T-Thoughts: Team Building & Leadership Development Articles

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The Antarctic Elephant Seal is an ungainly creature on land. After all, it’s not easy dragging around 4 tons of blubber on 2 flippers. But in its native habitat the water, it moves gracefully and easily, travelling hundreds of kilometres every day, holding its breath for 2 hours and diving 2 kilometres deep. Leaders have similar limitations when they seek to inspire. They thrive in their “native habitats,” feeling right at home, while operating in their “endangered habitats” feels awkward and ungainly, a struggle to survive.

Originally published in a similar format as an article online by Human Resources Media with the title 'What is the leadership quality of the future, according to CEOs?'. This article is an adapted excerpt from The Innovation Race: How to change a culture to change the game Many leaders may not [...]

How to build an innovation hothouse? How is it possible to maximise creative potential in your organisation? This article explores how to identify, train and retain the best creative talent for more innovative results. Some cultures simply do it better.

by Gaia Grant and Andrew Andrew Originally published in a similar format as an article online by Mix Magazine with the title 'Teambuilding: what you need to know'. Gaia and Andrew Grant argue the case for research-driven ‘intelligent teambuilding’ and maximising each session How can[...]

By Gaia Grant and Andrew Grant Adapted excerpt from The Innovation Race book, originally published in a similar format as an article online by Human Resources Media with the title 'How to orchestrate innovation: 3 ways to boost creative alignment'. Although having different perspectives is cri[...]

As a business topic, strategy execution is in its infancy. Yet it's quickly evolving as leaders demand more knowledge, structure and resources on how to achieve it, and remain competitive in the rapidly changing business environment. Guest article by: Robin Speculand.

By Gaia Grant Adapted excerpt from The Innovation Race book, originally published in a similar format as an article online by Human Resources Media with the title 'Why you need to be careful about competition'. What ingredients make an innovative organisation, and how do you create an effect[...]

By Gaia Grant Adapted excerpt from The Innovation Race book, originally published in a similar format as an article online by Human Resources Media with the title 'Why you need to be careful about competition'. Most of us love to watch a race. We love to see winners, losers, the eliminati[...]

By Gaia and Andrew Grant Adapted excerpt from The Innovation Race book, originally published in a similar format as an article online by Human Resources Media Why do some innovation initiatives fail while others succeed? What is the secret ingredient that can make the difference between being[...]

The Innovation Race BookAdapted excerpt from The Innovation Race book, and originally published in a similar format as an article online by Human Resoruces Media

Did you know that you can predict which cities are innovating the fastest by checking the average walking pace of the city?

Here is how to separate myths from facts By Gaia and Andrew Grant Adapted excerpt from The Innovation Race book, and originally published in a similar format as an article online by HRM Online Innovation must be one of the most highly rated values in business today, which has meant it has becom[...]

By Gaia and Andrew Grant Adapted excerpt from The Innovation Race book, and originally published in a similar format as an article online by B&T Innovation has been studied in detail since the 1930s, when it was first connected to business by economist and political scientist Joseph S[...]

By Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant Adapted excerpt from the Grant’s new book The Innovation Race: How to change a culture to change the game. The book is an adventurous journey around the world to explore sustainable innovation principles that can be brought back to contemporary businesses. [...]

2016: Can we predict the future? by Gaia Grant We are back to the beginning of a new year – or at least for some of us. The Chinese will celebrate their New Year early February (the Year of the Monkey) by driving away evil with drums and symbols, parts of India will celebrate their new year [...]

A sneak peek into some of the ideas behind Gaia Grant's planned PhD thesis with Sydney University School of Business “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” Albert Einstein VIDEO THESIS INTERVIEW: Winner of the inaugural "Thesis Film Festival" [...]

A sneak peek into some of the ideas behind Gaia Grant's planned PhD thesis with Sydney University School of Business by Andrew and Gaia Grant “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” Albert Einstein What would you do if you realised that furniture y[...]

