René's Blog

Rene brings vast knowledge and experience from around the world.

Michel Roux Jr - a Masterclass Chef Interview

Michel Roux Jr - a Masterclass Chef Interview

As we arrived at the British Museum and made our way down to the magnificent BP Lecture theatre, we were greeted by my good mate, Brendon Barnes (the founder of the London Business Forum), he was looking a little concerned. Our guest, the MasterChef himself, Michel Roux Jr., had been stranded on the island of Madeira by very high winds the night before. We talked about some contingency plans as he would have arrived home in the early hours of the morning. As we turned around, in came Michel, full of the joys of spring and obviously delighted to be there with us. This gave us an insight into the quality and passion of Michel. There was no question he didn’t tackle openly and authentically. I didn’t have to push or probe. We learned so much whilst enjoying a stimulating conversation with a thoughtful and compassionate leader who was so comfortable in his own ski...

3 weeks ago

Marketing Spike Evening with Patrick Jubb & The Marketing Academy

Marketing Spike Evening with Patrick Jubb & The Marketing Ac

The unmissable combination of a passionate discussion about Brands and Leadership lit up the beautiful library at the London School of Economics last night. Our star guest, Patrick Jubb, who wears a number of CMO hats, shared what he and his team have been doing at Crystal Palace Football Club to help capitalise upon its loyal and local fanbase. Whilst the language of football means there will never be ‘brands’ or ‘customers’, they will always be the ‘club’ and its ‘fans’. This has not prevented a fabulous and surprisingly straightforward strategy of better engagement expanding their offerings and contact with their fan base beyond both the 90 minutes of the match itself and beyond the physical location and historical pull of the club.   Patrick’s calm and thoughtful descriptions and stories provoked an intense and i...

3 weeks ago

Belonging

Belonging

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…" is the prescient opening line of the famous Charles Dickens’ historical novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, first published in 1889. It’s set in London and Paris during 1775-1792, as raging economic and political unrest lead directly to the American and French Revolutions. The huge desire for nationalism is rearing its head again, but this time on a global basis. The two cities of London and Paris have again both been rocked by the tidal wave of popular political movements - the Brexit vote that devastated most Londoners has been closely followed by the astonishing triumph of Donald Trump in the USA. Paris was as rocked and shaken as much as London, and is now fraught with its upcoming presidential elections which have already started to play out to a similar populist and nationalistic furore. ...

5 months ago

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro passed away this weekend at the ripe old age of 90. He was a revolutionary to his death. His dream is a self sufficient communist state of Cuba remained afar off dream of his but a living nightmare for many. His dream was audacious and he had the courage to take on the might of the USA and remained forthright and true to his vision for Cuba. He delivered free first class and free healthcare and education for all the people of Cuba but simultaneously ensured they would live in relative poverty. Even with the backing of the once mighty Soviet Union and the later huge oil subsidies from Hugo Chavez when he led oil rich Venezuela - they still couldn't make economic ends meet. Most Cubans were employed by the state, and earned next to nothing -$15 a month for many. The old joke became a truism "they pretend to pay us abs we pretend to work for them". ...

5 months ago

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Leaders & Mentors: Preparing the Youth

Leaders & Mentors: Preparing the Youth

Lilian Baylis School in Lambeth was the archetypal struggling and much forgotten inner city comprehensive school. Historically at the bottom of the pile and once even referred to as “England’s worst-performing school” by The Guardian, it was failing by any measure you may apply. So much so, that Ofsted had placed it under ‘Special Measures’. Gary Phillips arrived as the new Head in 2000, the 6th in 5 years, and started the most incredible of transformations – since 2013, Ofsted rates the school as “outstanding in all areas”. Changes that are this profound and far reaching usually start when someone can articulate an inspirational vision of the future. However, that is rarely enough on its own, it also needs someone to own that vision and deliver it – that Leader was Gary Phillips. Far too many years ago, Gary contacted me ...

6 months ago

National Mentoring Day

National Mentoring Day

There was a time in their lives when even the best leaders didn’t quite believe in themselves. From Mandela to Gandhi to Angela Merkel to Queen Elizabeth to Pope Francis, they all have had someone who gave them their time, encouraged them and looked out for them – Mentors.   Mentors trade in confidence – they are able to give you their confidence and pass on their confidence in you. And as we all have learned, without confidence nothing happens. So today, on National Mentoring Day stop missing out and get yourself a mentor. Aim as high as you can and do not hesitate, just pluck up the courage to ask for an hour a month of their valuable time. Flatter them. Let them know that you want to learn and be guided by them because of their behaviours and attitudes. Aim as high as you can as they will have so much to share the more they have been through.&...

