What is the best leadership development programme in Ireland? The Complete Leader

May 22, 2017Padraig's Insights

A leadership development programme that works


A complete leader


We have been delighted to have Ron Price here in Dublin with us over the past few days. We ran a seminar together last Monday for the official launch of The Complete Leader programme here in Ireland.

futuristic thinking skills

I want to talk to you about a leader who had a huge influence in my life: Chuck Feeney – Charles F. Feeney – my old chairman. He was an extraordinary man.

The reason people followed and loved him is because he was a certain type of person with certain characteristics that they were willing to follow. To be a leader means to have followers and to be a person of influence. Here are my thoughts around Chuck and why I think he was such a great leader.

Firstly, he had time for everybody. He was big into putting the wind into somebody’s sails. He didn’t want to steer their ship, but he wanted to put wind in their sails. He was interested in what people are trying to accomplish, where they’re trying to go, and what ideas they have. He wanted to get behind people and support them, and this is something that you really felt when you were working with him.

Secondly, he walked his talk. He lived a very simple life and he practiced what he preached. He was big into what we were trying to accomplish and it was never about him. He was a humble man who had no ego. He used to always say that a man can accomplish anything, as long as he’s not looking for the credit. If you’re willing to let go of the need for credit and for people to say what a great guy you are, you can accomplish anything!

He was a great leader because he was comfortable with ambiguity. He didn’t need to have all the answers or to make decisions. One thing he used to always say to me was that opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming along.

He had piercing clarity and an absolute commitment to the truth. He was committed to facts and what was actually real, as opposed to how we would like things to be.

These are some of the attributes of a man who I considered to be a Complete Leader as we launch The Complete Leader leadership development programme here in Ireland. I hope you find them of value.



Practice makes permanent


I’d like to talk to you about the 10/20/70 ratio. The argument is this: that our learning is 10% classroom, 20% feedback (from ourselves, from others and the environment) and 70% practice.

When I look at leadership development programmes and why they do and do not work, I think that the real reason they don’t work is because it’s an intellectual exercise that doesn’t apply to the real world.

The Complete Leader programme is designed with this concept in mind. There’s a certain amount of interaction in a classroom environment, but then there’s a huge amount of peer coaching, professional coaching and practical exercises for things that are relevant.

It’s important to remember that to develop yourself as a leader you don’t have to develop everything. Take the competencies that are relevant to you and build on them to become more effective. It takes practice.

In The Complete Leader, the focus is on learning, growing and changing in the real environment, not just in a classroom.

We all know that people tend to think that ‘when I have the money/time I’ll do all the things I want to do and I’ll be happy’, but that’s not the way the world works.

You have to approach life the other way around!

What you say is ‘I want to become a more empathetic person, so I will do the things that empathetic people do and ultimately I will have a more empathetic outlook’.

This is the ‘Be, Do, Have’ model. The ‘Do’ is the key bit. That’s the 70%.

It’s all about identifying the things you need to change and then doing them again and again because after all, practice makes permanent.

If you believe that leaders are just born then of course everything I am saying will make no sense to you. But if you believe, like I do, that leaders are made – that you can grow and develop and become a more complete leader –  then this model is something that you can work with.

It’s all about identifying the things you need to change and then doing them again and again and again, because practice makes permanent.



Leadership development tip: Build on strengths


Have you ever had a grind? We typically got grinds in things that we were weak at, in order to become mediocre at them. For me, it was Irish. I got grinds in Irish because I was no use at it, and I’m still no use at it. The grinds didn’t particularly help, and that sort of tells you something.

What’s interesting is that hardly anyone gets help in school or college with something that they’re really good at, so that they can hone and develop their skill to become world class.

Last Monday we held a seminar for the launch of The Complete Leader leadership development programme in Ireland We got some really interesting feedback, which was that people were really taken with the idea of building on strengths as opposed to weaknesses.

Don’t let yourself die with a lot of strong weaknesses.

Identify your strengths. Identify what you do really well and what natural talents you have, and from there you can build and work on them so that you become world class.

Find that place where you’re in the flow, where you’re happy and it comes easy to you. Identify where you’re really good and ask yourself ‘how can I get even better at that?’

From there you can build a team around you that can make up for your deficiencies as a leader.

So, think about this concept of building on your strengths to become a complete leader as opposed to building on your weaknesses, which most of us do!



Who is the leader?


At our seminar launch of The Complete Leader programme we were talking about what leadership development is, and we asked the room – our 45 leaders who are on their leadership journey – to define leadership.

Interestingly, everybody came back with very similar answers.

We define a leader as a person of influence. So, a leader can be found anywhere – in any kind of organisation, in any role and in any environment. Everybody can influence you and teach you something, even your children.

We say there are three ways of looking at leadership. The first is positional leadership, which is based on titles. The second type is expert leadership, where you are a leader because of your knowledge and expertise in a particular field.