By Paul Spriggs, Tirian Communications Specialist MVVs are now critical for harnessing & leveraging all ideas, actions and communications. Companies end up doing a lot of “stuff”(and wasting a lot of money) in the attempt to merely get noticed. The ideas and initiatives become[...]

By Paul Spriggs, Tirian Communications Specialist Manager: "Wally, your status report is just a bunch of buzzwords strung together." Wally: "I've been giving you that same status report every week for eleven years. Five years ago you adopted it as our mission statement!" You've heard the[...]

By Andrew & Gaia Grant The Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion autonomous concept car is shown on stage Did you know that in Germany (the birthplace of the car industry) car sales in the future may drop by as much as 50%? Did you know that predictions in the luxury car industry show th[...]

From Personality Profiles to Reading Tea Leaves: the role of diagnostic tools in leadership development. Personality assessments are regarded by some as little more than fortune telling - and yet they are still highly popular. Is it safe to use them in the workplace? Last issue we describe[...]

From Personality Profiles to Reading Tea Leaves: the role of diagnostic tools in leadership development. Recently I asked a leader how his business was going. “Business is great” he answered, “if it wasn’t for the people!” He was smart enough to see the paradox in his statement, but[...]

Part 2: Supporting innovation in all areas Can you imagine being part of an organisation that pays for employees to spend time working on new ideas? An organisation that ensures all ideas at every level are welcomed and supported, one that does not simply pay lip service to the idea of innova[...]

Organisations that make creativity and innovation central to their existence survive and succeed in the long run. In the 1800s, when New York’s streets were crammed with horse-drawn carriages, the city was threatened with an overwhelming horse manure problem. The city almost didn’t surv[...]

Innovation and implementation must go hand-in-hand By Robin Speculand Identifying the next great innovation is hard enough, but you must also successfully implement it. Sure Steve Jobs made it look easy, but then he was a once in a lifetime innovator along with the likes of Thomas Edison. [...]

Are you supporting all the stages of the creative process? By Gaia Grant with Baroness Susan Greenfield How to capture creative ideas and bring them through to innovation   Have you ever thought about what it really takes to come up with creative ideas and solutions? It is not a simple[...]

"If I had only 1 hour to save the world I would spend 55 mins defining the problem and 5 mins finding the solution.” Albert Einstein Too creative or not enough? Communal toilets! Can you imagine the surprise when the international athletes arrived in Sochi for the Winter Olympics and discov[...]

Why school is out of date for future workforce demands By Gaia Grant and Andrew Grant If you read some of the most popular books on creative thinking, you might conclude that you need to fail at school in order to succeed in life. Many of these books describe the admired contemporary creative [...]

Being correct is no longer good enough - why being creative is what counts By Gaia Grant and Andrew Grant On the last day of her final high school exams, our 17 year old daughter crossed the school quad feeling absolutely shattered. Despite having put her best efforts into studying, she felt sh[...]

The final sentence, and that wretched comma We have just finished the process of assisting an executive team from a Fortune 500 insurance company with designing and implementing a new 5 year vision that will be rolled out country wide. It was a rewarding experience with great outcomes. As we got close to the end of the session, however, the team became stuck in an in depth deliberation over a minute detail. “Do we put a comma in or not?” This discussion went backwards and forwards until I noticed the body language of some members who became increasingly impatient. Many were wondering, “Is it really necessary to debate about a comma?!”

A series of unfortunate events, the customer experience and the organisational impact.

Things go wrong, there is often no getting around it. And for organisations responsible for serving customers, when things go wrong it can have a major impact on the customer experience and in turn the overall perceptions of the organisation. Yet while some organisations quickly recover and even prosper when things go wrong, others suffer enormously. Statistics show that the customer experience overall is actually declining over time. A quarterly survey of 65,000 Americans which looked at The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has found that in the past five years the index has dropped. For some reason, the more an emphasis is placed on improving the customer experience, the less it seems to work.

How to use both creative thinking and analytical skills to achieve better results (+ give your children an intelligent Christmas!)

