Apr 5th, 2021
Atholl Duncan is the chair of the leadership development business Black Isle Group. He worked for the BBC as a journalist for over 20 years and been head of the BBC News Scotland, he's a certified coach and author of Leaders in Lockdown. In this episode you can learn hacks galore from Athol including:
- The new mindset, habits and behaviors to cope with demands of the post COVID world.
- The new definition of being an entrepreneur - people who are addicted to opportunity.
- The seven themes for leadership in a lockdown
- The LEADING model – enabling people to move to the next level
Join our Tribe at https://leadership-hacker.com
Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA
Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services
Find out more about Atholl below:
Atholl on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/athollduncan/
Atholl on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AthollDuncan
Black Isle Group Website: https://blackislegroup.com
Full Transcript Below:
Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.
Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you.
Today special guests on the show is Atholl Duncan. He's the chair of the leadership development business Black Isle Group. He's also worked for the BBC as a journalist for over 20 years and been head of the BBC News Scotland. He's also a certified coach and author, but before we get a chance to speak with Atholl, it's The Leadership Hacker News.
The Leadership Hacker News
Steve Rush: I just love it when emerging technology and entrepreneurial-ism come together. In a press release this week, Warner Music and Accenture Interactive announced, “Saylists”, new playlists exclusively to Apple music. And they're designed to augment the speech therapy experience for young people through the power of music and technology. There are 173 tracks in these playlists, including Dua Lipa: Don't start now, and Lizzo: Good as hell, the BBC reported that some, 1 in 12 children across the United Kingdom experienced some form of speech disorder or SSD, and it's also common across the globe.
Stammering or stuttering as it's often referred to affects at least 1.5 million children in the UK alone. Using an algorithm, Apple analyze the lyrics of its catalogs, 70 billion songs to identify the sounds and most commonly repeated in speech. As such the playlist centered on the sounds of ‘CH’, ‘D’, ‘F’, ‘G’, ‘K’, ‘L’, ‘R’, ‘S’, ‘T’ as an example. The frenetic sounds that you and I just take for granted. Warner's press release, includes comments from speech and language psychologists, all of whom say that these Saylists are an innovative form of therapy. Every speech and language therapist wants to keep children engaged during therapy sessions, as well as help them generalize their target sounds, both at school and at home said, Anna Biavati Smith. Saylists provide fun, new ways to practice sounds without feeling pressured or getting bored and having fun of course, it's first step on the rung of learning. So, for those that are listening, these new playlists are available to Apple music subscribers worldwide now. And I just wanted to call out what a great piece of innovation that was. That's been The Leadership Hacker News. If you have any interesting news, stories or facts that you'd like our listeners to hear, then please get in touch.
Start of Podcast
Steve Rush: Atholl Duncan is a special guest on today's show. He's a chair of leadership development business Black Isle Group. He's worked as a journalist, TV producer and as an ex-executive of the BBC for over 20 years. He's now the author of Leaders in Lockdown. Atholl welcome to the show.
Atholl Duncan: Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here and looking forward to the chat.
Steve Rush: Now we're going to get into the Leaders in Lockdown very soon. And I should imagine the 12 months of having pen the book to kind of where we are now has been a really interesting one. But for those listeners that haven't had the chance to maybe experience your work before. Perhaps you can give us a sense of what it is you've done in the past, how you are now?
Atholl Duncan: Sure, well Steve, my life has really in three acts. Act number one is, you were explaining there. I worked at the BBC for a couple of decades, covering the world's main stories, really, the world's big stories. Then act number two, hired an executive career as a bit of a transformation experts. And I worked in the utility sector, worked in the media sector and I worked in professional services. Trying to transform businesses and then act three is where I am now. Hopefully not my final act. And that's really with a portfolio of non-executive roles. Sitting on a few boards and also as an executive coach. And as you say, now rather scarily as an author.
Steve Rush: And did you find that as part of your career evolution and your various different acts of your career? I thought that there was perhaps a specific trigger or event that caused you to move from one direction to another.
