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Choices Culture Decision Making Strategy Thinking Transformation

How do you become an independent thinker?

“I don’t pay you to think; I pay you to execute.”—Retired CEO of Retail Chain.

From 2007 until 2011, I worked for a retail chain in the United States. The chain flourished during the nineties when it expanded aggressively, growing to over 1200 stores in a few years.

You can only grow with tens of stores per year when your operation is a perfectly oiled machine that executes flawlessly.… Read the rest

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Alignment Culture Leadership Self awareness Team effectiveness

Love what you do

There are eleven thousand business books written on an annual basis. That’s about thirty books per day. So, if you decide to write a business book to get rich and famous, you must be absolutely one hundred percent sure of what you’re doing and how to write that best seller.

Some people succeed.… Read the rest

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Change Culture Growth Leadership

If you look back, you’ll soon be going that way

“If you look back, you’ll soon be going that way.”

That was the text I received on my modern crafted, but traditional fortune cookie during our dinner in a Balinese restaurant.

I hadn’t seen a fortune cookie since our days in the US and didn’t realize they were still a thing.… Read the rest

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Culture Growth Human Resources Leadership Vision

Succession

Sometimes, a TV show can help us see our business clearly. If only we were receptive to the cues we got.

I started watching the TV series Succession a while ago. 

Then, I gave it up for a few months. And I continued last week when I was awake at night because of jet lag.… Read the rest

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Culture Dreams Human Resources Leadership Purpose Vision

Putting a man on the moon

During a visit to the NASA Space Center in 1962, President Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man, and said: “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy; what are you doing?” The janitor responded: “I’m helping put a man on the moon, Mr President.”

As we all know, Kennedy’s dream was to put the first human being on the moon.… Read the rest

Categories
Behavior Culture Leadership Learning Mindset Qualities

Are you a spark?

To light a fire, you need a spark. 

To let a fire go out, you need to kill the oxygen. Or just stop feeding the fire with more supplies of wood. It will eventually dim and then die.

Some people are sparks. Some people suck oxygen. Some people are passive and do nothing.… Read the rest

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Culture Design Leadership Purpose Team effectiveness

Those good old silos. Seven tactics to make them go away.

Joyce, my brilliant Organizational Development mentor, often used the following quote when we talked about Organization Design:

“Every organization is perfectly designed for the results it gets. 

Joyce Wilson Sanford

In other words, if your results are below expectations, there’s a big chance your design is flawed.

And vice versa, when you’re doing great, your organization works for you.… Read the rest

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Change Culture Design Leadership Reflection

Hate the game. Not the player.

I listened recently to a podcast where high-net-worth individuals and tax-avoiding companies were the subjects of the discussion.

Or perhaps the subject of their rage is a better expression of the dynamics of the conversation.

Then a politician, known for progressive and more left of the political spectrum beliefs, joined the conversation.… Read the rest

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Culture Discipline Purpose Reflection Strategy

It’s in your DNA

Have you ever heard of the term ‘it’s in our DNA?’

Of course, you did.

Whatever language you master and speak, I’m sure there’s also a version in your culture.

It’s the translation of the scientific meaning of DNA as your genetic code into a real-life application, such as running a business.… Read the rest

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Change Culture Human Resources Impact Strategy

Corporate Considerations

I got some direct feedback recently that I was not always nice and nuanced for the corporate world. A world that has given me a lot in my life.

Both statements are true.

I’m grateful for my corporate time, and I’ve always said, ‘Never say never’ because I miss the team aspect of my work. … Read the rest

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Culture Curiosity Human Resources Performance Productivity

The trucks running through your head

Do you have, get, make time to think?

Or is your head mainly a six-lane highway full of traffic and trucks trying to make their way through day in and day out?

The highway metaphor and the cultural components from the book More Time to Think by Nancy Kline.

Proverbial highways with trucks that create a constant noise always seem distracting, preventing you from focusing. … Read the rest

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Beliefs Culture Execution Purpose Simplicity

Buzzword Bingo

What category do you belong to?

Are you a trendsetter or a follower when it comes to work-related innovation?

Were you one of the first to jump on the agile train, one of the last, or do you still have to start?

And what about building a hybrid workforce culture?

Early adopter, mainstream, or laggard?… Read the rest

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Courage Culture Leadership Mindset Qualities

Whose sandbox is it anyway?

Did you play as a kid in a sandbox?

Was it your sandbox, the sandbox of a neighborhood kid, or perhaps a public sandbox?

What do you remember about your sandbox adventures?

Was there ever a territorial fight about the best part of the sandbox? Or perhaps some kid entered your sandbox, and you were not pleased with the uninvited intruder.… Read the rest

Categories
Change Communication Culture Leadership Self awareness

Fishy smell

“A fish stinks from the head.”

Rumi

Rumi, a Turkish poet who lived towards the end of the 13th century, wrote “The Third Book of Masnavi,” where the phrase appears as follows: “Fish begins to stink at the head, not the tail.”

We often hear this quote in a business environment.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, and it basically means that when problems arise in a business, it makes sense to look at the top of the company first.… Read the rest

Categories
Culture Execution Freedom Productivity Self awareness

Good busy

Last week I asked a business partner how he was doing. 

His answer was, ‘I’m good busy.’

I asked him what that meant.

He explained that he was almost always busy, ranging from extremely busy to good busy.

Good busy meant that work was not crazy but did not allow much thinking or reflection time.… Read the rest

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Culture Freedom Human Resources Leadership Vision

One size fits all; part II

For visionary leaders, one size fits all is over.

These leaders understand that people are different, with different needs, different contexts, and different aspirations for the future.

You can’t lead these people as if they’re all the same.

Erikjan Lantink

Last Tuesday, I wrote to you about my regret for not pursuing opportunities to exploit this model.… Read the rest

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Culture Freedom Human Resources Leadership

One size fits all; part I

My biggest regret is something I did not do nearly fifteen years ago.

I was working in food retail and was part of a group of talents asked to define the organization’s future work strategy.

We did brilliant work.

I had that feeling then, but now fifteen years later, I’m sure.… Read the rest

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Change Culture Transformation Values

Culture Transformation? Yeah right!

Most leaders have no clue about culture.

No clue. Nada. Nic (Czech). Nothing.

Oh yes, they talk about culture. They convey a belief that they actually don’t understand, but they don’t.

In fact,

Those leaders that talk most about culture probably understand the least.

It’s all talking but no action.

The leaders I know who are good at culture transformation do quietly what needs to get done.… Read the rest

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Authenticity Culture Execution Kindness Values

Spirit to Serve

Some people have it by nature; others get it by training. Some never do.

Some people have a serving mentality just by being who they are.

Erikjan Lantink

This story is about them and to honor them.

Concretely, it is about two people working in the bar of the hotel I’m staying in while working in Ljubljana, Slovenia.… Read the rest

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Asking Questions Communication Conversations Culture Leadership

The Heart of your Business

Last week I conducted my training called “Growing Leaders and Culture.”

Its principles are based on effective dialogue.

Why?

Because dialogue is what makes people grow and deliver on their dreams.

You’ve done half the work if you understand that running a successful business is an accumulation of constructive, forward-looking, and growth-focused dialogues.… Read the rest