Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.


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Coaching and leadership – the workplace and at home

In a brilliant article in the Harvard Business Review “turning potential into success“, the three authors succinctly detail why so many large companies fail to nurture a culture of leadership development.

The paper details eight levels of competence that an organisation may look for in a potential leader, the importance of each variable depending on the type of business in question. Crucially, each variable is then measured against four additional factors: curiosity, determination, engagement and insight.

With this information, the paper discusses how to turn potential leaders into the true drivers of their companies. As they note from one survey, only 13% of executives have confidence in their own rising leaders.

I suppose the reasons for this are many. They can include:

  • lack of training
  • lack of ability in the top levels to perceive the talent just underneath them
  • a desire to maintain power – to keep control of the existing hierarchy

A fourth factor is what I call ‘the benevolent dictator’ syndrome. That is when a ruler – a.k.a. a top executive – is dominant. He or she believes that only they can do things properly, and that includes most tasks. Assignments have to be carried out their way, as it is for the best, at least according to their logic. They cannot let go. They have to be involved in all aspects.

This is a process I see so often during my mentoring and coaching in Jerusalem, Israel. Yes, sometimes the same top CEOs do possess genuine and multiple skills for running a corporate. However, their overall outlook stifles, if not crushes, innovation. An employee will cease to question, as their motivation has been destroyed.

And the ironic result? Quite often more work and confusion is created. The dictator fails to appreciate all the angles of the project, and there is nobody to update them.

What so many of us fail to appreciate is that we often become that proverbial dictator back in our own homes. For me though there is a subtle difference. Up to 6.00pm, clock out time, the pain can be measured in the lack of growth in the corporate’s bottom line. In your own house, the fall out can be heartbreaking.

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