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Monday April 29, 2013.

Reflecting on the Australian Cricket team last month when four players were suspended for not doing their homework, Founder and Principal of Kameleons – developing leaders, Michael Peiniger said the event continues to resonate as a demonstration of the need for leaders to stand firm and make tough decisions in the face of immense criticism and pressure.

While there were many former cricketing greats that took to the media to criticise the decision to suspend the players, Peiniger applauded the coach and captain Michael Clarke for their ‘line in the sand’.

It is acknowledged that sport helps young people to develop many significant traits such as the importance of teamwork, good communication, striving to achieve goals, leadership, respecting authority and the ability to accept winning and losing with equal grace and maturity. In later life, these fundamental attributes are applied in adult life and particularly in business.

“While many people are reluctant to accept the link between sport and business there are indeed lessons to be learnt. Especially in relation to leaders being called upon to make the tough decisions and this is one of the biggest challenges and defining attributes of leadership,” said Michael Peiniger.

“Whether in business or sport, leaders are judged by their ability to make the difficult decisions because they are needed to grow the business, attain its goals and objectives or simply survive.”

It is well recognized that critical decisions put leaders to the test.

In tumultuous times, true leaders make tough choices with courage and audacity. Others cannot cope with the difficulty and uncertainty so they remain indecisive, and in business, their competitors win their customers and market share.

If any group is going to try and achieve success and become a high performing team, then an appropriate behaviour standard not only has to be agreed and set, it also needs to be maintained.

Not enforcing a standard doesn’t make the leader a better friend, a better teammate or a better captain – it just makes both the leader and team weaker.

Michael Peiniger continued, “In fact, considering the situation that was faced by the Australian Cricket team last month and the lessons that are applicable in most work places – who wants to be lead or work with a team member that thinks that the rules don’t apply to them?”

Michael Peiniger believes there are four components to creating a standard for a team:

  1. Clearly identify the behaviour standard to set

  2. As the leader, ensure you are meeting the standard yourself

  3. Communicate the standard to all team members, ensuring they

    understand the ‘why’, and

  4. Enforce the standard

“When it comes to leadership standards, the effort is in the enforcing, not the setting,” added Michael Peiniger.

When a leader is required to enforce a standard, there are a number of things that they need to adhere to.

  1. The standard being enforced must be clearly articulated and agreed to by the team.

  2. The person breaking the standard knew exactly what was required.

  3. The person breaking the standard knew exactly what the consequences

    would be.

  4. What was done was for the good of the team, and in the long run, for the

    individual as well.

Business leaders and managers at all levels are faced with making difficult decisions on a regular basis. This is especially true in today's economic environment.

Michael Peiniger has studied the practice of leadership and the process leaders (both good and bad) go though in making the ‘tough call.’

Irrespective of whether leaders make their decisions based on emotion, impulse or extensive facts and data, the best leaders realise that tough decisions are made for the good of the team in the long term.

The best leaders are those that are willing to face temporary unpopularity to maintain and enforce a standard. The truth is, most people placed in leadership positions aren’t willing to face that prospect, letting team members break standards and rules in an attempt to stay popular.

Michael Peiniger concluded, “The making of tough decisions is the essence of leadership and leaders are entrusted with the responsibility by employers, customers, employees (the individuals that comprise the Australian Cricket team) to do ‘the right thing’!”

“The right thing might mean terminating an employee, restructuring an organisation, implementing a program, or simply telling someone ‘No’. The leader that does not make the right decision and act on it will lose all credibility and trust.” 


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Published in Articles & Resources

istock 000006855981medium - blue red green peopleThere is an 80% Chance They Aren’t – Here’s How to Fix It

I love the start of a new year. While I am not big into writing New Year’s resolutions, the opportunity to start a new year, with all of the challenges and opportunities that it brings, excites me.

The start of a new year also provides an opportunity to refocus your attention on long-term goals for your business and your team. Unfortunately, some of the biggest and best ideas that come from this period never come to fruition. One of the reasons for this is that your team, whether you realise it or not, may not be on the same page as you regarding expectations, values, behaviours and performance levels.

