16 May Leadership & Entrepreneurship in Ireland – Day 2

We navigated through Dublin via public transport today and were warmly greeted by the business school staff at DCU (Dublin City University).  The authors of  “Leadership in Ireland,” Aoife McDermott and Patrick Flood, presented an excellent overview of their work.

We discussed that business in Ireland is very relational where reciprocity reins. There was a lot of talk of “low ego” which really means keeping competitiveness in check, and not being too pushy or boastful.   Respect for employees is paramount, but pressures are real due to the downfall of the Celtic Tiger.  There was a recent Euro barometer survey, and Ireland still has the most satisfied employees.  A large organization in Ireland would be 500 employees.  The view of Americans and Germans are similar – very task versus relationship oriented.

Aoife said the book take-aways from the Irish leaders they interviewed include:  Be yourself, get buy in for your vision, know you have to work through others, and know when to lead and when to manage.  That is, managers ask how and when whereas leaders ask what and why.

Aoife’s research on how to become a leader?

  • Using drive to make the most of life experiences
  • Manage dual strands of empathy and detachment
  • Attain balance
  • Can’t do it alone…
  • Adapt to contextual demands
  • Huge fear of failure – imposter syndrome…

We also met with Danuta Gray.  She was the CEO of O2 Ireland for nine years, and was a very dynamic speaker.  She provided her insight on the Celtic Tiger, and how destructive forces at work were not sustainable for economic growth and stability.  She also believes there were generational issues at play – i.e., entitlement in the younger generation as not having gone though tough times.

Danuta’s thoughts on what makes a good leader:

  • Good leaders – low ego.
  • Good mentors
  • Not enough to be good at your job
  • Pick right people for right job at right time.  Hardest thing
  • Spend most of the time on people and strategy
  • Self aware
  • Create great environment – enjoy coming to work.  Get discretionary effort.
  • Strategy is execution – free up energy!  Don’t lose momentum!
  • Need to relay strategy 50 times.  How you say versus what you say!
  • People will not tell you when they don’t understand
  • Be yourself
  • It’s like theater – can’t act 24 hours a day!

Lastly, we had a great presentation on change from Niall Saul.  As a highly regarded consultant, his perspective on leadership provides timeless lessons:

  • Laziness develops with successful companies
  • Without direction – chaos
  • Without competency – bankruptcy
  • Without opportunities – frustration
  • Without motivation – lethargy

Tomorrow includes a tour of Shimmer Research and the Digital Hub.

Here’s a link to Susan Spleth’s blog here in Ireland:  http://suzabroad-ireland.blogspot.com/

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