Atholl Duncan: Well, I think the trigger in the most recent events was, you know, coming to together or myself as a business leader and as a storyteller. And there was one particular morning when I was walking on the beach, near my house in Scotland, the previous day I had seven emergency board meetings because of COVID. And I was pretty stressed to say the least, but I realized that this was a remarkable period of history that we were going through, probably the defining months of this century. And I wanted to capture it and capture it in this book, Leaders in Lockdown. By spending time with 28 global business leaders and asking them, how they cope with the crisis and how the world was going to change? Because of the scary events we were all going through.
Steve Rush: And delightful that you did. And we're going to get into some of those lessons that you found from some of those leaders shortly. I think it's quite an interesting moment in time. When you look back on the world that we're in at the moment to recognize that we are probably at a very pivotal stage in our global history. And I think not only will, the way that we behave change, the way that we interact across businesses will change, but lots of other dynamics that we haven't even experienced yet will be become apparent over the next few years. What's your view on that?
Atholl Duncan: I couldn't agree more. I mean, you know, part of the theory of the book is that every long-held belief in business has been thrown out the window by COVID. And I think, you know, we see that many trends in behaviors and consumer behaviors and business behaviors have really moved on probably a decade in a summer. So, the change is massive and how we cope with that as leaders is something that deserves thorough introspection and great debate.
Steve Rush: So, what's the focus of the work that you're currently doing with Black Isle Group?
Atholl Duncan: Well, Black Isle Group is really picking up from the challenges of COVID. And we've kind of set ourselves a purpose of changing the face of leadership development. A few of us have been on the other side, have been on the receiving end of a leadership development throughout our careers as business leaders. And we came to the conclusion that quite a lot of what is done in the leadership development world is not fit for the future. So, we've created a new approach. We call it the “Big Approach” and it essentially brings together a new coaching culture in businesses, a new methodology, and it marries that up with some technology that we've created, which is called nudge technology. And through this new big approach, we've set ourselves the purpose of trying to help businesses create a new mindset, a new piece of change, and really embed new habits and new behaviors, which set them up to cope with the fairly new and high-paced and agile demands of the post COVID world.
Steve Rush: So, you used the word mindset there, and I wholeheartedly concur that in order to face into our future, I suspect we're going to have a very different mindset than perhaps when we did before the COVID pandemic. But if you think about your portfolio of clients that you work with and businesses that you support in your non-exec roles, how have the different firms responded to the various different impacts on the pandemic.
Atholl Duncan: Well, if you take my non-executive portfolio. If you look at the leadership development world, you know, within 72 hours of the pandemic hitting the UK, we saw most of our clients canceling or postponing their work. Fortunately, when we got a few months into the pandemic. The more enlightened realize that there was never a more important time to have people helping you with the challenges of leadership and performance. I chair the Scottish Salmon, which is the UKs largest food exports, that sector was very disruptive because about 60%, we make about a billion pounds worth of Scottish salmon every year. And the vast majority of it goes to export. And of course, the markets were closed, the borders were closed, the restaurants were closed and that sector was really faced grinding to a halt.
I'm also the audit chair in our cinema business. And I think the cinema industry might be one that may never be the same again, may never indeed recover. The whole model may change, and the curtains fail in our cinemas in late March, 2020, and they've not risen again since, and then in the executive coaching world. Again, I think that was a moment for that sector because the enlightened leaders never needed executive coaches more. They needed the time to take a breath, to reflect, to have someone to hold a mirror up to what they were doing. So, it Fastly different experiences, and I think that's what most business leaders have experienced has been a land of opportunity, and there's been a land of desperation.
Steve Rush: And do you think mindsets got a lot to do with that as well?
Atholl Duncan: Well, mindset was absolutely fascinating in the 20 leaders that I met. I tell you about one of them is, a 28-year-old venture capital was called Pocket Sun who's based in Singapore, was born in China. Went to university in the States, and discovered that only 2.8% of venture capital goes to female entrepreneurs in the States, and she pledge to change that. Created a fund, which supported solely female entrepreneurs, and then pointed that fund at opportunities in the crisis from a health care, home testing healthcare company in Texas to an online wedding dress company, to a death care company and to a company that helped young people with their mental health. So, her mindset was all about opportunity and the great entrepreneurs who I interviewed for the book, even though their businesses sat in cutters, roundabout them, they weren't despondent. They were working out how to build back, use that phrase, hope to build back better. And they were looking at where the opportunities were that were coming out of the crisis.
