Leading Edge - Leadership Jazz: finding the right note when there is no plan

Leading Edge - Leadership Jazz: finding the right note when there is no plan

"Leadership Jazz: finding the right note when there is no plan" with Professor David Pendleton


Challenges come from situations you cannot rehearse or prepare for. When you have to improvise, what are the guiding principles?

David discusses how we can learn to adapt our leadership for all scenarios, using an approach more common in music.


Hear what David has to say about these topics:

  • Encouraging the adaptive mindset – the roles of curiosity, persistence and team work.
  • Evolve, experiment, rehearse, improvise – maybe fail.
  • Changing the way we work.
When you have to improvise, there are two guiding principles: one what is our purpose and what are we trying to achieve; secondly what are our values and how do they feed into our priorities.

Who would David ask to a dinner party…

  • Dame Sharon White, ex Head of Ofcom and Chair of the John Lewis Partnership
  • Sir Rod Eddington, Chair of Infrastructure Australia, Director of News Corporation
  • Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, Ambassador for the UN’s sustainability goals

David’s predictions for 2030 are…

Dominant in 2030, but happening now, a re-emphasis on ethics and sustainability. Companies will need to take sustainability and societal roles seriously to recruit employees and retain customers. There will be no secrets. Product reviews will include sustainability score.

He later added ” I would not change my predictions for 2030. COVID-19 simply makes me believe my prediction even more.”

Professor David Pendleton

Professor David Pendleton works extensively in executive education, and is a business psychologist, educator, consultant and author. He completed a doctorate in psychology at Oxford University. As an author, he has published extensively on medical communication in healthcare and on organisational leadership. His most recent book, authored with Professor Adrian Furnham of UCL, is entitled ‘Leadership: all you need to know’


n.b.: This recording was made between 28/02/20 and 05/03/20.