Remarkable Event 1

Leandro Herrero, a psychiatrist by background, spent many years in hands-on leadership positions in global companies before founding The Chalfont Project Ltd, a leading consulting group of organizational architects.

He has pioneered Viral Change™, a Mobilizing Platform that is also an unconventional and very successful way of creating large scale behavioural and cultural change.

He also leads the Viral Change Global network of companies.

As a consultant, he works with organizations of many sizes at different levels: from Board and top management and leadership teams to staff in Business Units. Leandro Herrero is in the business of creating remarkable organizations, organizations worth remembering, worth telling a story. His personal key focus with his global team is the creation of a behavioural DNA which makes a particular organization remarkable, resilient, always ahead of the game and with the greatest change-ability. To do this, The Chalfont Project is at the edge of new ways of understanding leadership, change, and innovative management.

He has designed a suite of ‘Accelerators’ to speed up change, innovation and people alignment in organizations. These ‘Accelerators’ have an accreditation system.

Leandro Herrero is also Executive Fellow at the Center for the Future of Organization, at the Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University.

As a speaker, Leandro Herrero has won the highest recognition from many audiences, big and small, at public forums and in-house events. That includes the Grand Davos Award in a World Communication Forum. He has also been a speaker at TEDx in London with great reception.

As an author, he has published several books on management of change and leadership. These include Viral Change, Homo Imitans, Disruptive Ideas, New Leaders Wanted and The Leader with Seven Faces. His latest book, However, work could be remarkable, is a compilation of his blog ‘Daily Thoughts’..


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  Daily Thoughts

May 30th, 2016

The pilgrimage to the top of the Leadership Mountain to ask for permission, blessings and a bit of gratification.

Scenario 1: The Leadership Team/top Management Team is in high control mode. They feel they need to make many kinds […]

May 29th, 2016

It has taken me so long to understand why they are so slow! They love ‘concrete’! (Ideas made of concrete?)

I remember last year in the US. I had given them ideas, insights, reflections. I hade shared experiences. I had […]

May 28th, 2016

To decrease uncertainty is not always difficult. These examples show the big difference.

Read the following pairs. Notice which ones make you more comfortable. ‘Your are in a queue/line and we will respond […]

May 27th, 2016

Competing on mistakes.

I have referred several times to Charles Munger, investor, critical thinker, ‘librarian’ (he reads more books than anybody else): we […]

May 26th, 2016

It’s cool to think. It’s not cool to do crap things.

I am borrowing this line from Obama’s speech at Rutgers. Of course he was referring to certain presidential candidate. “Facts, […]

May 25th, 2016

Within us, between us and around us. The only 3 chapters of Psychology and the only 3 modules of leadership development.

Trying to make Psychology easy! There are 3 spaces, and only 3 that matters: Within us: how can we get […]

May 24th, 2016

Thanks for your email. A proper robot would have done better.

Dear Mr Herrero. I have been trying to contact you but you were busy. No, you haven’t, we have no […]

May 23rd, 2016

Why people ‘with leadership traits’ don’t become leaders. Waiting for the other half of the article.

Jack Welch, ex CEO of GE and Suzy Welch, Journalist, author and Jack’s wife have written in Linkedin, in one […]

May 22nd, 2016

Most good clues about the culture of the organization can be found in the invisible, the unsaid. This is where serious culture work needs to start.

Public sector health in many parts of the world has been financially squeezed. Committed health workers have continued to deliver […]

May 21st, 2016

Always attacking ‘the roots of problems’ is not necessarily the best route.

That traditional logic is unfortunately very weak. That logic only works if we can really find those roots. But, take […]

May 19th, 2016

Bring the aliens. The others are too familiar with the solution

‘Familiarity breeds contempt’, the proverb says. But in management, it also breeds lost of content and satisfied people. We are […]

May 18th, 2016

Small steps, small wins against an accelerated reality. Sensible strategy or a suicidal note?

‘I am convinced that a well thought out “small wins approach” is the premier path to effective strategy implementation, and […]

May 17th, 2016

If we wear earplugs, the annoying noise of the organization would disappear and, life would much better.

A friend of mine told me a story about his laptop. It got warmer and warmer; the fan on all […]

May 16th, 2016

The secret weapon of digital transformation revealed: human judgement. In doubt, ask Facebook

An unexpected ‘revelation’ by Facebook (also known as the mother of all algorithms) gives us an important insight about the […]

May 15th, 2016

‘Every word that she says is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’. The Post-Truth Era is upon us.

I’ve learned this quote from an excellent article in The Guardian by Jonathan Freedland about ‘post-truth politics’ (Post-truth politicians such […]

May 14th, 2016

Why I will be back to the hotel with a bad experience and a long email, but not to another in which I got a discount from the bill

Something went wrong in the room allocation in my hotel. When I arrived to the corridor in the 3rd floor […]

May 13th, 2016

What the brain teaches us about consumer behaviour. Fascinating.

Neuroscientists at the Advance Brain Research Institute in Minnesota have found that there is a direct connection between ‘intention to […]

May 12th, 2016

Inefficiencies, frustrations and unhappiness? In the right path to growth, congratulations.

A good article came to me via my colleague Caroline, always ready to save some gems form my spam filter […]

May 11th, 2016

Management upside down: global is local, leadership goes grassroots, top is at the bottom, and traditional management needs a retirement party.

It is perhaps the Age of Inversion. The weights have gone the other way. Globalization, big G, or small g, […]

May 10th, 2016

Can we agree on these rules? Since life is short, I thought I would suggest some etiquette for our collaboration.

Don’t leave around a floating opinion, ended by ‘in my opinion’, not leading anywhere in particular. That is just use […]

May 9th, 2016

You can only change ‘the culture’ if you have ‘one’. Otherwise, the problem and the answer are both plural.

The main reason why many cultural change and transformation programmes in large organizations fail is because you can’t change ‘the […]

May 8th, 2016

What do you do with that guy who does not want change and/or is very negative?

Option 1: You try to convince him with rational and emotional explanations about the need for change and the importance […]

May 7th, 2016

‘Bottom up’ is not more workshops at the bottom. That is just a migration of the top-down to a lower level.

It’s been a while now since the world of HR/OD/Management/Consulting has realised that ‘top down’ (stuff) is not politically correct […]

May 6th, 2016

Digital Transformation: the new clothes for the enterprise, and something fundamental is missing

An in depth analysis of the world of ‘Digital Transformation’ shows two things. One is that there is no such […]

May 5th, 2016

Most ‘I’m just doing my job’ people, are not doing their jobs

Every morning in my neighbourhood there is a small window of time when traffic becomes chaotic, slow, painful and frustrating. […]

May 4th, 2016

Culture is in the A list, the one where ‘work’ sits. Not in the B list (‘when I have time, after A’)

Culture is not a project, something to do on top of normal work, an extra, something to get your hands […]

May 3rd, 2016

The logic of speed yoga, and organizational clocks

Have you heard of speed yoga? Me neither. Although Mr Google points to some YouTube that in fact are yoga […]

May 2nd, 2016

The focus on the annual Employee Engagement/Satisfaction Survey as the climax of organizational understanding is both absurd and lazy.

If you are in the consumer behaviour field (marketer, researcher, advertising expert, brand strategist) you will not work with a […]

May 1st, 2016

I want builders, not problem solvers, not flow-chart artists.

I also don’t want bystanders, people who give diagnosis but would not have a clue about treatment, people who dwell […]

April 30th, 2016

Produce as many bad ideas as you can. The statistics will be in your favour and a very good idea will come up.

Promise. There is more to gain from many bad, irrational, uncooked, unrealistic ideas popping up and rejecting them so that […]

April 29th, 2016

The new employees who never left their previous one

Have you noticed how many employees seem to be in ‘one employer behind time zone’? They never left the previous […]

April 28th, 2016

Rule #3: Systematic use of sweeping generalizations is reason for dismissal

OK, a bit harsh, but this is what I mean. Some people are very good at this. ‘We have a […]

April 27th, 2016

HBR says culture is not the culprit, and, by the way, you can’t fix it. Yes we can.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) never ceases to amaze me. Very often I feel that there is some sort of a […]

April 26th, 2016

‘Human’ and ‘leadership’ can go together by inviting our demons for dinner.

If leadership is a praxis (see yesterday’s Daily Thought), something that ‘I’ do (name and surname here, please), then, knowing […]

April 25th, 2016

Leadership is an amoral praxis. How about this to start a conversation?

Any label that could be equally applied to Mother Theresa, Hitler, your CEO, Kim Jong-un, Mandela, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and […]

April 24th, 2016

Managerially educated, template rich, model expert. And now what? Ah! That hernia!

I have come to the conclusion that most executive education of any reputation and high fees, is based upon five […]

April 23rd, 2016

The Zeus strategy: de-aggregating the problem

Plato told us in his Symposium that humans were originally androgynous, not men or women. They became so powerful that […]

April 22nd, 2016

The wolf pack and leadership : the lesson(s)

  Here is a description of a wolf pack that has been in circulation since the end of last year. […]

April 21st, 2016

Fixed ideas. From a guest blogger who knows.

‘In the long run my observations have convinced me that some men, reasoning preposterously, first establish some conclusion in their […]

April 20th, 2016

A new word for corporate life: de-corporatization.

In my world, ‘corporate’ is synonymous of big structure, big processes and big systems. Of course it is not its […]

April 19th, 2016

Unchallenged little nastiness is killing entire cultures.

Those people in the corridor and the cafeteria are very good, and successful, at saying, very vocally: ‘we will never […]

April 18th, 2016

The infuriating Pope Francis style of leadership: he actually does things. What’s wrong with this guy?

Pope Francis, spiritual head of 1.3 billion people went to Lesbos, saw the immigrants, stayed with them for 4 hours […]

April 17th, 2016

How we cope with new environments. The ‘old’ and the ‘young’ extremes of our humanity

Old people who move suddenly to a nursing home/care-assisted home without having been accustomed, can suffer devastating health consequences. In […]

April 16th, 2016

Behaviours are always competing for airtime. What wins may not be what you expect.

There are very few rules in Behavioural Sciences. If we were to write an ABC of Psychology, A would look […]

April 15th, 2016

In empowerment terms, be careful what you are asking for, you might get it.

The project team has been complaining for a long time of their lack of empowerment. They have a lot of […]

April 14th, 2016

The problem with too many decisions pushed up to the top of the organization usually lies with those at the top who complain most

When too many decisions are pushed upwards in the organization, and the top layers of leadership complain about it, often […]

April 13th, 2016

We are all traders of comfort, no matter the degree of uncertainty in our worlds

A specialist nephrologist I know well says to me: I get very nervous with all this heart stuff, I don’t […]

April 12th, 2016

8 ways to sabotage the organization.

Lessons from the Pre-CIA ‘Simple Sabotage Field Manual’ (declassified, in case you wonder). This is how it goes: General Interference […]

April 11th, 2016

Looking for ‘Statesmanship’, in the State and in the Organization

For me, the quality of statesmanship inversely correlates with the number of times you blame the enemy, or others, of […]

April 10th, 2016

Oh, mental frames! How easy to create misery!

‘Let’s be real and aware of the current budget realities’ is a warning that leaders should give to their people […]

April 9th, 2016

The fastest and best way to build a creative culture: all revealed now

The fastest and best way to build a creative culture is to have lots of creative people together. No kidding. […]

April 8th, 2016

Certainty is addictive. Leaders, handle with care.

I’ve come across by chance a short video interview with Tony Robbins, life coach, health guru, motivational speaker, author, self-made […]

April 7th, 2016

Customer centric? How about starting with manners. Revolution, really.

Manners is an old fashion concept. Courtesy, consideration, empathy with the other? All in one? Manners are the behavioural expression […]

April 6th, 2016

This blog is not interesting. It’s about language.

OK, the real title of this post is ‘Landscapes of ideas vs categories of actions. Tapestry of behaviours vs. culture. […]

April 5th, 2016

Bye-bye, annual Performace Management.

It was just a little over a year that I wrote that annual Performance Management needed to be retired. I […]

April 4th, 2016

Protest platforms are hardly learning ones. Engagement surveys and events feed back are often anything but learning tools.

Political commentators in the US have argued that Donald Trump’s campaign is a protest one, attracting people who are against […]

April 3rd, 2016

Exotics in the payroll. Anthropology excursions into corporate life.

‘Daily Thoughts’ is in pause mode for a few days and will resume with new content on Monday 4th of […]

April 2nd, 2016

Why and how some initiatives scale and others get lost in oblivion

‘Daily Thoughts’ is in pause mode for a few days and will resume with new content on Monday 4th of […]

April 1st, 2016

Leadership is still number one, no matter what thousand rankings say.

‘Daily Thoughts’ is in pause mode for a few days and resumes on Monday 4th of April. You may have […]

March 31st, 2016

Management as campaigning. So much to learn from ‘outside our box’

‘Daily Thoughts’ is in pause mode for a few days. You may have missed some of these. Here is a […]

March 30th, 2016

Innovation: still the Holy Grail of management.

‘Daily Thoughts’ is in pause mode for a few days.. You may have missed some of these. Here is a […]

March 29th, 2016

Speaking up: an old friend always to be invited.

‘Daily Thoughts’ is in pause mode for a few days. Here is a quick way to continue some thinking during […]

March 28th, 2016

‘We, as a team’, may actually not need a team.

As some of us punctuate this time of the year (Happy Easter!) it is also a time for the Daily […]

March 27th, 2016

‘The conference”: Tribes talking to themselves

Who goes to HR conferences? HR people. Who goes to Communication conferences? Communication Directors, Managers and Heads. Who goes to […]

March 26th, 2016

Don’t go to Abilene. Nobody wants to.

Jerry B Harvey’s 1974 article “The Abilene Paradox: The Management of Agreement’, contains this vignette. On a hot afternoon visiting […]

March 25th, 2016

Organizations don’t learn. People do. Sometimes too much. So where does company memory come in?

The modern organization is fluid. People are not necessarily assigned to one place, one team, even one single role. The […]

March 24th, 2016

The collective as a bad sum. When collaboration becomes co-recreation and the sum is smaller than the parts.

In my dealing with organizations of many sizes and shapes, cultures and geographies, I always find very fine individuals of […]

March 23rd, 2016

Organizational thrillers, little apocalypses and skies not quite falling: another random day at the office

We have a phenomenal challenge in France. Our people there ‘don’t get the values’, are very cynical and, to make […]

March 22nd, 2016

We are all Generation S (screenagers) climbing up the singularity curve.

There is an anecdote in a recent piece by Noemi Klein’s in The Guardian. A young girl had some kind […]

March 21st, 2016

No more teams, please, we need to team-up.

The prestigious publication ‘The Economist’ has published an article under the title ‘Team spirit. Businesses are embracing the idea of […]

March 20th, 2016

The leader as a blank screen, on which others project.

In his 2003 book ‘The Audacity of Hope’, Barack Obama wrote: ‘I serve as a blank screen on which people […]

March 19th, 2016

Recruited by an algorithm, unheard in a crowed market, competing for attention: know the rules and your stats.

‘Recruiters spend 6 seconds evaluating individual online resumes/CVs’ That’s it. Six. The self-reporting by recruiters indicated 4-5 minutes, but using […]

March 18th, 2016

Mindfulness, the new solution. Oh, sorry, I forgot, what’s the problem?

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, software millionaire, has discovered mindfulness. And has installed ‘mindfulness rooms’ in the Salesfore building in […]

March 17th, 2016

Trends, predictions and hunches, in the art of avoiding more mistakes than others.

We often tend to mistake these in organizations Trends: See, hear and feel what is going on, and find patterns […]

March 16th, 2016

An amazing new tool for the new business environment revealed.

Experiment. Not kidding. Once upon a time ‘experimenting’ was something that only scientists did. Most people would associate the word […]

March 15th, 2016

And the frog said, next time buy yourself a thermometer

The old tale of ‘Boiling Frogs’ says that there are too basic ways to boil a frog. One, the frog […]

March 14th, 2016

‘The truth will set you’ free, and speaking up will always win

The Biblical ‘the truth will set you free’ should be engraved in corporate walls, next to the values. And in […]

March 13th, 2016

Hooked on tactics: from macro-social movements to inside the organization.

Scholars of social movements have noticed and described how people often create a stronger and faster sense of association and […]

March 12th, 2016

At some threshold, ‘improvements’ become dangerous

‘Continuous improvement’ is part of the management furniture and something that, at a face value, one could not disagree with. […]

March 11th, 2016

Top leadership needs to role model, lead by example and live the values. Now that we have said it, can we please stop talking about it?

Yes to all. All of the above. Who could disagree? Certainly not the leadership development sub-industry. We want the good […]

March 10th, 2016

The #hellomynameis campaign deserves all attention and support

I have had today the privilege of meeting Dr Kate Granger, founder of the #hellomynameis campaign, and a terminally ill […]

March 9th, 2016

‘Management’ is political campaigning inside. Leadership is winning campaigns

Warning: This statement will be dismissed But, before you do that, I’d ask you to consider the differences between ‘organizational-business […]

March 8th, 2016

A 3 point leadership strategy for your transformation, small t, big T.

