The Three Principles of Wise Power

If you know how to harness the power of your mind, heart and soul, you will be wiser in the face of surprises and disruption.

One of today’s damaging and common leadership misconceptions is the confusion of power with external control. All too often, we think of power as the ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others, or to force the course of events to conform to a predetermined scheme.

But there is an equally necessary kind of power, which is exerted inwardly. It turns out that power is as much about the ability to adapt to the world around us as it is about shaping the world. As the global business landscape becomes increasingly complex, our ability to develop our presence and gravitas has become an indispensable companion of authority.

A harmonious balance of inward- and outward-directed power is what I call wise power. It is the embrace of dualities that helps us meet the world halfway: in between what we want and what is offered to us. Beyond the illusion of full control, wise power is an art of surprise.

So what is wise power? Fundamentally, it is the ability to master the deeper dynamics – not just the surface phenomena – affecting the world, an organisation, a team, an individual, a conscience. Leaders developing their wise power train their attention towards the underlying forces shaping their environment and themselves. They are not as easily blindsided by threats or challenges. As their thinking is not beholden to entrenched prejudices and patterns of behaviour, they can devise more effective and more meaningful solutions. Continue reading

5 ways new managers can protect themselves from burning out

By Christian Kinnear

Your company just promoted you, and you’re a newly minted manager. After a well-deserved celebration and many congratulatory messages, you come face-to-face with one harsh truth that comes with your new role–the lack of empty time slots in your calendar.

In my experience, new managers tend to make one crucial mistake–trying to do it all. They attempt to keep up with their own workload while making themselves constantly available to their team. As noble as those intentions may be, working 15-hour days won’t make you a better leader. After all, no one does their best work when they’re overly stressed.

I learned this the hard way. As soon as I realized that my round-the-clock hours were neither conducive to my work nor my growing family, I made time management a priority. To prevent burnout, I implemented the following five strategies. It’s something that I still live by today, and as a manager, I can attest that they go a long way in keeping you productive (and sane).

I get it, saying no to a colleague feels terrible. But if you keep saying yes to requests, you’ll end up with an ever-growing to-do list of work that isn’t mission-critical for you or your team. Continue reading

Should I stay or should I go?

The topic of counter offers is an interesting one. I am sure you have seen articles and thoughts about the subject and they are usually one person’s perspective on the topic. For a somewhat different approach, we’ve reached out to people in our network to gain their thoughts and perspective on the topic.



We asked:

You have just received an offer to join a new firm. You are giving notice to leave your current position and your employer makes a “counter offer” to keep you from leaving. You start to think about whether or not to take that “counter offer.”

Why would taking a counter offer can cost you more in the long run?

Read their responses below:

I won’t take the counteroffer once I have decided to move on and have a new organization offering me a job. There is obviously a reason why I started looking out and 99% of the time its not compensation. Having your employer offering you a better salary isn’t going to change your experience and decision to quit. I strongly believe that the extended relationship will not last long.

Sahil Arora, Leader | Entrepreneur | Management Consulting | Motivational Speaker | Investor | Mentor | Advisor


I had this very thing happen to me.  Six months out of college, having graduated first in my class with a Finance degree, I ended up working in the Purchasing department of  a large insurance company (Prudential).  A CFO of a manufacturing company had heard about my scholastic achievements, called me, and asked me to join his company (Keuffel & Esser).  He offered a starting position as an accountant, with the promise that he would move me into Finance and train me as his replacement over a period of a few years.    I joined the company, worked as an international accountant, but after 2 years, discovered that there was no discussion about moving into a finance role.  So, I went interviewing, and received an offer to be a financial analyst for another large manufacturing company.  I was very excited.  On my last day at K&E, the CFO came over to my desk, and said, “I heard you are leaving, please reconsider…I’ll give you any job you want.”  After telling him I was quite uncomfortable with that, having already excepted my new job, he said, “Let’s go to my office an map out a plan.”  He doubled my salary, gave me a new role, title and that very day, I started reporting to him.

I stayed with K&E, became a financial analyst, then Corporate Financial Manager and ultimately a Director in Finance handling mergers & acquisitions, investor relations, business planning, new business venture analysis, etc.  I handled the financial evaluation of all corporate initiatives, often working with the President of the company and presenting to the Board – all before I was 27.  The CFO was true to his word and got me involved in every aspect of his job.    The Company was eventually acquired before I could take over his job, but it certainly put me on a great path and was one of the best jobs I ever had.  And my salary increase five-fold over a period of 2 years.

So, in my case, taking the counter was definitely the better decision.   As a CFO, I look back and often think about what a great training that job was for me, at such a young age.

I guess you never know, but I wouldn’t dismiss the counter!

Lance Kirk, CFO/ CAO, MTM Technologies, Inc.


I think the reason few people accept counter-offers is simple, you have exhausted all avenues of resolution with no resolve.   If you are underpaid given the market, then either your employer isn’t in tune with the market or does not feel you are of value.  You shouldn’t have to threaten to leave before someone is willing to do something.  If you accept the counter, what is going to change, all of the same conditions still exist and it could be to your detriment as you could get pegged as a problem person.  Further I think the same thing could be said for any reason you would want to leave, career progression, problem co-worker, etc.  If you have a good people manager and a good HR department then your issues would have been addressed and you wouldn’t be looking for a new job.  And if your HR department and people manager can work together (or around each other if one of them is the problem) to remove appropriate obstacles then you don’t want to work there anyway.

Peter Magladry, Senior Director, Client Management at Willis Towers Watson

This is the second installment of this series. We hope you find these perspectives interesting. If you would like to share your thoughts on this for future blogs, please let me know.

Larry Janis, Managing Partner, ISSG,

Aim for Transformation, Not Change

by Vip Vyas, CEO of Distinctive Performance, and Diego Nannicini (INSEAD MBA ‘14J), Associate Consultant at Distinctive Performance

Transformation creates attractive futures, while change mends the past.

In May 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Google Duplex, a new virtual AI assistant with a hyper-realistic voice. Attendees of this year’s Google I/O conference listened to a recording of Duplex making a hair salon appointment, then a restaurant reservation. Both conversations were so natural that the humans on the phone probably had no clue they were talking to an AI entity.

Within hours, videos of the presentation went viral, racking up millions of hits. The world had just witnessed a stunning transformation. A multitude of possibilities immediately flooded the minds of viewers. A new future in the field of human-machine interaction had begun.

Continue reading

30 simple leadership strategies that could quite possibly stop employees from quitting

    By Marcel Schwantes

While these strategies are by no means a be-all, end-all solution to your leadership challenges, they will shortcut your way to improving on specific situations.

Basically, if I could boil down most leadership books into a pithy collection of uber-practical tips you can apply over a month’s period, I would choose these thirty. Happy growing!

30 ways to improve your leadership in 30 Days:
1. Listen to everyone in your organization and figure out ways to get them talking, providing input and sharing/debating ideas.

2. Remember the people closest to the customer are the ones who know what’s really going on. Find out what they know.

3. Be willing to work across teams and gain the support of others. That means building relationships with people outside of your immediate network.

4. Make sure to line up your actions with your words.

5. Don’t favor certain people and ignore others. It creates division and opposition. Rather, leverage everyone’s strengths to achieve your team’s goals. Continue reading