Praesta Insights

Praesta typically works at any one time with around 500 senior executives. These relationships give us exceptional insights into the issues facing leaders across many sectors, industries and organisational contexts. The breadth of our coaching work also means that we are able to identify emerging issues quickly and put them into perspective.

As well as informing our day-to-day coaching, we capture some of the most important themes in pamphlets, tools for our clients and published books.

We also run master classes and workshops based on the issues raised in our Insights publications. Please contact the authors of any of the publications listed below if you would like to discuss Praesta running a master class or workshop for your company.


Knowing the Score: What we can learn from music and musicians

The booklet, 'Knowing the Score' is about what we can learn about leadership from music and musicians. We see lots of valuable parallels between music and leadership. In the booklet we see leadership like music as a discipline. We can consider what leaders can learn from different approaches to conducting. We discuss parallels between chamber music and self-organising teams. We reflect on rehearsal and performance and consider the part played by the audience. We look at 'wrong notes: things that can get in the way of performing well.

We draw out points for reflection in each section. Our hope is that the booklet provides a basis for individual thought and discussion in teams, groups or coaching conversations. The booklet has been written by Peter Shaw, a partner at Praesta Partners and Ken Thomson, a director-general in the Scottish Government. Ken is writing in a personal capacity and as both a musician and as a leader in different spheres.

Board Players: how Chairs, Independent Directors and CEOs make their boards effective

The characteristics, attributes and behaviours of board members and the chemistry between them, alongside the information they work with, determine the effectiveness of a board.

Beyond 2020

How should organisations reposition themselves for 2020 and beyond? What should leaders be doing now to prepare for that? Big questions. Our view is that today’s answers are very different to yesterday’s. A sea change is in motion. Here, we pull together some strategic strands towards a focus on what you and your organisation could and, perhaps, should do to get in shape for the long term.

Continuity and Succession: how not to lose the baby with the bath water

The purpose of this Insight document is to prompt thinking and action that de-risks chief executive succession.  It is informed by our knowledge of what happens before and after a change of guard at the top.

Coming into Leadership

Moving from partner to leader in a professional services firm can be a jolt. This article guides new leaders in making transition.

The Age of Agility

Agility - how to wait and watch and make fast, decisive moves at the right time - has become a core source of survival and long-term, competitive advantage.  Our view is that agility starts with the leader, who shapes the capability of their teams and, through them the wider organisation.  This booklet looks at agility from a leadership perspective.  It covers what agility is and is not.  It addresses becoming an agile leader and becoming an agile organisation.  It was written by two partners at Praesta Partners, Steve Wigzell and Peter Shaw. 

Living Leadership: Finding Equilibrium

Living Leadership is about fully embracing your leadership challenges and opportunities. It covers enjoying leading, adapting your approach to fit the context, being true to your values and drawing on all your insights and experience.

At the heart of living leadership well is finding the point of equilibrium on five key axes, namely:

1. Leading and managing
2. Short-term and long-term
3. The individual and the team
4. Activity and reflection
5. Being resolute and adaptable

This booklet enables leaders to look anew at these five axes and make conscious decisions about where they want to be on these five axes. These five axes may well be eternal verities but getting the balance right is fundamental to success for any leader in any sector at any time.

Seizing the Future

Seizing the Future demands an upbeat and assertive approach coupled with realism. This booklet sets out the 5 key skills needed to seize the future successfully: accept new reality, promote fresh thinking, ensure effective engagement, embrace radical approaches and pace your energy.

What Makes a Great Chair in the Public Sector?

In the UK public sector there is a wide range of bodies of different kinds that support the business of Government.  Their nature and numbers may change over time, but they remain an important part of the landscape.  Praesta clients who are Chairs of such bodies have wanted to explore with us the key ingredients for success in the role.

Riding the Rapids

The leadership essentials when navigating effectively through turbulent times requires leaders to, (a) maintain their attitudes and beliefs, no matter how much pressure they are under, (b) tackle each new challenge clearly and calmly and, (c) know how to look after themselves to maintain stamina and well being.

Faster, Faster - Thriving in the 24/7 World

We know many of our clients have jobs that seem, to many people, to be hugely demanding, verging on impossible. Yet many of them don’t just rise to the challenge; they thrive on it. Watch Heather speak on 'Foundation skills for thriving in a faster faster world'. 

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Leading Investors

Many investment management organisations ask their best investors to lead their people as well as their investment ideas and processes. But the skills needed to be a good leader are different to those needed to be a brilliant analyst or portfolio manager. Leading investors highlights some practical pointers that we have observed to be the keys to successful 'practioner leadership' from our work with leaders across a variety of 'people' businesses.