Who is allowed to lead?

February 23, 2018

Andy Agathangelou, the Founding Chair of the Transparency Taskforce calls for a 'cultural transfusion' – an apt metaphor to reset a financial industry that is surely ready to be renewed and revitalised.


He says: “We need leadership that embraces the responsibility for helping to change the industry in the way that it works - until that occurs what needs to change won't change.”


What might that leadership look like? A few years ago I interviewed the author Geoff Mead about his book Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership.


He spoke about leadership that is agile, active and fluid - a process where we “make meaning together” rather than being the role bestowed upon an exclusive few.


It's a radical shift because it opens up the idea of what it mean to lead. As Geoff says in this clip, It's becomes less about “How do I take charge and make something happen and more about, what needs to be done and how do I get involved in helping us do it?”


If we want leaders to swim against the tide and initiate a transfusion as Andy advocates, perhaps part of this transformation is how we think and define leadership, of who can be a leader and how we make meaning out our work together.

The Transparency Task Force is the collaborative, campaigning community, dedicated to driving up the levels of transparency in financial services, right around the world.


Geoff Mead : Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership.




Culture within financial services is a big challenge. If we think about the way for example that the banks have behaved - which led us into the last global financial crisis and in fact what's happened since - then it's very clear that we need is something that amounts to a cultural transfusion.


And for that to happen we need leadership that embraces the responsibility for helping to change the industry in the way that it works. Until that occurs what needs to change won't change.


I think the leadership is obviously central to all of this but the challenge is to actually lead people in a direction that they're not already moving in.


So almost by definition if you're going to be an effective leader it means helping the market in this case to change direction. That means being somebody who will actually speak with an opposing point of view. That means going against the grain, swimming against the tide.

And if the incentive structures that people are operating under actually reward maintaining the status quo and capitalising on the current set of rules and the current approach to things - there's a disconnect between what really needs to happen and what probably will happen.


But occasionally you do get people who think differently, behave differently, can see what's going on and whose value systems are such that they'll do what needs to be done, despite what the short and medium term consequences might be to them and sometimes even their organisations.

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We film unbusiness-like conversations with leaders about values, purpose and leadership  We aim to generate a new conversation about the role of business in society.