The new leadership book by Jonathan Frost

FINAL zebra-cover

I am delighted to announce the launch of my first book!

‘When Zebras Discover Motorbikes: How to influence people, situations and results.’

It is an easy to read and entertaining text all about leadership, thriving on change and how to influence people. It starts off with a parable in which life in the Serengeti changes markedly when the Zebras discover motorbikes.  We look at how the lions respond to this significant change and gain some very practical insights into ‘patterns of behaviours’ and ‘personal drivers’ during their journey. In the second part of the book we find a practical 5-part process, a proven technique to influence people, situations and results.

It has been written for managers, leaders and key influencers. If your success depends on the performance of others, this book is for you. It provides a wealth of practical tips, hints and techniques that you will find helpful and motivating. If you are initiating change or experiencing it, you will find this a helpful ‘go to’ resource.

What the reviews said…

“This is a book you will recommend to colleagues”
“Well written and thought provoking”
“Inspiring and thought provoking regarding change, human behaviours and leadership”
“100% recommended!”
“Use the thought provokers, they work”

Available on Amazon right now.  Click here for more

Stretch leads to Snap!

All I'm asking you to do is stretch yourself


That poor dog has no stretch left in his lead.  The only thing that can flex now is his neck…and that seldom ends well!  The demands for more ‘stretch’ are simply not going to work.

It is far too easy for managers to set stretch goals or targets despite their difficulty.  I understand the need for ‘more’ however it is too easy to put on pressure rather than looking for ways to lengthen the lead or take off the collar.  The problem is not really transferred when an unreasonable ‘stretch’ goal is given…its just hidden for a short while.

The problem must not all be Louie’s – collaboration and teamwork, triggered by the leader is what is really needed.


Transferring the Blame – a beginners guide


Transferring the Blame - a beginners guide

A great cartoon reminding us of the value of proactive leadership. It is the proactive ‘acting on initiative’ that separates the good leaders from the others. It has been said “It is easy to know if you are a being a leader or not…turn around…if nobody is following you…you are not being a leader”. A bit simplistic but a valid point.

At least they know their business model!


At least they know their business model!

A ‘thought provoker’ about the value of really understanding business models. This is different to what your organisation does – its about what you personally do.  You have a business model…you have customers…you have products.

Click on the cartoon to read more about Business Models and YOU plc.

The invisible force that shapes your organisation


An organisation is like an organism – it starts life, changes, grows and dies. These things are not necessarily happening in the wisest or most helpful way and that is why we intervene, that is why we try to influence our organisation’s survival, strength and ongoing success.

One of the factors that make organisations so interesting is the dynamics that go on within it. The thoughts, decisions, actions or inactions of one person or group have a direct impact on others; who respond in a way that has a direct impact on others still. Actions, approaches and decisions create knock-on effects. This is represented in the picture above.  Whilst this happens with observable actions – it also happens in intangible ways such as thinking and the development of culture. This is what the ‘Collective Influence’ effect is all about.

Individuals have an internal dialogue. We have conversations with ourselves and literally talk through our ideas, approaches and thinking. We use this inner dialogue to give ourselves feedback and to highlight what went well and what we should do differently. We use our inner dialogue to ‘make sense’ of all the data we encounter and we talk through the different elements to establish a ‘context’ that frames our accepted understanding of things.

Organisations also have this internal dialogue. It is obviously more complex and is made up of a huge number of interactions, discussions and communications that take place everyday. Collectively these interactions influence outlooks, approaches, activities and decisions – this is the ‘Collective Influence’ effect. The organisation gives itself feedback and makes sense of the data. An organisational context emerges. An organisational culture emerges. An organisational personality emerges.

Meetings Matter

The activities that contribute most to the internal dialogue and collective influence are the meetings that take place. During these interactions – approaches are taken and decisions are made that affect everybody and this extends to all levels up and down the organisation. All altitudes of involvement are covered from the strategic, the tactical and even the day-to-day tasks – these are spoken about, discussed, debated, explored and decided at meetings.   This cumulative mass of conversation and communication that takes place over time gives rise to ‘accepted thinking’ and ‘expected thinking’ and it shapes behaviour of many – which in turn shapes the behaviour of the organisation.

This represents an outstanding opportunity to influence the approach and vitality of the business or organisation. If the whole range of meetings that take place are understood and ‘re-engineered’ to be focussed, efficient and aligned – the collective influence can have a profound and positive impact.

The four useful steps to take…

  1. See meeting facilitation as a valuable skill and ensure that all in leadership become subject matter experts at it.
  2. Document all the meetings that take place in your organisation. Capture the data to get a bigger picture.
  3. Review the overall meetings strategy in your organisation. Do not do this in terms of how many, how long and who – do it in terms of why and how?
  4. Identify and communicate compelling goals for each meeting covering all the appropriate altitudes.

If you would like to access some useful tips and techniques about how to do this, have a look at this SlideShare presentation.

Converting a team of leaders into a leadership team?

What converts an energetic group into a high performing team?

Pensive businessman

It is often said that a team is simply a group of individuals who share a common goal. Is this true?

Imagine a herd of Zebras thundering across the Serengeti with a few hungry Lions in hot pursuit.  They have a common goal…to put as much distance as they can between themselves and the Lions.  They have to run faster than the fastest Lion…or at least faster than the slowest Zebra!  Do they act like a team?  They jostle for position in the inner part of the herd, they block off each other, they try to put a Zebra between them and the nearest Lion.  They all work towards a common goal.  They don’t however commonly work towards that goal.

We have all seen sports teams with outstanding individuals…who play as individuals…and not as a team.  In this team the ‘sum of the parts’ does not add any significant value to capability, energy or competitive advantage.

In our working worlds we have seen ‘teams’ who are little more that a group of people with a common goal.  They do not blend their skills, knowledge and experience, they do not collaborate, interact and inspire – they simply work hard…and when results are not good they work ever harder!

This common goal is not enough to trigger impactful teamwork.  Imagine the results if all the Zebras decided ‘enough is enough’ and all turned around and stampeded towards the Lions.  Who would win?  Imagine if every time a Zebra saw a Lion the whole herd gave chase!   Things would be different!
Imagine if the sports team pooled their talent, blended their expertise, fully used each team member and enthusiastically supported and helped each other to play like a star.  Things would be different!
Imagine if the leadership team collaborated closely, integrated their efforts and approach, aligned their thinking and acted in support of each other and the team.  Things would be different!

What would provoke this change? Visionary leadership that recognises ‘what could be’...declares it to be ‘what should be’…and makes a compelling decision that this is what will be’.

It is the influential intervention of the leader that triggers the difference.  Tips, hints and techniques will be provided in subsequent blogs…for now though…it is worth considering the following ‘thought provokers’…

  • Does your team have a common goal, purpose and mission?
  • Do you have an outstanding team as well as outstanding individuals?
  • Do your team members inspire, encourage, support and enable each other to excel?