13 August 2013 By Chris Kotur. Leader in Residence
As a strategist deeply interested in finding out what makes some approaches to leadership and governance work better than others I routinely have unique opportunities to reflect on what I've seen that distinguishes some consistently high performing boards from the rest. Here are some recent reflections on ways that work well for boards leading significant change while seeking to strengthen their capabilities and keep improving their performance.
The differences between consistently effective boards and some others are often not down to structural or technical matters (like their professional approach to governance, meeting procedures, plans and the like) but in recognising that board members need to work together as a highly effective group. Strong boards operate as strong social systems.
Their members contribute to good leadership, behave decently toward each other, work to earn each other's trust and take individual responsibility to keep improving their own performance as board members.
It may seem overly simple but leadership, behaviours and relationships make a huge difference to board effectiveness.
16 April 2013
It can't be a coincidence, not after I've seen it happen so many times. It's a moment that reveals some extraordinary insights about leadership.
For many years now I've been facilitating community meetings for people who are facing or have just experienced some of the toughest events or decisions of their lives. These meetings have been designed so participants can recall key events, draw new information from a group with different perspectives and offer insights, suggestions to help shape the future.
I've facilitated these sessions in communities across several states during times of stress brought about by unexpected and unwelcome changes to the way people live and work because industry or business restructures, environmental or planning issues or natural disasters including during the Bushfires Royal Commission, the Flood Inquiry and recently in Harrietville for local people affected by last Summer's fires.
These meetings always reveal lots of anger, denial and blame. This kind of community stress is usually being experienced for the first time. People tell stories filled with loss and sadness. The most pain comes from losing lives and the effect of trauma on children - "choosing which pets to take or leave behind". And then there's lost property, lost jobs, bankruptcy, breakdown...
In most meetings there's a strong desire to blame others - them...they broke promises, turned up late, were in the wrong place, could've warned us earlier, didn't know the local area, were neglectful, didn't understand or care enough, made stupid decisions... For a while it sounds like they are responsible for taking away people's carefree days.
And then more often than not, something remarkable happens. It takes one person to throw the invisible switch.
27 June 2012 By Chris Kotur
Chris Kotur has facilitated numerous community consultations including for the Bushfires Royal Commission and the Flood Review. She is Leader-in-Residence at Leadership Victoria.
It started out much the same each time. Each event brought sudden changes no one expected or wanted. Afterwards nothing would ever be quite the same.
Bush fires, floods and economic restructuring have brought big changes to parts of Victoria. Fire and flood-affected communities are rebuilding. Some regions are trying to adapt as economic changes affect employers who restructure or leave town. Each time people's lives are affected in similar ways and each time local, community-based leadership holds many answers to keeping communities on the path to recovery.
Reflecting on these traumatic events over recent years it's clear that tough times also reveal the positive impact of remarkable leadership skills and capabilities. These lessons could well be lost unless we make much more out of what local community leadership has taught us during some of the toughest times Victorians have ever faced.
17 May 2012 By Chris Kotur
Pssst ... I'll let you into a secret – a new trend is underway and it's reshaping leadership everywhere. It was very much alive in the room where I was facilitating the Leadership Victoria Master Class (Leadership Online 4 May 2012) - a key part of LV's Citizen Leadership Project. I came away feeling very optimistic about changes that are challenging and influencing leaders everywhere. Now more than ever before I can see the opportunities to grow and develop community leadership. Here's why.
8 May 2012 By Hannah Carrodus & Conal Thwaite
Graphic recording by Lynne Cazaly
Citizen Leadership is occurring in unprecedented force across the globe. In recent times we have seen the successes and subsequent fallout from the Arab Spring protests, the Occupy movements and the Kony campaign.
With the advent of social media it only takes one brief tweet from a high-profile person to spark off a storm of controversy. Yet at the same time, if social media is utilised properly, it can be an excellent tool for today’s leaders to connect with people and drive change.
19 March 2012 By Chris Kotur
I've tossed out most of my collection of reading on leadership and shut down some subscriptions I've had for a long time.
Those titles gave me some confidence that we could learn how to be successful leaders if only we studied hard enough. But if that were true how come in 2012, so many world economies, governments, companies, organisations and individual leaders are struggling with all those messes all those leadership theorists said we could avoid?