6 months ago

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How to Go From Good to Great

How to Go From Good to Great

What turns a manager into a leader? Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Randall S Peterson, suggests some answers in his recent article published in London Business School Review. He is a firm believer in Strengths-based Leadership, where a discovery journey from a Manager to a Leader consists of 5 major steps: being self-aware, playing to your strengths, nurturing your organization's values, staying open to feedback and knowing when to go. Without using the language of Spike, Professor Peterson demonstrates his deep knowledge of the Spike Philosophy.  Ask yourself, "What Am I Great At?". Unveil your Spike and work relentlessly and passionately to make your Spikes spikier! Read on for a Spike perspective on Leadership vs Management... 1. Be self-aware People would like to be able to say, "I’m going to be great at everything I do,"...

1 year ago

 Unveiling Spike to TOP 50 HR Directors

Unveiling Spike to TOP 50 HR Directors

Nearly all organisational Performance Management systems and Employee Appraisal systems and their associated methodologies are designed and implicitly biased towards identifying weaknesses or areas for development. Consequently, every employee becomes fixated on working nearly exclusively on raising their (sometimes obvious) weaknesses to a decent level – with ‘decent’ usually prescribed by the prevailing Performance Management system – not many achieve this despite years of frustrated effort and focus, and continual negative feedback! Most are not confident enough to breakout (on their own) from the pack and actually focus on honing their strengths to a formidable standard. René's experience of working with some of the world’s best leaders of this generation: from President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister David Cameron, Mikael Gor...

1 year ago

René on TalkRADIO

René on TalkRADIO

René speaks to Paul Ross on TalkRADIO on finance and a business round up.    ...

1 year ago

Malawi needs Leadership not Management

Malawi needs Leadership not Management

2015 was another momentous year for all Leaders and aspiring Leaders.  We were privileged to have been invited to work on all five continents with some outstanding businesses and some truly memorable Leaders. We have decided to kick start 2016 with a reflection on our ‘moments’ of 2015 – in November we were invited to lead an important and vital Leadership Summit in Malawi and we share the insights and observations from that instructive session for all of our Network. We look forward to sharing more throughout 2016. René We were by the extraordinarily beautiful Lake Malawi, the auditorium was silent and thoughtful, as all 40 attendees reflected on the 90 minutes they had just spent examining what is meant by Authentic Leadership. Here was a gathering of some of the most progressive leaders in Malawi, with an appetite and ambition for continuou...

1 year ago

Speaking Up, Speaking Out

Speaking Up, Speaking Out

The Social Media commentariat was lit up by President Obama’s use of the N-word, in the aftermath of the killing of nine black people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was angry and disappointed at the outrageous killings, so much so “It’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘n****r’ in public, That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not”. We at the Inspired Leaders Network, pride ourselves on stimulating and provoking courageous and necessary conversations.  We have tackled race, women in leadership, and at our most recent event, ‘Sexism in the City’. There is a common thread emerging, are we just way too polite to tackle these vital issues in open forum, or are they just far too hot to handle? We have even explored whether this is just a generational issue, but at our most re...

1 year ago

DOWNSIZING

DOWNSIZING

During the Global Financial Crisis, nearly every Bank in the world came under pressure to significantly reduce its cost base whilst moving its culture to become more transparent and trustworthy. By far the biggest cost for any significant sized organisation is its people.  We witnessed quite chilling numbers during the rationalisation of the biggest banks on the globe.  There were literally thousands of job cuts, leading to a flood of good and able people on the market place.  Many have gone on to work in different sectors of the Financial Services Industry, whilst others have decided to take a complete and clean break and have either gone to a completely different industry, or taken the brave move to start their own business. We thought we had seen the end of the huge job loss announcements, until the shock of HSBC’s recent announcement of cutting 25,000 jobs ...

1 year ago

Sepptic Leadership

Sepptic Leadership

In a very recent blog we took a long hard look at 3 political leaders who resigned instantly on the night of their electoral defeats; Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage. Whilst admiring their courage and integrity, we like many others, were a little alarmed by Nigel Farage’s volte-face.  His party is still struggling to come to terms with his seeming lack of authenticity and integrity.  However, it pales into insignificance when we look at the leadership travails of FIFA.  This is an organisation with a total monopoly on the Beautiful Game, and that lack of competition has enabled the unscrupulous to ‘fill their boots’.  Just to make matters even worse, it is an organisation that has no term limits at all on its President.  So Mr Blatter has been able to stand for election 4 times and was just incredulously nominated for an unprec...

