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In William Wallace and Robert Bruce, Scotland has examples of two outstanding leaders who somehow galvanised apparently inferior and inadequate resources to secure famous victories. They and their achievements contributed to the development of a national culture that has spawned many leaders of successful enterprises across succeeding generations of Scots. 15 years after the movie ‘Braveheart’, based (loosely) on the character of Wallace, scooped the major awards at the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood, it is reasonable to reflect his success as a grand strategist, and in particular the achievement of his successor Robert the Bruce, who secured his place in history through the emotional victory over Edward II 700 years ago at Bannockburn on 24 June 1314, on a hot sticky midsummer day.
Strong listening skills can make a critical difference in the performance of senior executives, but few are able to cultivate them. One of the most motivating positions a boss can take is to actively engage and listen with colleagues. Yet so many do not make enough time or behave in a way that gets the best out of their people. The attached McKinsey article offers a good framework to improve listening as well as identifying bad listening types.
I had the privilege of being the Founding Chairman of the Scottish Institute of Sport from 1998 through 2006. In that time we developed a new high performance system for Scottish sport to the extent that the athletes and coaches enabled the Institute to achieve the 10 year target agreed with sportscotland within 5 years.
Almost every forecast this year indicates a long, slow recovery from what has been the worst recession since records began. Over the next quadrennial almost every organisation be they business, sport or not-for-profit will be faced with doing more with less. This means achieving new and higher levels of performance as organisations. Many will have tried proved approaches from the past that have been found wanting this time. The fear is that the current downturn is greater and will last longer than previously, calling for radically different measures for desperate times.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have recently published their progress report on Blueprint, the 10 year strategy for reformation of Tennis. Renaissance have worked with the LTA over the last 2 years in a number of key areas of leadership and governance. The report shows progress is being made. Change such as they are seeking is generational and will take years to achieve. Clear signs of progress however.
While global economic and political factors might have predicted otherwise, corporate commitments to sustainability-driven management are strengthening. Continued slow recovery from recession and the likelihood of further reductions in public sector spending require organisations to address the future sustainability of their enterprise, not just in the private sector but in organisations such as local authorities, sports and other not-for-profit organisations.
Current responses by organisations when considering develop seem to focus on improved structure, better governance, and addressing ‘body’ related areas including: • Corporate structure • Planning and Systems • Incorporation • Business Risk. They are often found wanting in the increasingly competitive environment that has emerged from the prolonged period of economic and political uncertainty.
Why are Investors so bullish on companies like Apple and Disney? Is it financial metrics, great management, industry prowess, good investor relations or good timing? Probably all of these. New research from MIT indicates that the stock market, even in the current turbulent times, values business models with the focus on innovation and intellectual property.
The Scottish FA today launched their 2011 Annual Review. It looks back at a momentous year in the game in Scotland and highlights a number of the major changes currently going on in the sport's governing body. In a year of great change the review recognises the contribution made by Renaissance & Co to the development of the performance strategy and the support given to the board and executive team in the development of the first ever corporate strategy for the Association in its 138 year history
The end of 2017 saw several signs that the economic recovery tide is beginning to turn, albeit slowly, after years of stagnation. It also heralded in a new age of uncertainty with the end of the first year of BREXIT negotiations and Donald Trump's first year as US President. It saw, for sport, continued issues with drugs in athletics and cycling and new challenges to leadership and governance of sports. 2018 will offer new opportunities but will continue to be another difficult year for business and sport. Everyone is hoping economic and business conditions will continue toimprove, leading to improved profits, increased employment and steady growth. Renaissance facilitated WorkOut sessions provide the ideal platform for executive teams to debrief recent performance and plan with confidence for the future. Through our established position with a number of government agencies in Scotland, the rest of the UK and Ireland we can secure 50% support for accredited development projects.
'Duel in the Pool' is an exciting new format for top level competitive swimming. The first event to be held in the UK was in late 2009 in Manchester Aquatic Centre. The next duel will take place this December in Atlanta. The new event is in response to public demand for exciting, entertaining events and is a two evening 'shoot-out' between teams of men and women from the US and Europe. The footage accessible through the link below will give you a flavour of what proved to be an closely fought and hugely entertaining event, won by the US, between many of the world's top swimmers.
Britain’s ‘golden decade of sport’ began in 201 The roster started with the Ryder Cup 2010 in Wales and builds to London 2012, and on to Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games 2014, the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the Rugby World Cup in 2015, a possible FIFA World Cup in 2018 and the Cricket World Cup in 2019. It will be an important catalyst to pull the nation out of recession – with the bonus ball of improving our health and well-being. It will provide a great opportunity to transform our social and economic landscape and give Britain’s sporting administrators the chance to build a world leading industry in these islands.
