• Keith Wells

Leading through adversity - a podcast series with Jo Larbie

(Or "What got you here won't get you where you want to be")

“Anyone can lead when the plan is working. The best lead when the plan falls apart."

The Covid-19 pandemic has created truly unprecedented circumstances and challenges, for which leaders could not have been prepared. Remote working under pressure will shine a microscope on our leadership skills - and the stakes are high. As Accenture have said, “Covid-19 has forever changed the experience of being a customer, and employee, a citizen, a human”.

Anyone with responsibility for inspiring or serving any of those groups needs to appreciate what that now means: new awareness, new attitudes, and new skills are required.

For most, if not all of us, any plans that we had for 2020 and 2012 have fallen by the wayside. As we come to terms with the impact of Covid-19, its unprecedented economic and social effects, and continuing uncertainty, on our work, in our workplaces and lives, leaders need to stop, reflect, and ask questions which are critical to the survival of every organisation.

· How can we lead through uncertainty?

· How can we move past and avoid applying the same old unimaginative thinking and approach when dealing with uncertainty?

· How can we reframe our mindsets to shift and redefine the way that we understand our world and workplace?

· How do we need to build relationships of trust with colleagues, employees, clients, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders?

An imperative to learn

In this five-part podcast conversation, we discuss these questions in the context of professional service firms, and through the lens of the Charisma Index framework and emotional intelligence.

Of all the ingredients in the professional service mix, leadership is probably the most essential to success but, often in our opinion, the most elusive. The matrix structure that most professional service firms have embraced is a dynamic business model; it’s flat, fluid, fragmented, and often unruly. The traits that define successful leadership: good influencer, listener, and communicator, visionary, inspirational, passionate, all fall under the umbrella of strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. However, from our years of experience in the sector, we know that leadership is underappreciated and undervalued.

The Charisma Index was originally conceived as a measure of, and guide to, leadership. Tested over three years of research studies, the Index explores relative performance on six critical dimensions: Consciousness, Purpose, Integrity, Courage, Generosity and Delivery.

In these conversations, we focus on the three qualities we believe are most important for this pivotal moment:

· Consciousness,

· Courage, and

· Generosity

How these definitions are applied to each organisation and integrated into revised client and people strategies is a challenge for management, but one that needs addressing for future sustainability. We believe that this, in fact, would be a valuable first step in the necessary revising of strategies: to use the Charisma dimensions themselves as a framework to drive and codify change, and to build a new basis of measurement.

To listen to our discussion on Consciousness and the need for Emotional Intelligence, please go to

Jo Larbie is founder of Inclusive Professions, and an executive coach specialising in inclusion. Jo has a wealth of practical experience at both management and board levels and has a strong background in corporate strategy, talent management and development, diversity, equality and inclusion, leadership, and organisational development. Jo has extensive experience gained from a distinguished former career as a lawyer, people and OD director and operating at board level in leading international professional service firms (Arthur Andersen, DLAPiper, Evershed, BDO). Jo is author of How to Make Partner and Still Have a Life (2019). Jo is also a Non-Executive Director for an NHS FT.

Jo can be contacted at:; Mobile: 07764 604892

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