In my time in the Air Force, the start of a new calendar year provided other challenges, including staff being posted from other locations. In my last role, the start of a new year resulted in a 50% turnover in staff for 3 of the 5 years I was posted there. With that much experience lost across the Christmas period, we needed to find a simple and effective way in bringing new staff ‘up to speed’ with what was important.

Here is one simple way we found to bring new staff onto the same page as your existing staff. It involves understanding what you love and hate your staff doing and being able to articulate it with your new staff. I have used this on numerous occasions outside the military and taught it to senior Managers of numerous businesses – it is also a great platform for performance management discussions.

To get started, provide honest and open answers to the following questions:

1.      What are the behaviours that you hate your team to exhibit?

What are the things, big or small, that annoy you about your team’s behaviour. What are the things that you wish they would never do? Write as many as you can possibly think of. Whave found that this works incredibly effectively in small groups, as people ‘feed’ off the answers of others and add some of their own when prompted. My pet peeves are:

I hate it when my team.....

2.      What are the behaviours that you love your team members to do?

What are things that you thank your team members for doing? What are those little things that are done for you that make your life easier? My favourites are:

I love it when my team....

3.      Get specific.

The more specific you can be in what you love and what you hate, the better the list is. Often, the reason why we love or hate a behaviour is based on an experience in the past. Remember that experience and be able to explain it. Why do you love or hate this type of behaviour so much? People turning up late to a meeting frustrates me so much because of one particular Manager that wasted everyone’s time. We would arrive on time for a meeting, but he would regularly turn up 10 minutes late, then expect to be briefed on what had taken place prior to his arrival. I not only found this rude and disrespectful to others, but also a huge waste of time for everyone concerned. I vowed that I would always turn up to meetings on time, and that my meetings would run on schedule.

4.      Compare your list with what your team knows.

Once you have written down the behaviours that you love and that you hate, you need to check if your team has the same understanding. Have a look at your list and consider this question: If I asked a member of your team what behaviours you loved and hated, how many would they be able to provide me?

Have a look at your list and pick up a highlighter pen (or circle your answers). If you think your team already knows the behaviour you love or hate, highlight or circle it. If you think they don’t leave it blank. Go through your entire list, considering whether your team knows what you love and what you don’t.

When I undertake this activity with management groups, most participants have about 50% of their list highlighted, and 50% unmarked. What this means for most people is that half the time your team doesn’t know if the behaviour they are demonstrating is loved or hated by you.

Does that make sense? You could have team members doing a task in a way that you love, but because they don’t know it, they change it or perform it inconsistently. Worse, your team members could continue to do something that you hate because they have no idea that you don’t like it.

5.      Brief your team on your likes and dislikes.

Every team and every Manager we work with has different likes and dislikes – what one Manager loved another might hate. If we don’t tell our team the specifics of what we prefer, they will fly completely blind and be forced to guess, wasting both of your time when they could be doing something more productive.

It would be much easier if we were robots – we could print our optimum operating instructions on our foreheads for everyone to see – ‘How to get the best out of me – Step 1’ etc. Thankfully our teams and Managers aren’t robots, but because of this they do not instinctively know our likes, our dislikes and the best way to get the best out of us – we have to tell them.

6.      Advanced Step – Ask the same of your team.

Now your team knows how to get the best out of you (be doing more of what you like and less of what you don’t), do you know how to get the best out of your team? What are their preferences?

For your team to work efficiently and effectively, you all have to be on the same page. While the steps outlined above might be simple, experience has shown us that 60% of Managers haven’t thought of the question (or its importance) and 85% have items that they love (or hate) that their teams didn’t know about.

Does your team know what you love and hate them doing?