In caricature, this is a 3 point strategy to develop further. It’s a simple mental and practical frame. Build an […]

March 7th, 2016

Customer-centrism sees a revival. Will we now miss netroots-centrism? Excuse my language.

Ah, the customer is back, some people in management and consulting say, as if the customer had been in a […]

March 6th, 2016

The first edition of Viral Change is 10 year old this year? We have only started.We are going to celebrate. Will you join us?

Although our work on large scale behavioural change in organizations started the same day that The Chalfont Project company was […]

March 5th, 2016

What is the ‘model of the world’ in this organization?

Paraphrasing ( better, stealing from) American anthropologist Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) a corporate culture, or, I would say, a subculture that […]

March 4th, 2016

My unlikely reflection on my unplanned stop at a Michelin star restaurant

When travelling today, I found myself, unexpectedly, a few minutes from a little known restaurant, part of a low key, […]

March 3rd, 2016

Thesaurus – based value and behaviours systems are meaningless, exhausted and cheap.

Let’s start somewhere else. What is the logic behind Listmania? Very often there isn’t one. But starting a note/blog/communication with […]

March 2nd, 2016

What am I building? The 21st Century leader says. Where am I going? Some leaders used to say.

There is a theme in many traditions that describes ‘the way’ as something that is not simply ’there’ but that […]

March 1st, 2016

Scale or not scale? This is the Shakespearean culture question.

Behavioural /cultural shaping in organizations does not scale up by simply the leaders having the right mindset and motivation. A […]

February 29th, 2016

Safe to talk, need to talk, must talk. Team meetings and airtime.

Leading a meeting for the purpose of building a team (on top of achieving some business goals) may include a […]

February 28th, 2016

When everything pushes forward, disruptive innovation may also entail going backwards

A short piece in The Guardian announces quietly that Mercedes Benz is replacing some robots with humans. Not the other […]

February 27th, 2016

All that must be spontaneous, must be engineered.

OK, at least you a reading. Thanks. The organization is a network. Networks have emergent properties. Translation: things come up […]

February 26th, 2016

‘Social Change’ is no longer alien to Executive and Leadership Development. These are social and ‘at scale’ or are not fit for this century.

Communicating, triggering behaviours, sustaining them and creating a culture, are all connected, interdependent, overlapping and parts of the chain of […]

February 25th, 2016

An alternative competence system for an alternative HR. Ignore at your peril.

10 key behavioural competences of people to understand what is going. Small sample of my collection. These are 10 type […]

February 24th, 2016

How can I think out of the box? I can’t find the door

Our box is incredibly sophisticated. It has the latest quality walls, sofas, working spaces and lots of meeting rooms. I […]

February 23rd, 2016

A culture of X is one where X is part of the normal conversation.

What is a normal conversation? Well, pick one or combinations: football, how the kids are doing, the pain of the […]

February 22nd, 2016

3 ways to use ‘Digital’ inside the organization. The trouble with wrong expectations.

Model 1. The technology, for example in the form of digital platforms such as Enterprise Social Networks, ESN (Yammer type) […]

February 21st, 2016

Leaders, Dealers and Dreamers.

Leaders. They drive the agenda, the agenda is not driving them. They drive the agenda even when other people think […]

February 20th, 2016

Possibly the most important tribe in the organization is The Brokers.

Each large or not that large organization needs one. This tribe is composed by people who have a natural ability […]

February 19th, 2016

The missing word in the famous Margaret Mead quote

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that […]

February 18th, 2016

If I were the CEO’s speechwriter for a day, this is the speech I would pass on.

Don’t look at us, at the leadership at the top. We are the wrong mirror. Of course, we are committed […]

February 17th, 2016

If leadership in organizations followed some ‘activism rules’; not standard management logic. Here is one rule.

One of the key rules of activism (social, political, cause) is not to spend more than the minimum necessary time […]

February 16th, 2016

‘Joining a cause’, vs. ‘being employed’. Can you articulate the reason for your enterprise?

From time to time you see the occasional and mostly not very solid comparisons between ‘the company’ and a religion. […]

February 15th, 2016

Strong thinkers are critical thinkers. Critical thinking can be embedded in the culture.

Strong thinking and strong ideas are great. We need people to defend them, champion them and feel passionate about them. […]

February 14th, 2016

Reacting on spot, and responding in agility mode can be engineered and role-modelled.

Organizations need a Rapid Reaction Force. OK, unless you are in the military, it does not mean military fatigue uniforms […]

February 13th, 2016

I wouldn’t hire anybody who is likely to follow the job description.

The job description is dead. It is replaced by a Lego box, no instructional manual and a map. Welcome to […]

February 12th, 2016

Built to what? Dare to ask your people, and open a little Pandora box.

More than 20 years ago, Jerry I. Porras and James C. Collins, wrote the bestseller ‘Built to Last, successful habits […]

February 11th, 2016

Reclaiming the human values language for the corporate world

Well known Conservative American columnist and writer David Brooks has written a piece in the New York Times entitled ‘I […]

February 10th, 2016

Leadership dialects: you are supposed to join a party, but don’t get an invitation

The language of leadership is often plain and monotone. Used to explain slides and with a screen behind, leadership language […]

February 7th, 2016

‘Problem Three’ appears when we treat complexity with more complexity. Many organizations breed it. The UK NHS is caught in it.

At some point of the organization’s growth, complexity kicks in. Before that threshold, you had two problems: managing growth and […]

February 6th, 2016

Engagement, empowerment and ownership culture meet in one single point. Obvious, simple, and incredibly forgotten.

Employee engagement efforts, ownership values and empowerment behaviours must meet at one point. It’s simple, not terribly controversial, based upon […]

February 5th, 2016

After change you need a period of stability and consolidation’, a last Century employee said.

After the third reorganisation and the fourth quality programme and the second change management initiative, the cry is loud: give […]

February 4th, 2016

Habits have no meaning, they create it. Start with behaviours, get meaning

In my organizational consulting work, and in behavioural terms, I am very used to be told, and challenged, that there […]

February 3rd, 2016

‘Sceptical people and enemies of change need to be sidelined’. Really?

We all have our share of ‘difficult people’. Conventional management of change has taught us that there is always going […]

February 2nd, 2016

The soft stuff, and the hard stuff. Convenient split, but unreal. Leadership is neither hard not soft

There is business and, then, there is all that stuff about leadership and teambuilding. This seems to be the worldview […]

February 1st, 2016

‘Customer Obsession Disorder’ is gaining ground. Bad idea.

Perhaps because costumer focus was not enough, we created customer centrism. Apparently this is no enough and we now need […]

January 30th, 2016

A lot of trumpeted customer-centrism is company-centrism, or us-centrism, disguised as costumer and with a customer music in the background

‘We are reorganising in Business Units to meet customer expectations’. Actually, not, no customer has called you to ask you […]

January 29th, 2016

Critical Thinking is up in the list of skills in the 2020 Davos shopping list. If anything, I have a problem with the date. The skill gap is now, well and alive

A report on the Future of Jobs by the World Economic Forum compares the skills priorities of 2015 with the […]

January 28th, 2016

The myth that everybody needs to be involved in ‘the change’

This is an obvious desideratum. But very often it’s unrealistic. Conventional management approaches tell us that we have to communicate […]

January 27th, 2016

The myth that only change at the top can ensure change within the organisation.

Sure, you need change at the top. You wish to see that the top leadership takes things seriously and that […]

January 26th, 2016

‘Big changes requires big actions’ is a myth based upon the wrong maths. At the very least, a wrong start.

That ‘big change requires big actions’ is the commonly held belief that is behind the majority of so-called ‘large interventions’ […]

January 25th, 2016

‘There is nothing I can do’ must be fought before it becomes collective belief.

Feeling trapped, is at the core of some aspects of one’s mental health, and also organizational distress. The deep awareness […]

January 24th, 2016

There are good leaders, excellent leaders, and Gold leaders.This is what Gold looks like

Gold leadership, is the one above silver and bronze, that is. Sorry is you were expecting a very sophisticated definition. […]

January 23rd, 2016

Employee loyalty is a plural. Leadership is the host of that plurality, always an irrational mix

What should employees be loyal to? Ask an average leader: to the company, of course. Loyalty may be disguised. It […]

January 22nd, 2016

15 things to look for in a corporate culture if you were a corporate anthropologist (or not)

No what it’s written in procedures but what is not written in those pages Not how people behave in meetings, […]

January 21st, 2016

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.”

John Le Carre, British ex secret intelligence serviceman, espionage writer, dixit. He knows about danger, and apparently about the danger […]

January 20th, 2016

Tell me what you want to prove and I’ll give you the name of a company.

Consoled only by having bought the book for £ 0.09 ( and £2.80 postage) in Amazon marketplace, the reality is […]

January 19th, 2016

State of the Enterprise Address Summary: Rethinking in progress.

I don’t think ‘rethinking the enterprise’ is anything new. You could argue that the history of management has this rethinking […]

January 18th, 2016

The organization is not a Grand Bazaar. A transactional model of the firm is a trap. Leaders should get out of it.

If you push me for a articulation of human relationships, everything is transactional. But in a more specific way, transactional […]

January 17th, 2016

Have you heard the one about the three envelopes? There is a whole Theory of Management behind.

This is an old joke and a current non-joke. Here is the story copied from one of the multiple write […]

January 16th, 2016

Entrepreneurs, volunteers, and soldiers: about the human fabric of the enterprise 2016

Entrepreneurs develop ideas and create a structure around them in order to achieve goals. As Seth Godin would say, they […]

January 15th, 2016

Will disruptive innovation go backwards?

Probably we will not go back to the telegraph, but when everything is ‘innovatively disrupted’, where will we go? At […]

January 14th, 2016

‘This follows that; that has caused this’. Of course we don’t think like that! Not your company, anyway

Life in organizations is not usually very rich in Critical Thinking. In fact, from all sectors and areas of activity, […]

January 13th, 2016

‘Forget what they say, observe what they do’. The ‘uniqueness paradox’ revisited. A bit.

Some people in organizations believe that they are working in a very bureaucratic, hierarchical, political and rigid environment. Many of […]

January 12th, 2016

Builders build, and build. Problem solvers solve, and need more problems. Chose.

Unless we call ‘problem ‘to any management activity, as many people do even without acknowledging it, and, in which case, […]

January 11th, 2016

Work-life balance: the on-off switch is broken, and they don’t make them any more.

Forget work-life balance. It was a good concept that did a lot of good but has now retired. It cannot longer […]

January 10th, 2016

‘Us and them’, and ‘us with them’. From politics to day to day management, Identity is a hot topic. And I am going to elevate the confusion to a higher level.

Field notes: Reflections on ‘us and them’. Sometimes a rejection of something makes its alternative appealing even if that alternative […]

January 9th, 2016

This best kept secret jumpstart will save you months of pain in people and team reorg and alignment.

The following line will short cut months of (building) ‘alignment’, integration, reorganization, team building, coalition building, start-up get-to-know, redeployment of […]

January 8th, 2016

The Einstein Solution: on the curious phenomenon of how the challenges left on the desk before the break have not gone away.

Welcome back to a New Year and its rituals of resolutions, reviews and fresh starts. For some, and I hope […]

January 7th, 2016

Invitation: The year of Bullshit Detection

I declare myself allowed to use the word bullshit, which official definition is nonsense, lies, exaggeration, foolish talk, pretentious talk, […]

January 6th, 2016

Efficiency, Efficacy and Effectiveness: the triplets of Management (and the risk of dating the wrong sister)

Many restructuring efforts, perhaps process re-engineering (whether these days you call them like this or not) and a great deal […]

January 5th, 2016

When the intensity of the discussion is inversely correlated with the importance of the issue, or directly with its triviality.

  There are many versions of the same principle. We spend disproportionate amounts of time on issues. We often have […]

January 4th, 2016

Possibilities! @ 581

I want to start 2016 Daily Thoughts with this word. Possibilities. This is Daily Thought number 581, and the first […]

December 23rd, 2015

A very happy Christmas to all subscribers of the Daily Thoughts

  Happy Christmas! Daily Thoughts is in pause mode. 580 Daily Thoughts later, we are going for a bit of […]

December 20th, 2015

Daily Thoughts goes into pause mode. 580 Daily Thoughts later, we are going for a bit of maintenance. Stay tuned

Daily Thoughts goes into pause mode. 580 Daily Thoughts later, we are going for a bit of maintenance. Stay tuned. […]

December 19th, 2015

(Part 2) Management: The Evolution of the Species. 12 kind of people you need to find, seduce, hire and create a job for. (part 2 of 2)

Repeating from Part 1: Management evolution has overdone it in some species and is now weak, even in survival mode […]

December 18th, 2015

Management: The Evolution of the Species. 12 kind of people you need to find, seduce, hire and create a job for. (part 1 of 2)

Management evolution has overdone it in some species and is has become weak, even in survival mode in others,. Here […]

December 17th, 2015

10 reasons why leaders need to focus on the (un-managing of the) informal organization

Our traditional management education has almost 100% focused on the formal organization, the structural fabric of teams, divisions, groups, committees […]

December 16th, 2015

Volkswagen (VW) apparently ‘needs to change its mindset’. Has anybody ever seen a mindset?

The German car manufacturer has reported that ‘it has detected a mindset in some areas of the company that tolerated […]

December 15th, 2015

Collaborating across borders needs one thing: borders

There is a romantic view of the organization that sees it completely borderless, inside and outside. Inside, this view says, […]

December 14th, 2015

‘You can have any colour of leadership as long as it is white’. This is our “Ford translation’ in organizations.

Henry Ford said that you could have ‘any colours of a car as long as it’s black’. The colour to […]

December 13th, 2015

The formula about what to do when ‘leadership does not get it’, finally revealed.

There are always people who ‘don’t get it’, are against cultural change efforts, do not support a programme, torpedo it, […]

December 12th, 2015

3 Inconvenient truths about leadership and change

(1) If the top leadership of the company does not leave to expectations, and don’t exhibit the values/behaviours that you […]

December 11th, 2015

Empowerment is an output. Only if you can visualize it, you can craft it.

Employee empowerment is an output, an outcome. If you start thinking of employee empowerment as an input, something you are […]

December 10th, 2015

In praise of tension. Consensus as permanent state in the organization, is collective coma.

The trouble with consensus is that it contains all the risks of poor thinking and all the possible cognitive biases, […]

December 9th, 2015

My 10 unreasonable non-negotiable, circa 2016.

Since I spend a considerable amount of my client work time dealing with value systems and their much needed translation […]

December 8th, 2015

Employee Engagement time out! ‘The survey’ has no clothes. Back to thinking, could you believe it?

‘It has been proven that people with more birthdays live longer’. Is this is a line belonging to so called […]

December 7th, 2015

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”

Chinese proverb that is, what else? I wish we could be as crystal clear when it comes to the characteristics […]

December 6th, 2015

Calling the Activists. Calling you.

I started these Daily Thoughts about 565 days ago, give or take, or at least this is the number of […]

December 5th, 2015

‘We are building’ vs. ‘We are solving’. One shapes your future, the other fixes the past.

Facts: abysmal sales in the supermarket chain, strong competitor activity, decrease customer loyalty. Guess what, new CEO Analysis: old fashion […]

December 4th, 2015

We love organizational diagnosis in Technicolor charts. We love the organizational solutions waiting for them. The bridge, is another matter.

Oh! We love diagnosis! Battalions of experts are ready to tell us about the 5 issues and the 3 risks […]

December 3rd, 2015

‘A problem with decision making’ is almost never a problem with making decisions. Here are 3 scenarios.

Many organizations claim that they have a problem with decision making. Maybe, or maybe not. There are at least three […]

December 2nd, 2015

10 Performance Appraisal questions of yourself with yourself : the examined life of the manager.

Socrates was then one who came up with the ‘unexamined life is not worth living’. (And then he chose to […]

December 1st, 2015

Bring in the Buffers. Noise Amplifier people create loud tsunamis from a drop of questions in the organization

Noise Amplifiers. These people will pick up a little piece of problem, a little noise, a little breath of restlessness […]

November 30th, 2015

Given answers, go back to see the solidity of the questions before you adopt them.

If anybody tells you that they have the answer, then probably don’t understand the question This is how the late […]

November 29th, 2015

Defining ourselves by what we are against, does not advance the cause of the for.

I have always been a bit wary of people who repeatedly define themselves by what they are against. It makes […]

November 28th, 2015

Don’t let the expression ‘this is just business’ be a synonymous for inhuman. Business? Not in my name.

Somewhere along the line in the history of ‘business’, something went wrong and people took the wrong turn at the […]

November 27th, 2015

Stuck is the worse status. Worse than being wrong.