In competition between nations large normally overcomes small, be it in business or sport. The larger nations should succeed every time and in reality they do not. How can that be? A recent discussion on LinkedIn attempted to find the answers. They are summarised in the attached paper.
In today's flat economic environment and stagnant consumer markets in the developed economies the frequently asked question is "how can companies innovate and succeed in today's landscape". In a recent interview for the Sloan Business Review Professor of Management at MIT Sloan School of Management Michael Cusumano outlines what is necessary to compete and win in today's innovation driven landscape.
One of the first casualties of a recession is ambition. As the current downturn has bitten, so the focus in many organisations has turned inwards and backwards. Leaders have found themselves on the back foot, stuck in survival mode and shrinking their organisations by cutting cost, investment and heads. In many instances the institutional priority has become identifying someone else to blame.
Recent forecasts offer little comfort for those organisations who hoped for an improved economic environment in 2011. Ultimately, strategy is a way of thinking, not a procedural exercise or a set of frameworks. To stimulate that thinking and the dialogue that goes along with it, we developed a set of tests aimed at helping executives assess the strength of their strategies during periods of low, slow growth. The 10 point strategy test gives you the opportunity to test your strategy for managing out of recession.
The recession of the last two years has been the longest and deepest since the great depression. Now with talk of a double-dip it is imperative that organisations take decisive action. Having worked through four recessions, Alistair Gray outlines strategies that have enabled companies to survive and grow even in the worst of competitive environments.
We have been working with the Scottish FA over the last 6 months to develop a performance strategy for the game in Scotland. Today we launched the strategy to the media following consultation with the key stakeholders in the game. The strategy which is endorsed by the board of the Scottish FA, represents the most radical change in how talented young players will be developed in the future and contains a number of innovative features.
In the beginning there was chaos and football was without form. As the early game soared in popularity, especially in the south of England, it was initially about dribbling, and essentially an individualistic game with few tactics and formation. Queen's Park FC (founded in 1867) became evangelists for the passing game, aided by the rule in Scotland that restricted offside to 15 yards from goal. This small club probably has had the greatest influence on the world's favourite game. Will we see their likes again?
It’s January 2010. Twelve months ago the world was in turmoil with a collective overdraft of €2,300,000,000,000 and many banks effectively part of the civil service. The size and scale of the turmoil in the world’s financial markets, has been unprecedented and beyond all forecasts. Is there an analyst or forecaster who will ever trust their models and frameworks again? And now, one year on, every newsreader is seeking to be the first to identify the green shoots of recovery. Will the media fuel the recovery as it did the recession?
"You have to find what you love... Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." Steve Jobs in his 2005 address to the graduands of Stanford University gave a unique insight into his life and beliefs.
Renaissance & Co have been commissioned by the Scottish Football Association to guide the board and executive team of the SFA through a fundamental review of strategy. This follows the board's approval of the performance strategy prepared by Renaissance over the last three months.
October 2011. The excitement is building towards the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London (with less than 300 days to go). The city will undoubtedly host a glorious festival of sport. Meanwhile most UK sports are planning nervously (or they should be) for the next quadrennial in an atmosphere of complete uncertainty amid a climate of cut backs in public sector spending and pessimistic early indications of levels of government funding in the future. The key issue post 2012 is the sustainability of sports in a more challenging external environment. The attached article offers hope and a way ahead to achieve 'blue ocean' space from competing organisations.
MIT's professor Michael Cusutamo outlines how to innovate and succeed when customers want things for free
MTBD>MTBS! The Mean Time Between Decisions is greater than the Mean Time Between Surprises. As grand strategies prepared from big data or even more limited insight seem wanting it is perhaps useful to think of the role of the strategic manager and this leading the strategic thinking process.
The Path to Excellence was a study undertaken by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in an attempt to describe and understand the factors that contributed to the development of U.S. Olympians. This study presents a number of practical findings relevant to athlete development and talent identification that are along similar lines to those being investigated in the Pathways to the Podium Research Project.
Faith, Hope and Love remain; but the greatest of these is Love The attached article provides insight into what lay behind the success of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell as well as providing further evidence to prove the theories put forward by Malcolm Gladwell in his book 'Outliers'.
The University of Strathclyde's Business School won the coveted uk business School of the Year in 2017. Alistair Gray is a faculty member of the Strategy and Organisation department at the Business School, delivering the Strategy, Analysis and Evaluation module on the MBA and for Corporate Connections, the Business School's specialist programme. Renaissance consultants have worked with the University over the last 12 years on a number of programmes and projects.
In their most recent review UEFA have recognised the work done over the last 18 months by the Scottish FA to modernise and strengthen their organisation.
Project Leaders who embrace a brand mindset will be in a stronger position to achieve their goals and deliver on the organisation's business strategy. The attached article from MIT Sloan's Management Review outlines how project leaders can get the right level of attention, resources and support for their projects.

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