Kameleons – Developing Leaders can help with this and many other practices to get your team to work more efficiently and cohesively together. Call us on 0409627270 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to start the discussion today.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 04:05

Leadership with a 'little l'

Leadership is a very popular topic at the moment. Politicians don’t show enough of it (or the right type), mining CEO’s are vocal about it and football teams have so much of it they have leadership groups and sub-groups. Everyone has an opinion on what is good leadership, and (according to the media) it seems that all of the identifiable leaders in Australia seem to lack it in some substantial way.

Have we made the definition of good leadership so unattainable that mere mortals can’t achieve it?

Published in Blog

Are meetings taking up far too much of your work life? Feeling frustrated by poorly planned meetings or Chairpeople not controlling the participants? Feel like the meetings you attend are directionless or out of control? Are you often wondering why you were invited to the meeting at all?

If I had a dollar for every time a Manager or supervisor told me they spent too much time in meetings, I would be a very rich man. Meetings have become an essential part of doing business in the modern world; but why are so many of them poorly managed? A poor meeting has normally been caused by one of 3 key areas being handled poorly: planning & preparation, meeting leadership, and meeting processes & guidelines.

Here are some tips for avoiding meeting madness:

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 23:53

Does your team have a secret hierarchy?

Lesson 15 of 15 - Leadership Lessons I learnt from my Dog. The leadership hierarchy needs to be understood by all of the team.


Nothing confuses a dog more than a lack of understanding of who is the leader. Having recently worked with a dog trainer to help us with Jake, I was told that most families confuse their dogs (and the dogs understanding of their place in the family hierarchy) through a lack of understanding of some very simple actions. Who provides the dog its food, who gets attention first and who leads when going for a walk might seem like small things to us, but they communicate an awful lot to a dog regarding their place in the team.

Published in Blog

In a recent editorial in BRW (Mar 1-7), Kate Mills highlighted her 5 lessons that company leaders should be taking from the recent power struggle between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. Kate stresses that the leadership crisis isn’t just in politics but in leadership in the corporate world as well.

In this respect I couldn’t agree more. Employees and middle Managers in all industries are looking for authentic leaders that can think beyond the bottom line and provide them with real goals, real understanding of what they are doing and real meaning to make their job worthwhile.

Published in Blog

Consider this - how many emails do you delete a day without reading the entire email? 10, 20? What makes you delete them so quickly? Another thing to consider - have you every attended a meeting where you just wanted to person talking to get to the point? If so (or if this person has been you), then perhaps they / you need to consider what is being said and ensure that it is more effective. Here are a few tips to help.

Published in Blog

istock 000005424937small - multiple arrowsEver wanted to know what your supervisor / Managers expect of you, the boss? Having facilitated hundreds of Managers in leadership training courses and focus groups, the answer to the simple questions ‘What skills and qualities do you expect of your Manager?’ and ‘What skills and qualities do your people expect from you?’ are remarkably consistent.

From banking to printing, military to Government Departments, manufacturing to telecommunications, the expectations of supervisors are clear and consistent.

Here are the top 5 expectations that supervisors / managers (middle management) have of their senior leaders (Manager / CEO):

Published in Blog

IMG 0061Lesson 13 - Team Development Lessons Taught by my Dog

Owning a pet, much like deciding to have children -  is not a decision to be taken lightly. You are responsible for the welfare, care and protection of something / someone other than yourself. This task requires you to perform many different roles requiring many different skills – some of which are innate and others that you learn as you go. All of these tasks require responsibility and dedication, and are not dissimilar to the requirements for leading a team.

Published in Blog

IMG 0061Lesson 12 - Team Development Lessons Taught by my Dog

Discipline has become a dirty word. The word itself brings up connotations of punishment and detention (at least in my mind anyway!). A new dog in the house has forced us to look at discipline in its truest form, that it, correcting behaviour that is not at the right standard. The same behaviour change process applied with Jake is also used by successful leaders managing successful teams.

Published in Blog
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We refine leadership skills and behaviours for optimal people performance.
We utilise individual strengths and addressing skill deficiencies to meet and exceed personal and business expectations.

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