journey. Not that we would admit to such for over the years, not only have we […]

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle & Leaders Everywhere

Posted on: May 19th, 2009 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle throws a large spanner in our quest to know, understand and decipher the future. It states, “If we know the present, we can calculate the future – it is not the conclusion that is wrong but the premise”. Seeing beyond the filters we have, filters that help us interpret and make […]

Empty Hands & Dirty Plates

Posted on: May 15th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

The dirty plate gets pushed to the edge of the table, begging to be cleared. Staff person after staff person walk past, the plate remains. The ‘invisible’ plate becomes a case study in restaurant efficiency…the tension mounts. Eventually, unable to take it any longer the next staff member who scurries past is intercepted and asked […]

Perspective: A Helpful Framework for Leaders

Posted on: May 15th, 2009 by Keith Coats No Comments

Erik Erikson, the renown Danish Developmental Psychologist believed that balance in life was dependent upon paying attention to three critical areas of one’s life: Work, Play & Love. Erikson argued that maintaining a balance in these three areas was essential for the healthy negotiation of the latter stages of one’s life. It is a nice […]

The Essential Smoke and Mirror of Leadership

Posted on: August 6th, 2008 by Keith Coats No Comments

My youngest son Sipho arrived home from school the other day having just negotiated a history exam. “Well, how did it go?” I asked. Without so much as breaking his stride, he replied, “Well Dad, I either got 92% or 60%” and with that disappeared into his room leaving an empty and somewhat stunned silence […]

So, it is your first day in the corner office…

Posted on: June 12th, 2008 by Keith Coats No Comments

I received an email the other day inviting me to contribute a ‘thought’ or message to a leader newly appointed to the role of CEO. I was one of several people invited to do so and I thought it was a nice touch. Unfortunately, the mail arrived at a time when I was in Thailand […]

Developing corporate leaders

Posted on: April 23rd, 2008 by Keith Coats 4 Comments

Explore four trends that are currently changing the face of business as Keith explains how these trends are resulting in the need for a radical transformation in the process of developing leaders who are capable of leading into the future.

The Great HR Paradox: A Thought Bullet for CEO’s everywhere

Posted on: April 23rd, 2008 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

“Never before has ‘HR’ (Human Resources) been so redundant within the corporation; yet paradoxically, never before has it been more critical.” In this article, Keith Coats offers a viewpoint on how companies can make the transition to the connection economy and arrive in tomorrow’s world with the requisite skills to not only survive but succeed and lead in the business world today.

The Great HR Paradox: A Thought Bullet for CEO's everywhere

Posted on: April 23rd, 2008 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

“Never before has ‘HR’ (Human Resources) been so redundant within the corporation; yet paradoxically, never before has it been more critical.” In this article, Keith Coats offers a viewpoint on how companies can make the transition to the connection economy and arrive in tomorrow’s world with the requisite skills to not only survive but succeed and lead in the business world today.

Dear Yves… a conversation around Values

Posted on: October 16th, 2007 by Keith Coats 10 Comments

Following a presentation on Invitational Leadership at a two day workshop for senior leaders at a prominent multi-national, the CEO of the company and Keith Coats engaged in a chat about values and the role they play in a company. He invited Keith to email him some thoughts around the four values his company had […]

The Inconvenient Truth for Leaders

Posted on: July 25th, 2007 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

What global warming is to Al Gore, so is the issue of control to the leader. However the inconvenient truth is that control is an illusion. Keith Coats, global leadership guru explores the concept of leadership and control in this insightful article on invitational leadership.

Rethinking Leadership

Posted on: June 1st, 2007 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

The more I look, listen, read and learn, to more convinced I am that our approach to leadership education and development needs a major rethink. Rather than focusing on static ’snapshots’ leaders need to learn how to identify patters, articulate ideas and provide metaphors that enable accurate interpretation of what is happening within their personal […]

The New Village: Building Courageous Companies

Posted on: May 30th, 2007 by Keith Coats No Comments

In this article, Keith Coats, our resident leadership expert, visits one of his favourite themes: the company as a village. He explains the four key requirements for developing successful and resilient organisations: belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.