The third type of leadership that we talk about on the programme is character leadership.

This is the most important type of leadership, because it is all about leading by who and what you are.

Great leaders lead by their values and principles, as opposed to their emotions or how they happen to feel right now. When faced with opportunities that conflict with their values, they turn them down.

People have to follow a position, they often have to follow an expert, but they CHOOSE to follow somebody of character. When you go home this evening and you look around at your family and friends, think about this! Who is actually the leader?



Leaders lead themselves


In The Complete Leader programme, Ron Price separated the twenty five leadership competencies into four groups: leaders are clear thinkers, leaders lead themselves, leaders lead others and leaders are authentic.

Think about the leaders you admire.

What is it about them that strikes you? Is it their skill, knowledge or charisma?

For me, I have noticed that I admire leaders who manage themselves well. I admire leaders who are self-aware and who can regulate their behaviours, responses and emotions.

The 5 elements of EQ are self-awareness, self-regulation, intrinsic motivation, understanding others and managing relationships with others.

When you look at these 5 elements and how leaders lead themselves, you realise that the leadership development journey actually starts by looking in the mirror.

Understanding yourself is the first critical step on the journey to leadership.

If you’re thinking about starting or continuing your leadership journey, forget about everybody else out there.

Look at yourself and decide that you’re going to start regulating yourself, understanding yourself, managing yourself and disciplining yourself.

That’s where leadership starts. And if you do that and lead like that, you will have followers.



Leaning forward


I was talking to one of my clients the other day and he made the point that he’s the kind of guy who leans forward. What he meant by that is that he’s always thinking about the future and his next project.

He made a point that struck me: which is that if you’re leaning forward and you stop, you’ll fall on your face.

The insight I had was that a number of my clients struggle at times. They wonder about their role, their level of motivation and whether or not they’re interested in their job.

The conclusion I’ve come to about them is that their unique ability is their ability to create the future.

They are energised and motivated by building businesses and they need to keep doing it.

Succession planning is really important for these people, because if they stop leaning forward and start managing operations, they’ll fall on their face and they won’t be happy.

If you’re the kind of person who leans forward, maybe try to redefine your role. Don’t think of yourself as CEO of the company.

Think of yourself as the creator of the future and find somebody else to run the company for you – at the very least on a day to day basis.

Remember, if you’re leaning forward and you stop, you will fall, if you’re that kind of person.



The future


Abraham Lincoln said that the best way to predict the future is to create it.

I was talking to a new client of mine who has a tour company that organises walking holidays.

He told me that things are changing really rapidly in his business, and that he really enjoys it. It caused me to ask myself the following questions:

– Am I a futuristic thinker?

– Do I like rapid change?

The answer is yes and no. The reality is today that the world is changing. I’m not sure many of us really focus on this for our businesses and ask ‘what are the implications of this for me?’

I think that we all need to read. We need to keep thinking about where we’re going in the future and how it’s going to impact our business, and then be the leaders who actually create this new future.

So, make those breakthroughs. Be always on the cutting edge. Be always disrupting your own business. These may sound like clichés until you actually try to practice them.

Think about this. Are you a futuristic thinker? Are you thinking about where your industry and the world will be in a year’s time and in ten years’ time?

Are you out there at the leading edge, setting the trend, being a thought leader?

If you want to do that you have to read a lot and observe other industries. By doing this you’ll be able to see what’s happening and you’ll be out there creating opportunities at the leading edge of your field.

Futuristic thinking is really important for a leader and it’s not as difficult as it seems.


Final thoughts…


Think about the leaders who have influenced you over the course of your life, and ask yourself why you admire them.

For me, I admired Chuck Feeney for many reasons, including that he had time for everybody, he walked his talk and lived frugally, he had no ego, he was comfortable with ambiguity and he had piercing clarity.

The Complete Leader leadership development programme is designed to help you make practical changes in competencies that are relevant for you. Practice makes permanent.

Don’t let yourself die with a lot of strong weaknesses. Build on your strengths as a leader so that you can become world class.

Out of the three types of leadership – positional, expert and character – the most critical type of leadership is character leadership. People should follow you because they want to follow you.

Understanding yourself is the first step on the leadership journey. Great leaders are adept at managing themselves and their relationships with others.

If you’re the kind of person who leans forward all the time, don’t stop thinking of the future and creating new innovations. If you do, you will fall on your face.

Would you like to join a leadership development community with free access to leadership resources and discussion with other leaders? Come join our Complete Leadership Ireland LinkedIn group.

We would also love to invite you to our Complete Leader Ireland Follow-On Webinar. This will be hosted by Ron Price and Padraig Berry and it will be designed to answer your questions on how to take your Leadership to the next level.

What are your thoughts on futuristic thinking in leadership?  Feel free to get in touch. We would love to hear your feedback.


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