You are stuck when confronted with dilemmas. Maybe  contradictory business decisions, or maybe the need to chose between two evils. […]

November 26th, 2015

3 kinds of people you need to replace; 3 kinds of people you need. Development Plan done.

Three bad news people: People who sell discontent. They become experts. You may have an entire internal Sales Force of […]

November 25th, 2015

7 Platitudes in Organizational Life, in need of a very loud ‘really?’ Louder! And some debunking.

We can do much better than this. But we don’t. On the contrary, we exploit these platitudes and repeat them […]

November 24th, 2015

Organizations have their own ‘People who like this, also like that’. Their ideology (idea-Logic) may be too crafted. (2/2)

Yesterday I offered 10 types of people that challenge the status quo in organizations. I also mentioned that our mind […]

November 23rd, 2015

10 types of people who challenge the status quo in the organization. The art of dissenting (1/2)

Who challenges in organizations? People who have nothing to lose People who know that the art of challenging, equals not […]

November 22nd, 2015

Jet Skiing Management vs. Scuba Diving Management

The writer Nicholas Carr said about the influence of the Internet in the way he wrote and, in general, in […]

November 21st, 2015

Leaders as architects: how to build the house, page one.

The closest thing to designing and building an organization is the designing and building a house. You can build a […]

November 20th, 2015

I love Apple, I hate Apple: could the discussion on culture be slightly more elevated?

An article on the Apple culture ( What Apple employees say about the company secretive culture? ) is a fascinating […]

November 19th, 2015

The ultimate goal of ‘Employee Engagement’, or ‘Change Management’, is their early retirement, not to have to talk about them.

I while ago I wrote that the ultimate form of Employee Engagement is a Company of Volunteers. In a ‘company […]

November 18th, 2015

Millenials have in common their age. The rest is more about the world we all are in, the meal we have cooked for their dinner.

In a recent conference, the very sharp mind of Marten Mickos, CEO of HackerOne, ex HP, ex Nokia, reminded the […]

November 17th, 2015

Counter-fundamentalism secret weapon is yet to be deployed fully. Homo Sapiens drops bombs. Homo Imitans changes minds.

The best way to help dysfunctional families to get out of their habits and become functional is not an army […]

November 16th, 2015

If you marry a summary, you’ll breed bullet points. Life becomes much easier, if hardily real.

‘The exercise was very rich, everybody participated deeply, the walls were full of flipcharts with stuff. So may ideas floating […]

November 15th, 2015

‘Change management’ forgotten statement: this will not change

‘Change management’ usually forgets a vital component: the things that don’t change or need to change, or, indeed, must not […]

November 14th, 2015

The thoughts are with Paris

The thoughts are with Paris   Liberté, égalité, fraternité Liberty, equality, fraternity

November 13th, 2015

10 alternative questions on Culture and Engagement.

This is my alternative to the Gallup 12. You can develop a whole Organizational Development philosophy around these questions. These […]

November 12th, 2015

Give me a good practice and I will create a good theory to explain it. Even a good philosophy and a disruptive worldview.

Modern and not so modern ‘social movements’ with or a without business proposition are portrayed as a concerted and positioned […]

November 11th, 2015

Leaders who have little control on things, but who think they have a lot of it, are the ones who fear loosing control most.

Fear of losing control is a funny thing. It does not seem to correlate with how much control you have […]

November 10th, 2015

Stop press: The C-suite people, and top leadership, major problem revealed.

For CEOs, CFOs, CHROs, and other Cs, and Divisional Ds’, survey after survey try to identify their focus, their concerns, […]

November 9th, 2015

Common people doing uncommon things together: a plain language definition of the organization.

Peter Drucker put it in his own style: ‘No organization can depend on genius; the supply is always scarce and […]

November 8th, 2015

A 10 line Street Social Dictionary to navigate your social business and avoid fooling yourself with mistaken expectations.

Customer: buys your product, once, or twice, pays, that’s it. Thanks User: buys your product, once, or twice, pays, uses, […]

November 7th, 2015

Is technology transforming (management) life? Is it good or bad? Is this the best you can do with a question?

Back from a conference on ‘technology and management’ (Drucker Forum, Vienna), I realise how futile some discussions on ‘technology’ are. […]

November 6th, 2015

‘A rain dance is a ritual for me, ‘work’ for the one who dances’

I wish I remember the Anthropology book where I got this. I should, because these days I read 50% anthropology […]

November 5th, 2015

Winning by failures and mistakes

The person who fails the most wins Seth Godin dixit. Investors who make less mistakes win Warren Buffet and Charles […]

November 4th, 2015

Dear exec looking for ‘change’. What would you do if told you these things?

If I told you that you have in your organization a small number of employees who have greater influence than […]

November 3rd, 2015

The curious case of the 3 look-alike wandering sisters, and the risks of mistaken identity.

These are 3 sisters sometimes seen together in the corridors of the organization. But, more often, they wander around on […]

November 2nd, 2015

When the organization goes into permanent rehearsal mode, learns to rehearse, not to perform.

We spent more time on preparing for doing than in doing. That would be good if we were just talking […]

November 1st, 2015

The management party (not that kind of party). Don’t stop the music

‘Management’ is like a cocktail party. Some people may get a little bit excited; others certainly drink too much, talk […]

October 31st, 2015

‘New people bring in new ideas’. Keep it as a hypothesis

How many times I’ve seen in my clients the high expectations about new people. Not just the new hires but […]

October 30th, 2015

Corporate tribes, intellectual ghettos, and open windows policies

We talk a lot about silos in organizations usually in the context of Business Units of divisions. But these are […]

October 29th, 2015

4 types of generosity in the workplace. 2 with epidemic potential.

Four types: The generosity of the traffic light. Every fixed interval, it let’s you get through. Even it changes colours […]

October 28th, 2015

May I introduce you to our worse enemy? The word average

Random thoughts: People content with average achievements in the market, launch a party when the statistics show a few points […]

October 27th, 2015

Has employee engagement undergone moral surgery?

No matter how disguised, how avoided, how much of other language used, Employee Engagement as a topic assumes an input/output […]

October 26th, 2015

10 ways to fool everybody as an organization expert. They guarantee some attention and all have been tried and tested, somewhere.

These 10 positions provide organizational solutions with guarantee of some good reception. All of them are ‘possible’. If you want […]

October 25th, 2015

All thoughts come out of silence. Leadership development may turn out to be free after all.

Perhaps one of the most difficult things a leader has to do is to be mindful of his/her own thinking. […]

October 24th, 2015

Trust in 3 models. Trust me, it’s simple

There are three major sources of trust generation. Everything else is commentary: The ‘keep promises’. I can rely on you, […]

October 23rd, 2015

FAQs to myself (about organizational life)

In my work as Organization Architect, I deal with clients of many sizes, shapes and colours over the years. I […]

October 22nd, 2015

The Leader with Seven Faces. A model of leadership that requires a mirror.

As far back as 2006, it feels like a century, I developed a frame of Leadership that could help understand […]

October 21st, 2015

The ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’ school of Change Management.

Amongst the beautiful poems that Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933) wrote, I have always found some which could go straight to […]

October 20th, 2015

The 6 stages of Management Teams. The Origin and Evolution of these Species in one page.

Stage 1: The Accidental Management team. The team is composed by whoever reports to the top. You are in that […]

October 19th, 2015

From political movements to innovation in the company, stuff happens in the fringes, whilst the core feels tired.

A little epidemic of ex-fringe and peripheral organizations, views and people is going on around us. I use ‘fringe’ and […]

October 18th, 2015

‘Homeland’ fiasco lesson for my friends in Corporate Communications.

The facts: the American TV series ‘Homeland’ has reached its fifth season , starting staged in a Syrian refugee camp […]

October 17th, 2015

An obligatory Chemistry lesson for leaders. AKA thermostat management.

We often use the term ‘chemistry’ as something that you need to have, between people, for example, or something that […]

October 16th, 2015

10 reasons why you should retire ‘Passion’ from your value system

Passion is an emotion, or set of emotions. You may want, indeed, that your people are passionate, but you can’t […]

October 15th, 2015

The world is flat, leadership is global, and I want to go home.

Where is home? Ask this question to an Irishman or Irish woman. Even if they have been living abroad for […]

October 14th, 2015

Value conversation or cost conversation? One departure, two avenues, several destinations.

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Oscar Wilde It’s hard to have a conversation […]

October 13th, 2015

Reclaiming Conversations in an Alone Together world

In a study conducted with Fortune 100 companies, and quoted in Sherry Turkle’s new book ‘Reclaiming Conversations’, the following statistics […]

October 12th, 2015

Value systems should be aspirational and behavioural, not just a shopping list of the values or behaviours you don’t have.

When I see a corporate value system containing teamwork, openness and innovation, my cynical, uneducated and undomesticated baloney detector system […]

October 11th, 2015

The ‘Great Man’ model of leadership is well and alive, despite largely exaggerated accounts of its death

The Great Man Theory was born in Scotland, the child of philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795 –1881) – “The […]

October 10th, 2015

My spell check changes ‘methodology’ to ‘mythology’ automatically. Are the gods telling me something?

Method is a trick that has been used twice, people say. Having a method for anything is hardly a negative […]

October 9th, 2015

Empowerment: the muddle. The wrong conversation, until you start unpacking the concept and dismantling the house of buzzwords.

The ‘expectations muddle’ of empowerment has different shapes and flavours: I expect you to do something but you don’t think […]

October 8th, 2015

The leadership team tipping point: the arrow points South.

Some top management teams and leadership teams are created by the Internal Organization Chart Robot Officer, that is, they are […]

October 7th, 2015

‘The top leaders are not specific, they don’t tell us what they expect’. This is very good news.

Talking about leadership teams at the top, I often hear ‘they launch those words but the don’t give specifics’, or […]

October 6th, 2015

Q: ‘What’s the best innovation in Medicine in recent years? A: ‘The chair’

That’s how Gregorio Maranon put it. Maranon (1887-1960) was a Spanish physician of the ‘humanistic school’. Meaning, more than a […]

October 5th, 2015

It may not be inevitable. It may be that people believe it is inevitable. Grab the script. Change the script.

Scholars of social movements and also of all forms of radicalization processes agree that, quite constantly, there seems to be […]

October 3rd, 2015

Reclaim the non-utilitarian conversation in the organization. It has the greatest utility.

We have made conversations inside the organization (only?) purely transactional. There must be a utility. What’s the goal? What’s the […]

October 2nd, 2015

The ‘Training ex Machina’ delusion. Beware of training solutions for all seasons.

In the old Greek tragedies, when the plot became an unsolvable mess, a God (or few of them) came down […]

October 1st, 2015

Benchmarking deviance inside the organization.

A few years ago, community workers for the Save the Children organisation, an internationally recognised non governmental organisation or NGO, […]

September 30th, 2015

Company vs. Community. Digging the roots of words for a possible reunion.

Company: Where companions are. Companion = com + panis in Latin, that is with bread, sharing bread of food. “Travelling […]

September 29th, 2015

A Gordian Knot Brigade in each organization. All swords on deck.

Get the best minds and hearts people. Get them together. Not permanent, but more than simply ad hoc. Let them […]

September 28th, 2015

Trust is an unfair affair. Don’t apply linear arguments. All trust that is solid can melt in the air.

Trust is the most unforgiving, unfair and disruptive phenomenon in the organization. It takes a while to build, it may […]

September 27th, 2015

The Bad Apples Theory on colossal business fiascos. (It’s the basket, stupid!)

Volkswagen has declared that the Diesel fiasco and the massive installation of software, built in to deceive outputs and pass […]

September 26th, 2015

Shhh! I am playing John Cage’s 4’33 as part of my leadership development.

In an unusual break between meetings in London, I found myself in Foyles, the transformed, iconic bookstore, where I bought […]

September 25th, 2015

The ‘Call me Peter’ School of leadership.

I am reconstructing here a fictitious reply from a middle-senior manager to his CEO, in the way he expressed to […]

September 24th, 2015

Disruptive innovation, like charity, starts at home. Your mind and your people, that is. The rest is the easy part.

The concept of disruption in management has been applied to innovation before. A disruptive innovation is a technology, process or […]

September 23rd, 2015

Talk the walk (Note from the editor: it actually means in that order)

Walk the talk’ is being consistent: say something and then do what you said you would. ‘Talk the walk’ is […]

September 22nd, 2015

I am in favour of consultants entering the temple of the Social Sciences provided they take off their shoes

I am paraphrasing British philosopher Simon Blackburn who said the same about scientists entering the temple of philosophy. There is […]

September 21st, 2015

Good thinking, same thinking: a case of process reengineering without thinking reengineering.

Poor American management, they always get the hit. Blame it to their influence and visibility. Is most modern management American […]

September 20th, 2015

‘Nothing new under the sun’ ? Take off your sun glasses and stop the Valium

Often you see people in organizations disillusioned with changes, considering themselves survivors of the yet another reorg, getting on with […]

September 19th, 2015

We need the aliens. Everybody needs aliens. Smart aliens who can ask questions and open Pandora boxes for us.

The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person […]

September 18th, 2015

“There are two types of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data sets”

What type are you? How our mental models work is part of the Minimal Introspection, something we tend to overlook, […]

September 17th, 2015

Being proud of (my company X) can’t be legislated or fabricated. It’s an outcome, a by-product.

You can’t rule on pride, things to be proud of. You can’t launch ‘be proud’ as a value, or as […]

September 16th, 2015

History is constructed. The leader’s legacy is not retrospective. We build it daily, so we’d better test it.

In another context, I wrote about company cultures as having a glue. [The Company Global One Culture does not exist. […]

September 15th, 2015

Management: by invitation. Unbundle reporting lines and management teams

Corporate grade, reporting lines and membership of leadership teams in organisations often go together. But unbundling these components is a […]

September 14th, 2015

7 Ways to get away form the ‘team = meeting’ trap and establish ‘Team365′.

I explained yesterday that ‘team = meeting’ is a cancer in organizations. We have fallen into the trap of making […]

September 13th, 2015

A team is not a meeting. The best team is the one that does not need to meet. Almost.

A dangerous metastatic cancer in organizations ( no apologies for the strong language) is the equating of ‘team’ and ‘meeting’. […]

September 12th, 2015

In the name of names: the cause for renaming in the organization

  There is a debate, not only here in the UK, about how to call the ‘so called’ Islamic State, […]

September 11th, 2015

Create inflection points when you don’t need one. It’s better than waiting for the inflection points to come to you.

Crisis are/constitute inflection points. Also M&A, extraordinary organic growth, relocations, and entering new markets. Keep adding. Pain is inevitable, misery […]

September 10th, 2015

I want companies with Post Traumatic Strength Disorder. Untreated.

Nasim Taleb’s Antifragile book has this subtitle: ‘Things that gain from disorder’. This is a model for the new organization […]

September 9th, 2015

Scalable or not scalable. That is the question.

Traditional management has focused on interventions that scale by the maths of addition. Modern, new radical management focuses on ways […]

September 8th, 2015

The best organizational model is the one that has more than one under the roof

Command and control management has less and less friends, and it’s quite terminally ill as well. The heirs are fighting […]

September 7th, 2015

‘The incumbent always loses first’. That may be a winning strategy

In Double Down: Game Change 2012, the detailed account of the USA presidential campaign of that year, by Mark Halperin […]

September 6th, 2015

3 self-sabotage mechanisms in organizations.

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

September 5th, 2015

Being compelled to react, does not make you good leader. The clue, and the winning, is in the number of problems that you decide not to address.

Every morning, when we weak up, put our work clothes on and head for whatever is in our Outlook or […]

September 4th, 2015

My top 5 Leadership questions at the top of the agenda.

Here are my top five,  from my organizational consulting work. The paraphrasing is mine, the ownership is shared with my […]

September 3rd, 2015

Organizational Decluttering: A crusade in waiting that may need you as leader

Einstein said, “I soon learned to scent out what was able to lead to fundamentals and to turn aside from […]

September 2nd, 2015

If you needed to remember only one classification of people: ‘external and internal locus of control’

This is old Psychology lesson. ‘External locus of control’ translation: the problem is somewhere else, not me. It’s the environment, […]

September 1st, 2015

‘Jeff Bezos assures Amazon Employees that HR is working 100 Hours a week to address their complaints’ (that they are working 100 hours a week)

Whatever he had in mind, it was communicated in an incredibly poor way. The prize for messaging goes to Amazon […]

August 31st, 2015

Management is analogue. Communication is digital. Have two desks.

A recent book by ex-Microsoft researcher and now MIT prof Kentaro Toyama (Geek Heresy, 20015) is not precisely novel on […]

August 29th, 2015

‘The tyranny of the moment’. Liberating Leaders Wanted.

