Max Dumais

SmartCompany /

The head is the most important part of any organism, and the same goes for every business.

Thinking skill: Modelling and mentoring

The leader and visionary in any business tends to set the tone. Sometimes it is one person; sometimes the roles are split. Either way, people look, both implicitly and explicitly, to the leadership for direction and for their lead.

This direction covers the ethos, the culture, the aspirations, the goals and even the level of commitment and energy that exists within the organisation.

Entrepreneurs create energy within an organisation and they create the channels that this energy is likely to take as it enlivens the way business is done.

A key way they often do this is through storytelling. The stories of Jesus in the gospels has stood the test of two millennia because they come down to us in allegories: great stories that carry their own message.

A great sense of confidence and commitment flows from a workplace that engages its people totally. At a time when salary levels may no longer be the determining factor in keeping your highly skilled and high-value people, the look and feel of the business begins to play a key role.

Leaders are in the position to engage their people by raising their goals well above the horizon, by stretching the goals and by taking their people outside their comfort zone and watching them achieve.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi maintains that this process puts people in a special creative zone or flow, just like a basketball team that “clicks” or an orchestra that gets in the groove.

“To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge inherent in the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur.” An important skill in leadership it getting that balance just right.


Tip of the week: What happens at the centre tends to be reflected at the periphery. If you are committed, the people around you will be, no matter where you stand in the organisation. If your workplace is a fun place, it is more likely that your customers will also pick up the vibe and enjoy doing business with you – again and again. If you are prepared to set some stretch goals, people are more likely to come up to the mark and to gel as an effective and engaged team.


Thinkcoach Max Dumais set up and ran Dr Edward de Bono’s institute for its first six years. His company Ahead of the Game is all about applying processes and frameworks for individuals and companies to think their way to success.



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