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Leading Professional People

Leading Professional People

Author: Laura Empson and Tony Hall

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Professor Laura Empson and Tony Hall, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, explore the crucial leadership questions currently facing professional organisations and their leaders. They uncover the complicated, messy and surprisingly emotional challenges of leading professionals.

 

Laura and Tony interview senior leaders from some of the most successful global professional organisations, including EY, Slaughter & May, MI6, Spencer Stuart and the BBC. 

 

And they build on their own insights from their lifetimes of researching, leading, and advising professional organisations.

 

Each episode reveals the complex realities that lie beneath the ‘professional’ veneer that these highly successful organisations, and their leaders, present to the outside world.

 

This podcast is for any professional who has, or aspires to have, a leadership role – who wants to explore new ideas, challenge assumptions, and develop solutions.

 

Find out more at https://www.lauraempson.com


Laura Empson is Professor in the Management of Professional Service Firms at Bayes Business School, University of London, and holds Research Fellowships at Harvard Law School and Cambridge University. She has been conducting academic research into professional organisations for 30 years and acts as an advisor to the leaders of many of the world’s leading professional organisations. Her most recent book is: Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas. https://www.lauraempson.com


Tony Hall, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, is a cross-bench member of the House Of Lords. He was Director General of the BBC, President of the European Broadcasting Union, Chairman of the National Gallery, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Deputy Chair of Channel 4 and Chair of the Cultural Olympics for London 2012. He now chairs Frontline, a charity that trains social workers, is Deputy Chair of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and a trustee of the National Trust and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. 



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

20 Episodes
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What are the parallels between the worlds of espionage and professional services? Laura and Tony talk to David Bickford, previously General Counsel to MI5 and MI6, about his role as the agencies’ Legal Director and Under Secretary of State. They explore how to build trust when professionals are working remotely, how to collaborate when knowledge is shared on a need-to-know basis, and how to stop powerful professionals from going rogue. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Laura and Tony speak to Katherine White, the first Chief Talent Officer of global executive search firm, Spencer Stuart. They explore the challenges of being a senior leader when you are not a fee-earner, and of leading the so-called talent when the fee-earners themselves do not see you as the talent. Katherine explains how she built trust and influence, and how she learnt to add value quickly while working slowly and discretely to bring about change. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor at INSEAD, is ranked as one of the top 50 management thinkers in the world. Laura and Tony talk to him about the difficult emotions that often stay hidden and suppressed in organisations and individuals, and how leaders of professional organisations can become more effective when they engage more directly with these emotions.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Laura and Tony are joined by June Sarpong OBE, the BBC’s first Global Director of Creative Diversity. They explore how to bring about disruptive change in a large, complex and high-profile professional organisation, and how to get things done quickly in an environment when decisions are taken slowly. June explains how she managed to do all this as an outsider with no previous leadership experience, but a great deal of broadcast experience. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Chris Saul is the former Senior Partner of the UK’s most prestigious law firm, Slaughter and May. Laura and Tony explore how leaders use subtle power to build consensus among partners in a professional organisation. They discover some of the secrets of how Slaughter and May has evolved successfully over more than a century, and managed to retain its powerful position at the heart of the UK’s economy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Laura and Tony speak to Steve Varley, EY’s first Global Vice Chair for Sustainability. They find out how he was inspired by Greta Thunberg to try to build a bridge between environmentalism and capitalism, and the skills he used to make this happen.  He explains how he created this role in EY to place sustainability at the heart of the firm’s business, and how he mobilised both colleagues and clients to build a significant sustainability practice.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Welcome Back

Welcome Back

2023-09-2804:48

Welcome back to Leading Professional People, the podcast that explores the most crucial leadership questions currently facing professional organisations. For this third series, Professor Laura Empson, who has dedicated almost 30 years to researching professionals and professional service firms, will be joined by a new co-host, Tony Hall, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the former Director General of the BBC. Laura and Tony’s guests include a fascinating selection of senior leaders from professional organisations, including EY, Slaughter & May, Spencer Stuart, INSEAD, the BBC, and MI6.Join them to explore the challenges, confusions, frustrations, and elations that make professional organisations so difficult to lead and so fascinating to understand. Follow this podcast so you never miss an episode. Find out more at lauraempson.com Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Empson & Morley speak to Tony Hall, Lord Hall, about his time as Director General of the BBC, and his many other high-profile roles. They examine what it is like to lead complex organizations with multiple groups of stakeholders under intense public scrutiny. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Leadership value chain

Leadership value chain

2021-07-1226:51

How do you build better leaders in a professional service firm? Empson & Morley speak to Russ Hagey, Worldwide Chief Talent Officer of Bain. They explore Bain’s self-reinforcing leadership development system, and the way “insurgency” is both encouraged and controlled to strengthen the system. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Ethics and leadership

Ethics and leadership

2021-06-2833:09

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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Extreme collegiality

Extreme collegiality

2021-06-1434:02

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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Leadership duets

Leadership duets

2021-05-3134:56

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.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Global versus Local

Global versus Local

2021-03-0832:331

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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Leadership in crisis

Leadership in crisis

2021-01-2529:50

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.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Professor Laura Empson and David Morley introduce their new podcast series ‘Leading Professional People’. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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