Leading the Whatever Generation – the "Bright Young Things"

Posted on: March 19th, 2007 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Leadership in today’s world is not easy. I suspect it has never ‘been easy’ but with the contemporary levels of complexity, connectedness and ubiquitous change these are indeed unique times in which to live and lead. The twin challenges that leaders face, that of leading diversity and understanding the inherent paradoxes, demands from leaders new […]

Leading the Whatever Generation – the “Bright Young Things”

Posted on: March 19th, 2007 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Leadership in today’s world is not easy. I suspect it has never ‘been easy’ but with the contemporary levels of complexity, connectedness and ubiquitous change these are indeed unique times in which to live and lead. The twin challenges that leaders face, that of leading diversity and understanding the inherent paradoxes, demands from leaders new […]

Downshifting – Changing the gears

Posted on: February 7th, 2007 by Keith Coats No Comments

Tired of the constant pressure of corporate life Bruce decided he no longer needed this kind of life. With no dependents he and his wife sold-up house and business and moved into a rustic coastal cottage they now call home. Turning to what they love, voluntarily dabbling in a variety of ventures of their choice […]

The Attitude and Action of Authentic Leadership

Posted on: September 27th, 2006 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

In this thought-provoking article, Keith cuts across many of the myths of modern leadership to suggest one attitude and one action that truly authentic and savvy leaders need to take more seriously than they do. He is concerned that chasing after the leadership “gurus” is part of the reason that there is a global leadership […]

Talk Story: Signposts for Savvy Leaders

Posted on: June 14th, 2006 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Why do we struggle so with telling stories? Kids don’t struggle in this regard, and perhaps nor do we when with friends, around a meal, in a pub or over a braai (or barbeque for the less initiated). The practice of storytelling is central in any culture with the Hawaiians using a magical phrase, ‘talk […]

‘Even Chuck has to Change’: Leading in a changing world

Posted on: May 11th, 2006 by Keith Coats No Comments

In times of change, leaders who are prepared to learn will succeed, while those who consider themselves to be learned will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. We live and lead in a sea of constant change. Anyone who needs to be convinced of this reality is most […]

Leadership Lessons on Teamwork from the Kids

Posted on: March 30th, 2006 by Keith Coats 3 Comments

Having written the book, Everything I know about leadership I learnt from the kids, I often get asked if I really believe that leaders can learn about leadership from kids. Yes, I do. And here’s why I believe leaders can learn from kids. Last year my daughter Tamryn, was elected as Head Girl of her […]

SAA does it again: saga continues…

Posted on: February 5th, 2006 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Some time ago I wrote about the way SAA dealt with delays on the Sunday night of the A1 GP out of Durban. No problem about the delays (after all who can control a thunder storm!) but rather the total lack of information to those impacted by a delay that in my case was actually […]

Lessons in Leadership from Steve “Tugga” Waugh: former Australian Cricket Captain

Posted on: January 29th, 2006 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

E-ZINE ARTICLE, FEBRUARY 2006 Sign up for free e-zine at: http://www.tomorrowtoday.biz/newsletter/index.htm by Keith Coats When it comes to the Australian cricket team there are very few neutrals: You either love them or hate them. However, regardless of which side of the fence you happen to be, the one thing that you cannot deny is the […]

SAA do it again

Posted on: January 29th, 2006 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

In the SAA lounge await flight 572 to Jhb. A bit grumpy to boot as who wants to be in the lounge on a Sunday afternoon (missing the finish of the A1 GP round the streets of Durban) anyway! My flight is due to depart at 17:40. 17:40 comes around and there has been no […]

Confirmation of a character Tsunami

Posted on: January 12th, 2006 by Keith Coats No Comments

Sitting in a lecture at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok listening to David Hastings talking about the tsunami that devestated this region on the 26th December 2004. Some interesting insights are emerging as to the systems in place through technology and networks that are designed to alert […]

The Young & the Restless

Posted on: December 24th, 2005 by Keith Coats 5 Comments

As I sit here a day before Christmas, rain falling, birds in the feeder right outside my window and a sense of peace and goodwill pervading the atmosphere I am witness to another phenomena about to unfold: Roadtrip 2006. My about-to-be-20 year old son and several of his friends are preparing their Boxing Day Roadtrip […]

The Dead: A Case in Point

Posted on: December 12th, 2005 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Walk into The Chatterbox, a coffee shop in Westville, KZN, South Africa (now you know exactly where it is!). Only having about 30 minutes, I order a muffin and coffee. Settle back and switch on my laptop. Damn… need power but no problem, my table has a plug point right next to it. Plug in […]

The Other Side of Leadership

Posted on: November 4th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

For the past four years TmTd have been invited to participate in the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) hosted by the East West Center and based in Honolulu. Recently Keith was asked to write something to the participants on how best to write ‘leadership reflections’ â€? something that is required of the participants throughout the […]

