In this podcast series Professor Laura Empson and David Morley explore the real-life challenges of leading professional people; bringing together insights from Laura’s decades of academic research into professionals and David’s own first-hand experience of leading a global law firm. They’re joined by leaders from some of the world’s most successful professional firms, like McKinsey, KPMG and Allen & Overy, to talk about the everyday realities of leadership.
So if you’re a lawyer, consultant, banker, doctor, accountant, advertising executive, academic – basically if you think of yourself as a professional – this podcast is for you.
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Why do professionals do bad things? Empson & Morley speak to Professor Brooke Harrington of Dartmouth College, in the USA. They explore the factors which drive some professionals to behave unethically, and the organizational and societal factors which encourage it.
What is collegiality and how does it work in practice? Empson & Morley speak to Jill Ader, Chair of executive search and leadership advisory firm Egon Zehnder. They examine how to create an environment of mutual support, cultural consistency, and equality among peers.
Can dual leadership be effective and how does it work in practice? Empson & Morley analyse these questions with the help of Barry Devereaux and Catherine Deane, Managing Partner and Chairof leading Irish law firm, McCann Fitzgerald, who have recently introduced a dual leadership structure.
How can leaders help their professionals prepare for the challenges and opportunities of post-pandemic professional work? Empson & Morley explore this theme with Nick Owen, Chair of Deloitte UK. They consider how hybrid working is calling into question some well-established “truths” about the nature of professionalism.
How do you create and sustain collaboration when you no longer meet each other face to face? Empson & Morley discuss this with Kirsten Edwards-Warren, Executive Vice President EMEA for Compass Lexecon. They examine the distinctive culture, systems, and structures the firm has developed to encourage collaboration and how it continued to thrive during the pandemic.
In a global professional organisation, how do you achieve alignment across national offices? Empson outlines one powerful method – social control – and Morley explores his experience of leading partners through the process of global integration. They talk to Philip Davidson, currently Global COO of KPMG about exercising power while walking the global/local tightrope.
Empson explains how the culture of partnership is created and sustained while Morley highlights the challenges of growth and scale in this context. To examine the differences and similarities between leadership in partnerships and corporations, they talk to Sir Ian Davis, former Global Managing Partner of McKinsey and now Chairman of Rolls-Royce plc.
Professional people can be notoriously reluctant to see themselves as leaders. Empson & Morley explore what can be done to support professionals making the transition from full-time fee earner to leader. They examine the myth of “authenticity” with Professor Herminia Ibarra, of London Business School, globally renowned expert in leadership identity and career transitions.
Empson outlines how a crisis changes the balance of power in professional organisations, but only temporarily. Morley explains the importance of adapting your leadership style as a crisis ebbs and flows. They interview Wim Dejonghe, Global Senior Partner of global law firm Allen and Overy, to find out how he has dealt with the Covid crisis.
Empson gets a call at midnight from a client asking for advice as a potential leadership coup gathers momentum. Morley & Empson discuss the paradoxes of leading professional people, including the paradox of autonomy and control. When your “followers” don’t like being told what to do, how do you get them to do anything?
Professor Laura Empson and David Morley introduce their new podcast series ‘Leading Professional People’.
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