Steve Rush: And I guess that's what sets entrepreneurs aside from those who are just content and happy to be working in corporate jobs versus driving their own agenda, driving their own thoughts and Pocket Sun is one of those people, you quote quite a bit during the book in terms of how she's approached her work and her teams and taking advantage of the opportunity.
Atholl Duncan: Yeah, and maybe another definition of being an entrepreneur, isn't it? It's people who are addicted to opportunity.
Steve Rush: Hmm. It's the old adage, isn't it? It's not about the event. It's how you react and respond to the event that gives you your outcomes.
Atholl Duncan: Absolutely. And, you know, in that year of opportunity, I worked a lot in the past with the Sir Brian Souter, who was the founder of the Stagecoach transport empire. And he talks very passionately about the dynamics and mechanics. Dynamics being the ideas, the vision, and the creativity of the entrepreneur, but how it always needs to be balanced with the mechanics of process and compliance and conformity and rules. And that is one of secrets to successfully growing an organization into the scaling of the one stage stagecoach was a billion pound plus business. It's that balance between dynamics and mechanics and constantly getting that in the right place.
Steve Rush: I like that. It's a nice lens to look through. So, we're now a year into the pandemic. And when you first penned the book, Leaders in Lockdown. It was just as we were emerging through that first wave, if you like, of what the pandemic brought to us. And when we last met, we had the anticipation that we'd be sat here a year in almost, and on a new trajectory, in a new direction, but we kind of still seem to be not too far further forward than where we were before, or bit of course, we got the vaccination, we have some light at the end of the tunnel. So how have folk responded to the book?
Atholl Duncan: Well, people have been very kind about the book. The reviews have been very kind about it and I've kind of moved. It's been shortlisted in the business book awards which was very been nice, but rather surprising. But I've kind of moved in a way from being an author, to being a bit of an evangelist around the themes in the book. And you're right in what you say about, we thought we would be in a different place by now. I share one secret with you, Steve, when we decided to do this book, our biggest concern was that people would have forgotten about COVID. Would it still be current and relevant when it was published in the autumn of 2020? And here we are in the spring of 2021 and lockdown is still going strong in the UK. And as you say, was not really a marriage perhaps, and seen the full impact, particularly in terms of unemployment and businesses going bust, because there've been propped up by government money in the private sector, all over the place.
Steve Rush: Yeah, and throughout the book you interviewed senior executives, thought leaders from around the world and then doing so you found that there were about seven broad themes that were consistently present. I thought it might be useful just to maybe spin through those seven themes and we can maybe dig into a couple as we go?
Atholl Duncan: Sure. So, the seven themes were really a bringing together of the commonalities between the 28-business leader’s theme. Number one, is the new age of purpose because there was a common view that purpose has never been a more important time for purpose. And you saw businesses who were very purpose focused, really flourishing, but leaders thought that coming out of covid, purpose would no longer be just a line or two to emblazoned on your website and forget about. So, they're predicting a new age where purpose really matters and purpose really counts in terms of engaging your employees and your clients and customers. Theme number two is, the new world of work. And obviously the piece that has been most discussed and written about there was moving many, many millions of people from offices to home, but the new world of work's going to be far more than that. It is going to be, hey, we cope with this hybrid and way of working, which most people predict so will come out of it.
And also, I think it's made people ask themselves, people of all generations, ask themselves what is work? And I think that will result in a complete redrawing of the psychological contract between employer and employee theme. Theme number three was tackling inequality because at every level COVID exposed them inequality, not just through the inequality of homeschooling and the inequality of the vaccine and the inequality of who the COVID killed and coming out of it. You're going to see inequality weighed in all areas of society. And this was really a feeling from business leaders that they had to play their part. What were they doing about tackling the black hole of unemployment? Were they really serious about the varsity and inclusion? Where they just making people redundant or were, they considering a new mindset towards re-skilling people?