  Thomas Hylland Eriksen is a Norwegian Anthropology professor that has achieved more than  any of his fellow anthropologists: you […]

August 28th, 2015

The Open Plan Office may be a prison with invisible hanging posters: ‘You will collaborate’

Who needs walls when we have screens? There is open plan and open plan. Open plan with Dilbert cubicles is […]

August 27th, 2015

Performance Appraisals: the 5 reasons why it’s so hard to change them or get rid of them

Only when you see Performance Management as rituals, you can understand why we still do them in the same unchanged […]

August 26th, 2015

‘How to make change sustainable?’ This question needs a warning in the label: ‘but not too much?’

‘Sustainable’ is a magic word. Inevitable seat at the table of of ‘correct language’, 21st Century version. Many things have […]

August 25th, 2015

Decouple discussion and decision-making. Inject a buffer. Relax, it’s not a sin.

Empirically, it works. It has been mentioned in many places. But the false semi-god of managerial efficiency makes us feel […]

August 24th, 2015

Google’s modern family, ‘alphabet’, is not a company but a platform of incubators (one more incubated than others). Corporate is Mother Host.

Why have Larry Page and Sergey Brin produced the Alphabet rabbit out of the hat? They had no choice ( […]

August 17th, 2015

Daily Thoughts is back the 24th of August: just checking in.

Daily Thoughts is back the 24th of August, daily again at 08:00 am UK time in and then in […]

August 16th, 2015

Antifragility: powered by Viral Change TM

Si (Sisan Si Alhir) has organised a webinar in which Leandro Herrero will be talking about ANTIFRAGILITY:POWERED BY VIRAL CHANGE™ […]

August 6th, 2015

Complexity: another short, summer reading list from Daily Thoughts

Whilst Daily Thoughts is still in pause mode, here is another short list of Daily on Complexity. Every successful company’s […]

August 4th, 2015

Simplicity: a summer reading list from the Daily Thoughts collection

Whilst Daily Thoughts is on holiday for a few days, here is a short collection of Daily Thoughts on Simplicity. […]

August 1st, 2015

Daily Thoughts is on holiday. But we can keep ourselves connected

Thanks for you daily following via email, LinkedIn Pulse or twitter. I am in a little pause for a couple […]

July 31st, 2015

10 ingredients to cook your strategy

  List your competitors, then, compare yourself with a different list. Most of the answers lie outside your immediate peer […]

July 30th, 2015

The Tragedy of the Obvious, part 2. The obvious things in ‘management of change’ (and still we can’t see the donkeys)

I shared yesterday the tragedy of the obvious. The obvious that is so obvious that we don’t see it. Read […]

July 29th, 2015

The Tragedy of the Obvious

A man was leading a caravan of donkeys and crossing the border almost every day, coming back with apparently the […]

July 28th, 2015

The unsaid and unsayable are at the deeper layers of culture

When trying to understand a culture, there will be plenty of visible things to look at, to hear and to […]

July 27th, 2015

Segment, segment, segment. Add these three words to the dictionary of Internal Communications.

If you look at political marketing, and a place to look for a serious PhD in communications and their segmentation […]

July 26th, 2015

‘Like fish in the water’ is the real employee engagement.

I don’t think Employee Engagement is a score following a survey, or a series of pulpits for ‘employee voice’, or […]

July 25th, 2015

The unintended consequences of a well intended decision

Short reflection, again, for the slow-down period of Daily Thoughts. When intending to obtain A, how many times do we […]

July 24th, 2015

‘Grasps the facts, misses the meaning’: The Leadership Dyslexia upon us

Did we ever, ever have more facts around us? Certainly not. We talk about Big Data. It is of course […]

July 23rd, 2015

Seducing minds, versus hiring people. Just imagine.

I like the word seducing when referring to working for somebody, a company, a person, a cause, an organization. If […]

July 22nd, 2015

Navel gazing (Nombrilisme in French, sounds much better) is constant in the organization. The issue is not to deny it but to fight it.

There is so much to fix and manage inside the organization that the task could be never ending. Soon, and […]

July 21st, 2015

It’s still Day One: the wining philosophy of Day Two and Day Two Thousand

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has a famous and well quoted line: ‘It’s just Day one’ (of the company). And […]

July 20th, 2015

With more time, this post would be shorter

With more time, the report would be shorter, the powerpoint file smaller, and the strategic plan slimmer. Not longer, bigger […]

July 19th, 2015

We, ourselves are the biggest exporters of problems to the organizations we work for.

The great Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset wrote about the early 20th Century Spanish society as being ‘led by […]

July 18th, 2015

I fail by my circumstances, I succeed by my great disposition. (‘Don’t challenge it, it works for me’)

There is something quite pompously called ‘the fundamental attribution distortion’, one of the bias or mental traps that are in […]

July 17th, 2015

The many ‘me’ inside Me need some discovery: have a go. They all seem to come for dinner.

Continuing the conversation on leadership. Yes, we could go forever. Let me make an assumption: that miraculously you’ll have some […]

July 16th, 2015

Your most important list of personal assets. Take time. Now?

There are may ways to list our own assets. And that is something very healthy to do. Practice it from […]

July 15th, 2015

What do these have in common? Designing organizations, aquariums and fish soups.

Commenting on the communist legacy, a soviet academic Oleg Bogomolov, who must have known a thing or two about things […]

July 14th, 2015

We work with them very closely, we are very familiar with each other, that is why perhaps we don’t know each other well.

Months ago I found myself in front of a large audience composed by the highest ranks of the HR function […]

July 13th, 2015

Don’t transplant or import a successful management model; reverse engineer it, then pause.

There is a great difference between copying and reverse engineering. Many people in business wish they could copy the great […]

July 12th, 2015

Aspiration: the healthy restlessness of the ‘Is there a better way?’

Complacency is always a risk, more so when we profess to be immune to it. Sometimes, achieving organizational and business […]

July 11th, 2015

1/3 fixed, 2/3 fuzzy: try this organizational diet for a culture of empowerment and ownership.

Imagine a near nirvana, perfect scenario in which you have the right and the best people in the organization, intellectually, […]

July 10th, 2015

The ‘change method’ is dead, long live the method.

Ok, the method never dies, because ‘it’s a trick used twice’. People wanting to go from A to Z need […]

July 9th, 2015

A culture of ownership when you don’t own the company (or even when you do)

It has always been a Great Hypothesis. It goes like this: ‘if employees acted as owners, as if they owned […]

July 8th, 2015

What I learnt from the monks: a little anthropology of leadership and space in one page.

My  friends, monks of a Benedictine monastery in the Highlands, Scotland, spend most of the time in silence. I mean, […]

July 7th, 2015

Entering as a question mark, leaving as a period

We all were born as questions. The old saying that ‘children enter school as question marks and leave as full […]

July 6th, 2015

Measurement: the Dogma. Here are 10 critical thinking principles.

The following are not the same: What you want to measure What you need to measure What you have been […]

July 5th, 2015

Stickiness: the highest, inconvenient management challenge.

  Managers are good at messaging and communicating. Ok, this is a benevolent assessment but let’s assume this. Also, OK […]

July 4th, 2015

The 4 leadership hats in the modern organization.

The trouble with the talking about leadership is that we have made a big basket of it, and thrown in […]

July 3rd, 2015

If you rate me, I’ll rate you

We rate hotels and restaurants in Tripadvisor, we now can rate doctors and teachers, and we rate lots of services […]

July 2nd, 2015

The company that gets better and better after disruption, disorder or chaos.

Nassim Taleb Antifragile concept is perhaps one of the most attractive frames (conceptual, philosophical, practical) we have had recently. By […]

July 1st, 2015

What do you do in a room full of smoke? Apply the same to mental pollution.

Open the windows. Ok, it’s not your room, so you can’t. Don’t get in. Avoid the room. If you need […]

June 30th, 2015

Most likely, the answers are in the room

At the beginning of our Viral Change™ programmes, moons ago, we were worried about a few things. One in particular […]

June 29th, 2015

The cost of doing something versus the cost of not doing it. The second half is often missing.

Confronted with options and strategies, the cost of doing things is very often the first thing that comes to our […]

June 28th, 2015

Chose your problems, before they chose you. We never solve problems; it’s a question of working on the best trade off.

Since we never solve problems completely, only make tradeoffs between them, it would be good to choose problems before they […]

June 27th, 2015

‘Let’s see what that data says’. The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy lives on.

Probably we will never be short of data anymore. We even have now Big Data, with big capitals, as a […]

June 26th, 2015

Time to retire the ‘HR Business Partner’ concept, if HR wants to ever make it to the high table.

The Business Partner concept or model was developed particularly for HR by Ulrich and Brockbank in 2005 to stress the […]

June 25th, 2015

Darling, what are your expectations today? Or why do we talk Martian in business?

There is a ‘meeting expectations’ cult in business. It has created its own concept of (customer) services: meet customer expectations, […]

June 24th, 2015

Games or Rituals? Anthropology inside the company has valuable things to say.

Organizational anthropology sounds like a grandiose academic affair. You may imagine the anthropologists armed with notebooks and cameras capturing the […]

June 23rd, 2015

Manage the inevitable, lead the unpredictable, allow yourself to do both

I’ve written several times about the tired distinction between management and leadership. It had its logic and purpose, and made […]

June 22nd, 2015

William Hague and Angeline Jolie 5 million rape Summit was an expensive flash mob

Data obtained by newspapers in the UK has shown that a summit against rape in war zones held in London […]

June 21st, 2015

I challenge you with this quiz, when applied to your own organization.

There are about 200 people in the organization. But 10 of them at the top are very powerful. In fact, […]

June 20th, 2015

The ‘initiative’ often lets personal commitment off the hook

‘For every problem, the Victorians have a building’. For every idea that we need to carry forward, we invent an […]

June 19th, 2015

I want to import this ‘act of kindness’ into business life

I know of a brilliant medical doctor who, in front of a worried patient, perhaps with some imaginary worries, perhaps […]

June 18th, 2015

Blasting middle management is a sign of leadership incompetence

For years, middle management has been targeted by executives, business leaders, business gurus and so called ‘change experts’ as the […]

June 17th, 2015

From ‘us and them’ to ‘us with them’. Don’t kill the ‘us’ on behalf of a fictitious ‘global’.

I sometimes think that many global ‘one company’ initiatives are missing the point. The intentions are good: ‘look, we are […]

June 16th, 2015

Some working places are ‘non-places’, with the inspiraiton of Isolation Clinical Units

Working in a ‘non-place place’ can’t deliver inspirations and aspirations. Ideas need infections, not Isolation Clinical Units Marc Auge is […]

June 15th, 2015

Leadership is a social concept, not an individual trait. But we are fascinated by the individual stock.

Leadership is a term that describes a relationship. No relationship, no leadership. Leadership can only be defined in terms of […]

June 14th, 2015

‘We have no time’ people and ‘There is plenty of time’ people, share the same sixty minute hour.

We all know these two types of people. The ‘there is plenty of time to review X or finish Y’ […]

June 13th, 2015

From airplane cabin temperature control: warmer to sleep, colder to awake. A culture thermostat lesson for organizations.

Temperature control of the cabin is used by airlines in transatlantic flights as a way to change behaviour. It may […]

June 12th, 2015

Consider culture before attending this meeting ( with thanks to ‘Consider the environment before printing’)

Do I really, really, really need to attend that meting? Do I really, really, really need to send one from […]

June 11th, 2015

5 things very successful leaders have in common

1. They don’t read blogs entitled ‘5 things very successful leaders have in common’. 2. They don’t care about lists […]

June 10th, 2015

The leader who said ‘make your numbers’ instead of ‘have a good trip back’

A friend of mind remembers one of his bosses very well. ‘Make the numbers’, was apparently his way to say […]

June 9th, 2015

‘Employee engagement’ is always a line with missing words. Engagement with what? Whom?

When I classified Employee Engagement into six models, I made the point that one overriding classification is the binary ‘with […]

June 8th, 2015

Mondays shape Tuesdays. If you could just fast forward…

Winston Churchill said, referring to the Houses of Parliament in the UK, ‘We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us’. […]

June 7th, 2015

Compatible Dreams + The Non Negotiable = The Journey (AKA the Company)

In a massive street demonstration for Anti Something Big, you have the Anti Something Big activists, the Anti Everything, the […]

June 6th, 2015

Culture = story = business card = halo effect.

I don’t copy and paste in my blogs, little or a lot. But today it’s an exception. This is Fox […]

June 5th, 2015

The Process and The Outcome: married, just friends, or it’s complicated?

So you have The Process and The Outcome dating. You would have thought that they are having a good time. […]

June 4th, 2015

The UK Labour Party, Malaysian Airlines and ‘I am Really Stuck Inc’, they all need Reboot! not ‘Navel-Gazing-Improvement’

When we developed Reboot! a while ago as an intense Accelerator (strategy and change accelerator), a simple premise was in […]

June 3rd, 2015

The curious case of Castro and the Pope. Or maybe not.

I wrote yesterday that magnetism should be incorporated to the category of Prize Winner in corporate cultures: ‘I want to […]

June 2nd, 2015

Magnetic Places are priceless. Run your own ‘People-in-the-queue’ Test.

To lead a Magnet Place (‘I’d love to be there, work there’, ‘I’d love to be part of it’, ‘I […]

June 1st, 2015

Pilot or pastor? From the No-nonsense Francis School of Leadership

Pope Francis has done it again. I mean, his probably weekly plain English (well, Italian or Spanish) bit of nudging […]

May 31st, 2015

‘We should have done’ and ‘too bad we didn’t’. Don’t push the self-suffocating , negative button

  The cartoon has been all over the place. There is a sad side of the funny side and the […]

May 30th, 2015

The organization’s collective self-belief is often hidden. Leaders need to hear the unsaid.

Some organisations, or groups inside the organisation, suffer from lack of self belief. You could say weak self esteem. The […]

May 29th, 2015

The hard sell of a big theme supported by dubious, incoherent but dramatically presented evidence

he British journalist, Bryan Appleyard called Gladwellism: the hard sell of a big theme supported by dubious, incoherent but dramatically […]

May 28th, 2015

In-company clicktivism, not an elevated form of engagement

Clicktivism is a form of digital /online engagement that requires the extraordinary effort of one of your fingers, possibly the […]

May 27th, 2015

The Zappos inmates running the asylum, take two.Warning: this post contains flashes of cut-and-paste organizational models.

I wrote about Zappos and Holacracy here, and got lots of questions. This is take two. In my work on […]

May 26th, 2015

Employees don’t need ‘Voice’. They were born with one. Employee Voice is an alibi for lazy Employee Engagement.

Promoting Parallel Monologues don’t make up employee engagement. A rich world of parallel monologues, don’t make even a poor employee […]

May 25th, 2015

Zappos without the zapatos: not all inmates want to take over the asylum.

Zappos, (from zapatos, Spanish for shoe) has gone self-management. If you have not heard about Zappos, it does not mean […]

May 24th, 2015

The Company Global One Culture does not exist. But pretending that it does holds us together.

The so called One Global Culture is a confederation of (a) Geographical cultures and sub-cultures (Italy, USA, France etc) (b) […]

May 23rd, 2015

Status Unfinished: the perfect state of a healthy organization is beta

The perfect state of a healthy organization is unfinished. Like a human being. ‘Born too early’ (Campbell’s hero). Finished structures […]

May 22nd, 2015

‘You make sense’, is the greatest compliment in the era of non-sense-making

I have explained to a client the logic and principles of the Viral Change Platform. I did not want to […]

May 21st, 2015

Culture secret in one line: people look up, and people look sideways. And also down. As simple as easily dismissed.

People look up. What the immediate boss does and says. What ‘management’ do and say. In some cultures, this is […]

May 20th, 2015

There will always be hierarchy, power and rituals in the organization. The question is how smart we are to chose the right trade off.

Every new form of management, or organizational structure and model, contains all the old mechanisms of management and organizational models. […]

May 19th, 2015

The indecision is final. Keep calm and wait for the next.

A previous Daily Thought about decisions mentioned 3 reasons why decision making may be a problem in the organization (1) […]

May 18th, 2015

That great new hire, welcome with fanfare, saviour of the team, is leaving. Oh well!

Despite being repeated thousand times, hiring processes are still quite imperfect. Of course there are many places in which this […]

May 17th, 2015

Always explain the trade off. There is always one, and people can always understand it

Many problems with decision making inside the company can be attributed to three causes: 1. Bad process 2. Good processes […]

May 16th, 2015

Good silos, bad silos is like good cholesterol and bad cholesterol

It could be argued that ‘silos’ are part of the human condition and group interaction, and Chris Rodgers (Informal Coalitions) […]

May 15th, 2015

Mathematize: the 9 things you need to know about things that start with numbers

Mathematizable thinking is like soldiers building a frontier with razor wired walls. There is an enclosed world and a world […]

May 14th, 2015

Walking Emergencies in the payroll

Years ago, when in corporate life and corporate payroll (yes, I was, before funding The Chalfont Project), we, non -Americans, […]

May 13th, 2015

Most likely the problem is not ‘knowing’. So, (1) re-training is a distraction; (2) Behaving is the issue; (3) That means culture,

The oil industry leaders/workers/people in the payroll who triggered the BP oil spill disaster, knew the rules, knew what needed […]

May 12th, 2015

The Twentypercenters

It is said that in any organization, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I often think that […]

May 11th, 2015

The last thing you need is a robust, sustainable culture. Next time you use ‘sustainable’, add ‘but not too much’.

