Browsing all articles in High Impact Leadership

What if power, anxiety and love lie at the heart of leadership? Christo Nel TED Aruba 23rd September 2016

What if power, anxiety and love lie at the heart of leadership?

“What could occur if you and I, if we could be simply human enough to embrace and celebrate power, anxiety and love as the drivers that guide us as leaders? If we can make Power, Anxiety and Love the guiding light of our thinking, decisions and actions we create the freedom that sets us free to become the leaders we can truly be!” read more

Redesigning the MBA Christo Nel October 2015

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The title of the Harvard-based research into MBA programs says it all, “Rethinking the MBA – Business Education at the Crossroads” (Datar, Garvin and Cullen). Over the past two decades there has been ongoing critique of the competencies that MBA programs develop in their students. At one level it is gratifying in that so much has been written over the past 15 years on what should be expected from business education in general and MBA programmes in particular. It is also disconcerting that so much has been written because it reinforces the view that MBA programs are in need of stringent review.
Defining the problem read more

Leadership in times of adversity and anxiety by Christo Nel

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Leadership in times of adversity and anxiety – by Christo Nel

During times of adversity and anxiety the leadership response we have become accustomed to is for all sides to resort to the violence of words and deeds. This given perpetuates to more violence. Brutality becomes the norm on all sides.The Dutch response to the flight MH17 disaster has been radically different and authentic.


The world feels very brittle: the endless abuse of human rights from all sides in Gaza; Russia and Ukraine threatening stability; Syria collapsed; Iraq in turmoil; rape, kidnapping and pillage in Nigeria; and the tragedy of almost 300 innocent people blown out of the sky.
People in leadership roles are responding very differently. The vast majority are resorting to endless blaming and demonising of one another. Opposing forces harden their stances and clothe their egos in steel as they deepen the polarisation and conflict. Some simply appear confused and passive hoping no one will notice their absence and silence.

During times of adversity and anxiety the response we have become accustomed to is for all sides to resort to the violence of words and deeds. This given perpetuates to more violence. Brutality becomes the norm on all sides. It displays the dark side of humanity’s reactions to adversity and anxiety. Perhaps below the anger and violence is a deep sense of fear, insecurity and our own mortality. We cannot face our fear and so we lash out against one another. read more

Leadership Lessons 2014 Fifa World Cup – By Christo Nel

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Louis van Gaal – The profile of a leader

In a game where, on average, players cover more than 10km, great football is often won or lost by mere centimetres. In the semi final against Argentina the Dutch lost by single centimetres. Still Louis van Gaal is widely recognised as the best coach at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He offers us distinct leadership lessons.

It’s all about people: For van Gaal it starts and ends with building superior teams of staff and players. His mantra is that the organisation must be managed in ways that are as human as the people within it. Continuity and loyalty, playing off people’s strengths, relentless talent development, and extreme care in introducing the right new people guide his actions. read more

Leaders are going back to humanity and humanness – Valuing Ubuntu

Article Author: Frank Waltmann

Focus On Africa – Article placed in Training – The source for Professional Development
Goodnews Cadogan, founder of the Centre for Courageous Authenticity in Leadership in South Africa, says leaders are going back to humanity and humanness, valuing what “we call in Africa Ubuntu, ‘I am because you are.’”

Goodnews Cadogan is an executive leadership and professional-life coach who focuses on individual, team, and organization development. As founder of the nonprofit Centre for Courageous Authenticity in Leadership in South Africa, he stresses advocacy, research, displays of courage and authenticity, and professionalism as a means of effecting lasting change or transformation. “My observation over the last 20 to 30 years is that leaders are struggling to exercise courage and authenticity,” Cadogan explains. “They capitulate in the face of threat, they lie to blend into the environments in which they operate, and they don’t appear as who they are. They appear as who they want to be, to fit the description of those who can dispense patronage to them. This (patronage) could be either monetary or non-monetary rewards from those who have the power to dispense them.”

Cadogan says that in South Africa, his experience is this is much more prominent in what he refers to as the “out-group” people. “In every situation, there is an ‘in-group’ and an ‘out-group,’ and in South Africa, the out-group people are, in most instances, women and black people,” he notes. “They are not able to be who they are. So, at the Centre for Courageous Authenticity in Leadership, we assist leaders to be more of who they are and help them develop courage and authenticity. It all can be linked to who they want to be and what impact they want to have. This can be impact on their family, impact on their team as an executive leader, impact on the business unit, impact on the enterprise, impact on society—it could be a country, a village, a region, a number of countries. It could even be impact across Africa.”

