Colin Coulson-Thomas

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas is an international authority on winning business, director, board and business development, corporate transformation and future organisation.....
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Developing Directors, Colin Coulson-Thomas
Developing Directors

Winning Companies; Winning People, Colin Coulson-Thomas
Winning Companies;
Winning People

New Titles

Transforming Knowledge Management, Colin Coulson-Thomas
Transforming Knowledge Management

Developing Directors, Colin Coulson-Thomas
Talent Management 2

Winning Companies; Winning People, Colin Coulson-Thomas
Transforming Public Services


Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas


Business leaders asked to be less concerned with themselves

Aspiring leaders told to keep their feet on the ground and address the fundamentals

Business leaders must focus on others rather than themselves. According to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas: “An emphasis upon the self is expressed in many ways from expenditure on new clothes, to gym memberships and the use of personal trainers. People want to look and feel good. But what about others. There are other people in this world beyond networking targets at VIP receptions. There are colleagues, employees and business partners who look to us for help and support, and customers who buy our offerings and thus pay our salaries.”

Speaking after delivering a leadership seminar in Bahrain Coulson-Thomas stressed: “Various groups look to business leaders to look after their interests. In our personal lives there are our family and friends to consider. There are often many people without whom we might achieve very little. Claims that one is a leader cut little ice in the absence of followers. Why should anyone follow someone or put themselves out for someone who is just pursuing their own personal aims?”

The professor asked delegates “Does our lives need to revolve around us? Could it revolve around a cause? Could your people achieve something above and beyond their current aspirations? Could you build a network, community, interest group or an institution to make it happen? Is there something that you enjoy doing and do well that could be turned into a business or a cause?”

The author of Winning Companies; Winning People claims: “Many people today are distracted. They may be talented and full of latent potential, but they lack focus and direction. Personal qualities and corporate resources may or may not achieve a beneficial impact, depending upon what they are applied to and for what purpose.” He also warns “Choosing the right cause - one that is relevant, desirable and achievable - is important. Throughout history people on both sides of divisions and conflicts have felt that their cause is just. Choose carefully and responsibly. People can become the victims of causes as well as beneficiaries of them.”

Coulson-Thomas asked leaders to be more open and more willing to seek as well as provide support: “If you set out to do something truly significant and highly beneficial do not be afraid to ask for help. If you and people who share your commitment to a cause build something useful and helpful to others it may live on beyond your span on this earth and benefit generations to come.”

The professor also issued a warning: “It is important to keep ones feet on the ground. Dreams can inspire, but plans, actions, help and support may be required to realise them. Integrity and persistence may be required to forge needed links. Leaders have to distinguish between surface and substance. Some are so focused upon polishing their image and that of their companies that they forget to address the realities they face.”

Coulson-Thomas claims: “Some leaders are too preoccupied with the trappings of office. Seductive to some and bothersome to others, perks and appearances can become a distraction. If a leadership team is devoting quality time to discussing the allocation of parking spaces to directors investors should worry. They and boards should keep the focus upon differentiators, critical success factors and customer value.”

The Professor believes “Many people want the good things in life and the fruits of success can appear alluring. However, being successful, winning or even standing out comes more easily to some than to others. Striving for success can also bring costs as well as benefits. Rewards and recognition have to be earned, and they can be accompanied by accountability, obligations and responsibilities. One needs to get the basics right.”

His investigations suggest that increasingly the responsibilities of leaders should embrace sustainability. He claims: “Human beings are the planet's supreme predators and despoilers. Our ability to damage and pollute the environment has increased at an exponential rate while we have faced few natural constraints. Other species and nature have not had time to evolve defences to limit our destructiveness. Hence, our futures and the prospects of the other forms of life with which we share our planet will depend upon the extent to which we innovate and/or show restraint.”

In recent reports Prof. Coulson-Thomas suggests “Sustainability is more than a question of perpetuating a certain level of profitability. Where the environment is fragile, and with the challenge of global warming, we need ways of operating that will reduce emissions and minimise demands upon scarce resources. Smart leaders try to simultaneously achieve multiple objectives. People's time is precious to them so needs to be used wisely. Practical initiatives such as teleworking and local purchasing can further commercial, social responsibility and environmental agendas.”

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, a member of the business school team at the University of Greenwich holds a portfolio of board, public and academic appointments. He has helped companies in over 40 countries to improve board and corporate performance. Author of over 50 books and reports he has held professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, India and China. Colin was educated at the LSE, the London Business School and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California. A fellow of seven chartered bodies he secured first place prizes in the final examinations of three professions.

Prof. Coulson-Thomas' seminar on leadership was under the patronage of HH Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and was delivered at the Ramee Grand Hotel and Spa at Seef in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Colin's latest publications, including his books Winning Companies; Winning People and Developing Directors on building an effective boardroom team and three reports setting out his approach to new leadership: Transforming Knowledge Management, Talent Management 2, and Transforming Public Services are available from

20 Jun 2014
Colin Coulson-Thomas


Tel: +44 (0)1733 361 149 | Email: ku.oc.ilacsit@tcniloc