Think HBR


Sam Robinson
LKS Quaero
As a management consultant who works in leadership development, it’s been my privilege to support leaders and organisations across many different industries. Every organisation and sector naturally has its own range of challenges and opportunities. It’s been particularly exciting to work with people from across the Hunter and see how many different kinds of work link together to sustain and grow our local communities.
As in so many parts of life, among that difference there are lots of commonalities that unite us. I’d like to share with you a few useful lessons I’ve learned and had reinforced while helping to sustain and improve organisations in the Hunter Valley.
Build a united leadership team with a consistent toolkit
Do people in different parts of your organisation understand how their work fits together to meet your strategy and overarching goals? Lots of organisations feel divided because they lack a common language and toolkit to connect “my work” back up to “our work”. Getting all your leaders on the same page through a commitment to leadership development is a positive decision you can make in creating a more productive and united culture. With the means to get work done better, your leaders will set the expectations for the rest of the organisation, building momentum and better value.
Find time to work on the future
Working on things that won’t come to fruition for a while doesn’t happen by accident. People in organisations tend to be highly focused on answering short term needs without taking the time to slow down and consider “what’s the right stuff to work on?”
When you’re snowed under, it’s both difficult and necessary to take that time. Building a plan you can stick to will help focus that work and get it done in the right way by the right people, with a clear and inspiring purpose that is understood by people at every organisational level. If the problem is that you haven’t stuck to the plan in the past, it’s time to implement a continuous improvement cycle: plan, do, check, and adjust. Reflection now will save time to focus on the meaningful stuff for the long term.
Understand your real culture
We talk about a culture as a group of people who share mythologies (or beliefs). You can start to identify a culture through what people say and how people behave. If you have strong positive or negative mythologies in your organisation, they inform the culture, and it’s the culture that ultimately delivers the results. If you genuinely understand what people are doing and saying, and how that’s informed by what the leadership do and say, you have a solid foundation for what needs to shift in order to improve your results.
In my line of work, I’m very lucky to have opportunities to share learning with lots of thoughtful, passionate people. There’s always more to learn and share with each other when it comes to the development of excellent leaders and successful organisations.
Staying curious is a good start.
For more information on supporting leaders to build positive and productive organisations, contact LKS Quaero at or (02) 4312 4303.
Sam Robinson Sam Robinson

is Managing Director of LKS Quaero. He works in leadership development, change management, organisational structure, and culture. Sam helps leaders to succeed by connecting people, relationships, systems, and structures. He has worked across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.”