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Tom McCallum

#OpenLeadership is the secret to linking the new way of thinking about vision, strategy and leadership to deliver on strategy over time.

My thoughts today came after reading a piece by Arthur C Brooks called: “Dads just want to help”, with a subheader that begins “Sacrificing for their kids makes fathers happier”.

This last weekend was Father’s Day. My most valued and important role in life is being a Dad. However this year at Fathers Day, like last year, I am separated from my sons by distance and the pandemic. Yes, I’m always there for them via video, email, text, there to advise, help, support, share funny jokes and memes, banter about how Scotland did so well against England at football last…

© Whitney Johnson

What do I mean by “do you only hire “9”s”?

Well, first, nobody is perfect, we all have room to grow, so nobody is a 10, we are all seeking to improve. In other words, 9 is as good I would score a hire ;) So, if you only hire “9”s, then you are hiring the best and reducing the risk of being held back by average performance. Remember, as Netflix famously set out in their legendary culture deck: “Adequate Performance Gets a Generous Severance Package”.

Now, let me counter that strategy by warning that there are also risks to…

Yesterday I collected two Titleist Vokey wedges that I searched for and found on Ebay.

I look forward to taking these two clubs out to practice then play with them on the golf course. They are classic designs in great condition for a fraction of the price of a new equivalent, yet what I will love the most is the feeling of holding and using a quality and timeless piece of craftsmanship.

As I collected them, the vendor and I chatted about our love for classic golf clubs. Some people like classic cars, others classic vintage clothing, others antique furniture…

The Radical Candor grid, from the post: “A Trust Story — Radical Candour

Last week I was on a call with a network that I used to love. However, in the last year or two (predating the pandemic) I had felt a growing disconnect with them. That call was an attempt for them to grow the network into my geography, yet the first forty minutes of the one hour call had the person from the home territory dominating the air time and, more than once, showing a lack of cultural awareness of the circumstances of people living in the region they were talking to.

So, when they asked for feedback I gave it…

Yesterday I wrote a post with a piece of advice: “Early-stage companies — Invest in Culture and Leadership early

Today a simple reflection. As my friend and mentor Suki Laniado Smith often taught me: “Culture isn’t one thing, its the only thing”, as similarly put in the quote in the image above. As I wrote earlier in “Hard is soft. Soft is hard”:

In working in the field of leadership (including coaching, facilitation, being a sounding board), over and over again I’ve heard people label anything to do with people as “soft skills”, or the “soft stuff”. …

Delivering Happiness — learn how Zappos was sold for $1.2bn when Amazon bought it for the value of their culture. Talk about a valuable asset!

Within my readership, today I am particularly focussing on leaders of early-stage and fast-growth companies. Please give me some of your time.

To begin, Lisa Thomson is the founder of Purpose HR, a fast-growing HR outsourcing business that not only provide core HR services but also work proactively and strategically with their clients, early-stage and fast-growth companies. Lisa was my guest this week on #WhatComesNextLive and one area we delved into was her advice to Founders/CEOs of such companies.

The core piece? Invest in Culture and Leadership early. …

Leadership Archetypes
Leadership Archetypes
Seven Leadership Archetypes (graphic representation (cc by) Tom McCallum)

Chip Conley and I have both have in common that we have shifted our roles from being entrepreneurs and CEOs to supporting CEOs as leaders.

I love the way Chip thinks, so today sharing a recent blog post from him, then, on his point around being a Shadow Revealer, encourage you to read my post: “Are you a Sage Warrior? or perhaps a Visionary Magician?”, where I note: “Whilst we each have roles and energetic styles we are naturally best suited for, we can also shift both to meet the needs of those we lead.”

Over to you, Chip:


12 Levels of Friendship
12 Levels of Friendship
Friendship Pyramid

I loved a recent tweet from Taariq Ismail, which I’ve cut and paste here. He begins:

In Arabic, there are 12 levels of friendship. Most of our ‘friends’ are level 5 or below, and many of us don’t have a single level 12 friend

Here are the levels:

  1. Zameel — someone you have a nodding acquaintance with
  2. Jalees — someone you’re comfortable sitting with for a period of time
  3. Sameer — you have good conversation with them
  4. Nadeem — a drinking companion (just tea) that you might call when you’re free
  5. Sahib — someone who’s concerned for your wellbeing
  6. Rafeeq…

Consider saying no to opportunities
Consider saying no to opportunities

“The biggest fear most of us have with learning to say NO is that we will miss an opportunity. An opportunity that would have catapulted us to success, or that will never come again. And most of the time*, that simply isn’t true. I’ve found that the first part of learning to say NO is learning to accept that offers and opportunities are merely an indication that you’re on the right path- not that you’ve arrived at a final destination you can never find again.’”

Grace Bonney on saying no (courtsey of the Farnam Street newsletter, June 13 2021


Tom McCallum

Sounding Board for Leaders seeking to go from Good to Great to Elite to World Class. Daily posts here, or

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