Courage, Confidence and Determination

By Delphine du Toit | November 30, 2014

I wonder about the way in which great medical mysteries have been brought into common parlance, and think about the risks those curious surgeons of old took in digging up graves in order to explore human anatomy. I can’t help but wonder what these folk would think of someone upturning some of the gravestones in one of the little cemeteries on this road, taking a crowbar to the coffin, and carefully collecting the bones to be re-assembled in some dark cellar some place, studying the system of levers and pulleys that make up the human skeleton.

“I don’t know”

By Delphine du Toit | October 16, 2014

“I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer. This blog is a simple story about a young consultant who ran out of ideas and said it. And then it is about an unexpected prod and a vote of confidence from an unexpected quarter that not only saved the day but shaped a life.

The Costs of Unresolved Conflict

By Delphine du Toit | October 14, 2014

“Research has shown” – yes, it HAS! That unresolved conflict is bad for your bottom line. There are direct (visible) costs and there are indirect (hidden costs. Negative consequences follow failure to act; positive consequences await the business owner/manager who steps in and manages conflict.


Oven cleaning as a leadership story

By Delphine du Toit | September 30, 2014

Cleaning an oven takes vision, initiative, planning, determination, resilience, some level of physical ability and skill, plus the right tools and time. These are also the typical leadership requisites described in textbooks and expounded upon by consultants and leadership gurus.

Yet, do we ever ask our students in our leadership programmes how they approach oven cleaning, or whether they have ever cleaned an oven? Maybe some leaders would say “I don’t do ovens”; “my people clean my ovens”; or some other high level response.

Retrofitting Relationships at Work

By Delphine du Toit | August 31, 2014

It has become a fundamental principle (a principle from which other truths can be derived) that engaged employees do take care of your customers, bring in hard cash, and uphold the highest quality standards you can afford. There is a great deal of overlap in what are deemed to be the best questions to get the best answers, but it has not made much of a difference: the number of ‘engaged employees’ seems to stick at 30% according to various studies spanning at least a decade.

We are overthinking the issues of leadership and employee engagement.

Dear God, is Last Man Standing our only solution?

By Delphine du Toit | August 7, 2014

What are we
do as a nation
of earth dwellers?
Is Last Man Standing
the only
way we know
to save
our planet's
fulfill our visions
of God?

Hope Is a Strategy (Well, Sort Of)

By Delphine du Toit | July 23, 2014

As I get deeper into coaching a client about her career, increasingly we centre on her values and interests, which brought us to consider ‘hope’ as a factor. What is the taste and feel of her hope? Until we understand that hope is essential to her moving forward in her stagnated career and life, we’re fiddling.…

If ‘career’ is a verb, then what is a ‘career plan’?

By Delphine du Toit | July 21, 2014

Instead of simply scanning the bullet points in articles on career planning discover the right questions to ask first.

Very few people have career plans that move linearly from A to Z. Most of us career from one perceived opportunity to the the next, but often the advice we get assumes we’re in control. We’re not. What we can be in control of is the basis of making career choices: what do I like and what would I like to have more of? There are some good questions to ask. Ask them. Answer them. Then act.

Being a Leader is Hard, so WHAT (are we going to do about it)?

By Delphine du Toit | July 19, 2014

The corner has been turned on the complexity of leadership. The true skill is in achieving simplicity: Simplicity with the clarity that can come only from a depth of curiosity and reflection. It is true that it is harder to be simple with clarity. It requires regular and full attention. Being a leader surely requires constant and deep reflection to develop and maintain clarity of vision and purpose. It is hard to do that alone.
That is why leadership coaching has become such a precious and sought-after service.

The Hard Work of Making Choices

By Delphine du Toit | July 16, 2014

<1007 words> I participated in a conversation yesterday in which it was lamented that the liberal left in North America has finally achieved Nirvana – extinction/disappearance. It was said that there is such a consciousness of the harm that we have done to each other and of the harm that’s been done to us that…