Cadogan recently presented at Novartis’ Africa University. Afterward, I sat down with him to discuss leadership skills and obtain specific insights on leading in Africa. read more

Goodnews Cadogan – 7 Reasons for Leadership Success on the Back of Courageous Authenticity

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Reasons for Leadership Success on the Back of Courageous Authenticity
By Goodnews Cadogan, C-Level Executive Coach and Advisor to Executive Teams and Boards, 2014-05-14

As part of the coaching service we provide to both individuals and teams at the top of organisations, we assess them before and after the coaching relationship that usually lasts for about two years at the most. The 360 degree assessment we use was developed by Bob Anderson, and can be accessed at and it can be used for all leadership levels, with the Manager Edition for functional managers. As the reference suggests (360), it is a measure of both self and others’ assessment of the leader. Amongst the competencies that we measure, Courageous Authenticity is one of the most revered by peers and followers alike. It is paired with Integrity to contribute to the composite element: Authenticity.
I have observed and listened to leaders, followers and peers alike, lamenting poor display of courageous authenticity by a leader who is a subject of evaluation. There are a number of ways in which a lack of courageous authenticity manifests itself in the leader, both within and externally. Most observers of these leaders highlight the following, as what they are looking for in the ideal leader: read more

Reflecting on the Leadership Life of Nelson Mandela – contributions from Goodnews Cadogan, Paul de Beer, Christo Nel, Funeka Plaatjie-Njobeni and Kerry Sandison


The passing of Madiba has touched the core of being human and being a leader, and his legacy will linger in our midst for centuries to come. One of the ways that we can make sense of how one man’s life is affecting the world is perhaps to seek for and also live the values and principles he lived by. How else could it be possible for one man to even in death bring together people from often radically opposing views? It is as if he has awakened a universal sense of being within millions of people across the globe.
The legacy of Nelson Mandela symbolises and brings to life so much of great leadership that scholars, philosophers, politicians, but most importantly, ordinary people will continue to explore what he has meant to humanity and most specifically to each one of us at an individual level. No reflection on his leadership lessons can ever hope to be complete and so each moment of mediation is just that: a moment extracted from his lifelong presence and universal examples he has gifted us.
We reflect on three integral virtues that are amongst many, that define the great leadership Madiba stood for:

• The creative anxiety to face into the storm and turmoil of uncertainty without reacting defensively from a place of rage or collapsing into paralysis.

• The conscious exercise of generative power that enables people contribute to shaping circumstances in a sustainable and aspirational way.

• The capacity of relentless love that enables us to engage with others in ways that enhance one another even when we are in total disagreement, and to do it in ways that never undermine the self-worth and dignity of others. read more

Lean In – Women, Work and The Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – review by Kerry Sandison

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Lean In

Women, Work, and The Will To Lead

Sheryl Sandberg   – COO of Facebook


In 2010 Sheryl Sandberg gave a TedTalk that found instant purchase globally being viewed more than 2 million times.  This book is an expanded version of that talk.

The fundamental question that she tries to find answers too is why; despite the huge progress that women have made in the workplace do men still hold most of the power in government and industry. She is genuinely curious about this fact and uses wide ranging, fascinating research, her personal experiences as a successful executive and committed mother and wife, and the stories that men and women told her, to deepen understanding of the reasons and challenges. read more

Conscious leadership a key factor of sustainability by Paul de Beer

Con-scious – Having an awareness of one’s environment and one’s own existence, sensations, and thoughts.  Conscious is a word that has been coming up for me a lot when dealing with leaders at senior levels within organisations.    It means different things to me in different dimensions.  At the personal level it means being truly aware of the impact of one’s leadership on others and the organisation over time.  Do other people hear what I am saying and understand it in the way I intended when I delivered those words? Do I understand my impact on others?  Is the person I imagine I am, the same person experienced by others?    Does my leadership have the best effect on others?  Most people answer “yes” to all these questions until they elicit honest feedback from their manager, peers and/or reports.   Organisational systems generally don’t create environments in which brutally honest feedback can be given and therefore requires leaders to either use third party confidential 360 instruments or to gradually show the people surrounding them that they value developmental feedback and consistently solicit that feedback.   For most people the former is the only way.

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Through the Eyes of Love – Pelokazi Nyati review by Goodnews Cadogan 2013

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“Love is the centre piece of relationship-building. I believe that leaders do not stand a chance of leading their followers, if they do not actively love them; neither will they choose to follow them, if they don’t love their leader. As Pelokazi (a leader in her own right) shares her narrative on love, she touches on a subject close to my heart, for the adjacent aspect of relationships is EMBRACE. I challenge both followers and leaders (interchangeable and dynamic positions) to embrace each other for the sake of the context in which they find each other, to allow for collaboration, rather than coercion… read more