How serious are you?

by | Nov 20, 2020

I had a lot of feedback last week on the idea of ‘mechanics’ and ‘dynamics’ of leadership, performance and culture.

The teaching I do with leaders, their teams and organisations, focuses on building capability in these two areas, the ‘head and heart’ of leadership.

The goal is trust, specifically as it relates to performance, which builds on embedding belief.

Belief in each other, the systems, plan (strategy) and culture, measured by behaviours, aligned or otherwise.

The ‘mechanics’ are a ‘leadership system of operation’, as it applies to the individual, team(s), and the organisation itself. It is the leadership capabilities needed and processes required, basically ‘what we do and how we do it’.

The ‘dynamic’ is the ‘leadership character’. It relates to leadership identity and purpose, the ‘who we are and why we do it’.

I have mapped it out in a trusty 2 x 2 below.

We need to get both right. The goal is to match ambition with capability.

Most leaders are happy to talk about mechanics. They are safe conversations. It is easy to blame the process, and often it is the leadership system, or lack of system, that is a crucial part of the reason why organisations do not perform to expectations.

Many leaders (and organisations) do not have a leadership system of operation, or it is piecemeal, variable or fragmented.

Dynamics, well, that it is a much harder conversation. Blame will rest with individuals, and a big chance the person in the mirror is at fault.

I do not teach anything I haven’t stuffed up, and as a CEO, it was often that bloke in the mirror who was the problem. Maybe it was a lack of insight, but more likely, I had made myself inaccessible to feedback.

There is a saying “No one tells the CEO their baby is ugly”.

Friction exists in every team and organisation. Leaders must seek it out, otherwise it will play-out at the worst moments.

Before I start any leadership work, I ask the client “How serious are you?”

The reason is simple.

“You might be the problem”.

I was. Often.


‘The Dynamics and Mechanics of Leadership – A Model



 “When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?”

 Brene Brown


A YouTube that captures so much:

Luka Lesson – “May your pen grace the page.”

Such elegance from Luka Lesson. A wordsmith.

Every word…

“May”…give yourself permission. Do it.

“your”…your story, your feelings, your identity. Be it.

“pen”…brush, pencil, keyboard, Blackwing

“grace”…eloquence, pursuit, grit, refinement

“the page…the blank canvas, the empty notebook, with all its potential and intimidation. The Moleskine.

Recommended to me by Belinda Toohey.

She knows me well.

…and a timeless song lyric:

Rolling Stones – You can’t always get what you want


And I went down to the demonstration

To get my fair share of abuse

Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration

If we don’t we’re gonna blow a fifty-amp fuse”

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find

You get what you need

The video is very cool

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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