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Latest Thinking & Recent Research

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Latest Thinking

Our research allows us test out the theories we develop through working with some of the most exciting clients in the world. As a boutique consulting firm it sets us apart from other smaller players, bringing us to the cutting edge.

Articles & Research: Files

Covid 19: Mourning our loss, reimagining our future

In the midst of the undulating pandemic, polarised experiences, exacerbated inequalities, and increasing unrest, the pain of loss in 2021 is coursing through us all. Loss of our old ways of working, loss of how we value ourselves given the ‘new normal’, and loss of our old behaviours challenge us at every turn. In this article, we shed light on the origins of this loss, discuss the process of mourning, and identify ways to use ‘CPR for the soul’ and ‘corporate defibrillation’ to engage our creative imaginations and restore hope in the future.

Building the Future

It's all very well knowing what's happening now. But for decision makers in any organisation, there's a real premium in knowing what's coming next. Can we really use today's insights to piece together an accurate picture of tomorrow? Or is foresight a load of crystal balls? Richard Young (consulting strategic editor for ICAEW faculties, consulting editor FDs' Excellence Awards) investigates.

Strictly Come Consulting

Phoebe Dunn, UK Institute of Consulting's Consultant of the Year 2011 and a Director of Square Peg International shares her top five tips for successful consulting – with a little sequinned inspiration from her seasonal favourite: Strictly Come Dancing.
This article was first published on 

IT Leaders as Strategic Change Partners

Success in business depends on exemplary execution of strategies and effective implementation of change. Business leaders are required to overcome technological, financial and people challenges facing their organisations. Although technology pervades all aspects of business life and enables significant change, most CEOs view IT as a bewildering mix of cost, complexity, governance and potential that is never quite realised. Why is it that many IT leaders, ideally positioned to drive change across an organisation, are considered ineffective supporters and influencers of change? How can IT leaders achieve the goal of adding value, manage the complexities of the IT utility, fulfil their role as subject matter experts AND become important agents of strategic change for the benefit of business?

Intrapreneurialism – introducing a spirit of entrepreneurialism to large organisations

How can the concept of ‘entrepreneurialism’ as a core business strategy be translated into leadership and management behaviour? Being a true entrepreneur is difficult within the framework of a large and growing organisation that needs to take advantage of synergies, economies of scale and shared risk taking for its success. In short, this risk can not rest with one or a few people only. We refer to the concept of developing entrepreneurs within a larger organisation as that of “intrapreneurialism”. 

Culture management in mergers and acquisitions

In management’s rush to “do the deal”, costly mistakes can surface long after final papers have been signed. With forethought, common pitfalls can be avoided. This article addresses the topic of managing cultural issues of transition in M&A and joint venture situations with respect to declining productivity, performance and morale during times of change. The content reflects key research findings, best practices, in addition to key pitfalls and risk factors. 

Are your senior people Change Leaders?

Many of Square Peg’s CEO clients have the recurring doubt: will their senior executive team deal with the right priorities, in the right order, to make the right things happen for the organisation? Will they take ownership and address the technology, financial and people challenges facing the organisation with the same enthusiasm, commitment, and drive that the MD intensely feels? Are they truly Change Leaders?

Managing volunteers - when the carrot is not a paycheque

When is one of the most meaningful contributions of your life not measured in dollars and cents? When you give your time, talent and expertise to a not-for-profit or volunteer-based organisation! This article addresses what sets productive volunteer organisations apart from others? It is the way they manage, direct and utilise their volunteer resources.

Knowing your success formula!

Do your senior managers talk strategy, or do they prioritise and make strategy work? Square Peg’s insight confirms that an organisation’s Success Formula is like a recipe. It contains the critical ingredients of how the business will get revenues, make profits and keep solvent, and it sets out the distinctive capabilities and skills needed for success.

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Recent Research

This is a small selection of the many articles Square Peg has written.

Courting Disaster – How Planning for Failure Can Boost Your Project's Chances of Success

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Moving Beyond Planning - Our Traditional Alignment Models Need Rethinking

In the first of the studies relating to our recent major research on Strategic Leadership, Square Peg looks at some of the alternatives to our outdated alignment models. 

As leaders we have traditionally agreed that leadership should align with strategy. But our study has confirmed that, given the pace of change in strategies, this theory is simply not operationally practical. In short, it is becoming impossible to effectively use that old strategic concept of 'aligning the organisations to the strategy'. Instead, senior leaders need to ensure that the organisation's DNA (values, culture, brand) is instilled in the minds of leaders in order to provide the organisation with a formula for sustained success through times of change.

The New World Demands a New View of Strategic Leadership - moving beyond planning

Success is not achieved by developing great strategies or plans, nor is it achieved by great leadership alone. Without a clear direction even the best leadership is ineffective and excellent strategy with poor leadership is pointless.

We believe that organisations often inappropriately invest significant resources into their strategic planning and management processes thus diverting executive focus away from the real emerging issues and the need to run the business in step with its changing environment. 

Our research focuses on the interaction of strategic leadership, planning and the creation of value in times of change. 'Moving Beyond Planning' is the working title of our 2006 thought leadership research that we believe will significantly change the way executives look at their strategic leadership and planning process. 

To reflect the multi-faceted nature of this research, over the next few months Square Peg will present four in-depth studies covering the areas of:

  • the need to rethink our alignment models, given the speed and magnitude of change.

  • planning as a dynamic, real time, on-going process.

  • leadership capability - building ahead of the performance curve.

  • policies and processes - enablers not barrier to progress.

Stop throwing good money after bad - breaking the wasteful leadership development spiral

Do you find yourself spending thousands on leadership programmes designed to fulfil your employees’ expectations, rather than bring strategy to fruition? Square Peg has been taking a fresh perspective on the topic of investing in leaders and aligning them to strategic intent. Based on our research, global thought leadership forum, and input from our client review meetings we have been exploring the consequences of leadership development investment being divorced from strategy. Utilising the image of a spiral to outline five key stages where value can be eroded, we identify what is required to correct the erosion of investment in leadership, and start to challenge the paradigm of aligning leadership to strategy. The intent of this work is to challenge organisations to stop throwing good money after bad in their quest to develop leadership talent.

Saving executive coaching from the fad graveyard

Is it a fad, a risk management tool or just glorified therapy? Should your organisation be paying for it and how can you tell if it’s worthwhile? Audiences in Toronto, London, and Madrid have confirmed the findings of this thought-provoking study that explores Saving Executive Coaching from the Fad Graveyard.

Beyond lip service - is your organization toast?

Suddenly the business landscape has changed and you and your organization have to change with it. Are you ready? Many clients say they are, but our recent Square Peg International report suggests that most organisations lack the implementation of clear strategies, required leadership bench-strength, and effective aligned people practices. In short, they talk a good story but most need to move Beyond Lip Service and truly focus on driving business success by focusing on the basics.

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