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/Liaquat Lal

About Liaquat Lal

Liaquat has over 20 years’ experience leading teams, coaching performance, designing and delivering talent management solutions in both the public and private sectors. His technical expertise lies in his ability to identify and align talent management strategies to organisational capability requirements. Liaquat’s portfolio includes: designing, developing and delivering solutions in sales, product and brand development; organisational development; leadership and management; performance management; succession planning; emotional intelligence; board competency frameworks and organisational learning and development strategies.

Character eats personality for brunch!

The development industry has forever been obsessed by its nomothetic approach to personality development - that is, trying to produce general laws which apply to all people. This ‘scientific’ approach has enabled the growth in popularity of reductive tools, designed to help us understand and ‘get’ other people. At the other side of the scale [...]

By | July 25th, 2017|Personal Development Mentors|Result Type: Post

Leadership and positive messages

There are three great myths about leadership; 1 The ‘hero’ ‘macho’ leader saves the day. History shows us that when it is all about one person, the results are usually disastrous. Leadership is not about one person shining, but what they do for other people. It is not about you. 2 There is finite list [...]

By | June 19th, 2017|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

To succeed as a manager you need to encourage failure

When Shizuka Arakawa won the figure skating gold medal in the 2006 Olympic Games, her error free performance marked an achievement beyond the purely personal. The second oldest women to win a figure skating gold medal, she was also the first Asian women to do so. And she quite literally put something behind her on the way to this victory: her bottom, which she had landed on some 20,000 times on her long journey from beginner to Olympic champion. Though doing so may have lacked dignity, there is a valuable lesson in her example, as Geoff Colvin pointed out in less than gentlemanly fashion in his book, Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else – “Landing on your butt twenty thousand times is where great performance comes from.” […]

By | September 29th, 2016|Performance Management|Result Type: Post

Creating innovation: be the leader they want and need you to be

[This blog post first appeared in the blog of the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition 2016: further details of this event appear at the end of this posting.] Audiences for leadership advice and guidance have a surprising appetite for simplicity. Despite ample evidence that workplaces, organisations and even that near meaningless phrase, ‘life in general’, are complex, ambiguous and more organic than systematic, it is the soundbite, the pull quote or the numbered list that grabs their attention. In the spirit of ‘giving them what they want’, therefore, a single sentence of advice about leading for creativity and innovation: Be the great leader you always wished you’d had. The hallmarks of the exceptional leader The attributes of the best workplace leaders are not a mystery. Exceptional leaders and managers share many characteristics: They spend time understanding those they lead so that they can inspire and motivate them They create a sense of shared purpose, gifting employees with a vision to provide focus and autonomy about its execution They use process to enable rather than to prevent, recognising that efficiency is not the only goal (and can misdirect efforts if over-pursued) They understand the potential synergy between diversity and collaboration They create space for people to pursue their passions, and ensure that they are resourced to succeed They understand the power of intrinsic motivation and create relationships and environments that encourage and develop it, offering recognition when and where it is due They encourage a ‘fail low, fail fast’ approach, helping people move on from the inevitability of failure rather than offering punishments that demotivate and disengage – They focus more energy on developing and encouraging others than on controlling them They understand the power of market disruption and prepare themselves to be agile enough to respond They manage the environment, atmosphere and team morale more than individual methods; they recognise that macro-management outperforms micro-management, and that checking in trumps checking up While these are attributes and behaviours that we would all like to see displayed more often, and by more leaders, there is one mystery than does need to be exposed. These are also the characteristics that most enhance and inspire creativity and innovation. […]

By | September 12th, 2016|Performance Management|Result Type: Post

Hidden costs of the people dimension in M&A

[An edited version of this article appeared in the June 2016 edition of Training Journal] It’s boom time again for Mergers and Acquisitions. 2015 set a new record for global M&A activity, according to MergerMarket’s Global and Regional M&A: 2015 report, with a total value of $4.3 trillion, a 30% increase over 2014. Activity was particularly strong in the US (up 40%), Asia-Pac (up 43%) and Japan (up 91%), and in the Pharma, Consumer and Financial Services sectors. In Europe, where activity value increased 22.4% on the previous year, the UK accounted for 38.7% of deal-making, its highest share on record. While we might assume that unrelenting competition, a slowdown in emerging markets, and continuing troubles in the eurozone are driving this upswing as Boards seek to strengthen strategic positions, market commentary suggests that – in the US, at least – relative market strength is the predominant factor. Writing in KPMG’s 2016 report, US Executives on M&A: Full Speed Ahead in 2016, Global Head of M&A, Philip Isom, commented that ‘The U.S. continues to be the favoured M&A destination because of its relatively healthy economy.’ Business giants are not penguins: when they huddle together, it is not necessarily for warmth against a cold wind. This is, perhaps, just as well: given the track record of M&As, any deal motivated principally by survival should ring alarm bells. ‘Survival’ is not readily divisible. While remaining competitive in the face of declining confidence in organisations’ ability to generate growth organically had been a key factor in respondents’ 2015 replies, their primary motivations in 2016 – whether in relation to geographic reach, business lines of customer base – were all expansionary. Counting returns or counting chickens? But whether their intentions were in growing sales or shedding costs, the challenge of extracting value remains. Like any promise, the intentions behind any M&A must be realised, and history makes uncomfortable reading. Most of us can readily recall a number of well-documented, high-profile deals that should never have been done: the stories of the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads, of Daimler and Chrysler, and of AOL and TimeWarner should sound alarms down the years. And many other deals may have seemed like worthy or potentially profitable adventures, yet the shareholders involved will still have been fortunate to break even on their previous investments. The danger that the promise will evaporate, with wealth destroyed rather than created, is not a new phenomenon and it has long been recognised. McKinsey & Company’s 2010 report, Perspectives on Merger Integration, commented almost blithely that ‘Anyone who has researched merger success rates knows that roughly 70 percent of mergers fail.’ Further back in time, The Hay Group’s 2007 report, Dangerous Liaisons: Mergers and Acquisitions – The Integration Game, surveyed 200 European M&As and concluded that: ‘After a merger, more than 90 per cent of businesses believed they had failed to achieve their original aims.’ […]

By | July 29th, 2016|Organisational Change|Result Type: Post

Leadership crises: a problem of performance or of expectations?

Our newspapers, TV news channels and social media regularly highlight the plight of leadership facing difficult challenges, or of organisations facing what is almost always characterised as a ‘leadership crisis’. Depending when you read this article, you will no doubt think of several examples, but we are thinking of one case in particular: the circumstances [...]

By | April 20th, 2016|Leadership Development|Result Type: Post