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Guest Lecture: Major General Skeates on Developing Leaders in the British Army: Giving our leaders the edge for the battles of the future

As part of our guest lecture series we were delighted to be welcoming Sandhurst’s leadership and development training officer; Major General Stuart R Skeates CBE to Leeds Beckett University.

The night highlighted how Leadership cannot be taught but only learnt, which is a strong underling factor within the officer training corp. The Major General raised the argument that the theory of leadership is very simple, but the practicality of it is very difficult and takes years to execute efficiently.

Major General Skeates also spoke about the different levels in which he measures character and made it clear that by putting individuals out of their comfort zone and evaluating not whether they succeed or fail, but how they deal with the task and how they resolve it is imperative in deciding a good leader.

The Major General spoke about the framework in which a good leaders must adhere to which consist of: Courage – Discipline – respect – integrating – loyalty – selfless commitment and by following any of these blindly or to rigorously can result in the downfall of any leader.

Watch the lecture here.

Guest Lecture: Nicola Rimmer on 'Can culture be audited?'

The Centre welcomed Nicola Rimmer to share her vast experience on Internal Auditing as a part of our Guest Lecture Series.

The lecture firstly highlighted the purpose of internal auditing and the difficulties faced. Some of these difficulties included how an organisation can reserve independence when auditing and how there are no facts for auditing culture. Nicola also spoke about the Three Lines of Defence used for Internal Auditing which consist of Management, Compliance Departments and the Audit.

Nicola also discussed the current climate and constantly changing landscape and how this affects organisations. Due to more focus and scrutiny being placed on organisations due to social media, the Internal Audit has an increased importance.

Nicola then went on to explain what culture is and how an organisation can monitor culture, a key aspect for Internal Audit is that it needs values within an organisation to monitor against.

Nicola stated that current challenges for Internal Auditing are: The Impact of the Regulator and how a balance of power needs to be in place, how customers are treated through the process of Internal Auditing.

Guest Lecture: Laurence Cockcroft on Corruption: The economic and ethical challenge, 19th November 2015

We welcomed Laurence Cockcroft, who joined us to talk about corruption and the economical and ethical challenges we face.

The third instalment of the guest lecture series led by Laurence Cockcroft demonstrated not only how corruption is rife within the third world and developing countries, but also very much leading nations who are on the frontier of technology, finance and at the peak of their economy.

Laurence led the talk on ‘what is corruption?’ and the many forms of corruption within western and lesser developed economies. Laurence defined – corruption as the misuse of private power for private gain. Then went on to discuss the many implications of fraud, evasion, patronage, bribery and traditionally known corruption.

Being an intimate talk, Laurence was able to discuss attractiveness of organisations adopting strategy to minimise the tax pay outs and the loop holes of setting up company’s in offshore accounts and the low tax rates. He also went on to discuss the many implications, and the ethical responsibility that governments have to go through to not be seduced by corruption.

Guest lecture: Henry Ogiri on Voluntary CSR disclosure practices in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: Closing the expectation gap, 6th March 2015

It was a pleasure to welcome Dr Henry Ogiri, a former student of Leeds Beckett University. Dr. Ogiri is the finance director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, which is focused on addressing the key problems associated with the Niger Delta. Dr Ogiri took us through the complex thirty year history of the Niger Delta and the oil industry, analysing the key stakeholder problems that emerged. He argued for a focus on CSR work in this area as based in legitimacy theory. This stressed the need greater work on the development of shared creative responsibility, and greater transparency, building a culture of shaming major players who avoid a more positive role in addressing the issues. The questions focused on the difficulty of distinguishing different roles in the case, not least when different players were characterised in aggressive terms. This led to consideration of the use of conflict resolution theory and practice in stakeholder management.

Guest lecture: Sir Alan Langlands on Governance and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, 10th February 2015

The Centre for Governance welcomed Sir Alan Langlands, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds. His lecture demonstrated three things. First, it confirmed his own practical wisdom, in a career which has seen him providing leadership to NHS England, HEFCE, and the Universities of Dundee and Leeds. Second, it anchored governance across all sectors in both key principles and in essential dynamics. The first of these were focused in the Nolan principles of public life.  The essential dynamic is trust. Drawing on Onora O’Neill’s classic work on trust and the professions, he concluded that systems are not enough for good governance. That has to be focused in good relationships. Third, Sir Alan began a dialogue which ranged across business, education and health. There were many shared issues but also critical differences emerging.

Centre associate Nicola Hart, Strategic Head of Higher Education at Pinsent Masons responded by questioning whether the governance of Higher Education was in practice focused in critical dialogue and diversity. Was reference to values and principles enough? How can they be critically engaged? And do we need to move away from trustees as volunteers to a more professional model?

Like all good events, the lecture and response left us with a lot to chew on, not least the identity, purpose and nature of Higher Education in a complex social and physical environment, and just how responsibility to and for the many different stakeholders could be held together.

Watch the lecture here.

Guest Lecture: Professor Dean Fathers on Leadership, Strategy and Governance, 3rd February 2015

Dean Fathers is a man who bridges the gap between academia and practice- holding the post of visiting professor to Cass Business School, but also the chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, and membership of several boards. His lecture amply demonstrated this grasp of integrative and holistic thinking. First, he carefully spelled out the relationships between the three elements of the title. The connections may be obvious in one sense but ways of thinking both in academia and in the professions can assume large walls between them. Second, he spelled out just how theory and practice relate. In effect, theory can take on a position of presumed intellectual power; theory first, and then apply - so theoreticians seem to be important. In practice we do not ‘apply theories’ but rather make judgements about complex and uncertain actions and relationships, and such judgements demand greater appreciation of underlying values; moral, social, and pre-moral (about our perception of worth). Third, this raised questions about how we ‘manage’ those values. Is it sufficient for boards to run such values up the mast or do they need to consider more carefully how such values relate to decision making. There is quite a big gap between values and the decision made, often filled by ‘judgement’ or even ‘wisdom’. Professor Fathers lecture ultimately asked us to begin to inhabit these ideas.

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