Nov 02 2021| Leadership | leaders

The seven symptoms of a sick company and how effective leaders restore good health - Part 7

Part 7 in this series of 7 short articles.

by Phil Eyre Leaders' Founder

7. Scandal

Scandal is an obvious sign of sickness in a company. It is perhaps an exaggerated or ultimate form of the other signs of illness. Often, the point at which an individual or company is discovered to have been breaking the rules follows an extended period of rule-bending, perhaps minor infractions that have escalated. The problem is that they have been unchallenged or removed sources of challenge. Margaret Heffernan describes this dysfunction wonderfully in her book Wilful Blindness.  Leaders who are unwilling to address the signs of failure will themselves fail.

I’ve yet to encounter a board pack that has the agenda item ‘avoid scandal’. Yet much good governance is designed to achieve precisely that. The leadership problem is that the seeds of scandal sit in human behaviours and attitudes. For example, regular feedback is good governance; meetings can be measured. Being willing to be wrong, listening and acting on criticism is a choice and takes practice. 

Effective leaders create the conditions where good governance becomes a value-add to the company. Rather than treating codes of practice as an inconvenience, they embrace process, guidance and law as tools towards health and sustainability.

Good leadership is significantly about creating healthy companies, identifying and tackling signs of sickness before they become serious or fatal. Healthy leaders = healthy companies.


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About The Author | Phil Eyre

Phil is Leaders’ founder. He has an enthusiastic and inspiring style, drawing on his experience in business, academia and social sectors to help any leadership team to achieve phenomenal performance. Phil has significant expertise in sophisticated psychometrics and in the application of human data for individual, team and organisational success. He has trained with and been mentored by, global leaders in this field, notably Dr Chuck Coker in the US. Phil began his career in the UK offshore finance industry in 1994, working for a wealth management company, Canaccord Genuity Wealth International. Phil was head of the company's Guernsey division, with a staff of 120 and assets under management of £4.5billion before resigning from executive responsibilities in 2008. Since launching Leaders in 2017, Phil has worked with many senior executives and boards primarily in the Channel Islands and City of London. He regularly writes for a variety of business publications and is often invited to speak at events for institutions such as the IoD and the British Army. Phil works closely with clients on focussed projects and long-term retainers to raise leadership standards. He is a popular and inspiring educator and coach who, with the insights gained from psychometrics, is able to accurately detect the strengths and weaknesses in leadership teams and boards. Phil has served on the boards of various charities, ran the Guernsey hub of a national theology college, received accreditation as a pastor in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and is accredited in various motivation and behavioural techniques.

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