You might like to try playing a game with your children next birthday or Christmas – a game where they have to use their brain to receive a present from you! In this game, there are 3 beautifully wrapped boxes under the tree, 2 boxes containing a picture of a goat and one containing a very expensive present from you. You ask your children to choose which box they think has the most expensive present (they are not allowed to shake or feel the boxes). They can point to any of the three to make their choice. Then, before they make their final commitment, you say you are going to make it easier for them. You open one of the boxes which you know does not contain the expensive gift and show them that box only has a picture of a goat, and remove it from under the tree. Now comes the part where they have to think. Ask them whether they want to stick with the original box they chose, or whether they would rather switch to the other remaining box. Tell them that they only get to keep what’s in the box – whether it is the present or the picture of a goat!

Lessons from Inception Question: What did the following people all have in common?
- Manfred Eigen, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry (1967)
- Donald Campbell, Scientific Contribution Award from American Psychological Association (1970)
- Freeman Dyson, recipient of Max Planck Medal (1969), quantum electrodynamics
- Kekulé, 19th century chemist – molecular structure of benzene
- Archimedes – weight in water theory.
- Cobb- Inception

Answer: They were not working at the time of their “discoveries”

By Andrew Grant Where the head goes the body follows: My son was becoming too adventurous. He had progressed in his snowboarding from the kids’ snow park to the adult park. Making a jump now meant landing on a 45 degree sloping packed ice ramp after clearing a 5 meter air leap into the air[...]

By Andrew Grant Over the past few years people from all walks of life in Asia have been forced to deal with crises and get on with life, no matter how tough. In the most recent of these crises, in the wake of the Tsunami tidal wave, we have all heard stories [...]

By Andrew Grant A Reflection on Sept 11 2001 Twin Towers Terrorist Attack by Andrew Grant No One Is An Island … “It has become a time of homecoming and housecleaning,  of  fathers calling their estranged so[...]

By Andrew Grant Is there a set model of a leader? (…especially a leader for a multinational company?) In working with a wide range of companies at all levels I have spent a great deal of time asking the same question and looking for a profile tha[...]

By Andrew Grant THE REAL CHALLENGE … The latest topic for many conferences at the moment is e- commerce. Like with most changes in the workplace, the greatest challenge may not be the introduction of the system (hardware), but the need for people from the organization to embrace[...]

By Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant But how far can you go?? Assessing and managing risk Gaia and Andrew Grant, Directors of Tirian, provide a personal perspective on risk management whilst on holidays in the USA Rocky Mountains, USA With a 20+ hour plane trip from our ho[...]

Change Management Just Doesn’t Work By Robin Speculand - Bridges Consultancy International 10%. That is the percentage of strategies that are successfully implemented. Take a moment to reflect on what that means to businesses. The time and money spent by leaders hiring consultants, analyzi[...]

By Gaia Grant Gaia and Andrew Grant, Directors of Tirian, provide a personal perspective on risk management from their home and office compound in Jimbaran, Bali. On Oct 1 at 7:50pm suicide bombers attacked a row of family restaurants on the beach barely [...]

Strategic management is far from complex, difficult or mysterious. What is a mystery is why so many Australian managers fail to do it.

By Andrew Grant Individuals vs teams: how they stack up Have you ever noticed during elections much of the campaigning in many different countries around the world has focused on the charisma of individual leaders or the persona related to the family name rather than the effe[...]

By Gaia Grant Imagine... If you could package creativity in a bottle... what would it look like? If you could hang it on a clothes line... what colour would it be, how would it sit? If creativity was a road... [...]

By Gaia Grant To develop the creative innocence that leads to increased creativity you need to try the following... 1. Have a questioning mind A questioning mind arouses CURIOSITY, and curiosity can foster the desire to make new [...]

By Gaia Grant DIVE, SURVIVE OR THRIVE? Our world has changed dramatically, and we’re just going to have to come to terms with it. We have all known that life would never be quite the same after the September 11 tragedy, but this fact has [...]