Robustness has always been a logical desire when it comes to the company and its culture in particular. But too […]

May 10th, 2015

The brutal power of the analogy as a shortcut to the road of Unthinking

Paul Krugman, professor, journalist and Nobel Prize, in his column in the New York Times has mentioned an economic analogy […]

May 9th, 2015

There have been losers in the UK General Election and none of them are a political party.

There have been clear losers in the UK General Election yesterday. People who should go back and do a good […]

May 8th, 2015

‘Powered by Viral Change TM‘: a Social Transformation Platform for the organization of the 21st Century

Viral Change™: Our social movement platform plus ‘Operating System’ is 15 year old this year. When we started to work […]

May 7th, 2015

No list of ‘The best treats of X’ or ‘The 10 habits of Y’ surprises me anymore.

1. These 9 features (below) define a good manager in Google. 2. You have Google as a model company ( […]

May 6th, 2015

Listening is more than being silent. Learn to spot the listener, and call out the ones who pretend.

There is a difference between listening and just waiting to speak. You can spot people doing either. Some people don’t […]

May 5th, 2015

Steal ideas, implant with caution, observe, tweak, observe again, never close your eyes.

Innovation and renewal requires your windows open to the world. Plenty of organizations out there are experimenting with models, far […]

May 4th, 2015

The battle for what? The UK General Election has an accounting narrative. My post Charlie Hebdo election placard reads: Je ne suis pas un numéro.

The UK general election is in its final days. Even if you don’t live in the UK, what is happening […]

May 3rd, 2015

Trophy employees, their sugar company and its useful idiots

In any organization they are positive deviants (deviants from expected norms, who achieve results ) and other ‘statistical abnormalities’, by […]

May 2nd, 2015

‘We are both saying the same with different words’. No, we are not.

Groupthink arrives when the group agrees with itself on everything, dismisses the external ones who disagree, ignores warnings, ignores facts, […]

May 1st, 2015

The halo effect of a budget cut: thinking postponed

A budget cut is a budget cut. Everybody recognises one when in front of one. Organizations don’t impose them just […]

April 30th, 2015

Single track thinking, the road to a sure end (if your don’t care whether it’s the right end or the wrong end)

‘Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop’. That was Lewis Carroll advice […]

April 29th, 2015

Will ‘Enterprise Social Networks’ fail in the same way as ‘Knowledge Management’ did? It’s behaviours, stupid.

Knowledge management was an idea hijacked by IT. When management of knowledge became buying the Mother of All Portals, and […]

April 28th, 2015

Some companies are run as a Permanent Focus Group

In some organizations, daily life and the day to day meetings feel like a Permanent Focus Group. People spend their […]

April 27th, 2015

Take over a grey area, adopt an orphan project, sponsor an idea in exile

The Business English language (yes, there is one) uses the word accountability often associated to the word ‘taking’, as in […]

April 26th, 2015

Some restructuring does not seem part of the solution. Bigger problems continue to appear. And the Fire Brigade has now a permanent sit in the Boardroom.

Stanislaw Andreski ( 1919-2007) in his little big book ‘Social Science as Sorcery’, writing about the influence of the social […]

April 25th, 2015

2 real cases of Business Surrealism

We offered a client unlimited support for a project, for a fixed cost. The clienr understood. Corporate Procurement didn’t. It […]

April 24th, 2015

The corrosion of logic: from ‘why-what-how’, to ‘how, what, maybe why’.

There was a time when the logic of things started with a why, followed with a what and ended in […]

April 23rd, 2015

The problem is that all we say is that ‘the problem is’. There is no ‘and’.

We need to improve communication is not the same as this is what we need to do to improve communication, […]

April 22nd, 2015

Too-too land is a prison and too-too managers are its guards. This is what life there looks like.

The company is too big to change. We are too small to compete. It’s too early for a Leadership Development. […]

April 21st, 2015

The 15 key Viral Change™ principles

I have asked many times to list them. Here they are: 1. There is no change unless it is behavioural […]

April 20th, 2015

The good, the bad and the ugly of ‘Powerful Oversimplifications’

‘Powerful oversimplifications’ was the term used by Bruce Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to define the matrixes, […]

April 19th, 2015

Another week, another McKinsey report, another ‘sharing of results’. OMG, we can do better.

I wrote before that if you have some doubts about some data, you just have to say that it comes […]

April 18th, 2015

Five ‘structures’ in search of a corporate space. Leaders, this is your homework.

  These are ‘functions’ and ‘structures’ in need of spaces in the organization. You may not be brave enough, or […]

April 17th, 2015

Our real worlds and their avatars: management beware.

In the words of a pioneer of Psychology, we’d be better off grabbing the reality of humanity for what it […]

April 17th, 2015

My Stockholm (airport) Syndrome

Arriving at the clean and clinical Stockholm airport, my pre-booked taxi is failing me. I have some time to spear […]

April 15th, 2015

Karaoke management consulting

Is this what people want? Singing along what the Big Gurus have provided? Music and lyrics? Some times I feel […]

April 14th, 2015

The Returning Bomber Paradox: a case of reframing the problem. More on Critical Thinking.

In WWII there was a curious episode of injection of critical thinking, not entirely well publicised. Big airplanes bombers in […]

April 13th, 2015

‘Invert, always invert’: a fundamental, zero-cost, unstuck management technique

Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi, a 19th century Swiss mathematician is remembered by many things in his scientific turf, but by […]

April 12th, 2015

Bring ‘character’ back.

We call it character assassination for a reason. It’s the ultimate attack. The attack to the uniqueness of an individual, […]

April 11th, 2015

Hang on, I thought lions…

This is a quote repeated hundred times, attributed to hundred people, reproduced in hundred posters and that you can find […]

April 10th, 2015

The market for Second Hand Thoughts is flourishing, never been so huge. But outsourcing your mind is the ultimate laziness.

Many of us spend quite a lot of our time in what we call ‘work’. The business day has now […]

April 9th, 2015

The End of Management, not the end of managing. Here I go again.

In the organization, ‘people mobilization’ is the name of the game It is the working title of one of my […]

April 8th, 2015

The “Sokal Syndrome”: Intellectual nudity, Intellectual Impostures, Mind Grafitters and Airport Books Business School Graduates

The 1966 Spring/Summer (special) issue of Social Text, an academic, “fashionable American cultural studies journal”, featured an article entitled “Transgressing […]

April 7th, 2015

Corporate language needs a transfusion of humanity. It can be done.

Corporate speak is of course tribal. So, to belong, you have to speak the tribal idiom. I have just finished […]

April 6th, 2015

Corporate culture? Start with subcultures, find the tribes, and look for the unwritten rules of their dynamics.

With some exceptions, there is no such a thing as single, global, monolithic corporate culture. There is usually a confederation […]

April 5th, 2015

Diversity is not a ratio.

Wow! A woman at the helm! I still remember, vaguely, the first time I heard in one of my multiple […]

April 4th, 2015

Busy-ness is either a symptom, a warning, or a serious disease. Never a healthy state.

Busyness could be a cancer. It has nothing to do with business even if it’s just one letter different. Busyness […]

April 3rd, 2015

‘Memorable’ is beautiful. ‘Exceeding expectations’ is sad, tired, and as charismatic as a dead fish

Meeting expectation, exceeding expectations and all that jazz! It’s often said that success equals performance minus expectations. Three comments on […]

April 2nd, 2015

Does the distinction ‘leader-manager’ need to be retired? I dare to suggest.

I must confess I have always been, I suspect one of the very few, uncomfortable with the distinction leader-manager. It […]

April 1st, 2015

Alibi to keep the status quo: ‘We are a regulated industry’

Amongst my clients I have a good representation of ‘regulated industries’ such as pharmaceuticals and financial services. I, myself, spent […]

March 31st, 2015

Nine basic contradictions in organizational life. Ignore at your peril.

Mastering healthy tension between them, or surrounding to an ‘impossible alignment’ is a choice for leaders and managers. The worse […]

March 30th, 2015

Science advances by a series of funerals. And some management practices are not feeling very well.

‘Science advances by a series of funerals’. This is how John Brockman, founder of The Edge, and editor of a […]

March 29th, 2015

Benchmarking as a health hazard. Cause of managers severe neck pain confirmed

Benchmarking is a rear-mirror strategy. It’s about catching up with something that has already happened. People who spend too much […]

March 28th, 2015

I gave money to one of two equally noble fundraising efforts. Why? I don’t’ like robots.

Same experience in two different trips with two different airlines. The cabin crew at some point launches a fundraising plea […]

March 27th, 2015

My 20 Rules of Leadership, ‘following extensive research’ (inside my mind)

These are my 20 Rules of Leadership. After extensive research… Oh, no, wait a minute. It is true field research. […]

March 26th, 2015

Change management: Harvard, you have a problem

I am picking on Harvard because John Kotter is prof Emeritus there and he has been the master of the […]

March 25th, 2015

Ad absurdum, but it may work

A man is walking alongside the road with a bag of rice and throwing rice outside the road. Another man […]

March 24th, 2015

The New York Times announces the new editor of The Guardian: ‘The Guardian Picks a Woman as its editor’

Congratulations to The New York Times for their headline announcing the new editor of The Guardian newspaper (UK/US/Global). We are […]

March 23rd, 2015

‘What if it’s genuine?’ A disruptive question in a paranoid era when the assumption is deception.

Politicians will lie, their messages will be spin, they can’t be trusted. Many are corrupt. Companies with progressive social initiatives […]

March 22nd, 2015

The company as a machine: a 90’s ideology still alive today.

This is number 2 in the list of Idea-Logic systems (ideologies) I have started to share yesterday (The Idea-Logic (ideology) […]

March 21st, 2015

The Idea-Logic (ideology) of a company. (1) Business as war.

Companies, as large or not so large social groupings, have an ideology ( a logic of ideas). It may not […]

March 20th, 2015

The slack advantage: ‘The minute the future becomes unpredictable, efficiency can become your enemy’.

I wrote before in these Daily Thoughts that a bit of inefficiency is very efficient An interview with Adam Pisoni, […]

March 19th, 2015

Managing by ‘the short term numbers’: what I learnt many years ago from a screen on the wall

A McKinsey article on Finance (2015) quotes: As a result of their focus on short-term EPS, major companies often pass […]

March 18th, 2015

Lead in Poetry, manage in Prose.

I am of course paraphrasing Mario Cuomo’s ‘You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose’. Cuomo (1932-2015) was an American […]

March 17th, 2015

20 years of experience, or 1 year of experience repeated 20 times?

It was a cruel joke form the times of Re-engineering. ‘Here it goes Joe’, started the joke. Then the quote: […]

March 16th, 2015

The moral choices of leadership, courtesy of Pedro, my taxi driver in Panama

I broke my antisocial tradition in taxi rides and started a conversation with my Panama driver. I asked him who […]

March 15th, 2015

Articulating your core belief system, plus finding your ‘Space in the world’. The re-framing of the company steering wheel (4 and 5 of 5)

We have been exploring briefly in the last days the Steering system of the company under the formula: (1) Space […]

March 14th, 2015

From Values to Non-negotiable Behaviours. Continuing the reframing of the company steering system in 2015. (3 of 5)

The trouble with value systems is that, very often, they have no proper translation into pragmatic and visible expectations that […]

March 13th, 2015

The Organizational Logic: the basic people algorithms that steer the navigation. Reframing the company steering system in 2015. (2 of 5)

The previous Daily Thoughts introduced the formula: (1) Space in the World (Purpose) + (2) Core Beliefs + (3) Non […]

March 12th, 2015

Beyond mission and vision …and the rest. Reframing the company steering system in 2015. (1 of 5)

Many companies operate under some sort of ‘Mission and Vision’ framework, often also accompanied, or preceded, by a statement of […]

March 11th, 2015

Since anything can be translated into numbers, the possibilities of being fooled are immense.

The late Stanislav Andreski (1919-2007) British Professor of Social Sciences, in one of his vintage passages in ‘Social Sciences as […]

March 10th, 2015

‘If you have two guys who think the same, fire one of them’

As many provocative quotes go, the caricature of the extreme makes the point. We in organizations often suffer from the […]

March 9th, 2015

The ‘Working from home’, distracting discussion.

Is working from home ‘a matter of trust’? The Guardian supplement on ‘Top Employers Uk’ (28 February 2015) says so. […]

March 8th, 2015

The company culture is its operating system. It may need upgrades.

The company culture is its operating system. As such, we need to take care of it, keep it healthy, clean […]

March 7th, 2015

Strategy: governed by the starting point, not the endpoint. (King’s College War Studies 1, Michael Porter nil)

Lawrence Freedman has written a massive work on Strategy. Freedman is professor of War Studies at King’s College (London) and […]

March 6th, 2015

I dread ‘robust’ and ‘sustainable’ cultures.

Culture is a double-edge sword. On one hand, it can host the most beautiful and sophisticate developments, enhance people’s life, […]

March 5th, 2015

Two way in vivo fertilization Human Resources – Business. The 2015 Protocol.

I remember the time when I was working in Pharmaceuticals (how sad is to start a sentence with ‘I remember […]

March 4th, 2015

Daily Thoughts is one year old today! Blow the candle with me.

Today, exactly one year ago, I started the Daily Thoughts. Published every day at 08:00 am GMT in my personal […]

March 3rd, 2015

“If you want to revenge someone, prepare two graves”. On leadership and digging.

This is one of the many pearls of wisdom from Confucius.  Your revenge may kill the adversary but a bit […]

March 2nd, 2015

Community Organizing 1, Harvard MBA nil.

When Uber, the ride-on-demand business growing across the world, had a problem, didn’t call management consultants, but a political campaigner/social […]

March 1st, 2015

‘A man can put up with almost any how if he has a why’

That was Nietzsche on change management! It goes to the core of the issue of how we all try to […]

February 28th, 2015

The hour of Radical Management Thinking. The lines are open.

The hour has come. Radical is the word. From the Latin, radix, it means root. We need to get to […]

February 27th, 2015

Critical Thinking self-test. A 10 point health check for your organization, and yourself

If any of these are a good picture of your organization, you need to put ‘critical thinking’ in the water […]

February 26th, 2015

Management (Education) as Sorcery? Just plagiarizing a dead professor.

Over the years, I have learnt not to trust any expert who starts a paragraph with ‘Research shows that…’ It […]

February 25th, 2015

Standing out, standing for, sameness and differentiation. Just thinking aloud

Let me elevate the question of ‘differentiation’ to a higher level. Product differentiation? Sure. How different is different, that is […]

February 24th, 2015

My friends, the monks, secret weapon: the asterisk. I want 2015 Leadership with tons of them.

My best friends are monks of the type that don’t talk much. So we don’t talk much. I visit them […]

February 23rd, 2015

Trivialising management recipes won’t get us anywhere. ‘Having fun’ comes at the top of the ridiculous. Referring to the NHS is ludicrous.

A piece in The Guardian by Christina Patterson (‘writer and broadcaster’) entitled ‘The secret to an effective workforce is fun’ […]

February 22nd, 2015

But what do they think? What do they want us to do? Why don’t they just tell us?

In my consulting work, it is incredibly frequent to see people stuck with a question: ‘but what to they want […]

February 21st, 2015

Scott Adams/Dilbert thinks that ‘passion’ in business success is overrated. He has a point. ‘Passion’ is a beautiful trap.

I wrote yesterday that the success formula is ‘ Be passionate but buy the damned ticket’. I have more on […]

February 20th, 2015

God’s answer to somebody who complained to Him that he did not win the lottery: ‘Buy that damned ticket!’ (Passionate people, take notice)

As Woody Allen said, showing up is 80% of  life. The bookshelves, digital or otherwise, are full of ‘How-To-Succeed-In’ stuff. […]

February 19th, 2015

The only Employee Questionnaire you’ll ever need. Copyright policy: please use, copy, distribute, forward, reuse.

This is my brand new, 10 questions, Employee Engagement/Satisfaction/Climate/All-in-One Survey, or TCP 10. That’s right, this is ‘The Chalfont Project […]

February 18th, 2015

Employee Engagement Surveys: Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

There are two opposite and wrong reactions to Employee (engagement/satisfaction) surveys. In one end, there is the ‘ignore the findings’. […]

February 17th, 2015

HR competence systems need two things: a diet, and a dose of honesty

Medium and big organizations tend to use a competence system that segments people by grades and by degree of competence. […]

February 16th, 2015

Seeking unpredictable answers.

