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Need to fix toxic behaviours?

How Fixing Dysfunctional Behaviours Will Help Your Business Grow

‘It’s not my fault I missed my target.’ ‘There was nothing I could do.’ ‘All the world’s against me.’  Recognise these traits? They’re classic victim behaviours. Over forty years ago, Stephen Karpman developed his ‘Drama Triangle’ of victim, rescuer and persecutor and it’s as relevant now as it was then.

These behaviours are toxic in the workplace. They breed ‘them and us’ cultures.  We see it so often in companies – it’s endemic. We talk to someone in the organisation and they use the term ‘Management’.  Alarm bells ring. Victim language. It sounds like British Leyland in the 1970s! The ‘workers’ feel justifiably persecuted by ‘management’.  They go through life, thinking it’s everyone else’s fault.  And by doing this, they never realise that they have control over their reactions and emotions.

Lack of personal accountability is everywhere.  You see it in people’s reaction to COVID. In our view, it’s got worse in the past year.  ‘We are all victims’ seems to be a popular narrative. ‘There’s nothing we can do’. We abdicate responsibility to the Government and blame them when they get it wrong. We make excuses for our poor health as a nation and expect the NHS to pick up the pieces.  When a virus is rampaging that’s more deadly to overweight, unfit people; we eat and drink even more.  And exercise less!  Yes – life is stressful.  It’s been an awful year.  But we all have the power to improve our health and minimise our risks.

If you’re struggling with dysfunctional behaviours in your teams, there are things you can do.  And you need to do them quickly before they spread.  So, let’s explore what these behaviours are and how you can fix them.

The CEO Test With Adam Bryant & Kevin Sharer

Do we really need another book on leadership? Well, when it’s been written by two global heavy hitters – Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer – yes we do.

Adam was a 30-year journalist and editor at the New York Times where he did a weekly column called From The Corner Office.  Here he chatted to CEOs about the transferable skills that they’ve learned – not so much about their industry or their business, but about the lessons life had taught them that were transferable and that they could share. 

Kevin is the former CEO of Amgen, the world’s largest biotech company. He was an extremely successful CEO who went on to teach strategy at Harvard Business School. 

What these guys have done isn’t write just another book on leadership. No,  they’ve put together a book – The CEO Test, which is, if you want to be the best as a leader, top of your game, not the table stakes, then these are the seven hardest things that the best leaders in the world managed to get good at. 

Can you develop a simple strategy? Easy to say hard to do. Can you build a culture? Can you build teams that are true teams, not just a collection of individuals. Can you lead transformation? Can you learn to listen? Can you handle a crisis? And can you master the inner game of leadership? 

This is a really great conversation about what Kevin and Adam think are the hardest of these tests. We also discuss which are their own personal kryptonite, and then we get some fantastic book recommendations. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Stanford researchers identify four causes for ‘Zoom fatigue’ and their simple fixes

Even as more people are logging onto popular video chat platforms to connect with colleagues, family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford researchers have a warning for you: Those video calls are likely tiring you out.

There’s a Proven Link Between Effective Leadership and Getting Enough Sleep

In our hyper-connected, 24/7 world, many of us are losing sleep — literally. Our own survey of more than 180 business leaders found that four out of 10 (43%) say they do not get enough sleep at least four nights a week. Such sleep deficiencies can undermine important forms of leadership behavior and eventually hurt financial performance. This article will explore the link between sleep and leadership before discussing solutions that can improve both individual well-being and organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

The boss factor: Making the world a better place through workplace relationships

Today’s leaders have never been under so much pressure. Even as they navigate the evolving COVID-19 crisis—keeping their customers and employees safe and their businesses viable—expectations are sky-high. Shareholders are calling for foresight, bold strategies, agility, and resilience, while governments and communities increasingly expect businesses to support broader goals, such as sustainability and social justice.

The Lonely Century by Noreena Hertz

Even before a global pandemic introduced us to terms like social distancing, loneliness was already becoming the defining condition of the twenty-first century. But it’s also one we have the power to reverse. Combining a decade of research with first-hand reporting, Noreena Hertz takes us from a ‘how to communicate in real life’ class for smartphone-addicted university students to bouncy castles at Belgian far-right gatherings, from ‘renting a friend’ and paying for cuddles in the U.S. to nursing home residents knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan. 
Packed with bold solutions that we can apply at home, at work and in our neighbourhoods, and with a clear vision for what businesses and governments must do, she explores how our increasing dependence on technology, radical changes to the workplace and decades of policies that have placed self-interest above the collective good, are making us more isolated than ever before. Noreena Hertz helps us to understand why this is the lonely century, how we got here and what each of us can do to help reduce loneliness for ourselves and our communities.

Mission Economy by Mariana Mazzucato

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, capitalism was stuck. It had no answers to a host of problems, including disease, inequality, the digital divide and, perhaps most blatantly, the environmental crisis. Taking her inspiration from the ‘moonshot’ programmes which successfully co-ordinated public and private sectors on a massive scale, Mariana Mazzucato calls for the same level of boldness and experimentation to be applied to the biggest problems of our time. We must, she argues, rethink the capacities and role of government within the economy and society, and above all recover a sense of public purpose. Mission Economy, whose ideas are already being adopted around the world, offers a way out of our impasse to a more optimistic future.

News from the Farm

Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop – 8th April

Lockdown rules are relaxing. Children are back at school, and thoughts are now shifting to how to turn 2021 into the best year you’ve ever had in business. 
Everyone has a business plan. Everyone has an Excel spreadsheet.

But how are you going to boost growth over the next quarter?
Don’t let COVID-19 beat you into the ground and take your business. Treat this pandemic as an accelerator. The “one thing” you’ve been looking for to pivot, re-evaluate or simply get shit done. Join us on our farm in Wiltshire to walk through our Scaling Up growth programme.


Stop using money to fix behaviour

If you’re dealing with under-performance, it’s tempting to use financial incentives to try and correct this.  But you may be solving the wrong problem.  If you’d hired the right people to start with, you wouldn’t need to do this. More money will not get the wrong person to behave right. If we look at CEOs and leadership teams with stock options, there’s no evidence that this improves company performance. Similarly, we don’t believe in paying sales commission. If you’re not paying anyone else in your organisation for piece-work, why single out sales? Focus on getting the right people on your bus to start with.

Read more

Upcoming Events

Scaling Up Virtual Summit – 22nd April

“Working Together” for the greater good is needed more than ever around our world as we all really know. Join top Scaling Up partners from around the globe for our second Scaling Up+ Summit of the year. These leading CEOs and Authors will share actionable insight focused on your people and culture to ensure a prosperous 2021. Outthink competition with 3 keynotes in 90 minutes.

Prescription For Growth Workshop – Foundry Farm, 26th May

A special workshop presented by Justin Roff-Marsh (author of The Machine) and hosted by Dominic Monkhouse at Foundry Farm near Salisbury. Join 21 of your peers (owners and senior executives from mid-sized businesses) and design a simple (but detailed) plan to expedite the growth of your organization.

Quote of the week

“Don’t play the victim to circumstances you created”

Dominic Monkhouse

Dominic offers business coaching and management development, strategy planning and organisational change, using tried and tested methods to launch your organisation onto an unparalleled growth trajectory. His programme is a function of his broad experience, his deep expertise and a proven process used by over 2,700 firms worldwide.

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