We’re often asked for top tips around the kind of leadership that produces sustainable business transformation. Over the years, we’ve helped leaders to have the biggest and most positive impact on their team(s) – and their business results.  So, we asked them – the people we’ve helped – to give us their Top Leadership Tips.

There will be twelve in all. The first two are below, and we’ll keep adding to them as we publish the rest.

Tip 1

“The vision for the business has no force, power or impact unless it spreads from the visionary to the visionless.

A mark of a top leader is the ability not only to capture a vision, but also to articulate it and cause people to fully embrace it in their future attitude, actions and performance.

We really enjoyed working with you and the team so wanted to thank you for all your help and support. And, just to reiterate that we had record years the last 5 years running and I am convinced that is related to the fact that we were working with you.”

R.W, Chief Executive, Professional Services

Tip 2

“Understanding that the biggest barriers to delivering the improvements we wanted to see in the business were not in the processes, systems or resources, they were in the mindsets and attitudes of all the people involved!

We had spent a lot of time and money on new systems., streamlining processes and acquiring more resource which produced small, marginal improvements.

We hadn’t spent any time or money on our people to properly explain our new direction and strategies – and how key they were on delivering the plan which futureproofed our business.

We won all our people’s hearts and minds and their behaviour and performance followed. The transformation was almost unbelievable”

Results Achieved: Accelerated success beyond all expectations

 MB – Managing Director, Manufacturing Sector

Tip 3

“Understanding that treating people like you’d like to be treated is, not only daft, but dangerous!  We need to learn to treat people like they’d want to be treated.

There are too many people in leadership positions who are bullies, and have the hide of a rhinoceros. People are motivated by different things – some are competitive, some are security focused, others love playing their full part in a team and being recognised for it, some are customer-focused and others need lots of praise and reassurance.

One size definitely does not fit all …. Everyone is different and a leader needs to find the right approach with the right team member to really motivate them to perform at their best”

“If, when we started the Sewells Leadership Programme, someone had told me the extent of tangible progress we’d make, I’d have said, “It would be impossible”! Of course, now we know that nothing is impossible!”
BB, Senior Vice President Sales, Mining Sector

Tip 4

“The sustainable success we want to see in our business is not based on doing extraordinary things, it’s based on doing simple things extraordinarily well!

We spent years and a lot of money searching for the latest “gizmo”, “fad” or “craze” to put us ahead of our competitors.

We learned from a Sewells tailor-made leadership programme that our communication with the team was terrible. Some simple adjustments energised the whole team to improve performance in all areas.

We also discovered that performance management is a daily doing, not an annual appraisal! Silos disappeared almost overnight and the end to end processes and efficiencies were significantly improved.

Also, our ability to motivate everyone in our teams on an individual basis has helped our leaders not only to improve their teams’ skills but also their levels of trust.”

Results Achieved: Nothing is impossible!


Tip 5

The biggest learning …

“Coming to the realisation that the safest place for any business to be is when it is judged, by its customers, to be the best at what it does, better than any and all of its competitors.

Sewells introduced us to the principles and practices of producing regular Net Promoter Scores (click for more info).

We had more measurements in the business than we knew what to do with, but we had no real measures on how our customers rated what we did, or how we did it – and – how to improve it to earn their loyalty.

We got a huge shock when we first measured it, but it was the defining moment in our business improvement transformation.

I wouldn’t say we were complacent when it came to the customer experience, we were just in the “you don’t know what you don’t  know” zone.

Once Sewells pointed us in the right direction and guided us on our journey, the majority of our customers are now customers for life.”


Tip 6

The biggest learning …

“It’s not in the knowing, it’s in the doing” is one of the Sewells adages that stuck with me. What is the point of knowing how to communicate objectively or to know what proper, day to day performance management looks like and not having the confidence to actually transfer the learning and do it in the workplace?

The Sewells workshop, uniquely in my experience, not only gives you the knowing what to do, but also the belief and motivation to apply it brilliantly in practice.

The improvement in all the key leadership skills taught positively moved all the dials on the key performance indicators, and the team spirit went through the roof as I mastered all the ‘doing’.

My confidence soared as the learning on the job continued to improve long after the workshops ended.”