Steve Rush: It's really been stark, hasn't it? This one particular, because it's really shined a light on where companies were focused around diversity inclusion and inequalities and where they haven't, and that void has just become bigger in my experience.
Atholl Duncan: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And all of these things, you know, the theory is that it's up to the corporate world and it's up to leaders in the corporate world to try and move in and take a list because frankly a lot of our politicians and our governments are not doing a good enough job in these issues. And that was very strong in the fourth theme, which is global cooperation. And at a moment that we wanted our politicians to be looking across boundaries, to be working together with other nations to tackle this terrible pandemic. They turned inwards, they set nation against nation. And this wasn't just China and the U.S., I think you saw this in many, many governments around the world. You saw it across Europe, and a feeling really from, particularly from the leaders of big corporates, that it was the big corporations in the future who had a strong and effective role in tackling the global problems, because we can’t rely on our politicians to do it.
Theme Number five was resilience, not just financial resilience or operational resilience, not just the personal resilience of how we as individuals got through a crisis, which has gone on for so long. Theme number six was all about resetting the supply chain and the principle that we need to move away. I mean, the global supply chain grown to halt, and we need to move away from just-in-time and moved to just in case and the belief that we can do that and save money and that the pandemic expose weaknesses and supply chains, which really developed over decades and those weaknesses are there because supply chain decisions were made about efficiency and the lowest cost. And that didn't stand up to scrutiny when we had the global pandemic that closed borders.
Steve Rush: And interestingly also it's in that whole kind of efficiency, lean management call it what you will in terms of squeezing that supply chain has proven also to stifle innovation and creativity in doing so
Atholl Duncan: Absolutely, and you know, it wasn't very efficient when the supply chain had grown to a halt. One of the other areas in there, which I just touch upon, but I find quite fascinating is the suggestion that as a result of the pandemic, you could see a lot of manufacturing moving back from Asia to Europe and to the U.S., but it wouldn't be carried out by human beings. It would be being carried out by robots. And then the final theme, which is very much in our world, Steve, we described as a maximizing potential. And this was the bit where Leena Nair, who's the Chief HR officer of Unilever suggested that we'd seen the end of the Superman leader. And she did mean the Superman leader and the start of a new area era of empathetic listening and compassionate leadership. And that was the most effective way to lead in the pandemic and after the pandemic and a number of other themes just running in there about executive preparedness, you know, we were confronted with no longer was an option to look after ourselves physically, because we couldn't get through this, unless we did. No longer as an option to take her leave, the issue of mental health for executives and for the rest of workforce. And it also explores that where leaders did have executive coaches or mentors who gave them time to catch breath, they made better decisions. They made better decisions if they had someone who could hold a mirror up to them. So those were the seven themes. There's so much to unpack in each one, but that's what the leaders in lockdown was telling us.
Steve Rush: And what you also found as part of your research and your conversations was a new way to help leaders think, and you created a model called LEAD. Maybe you could just tell us a little bit about that?
Atholl Duncan: Yes, So the LEAD or LEADING model I've played with quite a bit, and I suppose it comes back to maybe a bit of my journalistic background. And we created the leading model really by asking executive coaches, where are the areas that you find yourself, coaching executives most? And they described these as being the blockers to people moving to the next level and also the enablers to people moving to the next level and the area leading is for looking like a leader. So, the behaviors, the gravitas, the persona, the actions of a leader. The E was round about empowerment and empathy and emotional intelligence. The A was awareness and particularly self-awareness. The D was delivery, getting things done. The I is impact, your communication style, your brevity, your clarity, your impact. The N is for nurturing, and the G is for game changing. Do you, as a leader really change the game or do you only create incremental change?
Steve Rush: Given the fact that the pandemic has changed the game for all of us, this is a perfect opportunity for all leaders to reframe and rebase their game, right?
