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April 22, 2024

#311: Dr Stephen Barden – COO CEO and Author

Podcast Details

Dr Stephen Barden is a respected strategic, business and operational partner to corporate leaders and their organisations. After decades of experience at CEO and executive board levels across the media, technology, and communications sectors, Dr Barden established a thriving private practice in 2001, working extensively in the UK, Europe, the USA and Asia.
Stephen is one of a few individuals who took up coach mentoring after having been at the top of the corporate ladder. And it is this experience of running entire organizations that has grounded his practice in both pragmatic wisdom as well as holistic strategy. His approach has helped his clients achieve strategic zenith whilst maintaining enough transparency “on the ground” to monitor ethical integrity. At an individual level, he empowers leaders and managers to wield their authority effectively, ensuring their true potential is harnessed.

If his road to coach-mentoring was not via the usual HR-led path, neither was that to corporate leadership. Born in Tanzania, his parents sent him to what was then Apartheid South Africa after his birthplace’s liberation from colonial rule. His subsequent work in South Africa as broadcaster and political activist resulted in his being detained and then deported to Britain, where he landed with his wife, one year old son, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, 300 dollars and one contact.

Realising that the on-screen/on mike star-roles were closely guarded, he focused on management in the media and later technology. Within 10 years he had reached the level of Managing Editor, then COO and finally CEO. He worked with, and for, such colourful characters as Rupert Murdoch, Jonathan and Tim Aitken, Bruce Gyngell and Guy Hands – involving projects in the UK, the US, mainland Europe and Asia.

Dr Barden is also a writer and podcaster. His book, “How Successful Leaders Do Business with Their World,” is a testament to his passion for fostering partnerships between leaders and stakeholders, arguing that the most successful leaders, partner with their stakeholders, to optimise access to the best ideas for both strategies and execution. As he puts it, “leaders who do not partner with their world risk shrinking their organisations to the size of their heads – and no one has a head that large.”

Meticulously researched, very readable and strikingly insightful, his book shows how the experiences and assumptions, formed by children about the power balance they hold with their world goes on to help shape the way they wield authority and power as individuals. Drawing from interviews with top military, corporate, and educational leaders, Stephen’s book provides a wealth of practical wisdom for real-world application.
Stephen presents and produces two podcasts: Migrant Odyssey, in which he explores the narratives of refugees and migrants; and The Power of Balance, which expands on the themes of his book.

This extraordinarily rich experience has gifted Dr Barden with both the ability and appetite to shift perspectives, catalyse transformation, and empower organisations to not be left behind by the unforgiving changes sweeping the world. With a proven track record of driving success through ethical partnering leadership, Stephen is a sought-after speaker and partner for organisations and leaders dedicated to making a meaningful impact.

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