Our Thinking

Responsible leadership can be hard to define, however, with each programme the Fellowship develops. We learn alongside our Fellows, Facilitators, Faculty, Contributors and HR Directors and we plan to regularly share what we are learning in order to help support the movement for responsible leadership.

Below are articles we have written in collaboration with other organisations this year, which focus on organisational change and culture.

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Leading Responsibly Through Change:

Fix the System, not the People 

By nature and design most organisations are insular: their reward and promotion mechanisms, working environments, and rules and regulations are self-centred. In such places the way to get ahead is to be a political animal, deliver on internal projects and build a strong network within the organisation.

These deep structural incentives over time subtly (but powerfully) drive conformity, narrow outlook and limit our ability to reflect critically on what we see around us.

This essay was written for the Centre for Army Leadership, published July 2018. Part 2.


Leading Responsibly Through Change:

A Call For Creative Conflict

Time and again organisations appear to be in
their own cognitive bubble, missing the bigger picture, ignoring issues of bad behaviour and
side-stepping public concern.

Why is this? Part of the answer is that behaviours that have led to success in the past become embedded in how organisations operate through deep systems of beliefs, habits, policies and processes. This effect threatens to make organisations the prisoner of past accomplishments
and consequently less well placed to succeed in the present and to prepare for the future. If culture then is almost always set against change, what are the implications for leaders?

This essay was written for the Centre for Army Leadership, published June 2018. Part 1.

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The permafrost problem:

From bad apples to excellent sheep

Received wisdom tends to emphasise individual character and capability. Ethical issues can be blamed on 'bad apples', a few evil villains. A lack of innovation is due to inherently unimaginative managers...but if we are to 'fix' the 'permafrost problem' the answer then is not to repair managers through ethics or creativity training, but to address organisational culture, and the processes and policies that shape it. 

This essay was written for the Financial Conduct Authority for their Discussion Paper: Transforming Culture in Financial Services. Published March 2018. Please see p.71 - 74 for the full essay.