Atholl Duncan: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I think if it calls into question everything that has gone before and the way that we run our businesses. I think it calls into question the way that we lead and, you know, in the environment that the piece of change that will come now and will not slow down in the future, the agility that's required in leadership. We need to reframe the behaviors of the leaders that we have.
Steve Rush: Thinking about the examples shared with you, by the leaders that you interviewed, as well as your own experiences. You kind of captured this in the last chapter of your book called maximizing potential. So now a chance for us to do that, but what's the reason in your expense, some will grab the opportunity and run into the uncertainty and the ambiguity, but others will maybe avoid it.
Atholl Duncan: The reasons leaders do things. And, you know, we know this from executive coaching, is it comes back to past experience and to leader, know yourself, doesn't it? And you know, we work a lot with psychometric analysis of Black Isle Group and assured that's a place where you probably start with a lot of your coaching.
Steve Rush: Absolutely.
Atholl Duncan: So, if you look for the reasons why particular leaders do a particular thing, or don't do a particular thing, then you have to go to the inner game to get your answer. And quite often, when you go to the inner game of the leader, the answers are really quite startlingly, obvious.
Steve Rush: Yeah, call it the voice in your head.
Atholl Duncan: Absolutely.
Steve Rush: The one that you wake up with. It’s the one you go to bed with. It will the last voice you hear when he leaves the planet as well. So, it's got to be an empowering voice.
Atholl Duncan: Yep.
Steve Rush: So, the next part of the show, we'd love to hack into your years of experience and diverse experience to kind of try and distill some top tips and ideas for our listeners. So, if you had to distill them, what would be your top three leadership hacks?
Atholl Duncan: Well, number one, top hack for me, very apparent during the pandemic.
You need to create the space to think and to reflect. If your agenda is absolutely packed full, you will be denying yourself one of the most important things about leadership, which is the time to think, and the team to reflect. Leadership number two, you must have someone who will tell you the uncomfortable truths. There's a Scottish poet called Robert Burns, and I won't do this bit of poetry in Scottish. I'll translate it into English.
Steve Rush: Go for it.
Atholl Duncan: And it basically says, would someone the power to give us, to see ourselves as others see, it would from many, our blunder, Frias and foolish notion. And we're surrounded by leaders, I’m afraid who live in a hall of mirrors with people telling them what they want to hear in an echo chamber, which leads to narcissistic and blind leadership. So, anyone who's listening to this who aspires to further leadership, get yourself someone who will be your conscience.
Steve Rush: Love that.
Atholl Duncan: Who will see yourselves as others see us, and we'll challenge you. And, you know, I had this, I'll give you a good example of this with one of the people I was coaching through the pandemic whose automatic reaction was at the start was to act very quickly and make a large number of people redundant. And I got that person to stop in their tracks by asking, what is your responsibility to society right at this moment? And will that help by making a large number of people redundant, or will it just mean that they can't pay their mortgages? And they default, the economy goes into further downward spiral. So, he went to the people and he said, what solutions do you have to this issue? And they put their hands up and they say, we'll job share, you know, we'll take a reduction in our salary. Some of us will take temporary leave, and you know, that to me is the result of someone who is telling you the uncomfortable truth as a leader.
Steve Rush: Yeah, and how powerful is it that you having that conversation managed to help that individual reframe and actually give control to the people who could make those right decisions?
Atholl Duncan: It is, but it's a relatively easy for us because we are not in the center of the dog fight of trying to save the business, you know, I'm walking on the beach thinking, you know, what on earth is going to happen here? I have that time to reflect, and I'm here to challenge. I'm no longer a player in the game. I'm an observer from the sideline.
Steve Rush: Your right, however, part of creating the space to be a great leader is creating the space to think.
Atholl Duncan: Absolutely.
Steve Rush: And however busy we are it's about reprioritizing and giving us that freedom and that room to kick the leaves about metaphorically.
Atholl Duncan: Yeah, and, you know, first thing I would do as an executive coach is to ask to see the leader’s diary. And if there's no thinking time in it, I challenge that. The next thing I would do is to try and see is the time in diary actually aligned to the objectives, the main objectives and the main aims of the leader and most of the team isn't.