7 Things Savvy Leaders Do in order to Be Great Leaders

Posted on: October 2nd, 2005 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

They recognise and cultivate healthy habits Savvy leaders understand that character outweighs personality every time. Leadership, as so many presume, is not about personality, it is about character. And character is developed over the long-haul. Developing character is a series of intentional acts be those of success, failure, adversity or achievement. Developing character is to […]

Well done Jhb International

Posted on: September 25th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

After a long flight home I was waiting for my luggage at Jhb International airport when to my surprise an announcement was made informing me on the progress that was being made in getting my luggage from the plane to me. That’s nice I thought and then was even more taken as further reports followed. […]

It’s a small world anyway

Posted on: September 7th, 2005 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

So here I am in Hawaii with my head having just arrived in Atlanta. It still has about a 9 hour trip to catch-up with the rest of me. Added trouble is that I picked-up a nasty flu type bug as I was leaving SA and which then decided to make my head its home […]

Are you wasting your money on leadership development?

Posted on: August 24th, 2005 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Behaviourist B.F. Skinner maintained that, ‚education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten‛. Much has been written about the need to create learning organisations and more resources than fleas on a stray dog have been spent on leadership formation within organisations. The fact that leadership formation assumes such a high priority […]

Smart Women Don’t Box: Leadership in the Connection economy

Posted on: July 27th, 2005 by Keith Coats 6 Comments

A recent magazine, exploring the subject of women and leadership, carried an article titled, ‘Women can beat men at their own game’. My question is, “why would they want to do that?” Trying to ‘beat men at their own game’ is not only a foolhardy tactic but one that will simply ensure that women leaders […]

Leading Diversity: An Invitation to Leaders Everywhere

Posted on: June 30th, 2005 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Understanding and leading diversity is complex and demanding territory for leaders everywhere. It also is territory, which in a global economy, is simply unavoidable. In the face of relentless diversity care needs to be taken that leaders avoid the temptation of looking for an easy or simplistic formula. An ‘ABC’ to leveraging diversity where all […]

The problem with HR doing leadership development

Posted on: June 30th, 2005 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

The more I deal with HR departments in various companies the more I have come to understand that if it is HR that is entrusted with leadership development (and it usually is) the more it is likely to fail. Let me explain what I mean by this. Most leadership formation programmes I have encountered either […]

Conversations vs Information

Posted on: June 23rd, 2005 by Keith Coats 13 Comments

Today I enjoyed a thought provoking conversation concerning the overwhelming amount of information that one is required to engage with in our world today. I don’t think I need to make a case for what certainly is a reality experienced by most. Not being connected today is as rare as an anartic heatwave. But there […]

What is real education?

Posted on: June 15th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

This week I have enjoyed several great conversations around leadership as I have accompanied Nick Barker to various meetings. Nick heads up the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) at the East West Center in Hawaii. Here is one memorable quote from Nick who was in turn quoting someone else. He said

Shape the future – do whatever it takes

Posted on: June 2nd, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

It is a great battle cry – shape the future – do whatever it takes. It was the rally call from a conference I have just attended where I was invited to present ‘Savvy Leadership: leadership for the 21st Century’. As I looked over the sea of faces I detected an interesting mix of emotions…

A Case for Blogging

Posted on: May 28th, 2005 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

For leaders, the flow of information within their company ought to be a primary concern. The need for developing horizonal information flow is critical as is the avoidence of allowing islands of information to develop leading to fragmented knowledge. In virtual and decentralised structures gettos of information develop all to easily. Getting this information out […]

Learning a New Dance

Posted on: May 26th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

Page moved to http://www.tmtd.biz/articles-main-page/articles-leadership-index-page/learning-a-new-dance/.

Blogging…who cares?

Posted on: May 23rd, 2005 by Keith Coats 8 Comments

In an information-overloaded society who cares who blogs and why? Note that is a question and not a statement. But could it be that when one has 109 books on the ‘waiting to be read’ shelf, a pile of journals, magazines and clippings a couple of zillion meters high (Ok that’s an exaggeration but the […]

Learning from a Savvy CEO

Posted on: April 27th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

As I walked in it felt as though I had come home! The CEO’s office could not by any stretch of the imagination be described as ostentatious but the large desk was well ordered and adorned with some impressive looking gadgetry. As it was a Boomer boss I was dealing with here I couldn’t help […]

The Power of Connection

Posted on: April 16th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

By engaging with the reality of the emerging Connection economy the signature tune is that of connection: in other words ‘relationships’. Here is just one more story of that power at work – a story that if you are in the medical profession might just save you from litigation!