1 year ago

No Executive Should Be Left Behind

No Executive Should Be Left Behind

This week the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) predicts that 2 billion people will be online. The global population currently stands at 7.2 billion. There will also be more than 7 billion mobile device subscriptions, which leaves us with the sobering thought that more people will have a mobile phone subscription that will have access to safe drinking water.  78 out of 100 people in the US and Europe already use mobile broadband, and 69% of the world has 3G coverage, but only 29% of rural areas are served. Africa lags behind with just 17.4% mobile broadband penetration.  If we take a closer look at the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) informs us that almost 6 million UK adults have never used the internet.  11% of adults – the equivalent to 5.9 million people, have never logged on in their lives. Just before delivering a lecture ...

1 year ago

72 Hours is a long time in Politics

72 Hours is a long time in Politics

Immediately after the General Election THREE party leaders had resigned, but then within the space of THREE momentous days, Nigel Farage having resigned as leader of UKIP, was back.  In terms of an authentic leader, it probably was not the best judgement call he has ever made.  Having made a very clear and forthright promise to stand down as leader if he didn’t win the seat of Thanet South, has he shot his credibility to pieces? Chuka Umunna, on the other hand, threw his hat into the ring to become the new leader of the Labour Party, given Ed Miliband’s resignation on the quite traumatising loss of the General Election.  Within 72 hours, Chuka had thrown his hat out of the ring, and withdrew his candidacy for the Labour leadership. In truth, we all make U-turns, and it is only human that we change our minds – but usually in the face of overwhel...

1 year ago

Two Months, Two Weddings, Many Cultures

Two Months, Two Weddings, Many Cultures

In the space of the last two months, two of our team members have both travelled abroad to tie the knot. All four involved are 27-ish years old, and from completely different walks of life. What gives them all something in common, is that they are all Londoners, and all generation ‘Y’, and all hardworking and ambitious. One is Dutch, one is British, and two are Turkish. One couple went to romantic Naples and brought friends from London and Amsterdam, along with a bunch of relatives from Ghana plus friends from all over the world.  The other couple, went back to their home city of Istanbul for a really glitzy wedding, culminating in an unforgettable party at the striking Four Seasons Hotel on the Bosphorus. Both brides made spectacular entrances for their fabulous days; one descended from a helicopter near Naples, and the other descended it appeared from th...

2 years ago

The Rooney Rule

The Rooney Rule

We anticipated another spicy and spiky evening at The Inspired Leaders Network and we certainly were not disappointed. Our panel were passionate and opinionated, and aligned on the importance and need for The Rooney Rule, but differed on how and how quickly things could and would change. There were many challenges from as equally as passionate an audience. Whilst the debate centred around football, it had implications for organisations everywhere. The need for all leadership positions to be made open for all those qualified, not just to have the opportunity of applying, but to have a real chance of landing the role if they are the best suited candidate. Frankly we never got anywhere near to resolving this perennial issue, but all present soon realised that any solution would be brought about by enlightened and action oriented leadership. The changes required would need radi...

2 years ago

Moving away requires a deft touch

Moving away requires a deft touch

I RECENTLY had the special opportunity of interviewing one of the UK’s premier turnaround business leaders, Allan Leighton, in front of a packed house at the Mayfair Hotel in London. There were many great moments, and a standout quote: “Companies don’t die – people kill them”. This took me back to my time at Marks & Spencer during the 80s and early 90s. Its clothing business had a phenomenal market share with a formula that hadn’t changed for years, and had yet to stall. The forceful and outspoken chief executive was Rick Greenbury, his impulsiveness tempered by the calm, thoughtful chairman, Lord Raynor. Rick was a brilliant merchant, but his ego couldn’t resist a good scrap. When the City challenged his boast that M&S’s profits could hit a billion pounds, he just couldn’t back down and eventually trashed the business i...

2 years ago

Winners

Winners

We were so privileged to have the extremely thoughtful Alastair Campbell with us at Hult International Business School launching his new book, ‘Winners’. He shared huge insights and subtle reflections with a very full house – he was honest without ever being earnest, and thought every question through before answering. It was obvious that this was a labour of love and that the process of all the interviews were as revelatory for Campbell, as they are for the reader. He felt both energised and reflective at the same time. After a humorous and surprisingly self-deprecating interview, the Q&A with the Hult students will be remembered by all who were there. Brilliant questions, beautifully and positively positioned got the best out of Campbell,  who in turn answered everything posed to him. He shared a vast array of beautiful little trinkets of anecdotes a...

2 years ago