By Gaia Grant For the last few years many people have been expressing their desire that life could get back to normal. But what exactly is ‘normal’?! In the past 4000 years only 300 have been free of major wars. Perhaps we will have to come to terms w[...]

By Bruce Alexander We all know two thinking styles are better than one. The engineer and the designer combine well because each provides what the other lacks. Less well understood is the value of one person developing both their rational and their imaginative sides and alternating betwee[...]

By Andrew Grant Knowing the difference makes the difference Last week someone who called himself an “electrician” came to our house. He turned up with very little in the way of tools, and he poked around the house as if he had never seen an electric wire before. Ev[...]

About Inner hearing. Was Mozart’s ability to compose boosted because he could play the piano? The insider’s answer is no. The piano simply turned his inspirations into something others could hear. This link gave young Wolfgang Amadeus access to the opinions of others, to shape and guide his inspirations.

Future directions. The current worldwide political, social and economic reality has forced us all to stop and think seriously about future directions. Organizations, as well as individuals, are bracing themselves to face challenging times ahead.

Knowing the difference makes the difference. Last week someone who called himself an “electrician” came to our house. He turned up with very little in the way of tools, and he poked around the house as if he had never seen an electric wire before. Eventually, thorough trial and error, he was able to fix the immediate problem.

Situational leadership for the long term. The first article in the three-part ’Situational Leadership’ series revealed how direct connections need to be made between what is taught and what is experienced in order to bridge the ‘synaptic gap’ between intention and implementation. The second article then examined the need for recognizing personal styles for contemporary varied environments – and showed how leaders can lead in a way that is meaningful and relevant for them in their particular context. This final article in the series focuses on situational leadership for the long term – how to ensure this sort of flexible leadership style can last.

The first article in the three-part ’Situational Leadership’ series highlighted the need for direct connections to be made between what is taught and what is experienced in order to bridge the ‘synaptic gap’ between intention and implementation. This second article examines the need for recognizing personal styles for contemporary varied environments – and shows how leaders can lead in a way that is meaningful and relevant for them in their particular context.

A lesson in hope, luck and creativity for a great year ahead. By now most cultures have celebrated their official start to the New Year - often with ‘hope’ for good ‘luck’, which is a great start, but these may not be sufficient for the year ahead...

Innovation for the sake of innovation. There has been an ongoing battle between Microsoft, Apple, and Google – for quite some time now. Each is trying to win consumers over to their particular systems, and reports on the battle will often appear in the media as a hot topic.

Where the next 10 years will take us, and why innovation will no longer be a luxury. I'm writing to you from the year 2018. As cybertech companies have just opened their Pluto satellite, I am now able to send you this s-mail from the future. By using the gravitational pull from each of the planets, the s-mail has accelerated faster than the speed of light, passing through a space wormhole and backwards in time to you, in the hope you will not only see the future but change it by what you do today.

There comes a time in the economic cycle where growth slows down and companies are forced again to take a good hard look at themselves. The joy of unprecedented growth can be short lived, and when ambitious hopes and dreams come crashing down it’s not always easy to cope. There is, literally and m[...]

History has shown us that most people only behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. Be warned. As a new economic era begins, many people are looking back at what went wrong and trying to identify what led to the latest financial meltdown. But did we not see it coming? Althou[...]

Did you know that: if a drunk walks down a road criss-crossing the middle line statisticians could say that on average he is walking in a straight line? the average person has less than 2 legs? (It only takes one person in the whole population to have 1 leg to take the average down.) Accor[...]

Is there a crisis in creative confidence in the workplace? We could be facing a crisis in creative confidence. With budgets slashed and resources cut, many people are being asked to do more with less – but few feel adequately equipped. The future will clearly require superior innovative thinking and problem solving skills, and yet so many feel paralyzed to act quickly and confidently when it comes to finding new ideas and solutions. Who is to blame for the apparent crisis in creative development? And how can leaders create and nurture an environment that supports creative thinking and development?