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Four threads to provide basis of first anti-hubris toolkit

The first anti-hubris toolkit, now being developed by participants in a Surrey Business School initiative, may be built around four key ‘products’ or threads:

  • Hubris MoTs/health checks
  • Organisational stories as a source of rich data
  • Support systems/networks
  • Re-configuring the ‘Hubris black hole’.

These are the interim outputs from the Managing & Mitigating Hubris event held on 18 May 2016 as part of the School’s Hubris Project (see original story here: Anti-hubris toolkit taking shape.)

Hubris MoTs/health checks

Participants concluded that this would comprise an “independent review or audit (i.e. by an external agency) conducted regularly against clearly specified criteria providing feedback regarding perceptions/attitudes of and towards:

  • The Board
  • The CEO
  • The top management team
  • The organisation – staff/employees
  • Stakeholders.”
  • Rather than a tick-box / pass-fail approach such a review would be “a lens which may be used as a non-judgmental source of anonymously sourced and accessible feedback.”

Organisational stories as a source of rich data

Businesses have used staff attitude surveys and 360° feedback for many years to monitor perceptions of leadership style, employee morale, etc.

“They are of limited value as standalone resources but may be considerably enriched when ‘triangulated’ and accompanied by illustrative ‘stories’, for example based on accounts of ‘how would you describe your CEO’s leadership style?’”

Support systems/networks

A CEO’s role is inevitably isolated and can be lonely. Considering who can provide honest, objective and helpful feedback that will be heard, listened to and valued is vital.

Re-configuring the ‘Hubris black hole’

Participants noted that “identifying leadership Hubris as a major problem consumes a great deal of energy but doesn’t get us very far”. Progress needed to be made on specifying “the ‘bad things’ – the problems – that could be attributed to hubris on the part of the CEO/Board/top management.”

More details of the workshop’s conclusions are available here: MitigatingHubrisInterimOutputs

A follow-up event is planned for 13 July. Those who attended the initial workshop have all been invited, but if you’re interested in contributing, contact the organiser Professor Eugene Sadler-Smith

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