Steve Rush: Exactly, exactly right.
Atholl Duncan: So, you know, the lead leader will tell you that they want to do A, B and C and say, well, actually, you've got no time in that because you're doing operational stuff, you're doing stuff that one of your directors could do, you know, and you're spending team doing stuff which you shouldn't be doing at all.
Steve Rush: So, hack number three?
Atholl Duncan: Number three, be purpose late. And again, I think the pandemic underlines the importance of purpose. So, find your purpose as an individual and ensure that your business has find its purpose, and that the people in your business know what that purpose is and believe in that purpose, because, you know, I think COVID remains as that without purpose we're empty vessels.
Steve Rush: Yeah, very much so. And it's interesting, and I don't know if you've found this in the work that you've done, but the purpose always seems to be the one that is most alluring for folk, but yet most under-invested in, in terms of just granularity and understanding.
Atholl Duncan: Absolutely, and I think that is hopefully something that will come out of COVID. I mean, I worked with somebody the other day who was from an extremely well-known brand. And they told me with a bit of pride that yes, we were on the case with purpose, and this has helped them through the pandemic, but then revealed that they got on the case with purpose about 12 months before the pandemic started. And I was fairly shocked. So, it's that underlines your theory that, you know, real understanding and real embedding of purpose in the corporate world is still pretty sadly lacking.
Steve Rush: And also, purpose can change slowly given the environment and experiences. And you need to reevaluate that just as you do what your strategy
Atholl Duncan: Absolutely. I mean, I chair UK Coaching, which works with sports coaching and community coaches, essentially as a learning and development. Business that champions coaches and in a way COVID has helped to crystallize our purpose because the nation will not recover. And the health of the nation will not recover. Unless we protect and increase activity, movement, exercise and sports, and all of a sudden that organization has become the catalyst through which that has done because it isn't done without coaches.
Steve Rush: That right.
Atholl Duncan: So, the purpose has been crystallized and indeed the purpose is much clearer hopefully for the people in that business.
Steve Rush: The next part of the show our listeners have become familiar with is called Hack to Attack. So, this is where something typically hasn't gone well. It could have been catastrophic, it could be in your personal life or your work, but as a result of the experience, that's now helping us in a positive way. What would be your Hack to Attack?
Atholl Duncan: Well, my Hack to Attack is based in catastrophic failure. And I go back a long time, but I was asked to speak at a convention of local counselors. And I said, the people who was organizing, you know, what you want? or we want to kind of business thing, you know, are you sure you've got the right person? Yes, we've definitely got the right person. When I turned up on the night, the person who was chairing the event said, well, you're going to be funnier than that Dara or Breon. So, what do you mean? Well, we had Tim last year and he, wasn't very funny. I did not have a comic speech prepared. So, I tried to think of a comic speech while I'm eating my beef or chicken. And I think I probably went then pretty well, like a lead balloon. Managed to just escape with my life. And it was pretty, how can I put it? I was pretty down about the whole thing would be an understatement. So, it did impact quiet badly on me.
Steve Rush: I can imagine, yeah.
Atholl Duncan: And to become a more competent communicator, performer, presenter, speaker. And now one of my specialties is helping other people to communicate with brevity, clarity, and impact, but it could have gone either way. And, as quite interesting, I quite like biopics and I was watching a bio pic the other night about Audrey Hepburn and the failure that Audrey Hepburn had in her early life were quite marked. And as we see a thing with all good leaders, good stars, that is the way you bounce back from that.
Steve Rush: Totally.
Atholl Duncan: Failure is what make the woman or the man.
Steve Rush: And that’s a whole premise of Hack to Attack is that, you know, there always will be adversity, there'll be failures, but if we reframe them as learning, it helps propel us forward.
Atholl Duncan: Yeah, you know, we all want to be good though. I think we all want to be a good an influential performer, presenters, communicators. So, my Hack to Attack is see, you will bomb. You will bomb several teams and just learn from it and crack on.