We spend too much time seeking predictable answers. They are not necessarily bad. If I work with Peter and Paul […]

February 15th, 2015

Power creates serious optical problems. It makes you blind. It does it in the family, in the church, in the street, in the bedroom and the boardroom

In the press these days there is the account of the trial in Lille of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, (also known as […]

February 14th, 2015

Choosing between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility

‘Early in life I had to chose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have not […]

February 13th, 2015

Introducing behaviours by the back door. The ‘culture of feed back’ example

There are many ways to introduce, trigger and spread behaviours in organizations, but not many of them are effective and […]

February 12th, 2015

Don’t read this post, it’s not really interesting

Did you hear me? Yes you did, but you are reading it. It’s an old trick. We have said this […]

February 11th, 2015

Five inconvenient truths (AKA what doesn’t matter) about creating an organizational culture (Create a social movement). Cheat Sheet, part 2.

In yesterday’s Daily Thoughts, I shared a Cheat Sheet with 10 points on how to create a social movement. I […]

February 10th, 2015

A Cheat Sheet to create a social movement (Tip = to shape organizational culture, since both are the same)

Mobilizing people. This is another of the Holy Grails (how many have I said we have?) in management. Whether you […]

February 9th, 2015

Pope Francis description of the 15 diseases of the Catholic Church administration apparatus (Curia) says a lot about the universal traps of human organizations.

Pope Francis, spiritual leader to 1.2 billion people, likes to call a cat a cat. He has gained a world […]

February 8th, 2015

One Disruptive Culture Shift, five Outcomes. At least. The 30/30 to 3/3 ‘unreasonable shift’.

Imagine this goal. Let’s shift from 30 people making a decision in 30 days, to 3 people making the same […]

February 7th, 2015

Research is a Google search repeated. ‘Hominem unius Google timeo’ (you may need to Re-Google this)

If my IT people did not have Google handy, and the ability to ‘ask the forum’, I would not have […]

February 6th, 2015

10 reasons why you should scrap annual performance appraisals. Pick one.

1: The ‘annual’ measurement is artificial. It works for budgets and accountants but not for much more. If a project […]

February 5th, 2015

Culture change is not long and difficult. This myth is self-perpetuated. This emperor has no clothes. The emperor is freezing.

Alternative title: A plan longer than six months to see initial success , is not worth the money. I suppose […]

February 4th, 2015

Time to bring in a 77th Brigade to Corporate, Internal and External communications.

Whilst the British Army creates its 77th Brigade of digital warriors, many corporations still think of social media as a […]

February 3rd, 2015

Out of the box, in the box, what box? ‘We-need-to-talk-about-boxes’ and other useful personality profiles

To think out of the box, one has to recognise first that there is a box. Therefore one has to […]

February 2nd, 2015

If skimming is the new reading, critical thinking in organizations will become even harder. Start your own ‘Read-it-all-Movement’.

There are plenty of studies trying to figure out the differences between digital reading and reading a (physical ) book, […]

February 1st, 2015

Backstage Leadership™ ‘ is key to collective leadership, a cornerstone of the modern organization

I believe that one of the fundamental types of leadership in this Century is Backstage Leadership ™  . This is […]

January 31st, 2015

A heroic culture is a sick culture. If the company can only be run on heroic mode, call the doctor. But heroes, individually, are welcome.

We all know, and have, some heroes in an organization. People who jump in, solve problems, make themselves available, walk […]

January 30th, 2015

Richard Branson says ‘Complexity is our enemy’. He is wrong. The only enemy of complexity is in our minds’ inability to manage it.

I am following up on the themes of the last days and, in particular, yesterday’s Thought The organization? It may […]

January 29th, 2015

The organization? It may be complex but it does not have to be complicated. Some simple critical thinking questions may go a long way.

In any evolution of an organization from small to big, the list of challenges is never short.  I have written […]

January 28th, 2015

The 3.45 pm syndrome: diagnosis and treatment, free of charge.

The 3.45 pm syndrome goes as follows. You have a long day meeting. All is going well. It started early, […]

January 27th, 2015

A small company is not a big company in small. In the growth from small to big, the trouble is in the middle.

Small, sometimes entrepreneurial companies (small and entrepreneurial are not the same) enjoy ways of working that are fit for their […]

January 26th, 2015

Organizing, mobilizing, engaging: Harvard Business School or 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? My choice is clear

The recent State of the Union address by US president Obama had, to distant and detached eyes such as mine, […]

January 25th, 2015

Customer memo to corporate: Not in my name.

We do so many things on behalf of the customers! Or because the customers. Or for the customers. We reorganise, […]

January 24th, 2015

Slow, tired, unexpected crashes, not enough memory, poor battery: I mean your company, not your laptop. You need an upgrade.

Think of your company processes and systems as its operating system, the equivalent of your human Windows 7, or 8, […]

January 23rd, 2015

The curious practice of ‘taking responsibility’ in the form of resigning and passing the monkey

This a curious practice. You are in front of a mess, a business fiasco, something perhaps gone horribly wrong. The […]

January 22nd, 2015

Critical thinking in the organization is fitness, health and fresh air, all in one.

The difference between the critical thinker and the un-critical one is not a difference in IQ, or mental strength, or […]

January 21st, 2015

Memo to Mr Jack Welch’s about his ‘10 lessons in leadership’.

Dear Mr Welch: I have never been very fond of you. It’s nothing personal. Over the years, I have admired […]

January 20th, 2015

Note to Internal Communications people: occupy the (corporate) streets.

The Communications function in organizations has still today one of the best chances to drive strategic change. To do this, […]

January 19th, 2015

Organizing, mobilizing, orchestrating: these are ‘Managing’, 2015 version.

When people form the US Republican side wanted to dismiss the importance of a ‘less-well-known’ Obama coming to the fry, […]

January 18th, 2015

Speed or quality; critical thinking or fast decisions: the OR is today unaffordable.

Back in 1994, Jim Collins, consultant an author, gained a lot of attention with his book Built To Last: Successful […]

January 17th, 2015

There are off-the-shelf accounting packages to buy and use. There can’t be such a thing as an off-the-shelf Leadership Development Programme

Avoid off-the-shelf leadership programmes. Pret-a-porter leadership development is attractive but unlikey to be a good answer. There are not universal […]

January 16th, 2015

Leadership is not a HR topic. It’s also not outsource-able. You are stuck with it.

Imagine this statement: Only 27% of global CFOs say they are well prepared to deal with financial management. Terrible,  isn’t […]

January 15th, 2015

10 Ways to slow poisoning an organization (part 4 &5 /5) More plots, end of story

Previously in 10 Ways to slow poisoning an organization: Script 1: I just know. Subtitle: I just know that we’ll […]

January 14th, 2015

More plots in the script library: 10 Ways to slow poisoning an organization (part 3/5)

Previously in ’10 Ways to slow poisoning an organization’: Script 1: I just know. Subtitle: I just know that we’ll […]

January 13th, 2015

10 Ways to slow poisoning an organization (part 2/5) More scripts and plots

Previously in ’10 ways to slow poisoning an organization’: Script 1: I just know. Subtitle: I just know that we’ll […]

January 12th, 2015

10 Ways to slow poisoning an organization (part 1/5) First plots.

  This is in part a self-test. I wrote an article on this in 2003, that is 11 years ago […]

January 11th, 2015

2015 Number one leadership asset: self-criticism. Number two: unlearning. Number three…

Charles Munger commencement speech at Harvard Business School in 1986 contains this gem of a paragraph: Most people early achieve […]

January 10th, 2015

The Linked In half-paradox is connecting with people already connected with you. But the strength of connectivity lies in a ‘Weak Link In’, not in a ‘Strong Link In’.

Is Linked In a Digital Rolodex? A digital Resume/CV Library? Do you connect with people who have already given you […]

January 9th, 2015

The trouble with ‘happiness’ in business: ultimate goal or oil for the machine? None of the above? Or not the business of business?

The pursue of happiness as a business goal and/or cultural goal, encounters all spectrum of emotions. For some, a naïve […]

January 8th, 2015

‘It looks like a Bell Curve. It must be a HR Performance Appraisal’. Not in this Century. Normal distributions are dead

Performance appraisal or performance management are one thing. Force Ranking into an artificial normal distribution of people in the organization, […]

January 7th, 2015

Trespasses will be recruited: a four-word strategy in the Battle of Ideas

Societal issues, clash of ideologies, fundamentalism, political engagement (or lack of it), organizational innovation, Leadership 2015, no matter what direction […]

January 6th, 2015

Create fast innovation spaces: kindle ideas in your own Lab126

We are social animals. We live in spaces, with rules, with rituals, in tribal environments. We are both architects of […]

January 5th, 2015

One single behavior can create a revolution. It would work both, inside and outside the company.

This is Elizabeth Warren, American Senator, ex Harvard professor, who is ‘not running for President’ (as most future runners say), […]

December 24th, 2014

Leaving the year behind, I see the next one full of shared possibilities. Merry Christmas!

‘The un-examined life’, a philosophical, Socratic concept that I have referred to before, is a good prompt for the end-of-year […]

December 23rd, 2014

Leadership: still the elusive friend that refuses management captivity.

Daily Thoughts are back in full on the 5th of January together with the pre-launch of my new book ‘However; […]

December 22nd, 2014

Thoughts on (de) cluttering, for the Christmas pause

Daily Thoughts full steam version is back on the 5th of January. But the conversation continues. Just whispering… I guess […]

December 21st, 2014

The ‘Daily Thoughts’ will resume in January, but, daily thinking does not go on holiday. Two notes on our organizational ‘structures’

There are 245 ‘Daily Thoughts’ in the collection. In my new book HOWEVER, which I will be pre-launching soon, they […]

December 20th, 2014

A pause to create some space (walking the talk!) But the conversation is still going. Happy holidays!

Time out! I am pausing the Daily Thoughts until the New Year. Time to reflect and regroup. Since March, I […]

December 19th, 2014

The OCD enterprise is, not surprisingly, depressed.

The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of automatic movements and rituals. Patients have to repeat sequences of events, typically […]

December 18th, 2014

The best question is the one which has no answer

Recently, I keep finding myself going back all the time to ‘the art of questioning’,  as something being at the […]

December 17th, 2014

Will the last employee in Command and Control Inc/Ltd/Plc/SA please turn off the lights? (But have a good lantern with you)

The new, emerging organizations, many people would agree, are more collaborative, more leadership-distributed, less top-down, with more levels of empowerment […]

December 16th, 2014

The clouds move to follow me; the traffic lights go green when I move

These two statements represent a form of magical thinking of the kind seen in ancient humans (clouds) and todays humans […]

December 15th, 2014

The pharma company that forgot to display its purpose

A few months ago, I was in the lobby of a global pharma company waiting for my appointment. I sat […]

December 14th, 2014

The 3 Grand Ds (‘Direction, Discovery and Destiny’), have also their 3 little personal and powerful ‘d’ sisters.

In the book by Gary Hamel and C.K Prahalad, ‘Competing for the Future’, the authors launched what since then I […]

December 13th, 2014

What psychoanalysis taught me about root causes: the comfort of finding them is not matched by the quality of their truth

The degree of comfort in discovering the roots of things, cannot be taken as proof of the truth. The best […]

December 12th, 2014

I make my best clients restless. I make the others comfortable

My work as organization architect entails exploring avenues, not the offloading of  a dictionary of templates onto my clients. With […]

December 11th, 2014

There is something only you can do: be yourself. Everything else can be outsourced.

There is something only you can live: your own life. Socrates said that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. […]

December 10th, 2014

It takes only one question to know about your model of leadership (and there is always an alternative question, just in case)

Don’t define leadership for me. Tell me what legacy you want to leave behind, and I’ll know. What am I […]

December 9th, 2014

Memo to all corporate supporting functions: You are fired. Reapply now. Lines are open

Memo to all functions and Business Partners (HR, OD, L&D, Internal/Corporate Communications, Strategy Units, Finance, Health and Safety, Branding/PR, and […]

December 8th, 2014

To be a better leader, take a holiday from yourself

The space of your Self is occupied. By you. This is good news and bad news. On one hand, you […]

December 7th, 2014

‘Entrepreneurial, start-up spirit’: Can I have one of these, please?

Many people, and certainly many of my clients, would like to have, or not to lose, ‘the entrepreneurial spirit’. Some […]

December 6th, 2014

Human Resources and People in the Payroll, not the same thing anymore.

An insightful report from the Deloitte Human Capital services entitled ‘Rethinking Talent Management’ (December 2014), reminds us that ‘workforces’ are […]

December 5th, 2014

A ‘culture of X’ is not the same as a culture of ‘training on X’. Safety is a good example

Organizations have traditionally used a three-legged approach to creating a  ‘culture’: Communications, training and compliance. None of those in isolation […]

December 4th, 2014

The Single Bad Apple behavioural theory: careless about statistical logic

At the end of the summer, I had to stay for a very short period in a hospital, that is […]

December 3rd, 2014

Leadership’s hearing problems

‘And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music’. Friedrich […]

December 2nd, 2014

Build your own Employee Engagement argument for free. You can’t go wrong.

Here are three baskets full of concepts: Basket one: Working conditions, Flexibility at work, Pay and perks, Reward and recognition, […]

December 1st, 2014

External consultants and internal managers share the same four-step ladder of engagment with others.

Whether you are an external consultant, or a manager within an organization, you have a four step ladder as a […]

November 30th, 2014

The healing smell of a corporate bonfire. (The Hernan Cortes Exit strategy).

The British retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has ‘Plan A’ as the title for their vast corporate and social responsibility […]

November 29th, 2014

The ‘Keep Moving’ strategy always wins.

A while ago, I was told an anecdote about an MBA student who returned to his alma mater for a […]

November 28th, 2014

The ‘who-does-what’ and the ‘who-knows-what’ models of the organization, lead to different worlds.

If you had to build an organization from scratch, or re-design one, you would have options about some models to […]

November 27th, 2014

The company as an information highway? Managers as regulators of information traffic

The organization is a social network. Social networks are conduits of  information. There is no doubt that information goes up […]

November 26th, 2014

Visit the Google graveyard and pay your respects

If you go to the Orkut page within Google, you get this note: ‘Orkut was officially shut down on September […]

November 25th, 2014

‘What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not’.

This phrase is attributed to the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, the same who described some arguments or theories as so bad […]

November 24th, 2014

Management ‘post-hoc fallacies’, but damn good stories!

In Latin ‘Post hoc ergo propter hoc’. Free translation: B follows A, so A must be the cause of B. […]

November 23rd, 2014

‘Paths, not works’. A philosopher’s metaphor that explains well our leadership challenges.

Philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) requested before his death that the collection of his writings be called ‘Paths, not works’. He […]

November 22nd, 2014

‘Simplify, then exaggerate’: a saying from journalism, with different versions in our organizations

‘First simplify, then exaggerate’ is a norm attributed to the praxis of Journalism. It has the merit of condensing clearly […]

November 21st, 2014

Not all high caffeine shots of motivation work well. Inspirational stories have pros and cons.

Business loves inspirational stories. The world of entrepreneurship and leadership constantly draw on stories. Many people love sports analogies. Some […]

November 20th, 2014

My local bakery inspired me

I used to live in a small village in England where we just had one, also small, very popular bakery. […]

November 19th, 2014

Not even bottom-up. Certainly not top-down. Lasting organizational change is a polycentric social movement, or it isn’t.

In organizational life we are used to the dichotomy ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom up’, for example, when we talk about change. […]

November 18th, 2014

Big Banks have been fined again. A tiny fraction of the fines with the right behavioural change approach would change their cultures for ever.

It seems like the Weekly News about Banks Bad Behaviour. This time about  big fines. ‘Between fines and legal costs, […]

November 17th, 2014

Failure has become a badge of honour in some places. Or at least, something to show on the CV as an asset.

A recent article in the New York Times refers to a Conference/initiative in San Francisco where the agenda is built […]

November 16th, 2014

‘I told them once; they didn’t understand. I told them twice; they didn’t understand. I told them three times … and I understood’

I don’t know where this quote comes from, but I have always seen it as a source of reflection on […]

November 15th, 2014

The only common feature that successful companies share, is that they are not failing.

Management Theory (if there is one) and management practice are not physics. We don’t have very solid data about what […]

November 14th, 2014

Not all ambiguity in the organization is bad. There is, in fact, ‘good ambiguity’ and ‘bad ambiguity’.

In most organizations there is a certain dose of ambiguity: accountabilities not completely clear, some overlapping of responsibilities, dynamic tensions […]

November 13th, 2014

If you want to increase employee engagement and employee satisfaction, increase your company performance (yes, the order is not a typo)

There is evidence, intelligently articulated by Phil Rosenzweig in 2007 (The Halo Effect), that a series of measures of employee […]

November 12th, 2014

Great players, great training, wrong game

It’s a new world out there. You’ll realize this truth if you open the windows of your organization and let […]

November 11th, 2014

The Lego and the Jigsaw: two ways to build an organization

In the previous Daily Thoughts posting, I said that successful growth contains the seeds of its failure. Managing the organizational […]

November 10th, 2014

Every successful company’s growth contains seeds of failure. At some point, organizational complexity could outweigh the business benefits.

