How to get perspective (without quitting your day job)

Great leaders need vision, not only to see their business and market as they really are, but also to imagine a different and better future. As we wrote recently though, this isn’t enough. To have any chance of making their vision a reality, they also need top-notch execution. Unfortunately, vision and execution have almost opposite […]

How to build better boards

On the one hand, sound governance provides vital protection from the risks that have befouled so many companies over the years. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity for executive directors to benefit from the experience, expertise, perspective and networks of non-execs, which can guide the business in often unexpected ways. Finding the right non-executive […]

Why it’s getting harder to hire a great CFO

The latest version of the UK corporate governance code, commonly referred to us as UK SOx, leaves them personally liable, at least in part, for the accuracy of financial statements, and the effectiveness of internal controls and risk management frameworks. I’m all for preventing fraud and accounting scandals, but no one should be surprised that […]

When should founders step back

If leaders are expected to have all the answers, the same goes doubly for founders. You are often synonymous with the business, its guiding light. It makes it tremendously difficult to admit that you’re out of your depth, even drowning in your work. This is ironic, because founders arguably face this challenge more than anyone […]

Why you can’t plan for succession

But the traditional approach to succession planning is no longer fit for purpose. In an era of rapid and unpredictable change, you cannot just select an heir apparent, review every couple of years and wait. Adaptability and agility are paramount. The needs of your business are ever evolving, which means the brief for succession will […]

Do co-CEOs really work?

In a corporate setting it’s rare for there not to be a single chief executive running the show, but not unheard of. Increasingly, we’re seeing prominent examples of co-CEOs, including Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters at Netflix, co-MDs Jane Eskriett and Richard Grainger at River Island, and M&S CEO Stuart Machin and co-CEO Katie Bickerstaffe. […]

Why we’re seeing more bounceback CEOs

If you went off the grid in 2010 and re-emerged to survey the cast of characters in today’s business pages, you might be forgiven for thinking that things hadn’t changed. Bob Iger is still the CEO of Disney. Julian Dunkerton runs Superdry, and Richard Bradbury is in charge of River Island. There’s Nittin Passi at […]

Can you recognise good leadership when you see it?

Imagine a leader, and describe what appears in your mind’s eye. Henry V? Richard Branson? Sharon White? Ozwald Boateng? Lord Karan Bilimoria? History, literature and personal experience help us to form an idea of what leaders – and from that, leadership – look like. If you’re a founder hiring a professional CEO, or looking for […]

IPOs for founders: The good, the bad and the ugly

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to take anyone else’s money to grow your business. You’d just take your ample profits and reinvest them back into the top line, bootstrapping your way into the Fortune Global 500, with full control. On Earth, getting into the upper echelons of corporate success generally involves taking some […]

Growing companies need execution as well as ambition

When Ray Kroc struck a deal with the McDonald brothers to scale their fast food burger concept, he didn’t limit his ambition to a few restaurants in the American Midwest. He thought big, and that’s what he got. We work with many founders in high growth companies, and also with non-founder-led companies that consistently outgrow […]

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We demystify challenges by fresh thinking and seeking continual improvement. Browse our content here.