Steve Rush: Awesome. Well, one of my favorite parts of the show is the next bit we get to do with you, which is to do a bit of time travel. And you now get to go to bump into Atholl 21 and give them some advice. So, what's it going to be?
Atholl Duncan: I think two bits of advice. I think whatever your ambitions are at 21 you're not being ambitious enough because I think when you're 21, you have no idea what you're actually capable of. And I think leaders seem to be, depending on what your background is. Leaders seem to be people who are in positions that perhaps you wouldn't achieve. So early imposter syndrome at 21. And certainly, when you get into the latter part of your career, that you realize that while there are obvious key skills in leadership, many, many, many people who never imagined life and leadership are actually extremely capable of doing them. And, you know, Sir David Behan, who's the executive chair of HC One care Homes. A thousand people died in his care homes in the first hundred days of lockdown. He's brilliant on this and how he sees leadership at every level in his care homes, and leadership's not a title.
So, I think that that would be one thing that I would definitely say to Atholl at 21. I think the other thing I would say, which came a little bit mid-career for me is to think international, to get yourself an international outlook, because the way that we do business globally now, I think is the key for many, many people and the opportunities of that. So, I would get a global outlook early on, so think big, think global and crack on.
Steve Rush: Awesome. I love that. So, what's next for you and Black Isle Group?
Atholl Duncan: Well just in the immediate future, you know, I was thinking I've become a bit of an evangelist for these messages and the leaders in lockdown book. So, we've developed leaders in lockdown workshops, and we're taking them out to businesses and out to business groups.
And it's more about leading out of lockdown and we're trying to help individuals and to help organizations. We're doing quite a lot of this free of charge because I honestly think that there's so much that businesses have to cope with in the next 12 months and beyond. That the business community needs to rally around together and help each other. So short term, it's leaders in lockdown workshops. I'm doing one tonight with global chief information officers. I'm really enjoying and doing them, and then beyond that, and we maybe thinking about what the next book is that we can write.
Steve Rush: Leaders out of lockdown?
Atholl Duncan: [Laughter]leaders out of lockdown. Well, I'm quite drawn. I must've met, there's two places that I'm quite drawn to. I'm quite drawn to learning more from the world's most interesting leaders. So, they're not necessarily the leaders who have the most prominent positions, but the ones who are challenging what we're doing across the business. So, I think that might be quite an interesting book. And I also have a bit of a fascination about the narcissistic leader and not because I like them, but because I think more and more, we want to be able to identify them and make sure that we learn from them and we try and stop their rise to the top. Because the shareholder damage, the damage of value, the damage of society from narcissistic political leaders is utterly colossal over time. And It's a failure of all of us not to spot these people and weed them out.
Steve Rush: And they're still present in our communities and in our workplaces. And it's spotting some of those traits that will help us call them out.
Atholl Duncan: Slowly.
Steve Rush: Yeah, love it. So as folk have been listening to this, they probably been thinking, how do I get myself a copy of Leaders in Lockdown? And where can I find out a bit more about Atholl work? Where should we send them?
Atholl Duncan: Well, Leaders in Lockdown is available on Amazon. I would say it's available in all good bookshops, but most good book shops are closed at the moment. So, the great Amazon is probably the best place to go. Book Depository if you're elsewhere in the world, because I think they're deliver free of charge. If you want to find out more about Black Isle Group, just check out blackislegroup.com. And there's a little bit more about me on athollduncan.com. That's Atholl with two L's. And the great thing about having a slightly unusual name like Atholl is, if you stick it in Google, you find me quite quickly.
Steve Rush: Can't be many, Atholl Duncan’s around.
Atholl Duncan: Not too many.
Steve Rush: Excellent. Well, it's been a super pleasure talking to you. I'm grateful for you taking time out of a busy schedule to be with us. And we're delighted that your part of our Leadership Hacker community, so Atholl Duncan thank you very much for being on the show.
Atholl Duncan: Steve, Thank you. It's been a pleasure.
Steve Rush: Thanks Atholl.
Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.
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