Where do leaders get their great ideas? Of course there are experiences and conversations – but what the impact of books? Four great leaders across four diverse industries share what’s on their nightstands: Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz (CEO Mirvac), Graeme Head (NSW Public Service Commissioner), Ronni Kahn (CEO OzHarvest) and Ben Burge (Executive Director of Telstra Energy).

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‘Applied’ is a digital platform developed by the Behavioural Insights Team (‘BIT’) that uses behavioural science to remove bias from the recruitment process. BIT tested Applied against a traditional CV sift as part of their 2015/6 graduate recruitment round to see if digital recruitment tools really can make hiring smart, fair and easy in practice.

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In an effort to reduce the level of unconscious bias in recruitment practices, an increasing array of automated screening tools are being developed

Unconscious biases influence our ability to make rational decisions about others, and directly impact diversity outcomes. Recognising this, the BMO Financial Group (BMO), one of the top ten banks in North America, has recently undertaken steps to both raise awareness and disrupt bias during recruitment and performance review processes, thereby helping leaders make more objective talent decisions.

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Teams comprising individuals with similar backgrounds and experiences negatively impact the potential for diversity of thinking within organisations.

On 6 May 2004, the FBI arrested US attorney Brandon Mayfield alleging he had helped to bomb four commuter trains in Madrid, leaving nearly 200 people dead and 1,400 injured. The FBI claimed it had found Mayfield’s fingerprint on a bag of detonators connected to the bombing. Two weeks after his arrest for terrorism, the Spanish National Police matched the same fingerprint to the real holder of the detonator bag, Ouhnane Daoud, an Algerian national. In a media storm of condemnation and controversy, the FBI was forced to release Mayfield from custody, and the U.S. Government ended up paying USD $2million in compensation.

The false fingerprint match, which the FBI confirmed ‘100% verified’ was a monumental error that continues to dog the agency a decade on. How could this happen in an organisation with myriad processes to prevent false identifications? And could it happen in your business?

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Without deliberate attention to confirmation bias, there is a clear risk that decisions will be flawed.

The financial services sector has not been far from the front page of most major newspapers since the Global Financial Crisis. Recent headlines include revelations about alleged misconduct by several of the large banks around the world, leading to calls for increased regulatory scrutiny. Incoming Financial Conduct Authority chief Andrew Bailey recently commented that the culture in the banking sector had “laid the ground for bad outcomes… where management are so convinced of their rightness they hurtle for the cliff without questioning the direction of the travel”.[1] From an Australian perspective, ANZ’s Andrew Cornell argues, “such conduct and culture issues being raised are not exclusive to the Australian banking scene, [and in some respects] reflect how Australia is catching up with the rest of the world”.[2]

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When did we start to believe it was highly efficient and productive to run short back-to-back meetings every 30 minutes for 8 hours a day? Or very long meetings crammed full of agenda items? Or meetings starting and finishing in the wee hours? When did we start to believe that humans are machines operating on an inexhaustible supply of energy?

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For leaders making complex decisions, cognitive depletion is a real problem

Foundational shifts in the diversity of markets, customers, ideas and talent have led to a new capability vital to the way one leads: inclusive leadership.

Building on previous research undertaken in 2015, Dillon and Bourke found that inclusive leadership was the factor that made the biggest difference to creating success in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world of business[1].

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The fifteen elements drill down to what leaders think about and what leaders do when they display the six signature traits of inclusive leadership.

What defines high performing teams?  It’s a given that teams must execute the tasks they have been assigned both efficiently and ably – but really that’s just performance.  Following this logic, high performance could be defined as extreme levels of efficiency and faultless execution.  But could high performance refer to something qualitatively different?

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It turns out that people in a high performing team make 5 signature moves when talking to others.