Organizations grow in many ways: organically and quietly, organically and exponentially, by acquisitions or mergers etc. In every step of […]

November 9th, 2014

Lose control, to gain more control (2/2) Starting the Control Diet

I said in the first part of this Daily Thought that we needed to grab the (management) Paradox of Control. […]

November 8th, 2014

Lose control, to gain more control (1/2) : The paradox and the symptoms

From my Disruptive Ideas book and Accelerator, I’d like to bring this one to the table as a follow up […]

November 7th, 2014

The cost of checking. Looking at number one cause of organizational ineffectiveness.

If somebody would care to quantify the cost of constantly checking with people whether they are doing what they are […]

November 6th, 2014

Preserving the problem when dedicated to finding the solution.

It’s called the Shirky principle,  after Clay Shirky, prolific American author of bestsellers such as ‘Here comes everybody’(2008)  and ‘Cognitive […]

November 5th, 2014

‘I am now senior enough that I only ask questions’

I heard this as a true statement attributed to a Japanese executive in a corporate meeting. Apparently this person had […]

November 4th, 2014

A small family farm in Italy: my old MBA had the wrong toolkits

When I did my MBA, many moons ago, I had to go through lots of case studies. What else? I […]

November 3rd, 2014

Teamocracies and Networkracies have different citizens: in-habitants in team-work, riders in net-work.

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was […]

November 2nd, 2014

Madam, the ribbon is free.

‘Discovering’ an old article that I wrote years ago, when I used to have a management column in a monthly […]

November 1st, 2014

It’s now official: change is ‘activist’ driven. There is now a McKinsey article on this. Wait a minute. Viral Change was first published in 2006

I am delighted that a McKinsey article on ‘change’ in October 2014 (‘Build a change platform, not a change program’) […]

October 31st, 2014

A behavioural epidemic can’t be fought from within. It needs a behavioural counter-epidemic to take over

I have explored this theme before in my Daily Thoughts (June 4th)  but I feel compelled to go back! Behavioural […]

October 30th, 2014

‘Hill-climbing’ as a model for disruptive thinking – Guest blog by Scott E. Fahlman

There’s something to keep in mind when trying to create a disruptive change:  Most such attempts fail, and when one […]

October 29th, 2014

Beware of the assumed magic properties of the word ‘Prioritize!’

‘Prioritize’ is a word that I particularly dislike because it is overused and  misused in a terrible way. I have […]

October 28th, 2014

‘What if the problem is me?’ An uncomfortable, key question for leaders

Reflective leadership has gone into progressive short supply. In an era where prescriptive answers seem to dominate reflective ones, it […]

October 27th, 2014

Four types of Employee Engagement, with the compliments of the German Army

I was told sometime, somewhere, by somebody (you can see the strength of my recollection), and then found this again […]

October 26th, 2014

To stop doing some things is a great source of added value. Try it!

One of the very frequent questions that I ask my clients is what they can stop doing so that they […]

October 25th, 2014

Full-blown Disruptive Innovation is not the Holy Grail for any business. But injections of Disruptive and Critical Thinking could be life saving.

It is unrealistic to expect upside down disruptive innovation in any business. But the absence of disruptive thinking may be […]

October 24th, 2014

There must be a better way (I have good news)

There must be a better way than having 200 consultants landing in my company and doing the stuff for me, […]

October 23rd, 2014

Fooled by the one-off big event

A great deal of energy, time, attention and money is being invested in the production of the one-off, usually large, […]

October 22nd, 2014

‘Make it work first, then clean it up’ versus ‘Clarify all first, then act’. You Choose!

Imagine this situation, which I am sure you have never come across. Just kidding. A ‘project’ (not necessarily defined as […]

October 21st, 2014

John Kotter’s 8 Step Change Management model is the best change model of the last Century. Why this is still alive in 2014 is beyond me.

John Kotter, Harvard Emeritus professor and prolific author, has made a significant contribution to Leadership and Change for many years. […]

October 20th, 2014

My Russian Dolls theory of the organization

No system can be fully understood within the system. No, this is not an esoteric statement but a simple, common […]

October 19th, 2014

The era of Narcissus

In Greek mythology, Narcissus fell in love with himself when looking at his own image reflected in the water. It […]

October 18th, 2014

Iconic leadership: the illusion of copying a one off

Picture this organization.  Closed culture, culture of secrecy, dictatorial CEO. Perhaps a bit unkind, but I have said before, speaking […]

October 17th, 2014

My contradictions are my friends, and they come with me as leader

We praise people because of their ‘clarity of mind’. We say, ‘she is a good manager, she knows what she […]

October 16th, 2014

Do you have a ‘Chaos Monkey’ in your management system? You should.

Many organizations have a Risk Management function of some sort. Often scattered amongst different constituencies: manufacturing, engineering, R&D etc. It […]

October 15th, 2014

‘The Dunbar Number’ and ‘Mad Lean Numbers’: a question of the right critical mass of people to make things happen.

Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist and psychologist, Oxford professor, has formulated that 150 was the “cognitive limit to the number of […]

October 14th, 2014

In the War for Attention within your company, you may need a communication ceasefire

Our faith in communication is enormous. Why? Perhaps because we know well the problems associated with the lack of communication. […]

October 13th, 2014

‘We have a communication problem’ is not always a good start.

‘Lack of communication’ or  ‘a communication problem’, is perhaps number one declared culprit in most of our troubled organizational life. […]

October 12th, 2014

It’s possible to change gears, create a Game Plan or align a full team without agonising.

One of the reasons why I have created a suite of Accelerators is because I believe that sometimes we complicate […]

October 11th, 2014

Competition glorified: you are not a student, employee or citizen, you are a contestant.

I have not counted the number of TV shows, either side of the Atlantic, that are based on individual competition, […]

October 10th, 2014

(5/5) ‘Neuro-offerings’ have arrived in our business organizations. Bring as much critical thinking as you can when confronted with ‘scientific references’ and a stack of brain pictures.

Back to today! Some high calibre neurologists, who, as such, have had access to very special cases of people with […]

October 9th, 2014

I have made clear that I have a problem with the Neuro-explanations of everything.  What we are seeing are multi-colour […]

October 9th, 2014

(4/5) Will knowing which parts of the brain fire and change the colours on an fMRI make us better leaders?

Or, for that matter, knowing which brain circuits are involve in ‘love’, will it make us better lovers? I have […]

October 8th, 2014

(3/5) Neuro-explanations (Marketing, Leadership, Spirituality, you name it), come in Technicolor, and they sell.

The historical interpretations of what is really going on in your head (as we saw in yesterday’s Part 2) are […]

October 7th, 2014

(2/5) A brief history of Mind Digging. The precursors of the current Neuro-worship and Neurobable. From Psycho-explanations to Neuro-explanations.

Each period of history has its own ‘Theory of Everything’.  Psychoanalysis occupied that space for a long time in the […]

October 6th, 2014

(1/5) Neurobable has discovered business. God help us! The current fascination with the Neuro-Anything, worries me.

Is the Brain-worship that we see nowadays in our business arena the new Psychoanalysis? Is the Neuro-explanation of everything, from […]

October 5th, 2014

Built to what?

You may remember the hype around the Collins and Porras book ‘Built to Last’ (1994), a great business book which […]

October 4th, 2014

The One secret of Warren Buffet (tip: it’s not a financial simulation or forecasting software)

There is a tradition of looking into the secrets of successful people such as Warren Buffet. In his case, there […]

October 3rd, 2014

‘Democratic organization’ means well, but it is an unfortunate term.

With the best of intentions, to call an organization a Democracy is an abuse of the term, unless of course, […]

October 2nd, 2014

The books I leave behind in airplanes.

I have lots of books. I have a big library. I am running out of space. I am on a […]

October 1st, 2014

Have as much holidays as you want (just make sure you don’t miss anything)

Sir (and St.) Richard Branson has done his ritual ‘innovative thing’ again, and the press (is it mainly the Anglo-Saxon […]

September 30th, 2014

Innovation? Great, but I am not in charge of it!

Years ago I was talking to a client, a Senior VP in the company, about a project that had to […]

September 29th, 2014

Getting things done: ‘Relationships’ vs. ‘Structures’

A while ago, a telecom client complained to me about his particular division which seemed to work entirely ‘on relationships’. […]

September 26th, 2014

‘Daily Thoughts’ is back on Monday 29th of September at 08:00 GMT+1/BST

Some titles in store, coming to you: Half of the words in  ‘Change Management’ are redundant. Which one you delete […]

August 28th, 2014

I am on leave for a little while

Dear member of the community: I am taking a break to have some personal time. I’ll be back soon. In […]

August 27th, 2014

More on the manager-leader balancing act

I’m on holiday for a few days. Re posting a piece than attracted interesting discussions within a group pf clients. […]

August 26th, 2014

We always have some sort of ‘strategy’. The question is which level, and, does it do what we intend?

I am still on holiday for a few more days I  was asked awhile ago to re-post this little frame […]

August 25th, 2014

Back to Employee Engagement. All the models in one summary, by popular demand

I am on holidays for a few days I am been asked by many to re- publish my six models […]

August 24th, 2014

Time to look at the organization sideways

I am on vacation for just  a few days. I am reviewing past Daily Thoughts and grouping them Take a […]

August 23rd, 2014

I reorganise, ergo sum

I’m taking a break for a short period. Here is an excerpt from my book Homo Imitans A reorganisation has […]

August 22nd, 2014

Choosing what to lose

  “We’ve lost money, we’ve lost nothing We’ve lost honour, we’ve lost a lot We’ve lost confidence, we’ve lost everything? […]

August 21st, 2014

The un-reachable workforce. What NGOs with remote operations teach us about organising work.

Many years ago, I learnt from the UNHCR, the UN refugee Agency based in Denmark, that, many global NGOs of […]

August 20th, 2014

Is this not happening in organizations all the time?

“It was autumn, and the Indians on the reservation asked their new chief if it was going to be a […]

August 19th, 2014

“I am a captain. We are on a collision course.” 2

This is a great history of focus, determination, appeal to progressive levels of authority and some other things. We leaders […]

August 18th, 2014

3 versions of speed

Andrew Grove, ex Intel This business about speed has its limits. Brains don’s speed up.  The exchange of ideas does […]

August 17th, 2014

‘Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig’

Robert Anson Heinlein (1907-1988), American science fiction writer, was famous for his quotes. This is one.  Many uses and interpretations […]

August 16th, 2014

Leadership cannot be unbundled

If you don’t live in Spain, chances are you may have missed the recent headline news about Mr Jordi Pujol, […]

August 15th, 2014

Taking stock: some Daily Thoughts stats and an announcement

There have been 147 Daily Thoughts published at 08:00 am, seven days a week. Email subscriptions have gone up consistently […]

August 14th, 2014

In friends (colleagues, pals, mates, buddies) I trust. Trust in organizations is horizontal. Our management systems are vertical. ‘Huston, we have a problem!’

Get yourself a copy of the Edelman Trust Barometer. The Edelman company produces an excellent annual report on trust (organizations, […]

August 13th, 2014

‘It’s about you, and between you (not us at the top, not the leadership team)’

In one of the multiple accounts of the 2008 Obama campaign, David Plouffe, then campaign manager, wrote in his book […]

August 12th, 2014

Yes I can (profile you). Lessons from political marketing to the running of organizations

Political campaigns a la 2008 and 2012 Obama ones, have well understood, and mastered the art of profiling. Hardly a […]

August 11th, 2014

Can anybody dispel the mystery for me, please? Who are ‘they’?

These are commonly found uses of the expression ‘they’ within organizations. They wont approve this They don’t get it They […]

August 10th, 2014

My last Employee Engagement model. (7/7): Activists on the payroll.

In this model, the employee (1) is an activist, (2) largely working peer-to-peer, and (3) progressing towards (if not arriving […]

August 9th, 2014

Employee Engagement as morally imperative. (6/7) A forgotten model?

Here is a ‘very novel’ concept. Employee Engagement is needed because… it’s good in and of itself. Because work enhances […]

August 8th, 2014

Employee Engagement Models continue (5/7): ‘The Investors metaphor’.

This is model 4 of the series.  The concept is simple. Imagine that you, as an employee, are in reality […]

August 7th, 2014

More on Employee Engagement (4/7): ‘The Cause’. Engagement with the company or within the company?

This is model 3 (but the 4th post, confusing!)  ‘The Cause’. Employees join forcers to work on a Cause: green […]

August 6th, 2014

Employee Engagement week ( and debunking) continues. (3/7): The Happy Cows model

This is model 2 in the pack of 6 that I have described. There is a book, or two, and […]

August 5th, 2014

Debunking the Myths of Employee Engagement (2/7): Giving employees a voice. So, now we have a choir. And then what?

Model 1 of my 6 is what I call, ‘Air time’. It translates into: ‘we recognise that employees’ views are […]

August 4th, 2014

Debunking the Myths of Employee Engagement: a land of Emperors with No Clothes. (1/7) The six models

A while ago I posted my views on Employee Engagement. Since this has become an industry in its own right, […]

August 3rd, 2014

Reclaiming a concept that has lost weight in the business organization: vocation

Vocation is often defined as ‘a strong feeling’ to do something, a job, a career, an occupation, to dedicate one’s […]

August 2nd, 2014

The battle for the 3S : Synthesis, Sense, and Simplicity

Let me share with you my 3S, where I suggest you put your money 1. Synthesis. My followers, readers, clients, […]

August 1st, 2014

Tribal brands that teach us a lesson

This is an anthropology report. We’ve found this tribe: the people all wear the same multi-coloured clothes. They paint their […]

July 31st, 2014

Using national cultural differences to explain everything, is a smokescreen for managerial incompetence.

When I see that the first port of use of managerial justification, particularly difficulties, is ‘cultural differences’, I smell a […]

July 30th, 2014

I’ll say it again: people are not resistant to change

Am I the only voice? ‘People are resistant to change’ is the silliest statement people can make.  I have written […]

July 29th, 2014


Many years ago, I got into Decision Analysis at the hands of my good friend Larry Philips of the London […]

July 28th, 2014

Corporate needs a 60′s counter-culture revolution, and these are five trends that could deliver it.

The 60’s was a counter-culture time of rapid change, whether you liked or not, whether you have lived through it […]

July 27th, 2014

DADYC? (Do Acronyms Drive You Crazy?)

Management cultures, particularly Anglo Saxon, love acronyms. This is something new employees need to learn. If coming from another industry, […]

July 26th, 2014

‘Disruptive’: a word for all seasons, in need of a holiday.

Jill Lepore, author, staff writer at The New Yorker, and Harvard professor of American History has created a little storm, […]

July 25th, 2014

Independence is dead. Write your declaration of Inter-dependence

There was a time when writing a Declaration of Independence was the climax of an identity quest. This is a […]

July 24th, 2014

It’s official: the single, magic bullet, that characterises good leadership is to back off.

It should not surprise us that people are constantly looking for the magic bullet of leadership. What makes a good […]

July 23rd, 2014

Bottom-lining everything is simply silly. Tell the bottom-liners to calm down and speak properly.

The following line is taken from one of multiple leadership coaching service offerings that you can find in the web. […]

July 22nd, 2014

Is the creative working unit ‘the pair’? It would be worth experimenting

A forthcoming book by Joshua Wolf Shenk entitled ‘Powers of Two’ makes an interesting case for what the author calls […]

July 21st, 2014

Corporate Botox

My local DYI/Bricolage/Hardware story has a terrible service. But now, in the tradition started by Wall Mart (tradition now extinct) […]

July 20th, 2014

Your Branding Department is your entire workforce

Your workforce is your sales force, your PR department, your Reputation Management Group, your Brand Managers, your Advocacy Group. It […]

July 19th, 2014

Is ruthlessness a leadership strength?

In times of crisis people look up in search of leadership, and in the looking up, they expect decisiveness, resolution […]

July 18th, 2014

Rebels: they need a cause

There are always rebels and mavericks in organizations, nonconformists, contrarian and deviants. They may be tolerated, ignored, embraced or disregarded. […]

July 17th, 2014

Heroes on the payroll: the good news and the bad news

Some people have a hero within. They have this tremendous ability to mobilize energy, jump in when big issues present, […]

July 16th, 2014

Solutionism as a culture: proficiency in problem solving

I have become apprehensive about the use of the term ‘solutions driven’. I am a big culprit however. I have […]

July 15th, 2014

We buy an elephant and then we train the elephant to behave like a gazelle.