Storytelling in Organisations

Posted on: March 30th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

Am reading an interesting book by this title. In many senses it is nothing we don’t know or do but someone simply beat us to the punch when it comes to writing it up. I would be interested in any stories / experiences you have in exploring this space within companies. The power of the […]

Three Areas That Leaders Everywhere Dare Not Ignore

Posted on: February 23rd, 2005 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Challenged recently to ‘frame’ a leadership development process has led me to set out the following offering. Having had the opportunity to participate in several international leadership formation programmes I am, for the most part, left with a disquiet that is hard to articulate. For one thing much of leadership formation is seen as a […]

The Apprentice: Leadership Lessons We Shouldn’t be Learning

Posted on: January 20th, 2005 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Written by Keith Coats and Graeme Codrington. The ongoing search for better and stranger reality TV shows has produced many brilliant ideas. When one of the world’s most flamboyant businessmen and NBC got together to create the 2004 hit, The Apprentice, it must have sounded like a great idea (in fact, it WAS a great […]

The Apprentice: Leadership Lessons We Shouldn’t be Learning

Posted on: January 20th, 2005 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Written by Keith Coats and Graeme Codrington. The ongoing search for better and stranger reality TV shows has produced many brilliant ideas. When one of the world’s most flamboyant businessmen and NBC got together to create the 2004 hit, The Apprentice, it must have sounded like a great idea (in fact, it WAS a great […]

Leadership in a changed world

Posted on: January 20th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

If the world has changed then we need a new kind of leadership. The world has changed. Much has been said and written about change and the importance for leaders, wherever they might be, to adapt to the changes that have taken place. In fact it is often highlighted that the ability to adapt to […]

The New Intellectual Communism

Posted on: January 12th, 2005 by Keith Coats 1 Comment

Management science has been around for some time, traditionally starting with the work of Fredrick Winslow Taylor, being brought to new heights by Peter Drucker, and popularized by Tom Peters. Strategy also has a long history, with Michael Porter probably being the doyenne, but Norton and Kaplan having brought in a new focus with their […]

Leadership and storytelling: Like a horse and carriage

Posted on: January 12th, 2005 by Keith Coats No Comments

For many the ‘horse and carriage’ part of the article title has been met with dumbfounded blank stares and a (hopefully) silent ‚huh?‛ But for others, you are already humming the tune. ..and the chances are you will find it harder to get out your head than it was to get in! Please accept my […]

Downshifting – Changing the gears

Posted on: December 1st, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

Tired of the constant pressure of corporate life Bruce decided he no longer needed this kind of life. With no dependents he and his wife sold-up house and business and moved into a rustic coastal cottage they now call home. Turning to what they love, voluntarily dabbling in a variety of ventures of their choice […]

The Great HR Paradox: A thought bullet for CEOs everywhere

Posted on: December 1st, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

Never before has ‘HR’ (Human Resources) been so redundant within the corporation; yet paradoxically, never before has it been more needed.

From dust to dust

Posted on: December 1st, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

This has been a subject that I have wanted to write about for some considerable time. Somehow though, I have been procrastinating as it seems, well‌ so mundane. I mean let’s face it, an article about the role and execution of “the corporate conference” is hardly likely to have scriptwriter clambering for the rights to […]

Savvy Leadership

Posted on: December 1st, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘Savvy’ is described as ‘knowing what to do, when to do it and why you are doing it’. Seeking then to preface the term ‘leadership’ with ‘savvy’ becomes something of a no-brainer. With this understanding of savvy, which leader today wouldn’t want to be known as a ‘savvy leader’? However, to better understand savvy leadership […]

Leadership – Riding Dead Horses

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. This ancient Sioux saying seems obvious enough; I mean who in their right mind would try to ride a dead horse, right? Well maybe not.

What women want – The future of leadership

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

What woman want in business is not the corner office, or so maintains Linda Tischerler in the Febuary 2004 edition of FastCompany.

TomorrowToday.biz Hometalk – Understanding the Beast

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats 8 Comments

We are in the process of building a great company. Well that is how I feel anyway. As I have been thinking about TomorrowToday.biz I would like to share some thoughts concerning how we are configuring in the hope that they will foster understanding, create dialogue and thereby contribute in some small way to my […]

Changing the grip – The emerging challenge for leaders everywhere

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

What will be the next great shift in leadership? What will represent the next Rubicon for those in leadership? What will leadership 21C require?

