“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones”

Resources for The Leadership Mind

Readers will find here a number of longer essays that deal more fully with certain arguments put forward in our book:

Conceptual Confusion – a resource for Chapter 2

Our account in Chapter 2 of The Leadership Mind drew on the review of Rost (1991) which covered books published in the century from 1890 to 1990. We wanted to check the state of play from then until the present. It was not possible within the physical confines of the book to give a comprehensive survey of all that has been written on ‘leadership’ since 1990 to the extent that Rost undertook for his review.

To help readers to make up their own minds what has been going on about ‘leadership’ in the period since the end of Rost’s survey, we review a selection of books from prominent writers on various approaches to ‘leadership’ since 1990. We give a sampling of quotations so readers can get a flavour of how ‘leadership’ is presented in these kinds of writings.

Read the extended review here.

Thought Followership – a resource for Chapter 3

This essay presents an extended account of the argument in Chapter 3 of The Leadership Mind. While it is intended to complement and supplement the chapter in the book, which of necessity had to be a brief statement, it can also be read as a stand-alone essay.

In Chapter 2 we establish that there is a crisis in the thinking about ‘leadership’ in business organisations due to the multitude of conflicting definitions of the fundamental idea of ‘leadership’. This is an unacceptable situation for practitioners in business, and yet shows no sign of being resolved. Our purpose in The Leadership Mind is to attempt a resolution of this problem by formulating a basic, workable, and sustainable concept of ‘leadership’ for business.

To do this, we had to do some necessary ground-clearing operations to create room for thinking afresh about ‘leadership’ in business organisations. One of these was to answer the question: what allows the state of confusion to be perpetuated? This was dealt with in Chapter 2 by establishing that a long-standing logical error in thinking about ‘leadership’ in business organisations provided the space in which the confusion can be perpetuated.

The next question that naturally arises is: what sustains and perpetuates the state of confusion?

Read the essay here.

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A workable and sustainable concept of 'leadership'

The Leadership Mind is about how to think about ‘leadership’ as a capability that can be developed through personal transformation, culminating in ‘The Leadership Mind’ – a mind that can operate at uncertainty and meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world.

Cutting through the current bewildering confusion of ideas in the field, it provides a workable and sustainable concept of ‘leadership’ centred on ‘insight’, allowing us to think more clearly about leadership practice and development.

The book also offers guidance on how to press the re-start button by stepping away from the crowd and taking responsibility for our own development. By thinking anew, we can take our first step towards genuine leadership.

What participants had to say:

Susan Steele

Executive Director, European Fisheries Control Agency

“Connell taught me that the thought process used to tackle a situation is key. Everything I do in work now is thoroughly thought out. I sit back for a second and think about it – my decisions are framed differently in my head now. This unique method of thinking changed how I make decisions.”

Donal Downey

Senior Director, Global External Manufacturing, Dell Technologies

“Connell showed me the importance of actually using a theory to understand something. His choice of theorists was also interesting as they brought different viewpoints. It impressed me that academic theories could be so useful.”

Colman Kirby

Director, Global Support Center, Dell Technologies

“Prof. Fanning’s innovative system of adult mental development brings about a new awareness, clarity and a framework that enhances effectiveness in any professional environment. I would urge any executive wanting to operate at a higher level to participate in a Keynes Centre offering.”

Liz Dunphy

Journalist at the Evening Echo

“The Keynes Centre offers a different approach to learning that is of huge value: the gentle challenging of our assumptions as well as the developing of critical thinking. It leads to lifelong habit changes. I’m taking a lot of time to reflect and view things from different angles.”

Kevin Twomey

Chief Solutions Architect, Global Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, Dell Technologies

“I found Professor Connell Fanning’s insights into leadership thought provoking and empowering – they made me question how I was functioning in my everyday professional life, and allowed me to see how I could improve my performance.”

Dr Niall O’Keeffe

Chief Executive for Economic Development, St Helena Island, South Atlantic.

“Through Transformative Thinking, Connell led me to re-examine material, not just interpret information at face-value, and question more. I learnt how to ask questions and challenge ideas and also became more aware of my thoughts.”

University College Cork Business Research Centres, 13 South Mall, Cork, Ireland, T12 KW86