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Leadership at Sea – Who comes through?

Simon WalkerLeaders Forum 2, chief executive mentoring and experiential learning group (with members from Central England) worked with Simon Walker this month.  Simon spoke to the group about his experiences as skipper of BT Global Challenge yacht Toshiba in 1996-7 and then as CEO of the business that organises the Challenge.  He did an exceptional job of drawing parallels between the lessons he learned then and the difficult job of leading a business through these stormy times.

4 key points really spoke to the business leaders present that morning:

    In challenging times it CRUCIAL to clarify:

  • Purpose (where are we heading?)
  • Goals (what have we got to do to get there?)
  • Roles (who has to do what to make it happen?)

Organisational change and turbulent market forces make it really important to keep revisiting these points to ensure they fit to the current situation:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate: when the pressure is on it is important to increase the level of communication to ensure that everyone understands what is going on and their role in it.
  2. Sort yourself out first: choose YOUR attitude – this will set the tone of the response from everyone else in the organisation. Real leaders choose and create the behaviour that they behave.
  3. Cut up the elephant: break large and daunting tasks down into small chunks so that the people can see how they can succeed.
  4. Finally – CELEBRATE successes. Even in the most difficult of times there are some positive things going on around you. Take some of these as an excuse to celebrate (even if just with a few doughnuts or a pizza) – it will give your crew a lift and remind them that there is life beyond the storm.

Simon did a great job of ensuring that his session was relevant to our members’ businesses.

Peter Pritchett, Chairman, Leaders Forum 2 Peter Pritchett, Chairman Leaders Forum 2

The Academy for Chief Executives, a leading provider of experiential business learning® facilitates peer groups of CEOs and Managing Directors who meet together every month to network and take full advantage of experiential learning. To hear great speakers like this every month and engage in The Board You Could Never Afford®, to find out more about the Central England Leaders Forum, or to find a local group near you, visit

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