Journal Entry #1, January 2004. Learning from Marcus Aurelius

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

For leaders everywhere there was a significant but subtle scene in the blockbuster movie, Gladiator, one that would have been easy to miss but from which we can learn a great deal. The scene has Emperor Marcus Aurelius, encamped with his troops in battle, sitting in his tent writing by candlelight. Marcus Aurelius, ruler of […]

From Russia with love – Kicking away the pillars

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

I am sitting in a little cafe looking out onto the main square in St.Petersburg, Russia. The snow is pilled up outside and the clear skies allude to a warmth that simply isn’t there. Not to this African at least!

Everything I need to know about leadership I learnt from the kids

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

‘Everything I really need to know about leadership I learnt from the kids’ is a book in progress. A process that my partners note somewhat wirily is proving to be as long as the title! But kids, like wine and good leadership, take time to mature I constantly remind them â€? something I suspect they […]

Learning from the fairies of the magic hill – A leadership challenge

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

The magic spoken of, lies in the hill itself. It is an innocuous enough looking hill, seemingly no different from the many that precede it and not distinguished in any remarkable manner from the many that would follow. It lies silently in wait for the unsuspecting traveller revealing its magic only to those who, having […]

A glimpse into the future – Good news / Bad news for leaders

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

We are heading towards a ‘relational economy’. But the smart leaders already know this and it is reflected in the way they think about the world and in particular, the way they lead and do business.

The rocket science of leadership

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

In the current series of Survivor one of the participants has the unenviable career description of being a ‘rocket scientist’. ‘No really’ must be something he is quite used to saying having had to repeatedly answer the stock question we all get asked, ‘So what line of business are you in?’ I can only guess […]

Best beats good every time – Something smart leaders know

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

It was Peter Drucker who first coined the expression, ‘knowledge worker’ â€? and that was back in the 1960’s! Today it has become a cliche to talk about business as being in the ‘knowledge era’ and that the greatest knowledge available in any business, is spread throughout the many minds that make up that enterprise. […]

Learning from the poison chalice – Understanding leadership in an information age

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

Physicist, John Wheeler suggests that information may be the basic ingredient of the universe itself. In an ‘information age’ it certainly becomes a key indicator for both organisations and leadership alike. Recently there have been a few high profile stories reported in the national media that serve to illustrate the contrasting attitudes towards the sharing […]

Thirteen things smart leaders know – How to thrive in a relational economy

Posted on: November 30th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

Leadership is about who you are. It is about character. It is about looking inwards in order to lead outwards. The best leaders are those know themselves, know their strengths and play to those strengths. They understand something of the connected, relational and paradoxical nature of the world in which they live and lead. They […]

I can see clearly now

Posted on: November 29th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

In a relational economy (and that is where are heading!) transactions are less important than relationships. Businesses are arriving, albeit in drips and drabs, at the understanding that pushing around notes and coins is less useful than developing and sustaining continuous collaborations or relationships. It can be argued that money causes people to fixate on […]

Leadership for tomorrow

Posted on: November 29th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

It is hard enough coping with the current demands of leadership so why worry about tomorrow? At first glance this seems like a reasonable question and may well get several heads nodding in agreement‌including yours. The notion that today’s leaders are under greater pressure than ever before is one that carries some weight of evidence. […]

Will the real champions please stand up

Posted on: November 29th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

Right Said Fred’s catchy song, Stand-up for the Champions has been used to powerful effect by MNet to capture Joe Publics attention. The champions are portrayed as those sportsmen and women whose heroics leave us enthralled, entertained and at times dismayed. Today these champions are paid (over-paid many might say) vast sums of money for […]

10 Skills for future success

Posted on: November 29th, 2004 by Keith Coats 7 Comments

The Economist magazine ended a survey of e-business with a review of the skills necessary to successfully manage an e-world business. Now before you discount what is to follow because you might argue that you are not involved in an e-business, have a look at the list. It is no different from skills that Tom […]

Relationships – The economic return of the future

Posted on: November 29th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

Of course in today’s cynical, hard-pressed business environment, swallowing the prediction that relationships will be the economic return of tomorrow is a little like asking you to believe that bullets will one day bounce off vests made from the mixture of a spider’s thread and goats milk – right? Wrong…very wrong! Setting aside the bullet-proof […]

Concept Cafe

Posted on: November 29th, 2004 by Keith Coats No Comments

Concept Cafe is a creative way to accomplish a variety of goals in the workplace, from developing and mentoring staff to brainstorming ideas and concepts.