What would be wrong with buying gazelles in the first place? The answer I hear sometimes is, ‘Well, the market […]

July 14th, 2014

Leadership’s Splendid Expeditions

“The history of mankind might be described by a cynic as a series of splendid  expeditions towards the wrong goal […]

July 13th, 2014

‘To save everything, click here’, and its version inside the company

Ckicktivism is the term used to describe the type of pseudo-activism that consists in clicking the ‘Like’ button (Facebook mainly) […]

July 12th, 2014

Don’t start with an alignment obsession. Dissent is good, creative tension even better.

Let me share these scenarios. There are caricatures of common situations. R&D wants to create a product that works. Marketing […]

July 11th, 2014

Why e-mail is a Class A drug for the mind

The addictive properties of email (as we normally use it) can be explained by the laws of behaviour. Shall we […]

July 10th, 2014

Dear Business Development candidate: tell me about things that you have developed in life

If you have a behaviour/value system and you want to recruit people in a way that this value system is […]

July 9th, 2014

The company on a treadmill: devise routine Stress Tests

Banks have had stress tests (imposed) to see how they would cope with difficult market conditions. For example, in the […]

July 8th, 2014

‘It depends’: when ethics, leadership, and values become flexible and adaptable

‘As a partner in the communities in which we operate, we believe the company has a responsibility to conduct itself […]

July 7th, 2014

Collective Leadership: Two Acid Tests.

I call Collective Leadership that state in the evolution of management teams or leadership teams when the power of the […]

July 6th, 2014

Trust is like pregnancy. You can’t have a bit of it

Statements such as ‘I don’t trust him too much’, in reality, mean I don’t trust him at all. The ‘too […]

July 5th, 2014

Cultures are not created by training. Barclays is missing the point.

A piece in The Guardian announces that Barclays is going to send 2100 Compliance Staff to the Judge Business School […]

July 4th, 2014

Full of Embassies: The company is not an Internal Diplomatic Service

People in organizations spend a lot of time representing somebody else or something else. It feels sometimes that the company […]

July 3rd, 2014

Top Influencers 2, Top Leadership 1 (Hierarchical power in the organization is half of the ‘peer-to-peer’ power)

Let me share a piece of our own research that has just come up from the oven. In a 1200 […]

July 2nd, 2014

For every empowering leader, there must be followers who want to be empowered

In all these years of organizational consulting, I have found leaders who don’t empower their people, but, I have found […]

July 1st, 2014

The death of the charismatic leadership has been grossly exaggerated

As Mark Twain said of himself, ‘The death of the charismatic leader has been grossly exaggerated’. The problem is that […]

June 30th, 2014

The self-management train has left the station. The journey is very bumpy. Arrivals TBD. Watch out for updates

The historical existence of several layers of management in any organization may be related to its size. In a command […]

June 29th, 2014

When the only thing you have is a hammer

‘When the only thing you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ If you have a predetermined view […]

June 28th, 2014

Faster horses

Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ‘Faster horses strategies’ […]

June 27th, 2014

Maximising, optimising, satisficing

These three things are different. They represent three forms of decision making, but I suggest they also represent three different […]

June 26th, 2014

Make your trade off(s) transparent

In my experience, people can understand budget cuts, but there are several types of acceptance, leading to several levels of […]

June 25th, 2014

To learn how to create a culture of customer focus, use one.

Disclaimer: I don’t have shares in the company, or discounts, or commissions! No place I know can match Chateauform  ( […]

June 24th, 2014

The three ‘magic’ words: transparency, clarity and fairness

These three organizational ‘magic words’ manage to get mixed up a lot. It’s hard to believe because they are so […]

June 23rd, 2014

So, what do you do Joe?

Spot the differences at the dinner party or barbeque. So, what do you do Joe?. [You must start with ‘so’ […]

June 22nd, 2014

Trust is tribal, it’s ‘people like me’, it’s horizontal

Consistently over years, the Edelman’s Trust Barometer keeps telling us that the greatest source of trust inside the organization belongs […]

June 21st, 2014

When management is overweight, leadership may be starving

I must confess I have never been 100% comfortable with the traditional distinction by Warren Bennis between leaders and managers […]

June 20th, 2014

Not even wrong

Consistently attributed to physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who had no time for sloppy thinking, ‘not even wrong’ has become a category […]

June 19th, 2014

‘When the sea was calm, all boats alike; showed mastership in floating’

This is scene one of ‘The Tragedy of Coriolanus’ by William Shakespeare. It says a lot to us. It’s easy […]

June 18th, 2014

In need of Netflix irrational logic

The American version of the British ‘House of Cards’ (book, then TV series), is a fine piece of art. Kevin  […]

June 17th, 2014

Gene and Tony are coming next week

If you work in a corporation with headquarters and affiliates, or scattered in may places, or with international sites, you […]

June 16th, 2014

Let’s elevate the confusion to a higher level

There are times when you get stuck in arguments.  Discussions seem to go nowhere. You are running in circles and […]

June 15th, 2014

Could the ‘global teenager’ teach us about ‘global leadership’?

Today, there are more similarities between a teenager in Shanghai and a teenager in Rome, or Singapore and Madrid, or […]

June 14th, 2014

Purpose is the new Black (and Solidarity is a building block)

A combination of wisdom, moral compass and social doctrine from the Catholic Church, scattered through a series of documents over […]

June 13th, 2014

‘Bed in ten minutes, you can play till then’, versus ‘You have ten more minutes to play before bed’.

A little booklet on Behavioural Economics for kids gives this wonderful example on how the same ten minutes can be […]

June 12th, 2014

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand”

These were, Milton Friedman’s (1912-2006), Nobel Prize winner in Economics, unkind words about governments. The leader of the Chicago School […]

June 11th, 2014

For leadership, look around, not in research papers

Leadership has traditional sources of learning, reflection, role modelling and a ‘body of knowledge’. There are four that dominate. This […]

June 10th, 2014

Gandhi’s concept of Western Civilization

Interrogated by a journalist: ‘Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilization?’, Mr Gandhi answered:  ‘I think that it […]

June 9th, 2014

Initiative fatigue, leading to exhaustion , leading to switching off.

Many organizations seem to run layers of parallel initiatives, all directed at noble goals, and in many cases, without talking […]

June 8th, 2014

‘God, make me chaste, but not yet’

Augustine of Hippo, Saint Augustine in the Christian world, was very clear with his plea. He had a good idea […]

June 7th, 2014

The Great ‘How to’ takeover

There is a period in child development when children start asking the question ’why?’. They usually seem unsatisfied with one […]

June 6th, 2014

We are not resistant to change

I was reminded, by a recent newspaper article, that Michelle Obama was born into the Chicago of the 1960’s where […]

June 5th, 2014

This company will reboot itself from Friday to Saturday. Apologies, services will be limited during this period.

I like the concept of reinvention, renewal, or transformation. But I like most the concept of rebooting! Organizations, teams, groups, […]

June 4th, 2014

Don’t fight an epidemic of bad things. Create a counter-epidemic of good ones.

When you have reached epidemic levels of a negative thing, fighting the epidemic from within is futile. You need to […]

June 3rd, 2014

Authentically disruptive

Pope Francis has introduced disruption. The head of the 1.2 billion Catholic Church lives in a one bedroom apart-hotel, produces […]

June 2nd, 2014

The ultimate form of Employee Engagement is a Company of Volunteers

I was told, many years ago, by somebody very close to the old Microsoft management, in Bill Gates times, that […]

June 1st, 2014

‘You don’t have to attend every argument to which you are invited’

This quote is from an unknown author. He or she must have known a thing or two about the futility […]

May 31st, 2014

List your competitors, then, compare yourself with somebody not on that list

I know this is not how it is supposed to work. But nothing about how things are supposed to work […]

May 30th, 2014

Heaven is empty of self-centered people

These were recent words of Pope Francis to the Italian bishops, apparently too preoccupied with their own careers and favours […]

May 29th, 2014

You must understand, we are a big company

I was told this story a long time ago.  A CEO of a large company gets a letter from a […]

May 28th, 2014

Nothing that requires to be pitched in an elevator, is worth pitching

I am sorry to disagree with the conventional wisdom about the ‘elevator pitch’ that says that one has to be […]

May 27th, 2014

Occupy the (corporate) streets

The traditional thinking about divisional and functional structures within organizations, which were born of the need for specialization and a […]

May 26th, 2014

Corporate culture as a social movement

Large scale mobilization and alignment of people, united through common goals yet everybody is in different and diverse roles with […]

May 25th, 2014

Intolerance, Diversity and Exclusion: It’s behavioural!

‘Diversity and Inclusion’ (D&I) is becoming a ‘policy’ that many Boards have decided to adopt. This is good. However, as […]

May 24th, 2014


Surprise is a powerful strategy in its own rights. Surprise means being ahead of the game, being further ahead than […]

May 23rd, 2014

A 6th Century Leadership Manual starts with the word ‘Listen!’

It’s impossible to listen in a noisy room.  If you want to listen to your breathing, you need silence. You […]

May 22nd, 2014

No milk, no honey, enjoy the journey

Moses’ leadership was bad. He promised his people a land of milk and honey. Instead, they got a terrible hike […]

May 21st, 2014

10 strategic options

These are the 10 strategic options you have at your disposal all the time, as I use them with my […]

May 20th, 2014

Dogmatism breeds stronger dogma

Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, in his column in the New York Times, has made the […]

May 19th, 2014

Your mind may trick you, the truth will set you free

You have bought a pair of very expensive tickets for a classical music concert but the traffic is horrible and […]

May 18th, 2014

I don’t know, and I don’t think you know either!

‘I don’t know’, is a hard statement to make for leaders who are supposed to know it all. That is […]

May 17th, 2014

You want to seek the company of a few rejected people

There are many compilations but I found these examples in These are cases of rejection that should make us […]

May 16th, 2014

All teams with a ‘sell-by date’

Imagine that any new team comes with a ‘sell-by date’. A label that says: ‘This meeting with disband, no matter […]

May 15th, 2014

The place called ROW

In the old days, when working for an American company, our business was split between the USA and the Rest […]

May 14th, 2014

Customer-centric? Prove it!

Many organizations want to be customer-centric, and will do lots of things to at least move in that direction. The […]

May 13th, 2014

A bit of inefficiency is very efficient

Cost cutting, cutting to the bone, cutting down to the bare minimum resources is praised as efficient. But it’s not. […]

May 12th, 2014

There is only one customer, and he pays the bills

I am your customer, you are my customer. When I need to provide you with something, you are my customer. […]

May 11th, 2014

The broken windows of the organization

A neighbourhood with broken windows and graffiti on the walls says: look how easy is to break a window here, […]

May 10th, 2014

Another Saturday poem for leaders who don’t read poems

It’s a poems of two lines ‘Jamesian’ By Thom Gunn (1929 – 2004) “Their relationship consisted In discussing if it […]

May 9th, 2014

From the Movie Making School of Management

Let’s make a movie. We need a producer with the money. A director to direct. An agency to find the […]

May 8th, 2014

The Hall of Fame of Mistakes

In a recent cultural assessment that we conducted, we analysed the treatment of mistakes within the corporation. This is a […]

May 7th, 2014

‘It’s our policy’ is often the worst policy

A while ago, my brand new iPhone was stolen at the airport, having left it behind on a table for […]

May 6th, 2014

All inclusive? Go where the energy is?

Many times in my consulting work, I find myself facing this dilemma. Do I involve many people on the client’s […]

May 5th, 2014

The best employee retention policy: I’ll pay you to quit

It’s in the news! It’s all over the place, particularly in mainstream US news: Amazon are paying employees to quit. […]

May 4th, 2014

Biography of a Flipchart

A meeting room without a flipchart is decaffeinated coffee. The absence of a flipchart insinuates possibly lots of talking, perhaps […]

May 3rd, 2014

Saturday poem for leaders who don’t read poems

There is an ‘Accidental Literature for Leaders’.  I call this my compilation of poems or pieces of narrative that are […]

May 2nd, 2014

Permission to be human

I have had a brilliant two day meeting with a brilliant client. One aspect of my work with organizations that […]

May 1st, 2014

Stop press: Candidate interviewed by authentic people

A recent senior hire in a client company commented to me that the thing that most impressed her in the […]

April 30th, 2014

Three models of change

Change  management, or management of change. Thank God there can only be two permutations, because they are the most over-used […]

April 29th, 2014

The tyranny of the small things

Grandiose plans get sabotaged by small things. Many years ago, I was involved in what was going to be a […]

April 28th, 2014

‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world’

Said Wittgenstein. Language in business and organizations creates frames, but also limitations. And we have lots of these frames. ‘Employee […]

April 27th, 2014

Looking at a screen is ‘the new normal’.

There was this big conference that was introduced by the chairman in this way: ‘Welcome everybody. Lovely to have you […]

April 26th, 2014

It’s Saturday again

Saturday. It seems to come quite regularly after Friday. Friday? Saturday? Weekday? As Pablo Neruda perhaps would have said  ‘Too […]

April 25th, 2014

‘Where there is too much vision, people perish faster’.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”, says the Bible in the Book of Proverbs. This quote comes in […]

April 24th, 2014

Stay in beta

The traditional organization is, amongst other things, obsessed with closure.  It despises ambiguity and puts a premium on the absolute […]

April 23rd, 2014

For every problem, the Victorians had a building

About seven years ago, the BBC broadcasted a series called ‘How we built Britain’, presented by the veteran David Dimbleby. […]

April 22nd, 2014

Two wrong Talent Wars

The war on talent. McKinsey consultants started it with a book of the same title. By focusing on what it […]

April 21st, 2014

The new units of Space and Time (and the latest up coming Disruptive Innovations)

New units: Certificate of existence = 140 characters (Twitter) Presentation of ideas, maximum attention span = 18 min (TED) Digital […]

April 20th, 2014

Three ways to get approval from your CEO or your Leadership Team

Way number 1: My team has come up with these three options, A, B and C. Which one do you […]

April 19th, 2014

A week behind. A week-end ahead for some quiet time.

A week where in some parts of the world people take holiday time. The Easter milestone of the year: religious, […]

April 18th, 2014

My ROI, your ROI

One the biggest compliments that I’ve got in my consulting life, and one that I have come to appreciate more […]

April 17th, 2014

The shortest Employee Engagement survey has one question

And the question is: ‘Why are you still here?’ You learn about the organization by asking questions to employees when […]

April 16th, 2014

This is a non-smoking flight

If you are a frequent flight traveller, as I am for business reasons, you will be familiar with the standard […]

April 15th, 2014

The Rolling Luggage Paradox

I owe this to Nassim Taleb (‘Fooled by Randomness’ (2007), ‘The Black Swan’ (2008), ‘Antifragile’ (2013). As a traveller of […]

April 14th, 2014

The last thing I need is creativity

Henry Ford is quoted to have said ‘why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands, they […]

April 13th, 2014

We are so good at crisis!

Many clients have expresed this thought over the years: ‘Leandro, we are so good at crisis!’ And indeed they were!  […]

April 12th, 2014

Saturday menu. Shh! Reading on your own..

Three past favourites. Reflections for that little time over the week end: The things you don’t have to say make […]

April 11th, 2014

A leader with 2.2 billion followers

He didn’t say much, at least as far as we know. He didn’t leave any writings behind. Compared with today’s […]

April 10th, 2014

The usefulness of the useless

Nuccio Ordine, an Italian professor, has written an essay of this title, to my knowledge not translated into English. It […]

April 9th, 2014

We will ’360-feed-back’ you.

Readers of my books and clients will be aware that I am not very fond of the 360 degrees feed […]

April 8th, 2014

Write a script, not a strategic plan

‘A year from now, you all are here standing in front of the CEO and you say: we screwed up! […]

April 7th, 2014

Is employee engagement whatever is measured by employee engagement surveys?

Engagement, retention even activism…Traditional models of employee engagement are getting a bit tired. They are starting to look the same, […]

April 6th, 2014

10 Rules of Self-Survival: The Border Diet

My TEDx East London Talk ended with a proposal. The Border Diet: A diet to protect yourself against persistent Full […]

April 5th, 2014

The week in Daily Thoughts

The week’s wrap up: what leadership has to do with talking, why it does not get better than ‘it’s personal’ […]

April 4th, 2014

Say it comes from McKinsey

A friend of mine, and a great management consultant, told me once that when he needs to grab the attention […]

April 3rd, 2014

The things you do not have to say make you rich

William Stafford’s (1914 – 1993) poem reads: The things you do not have to say make you rich, Saying the […]

April 2nd, 2014

In doubt, make it personal

Invited to present at TEDx East London, I had lots of conversations with its wonderful Curator Maryam Pasha.  The theme […]

April 1st, 2014

The ‘Abandon Hope’ organization

Some organizations are little versions of Dante’s Inferno with its sign ‘Abandon all hope to enter here’ at the door. […]

March 31st, 2014

Never sell your time

A friend of mind, a great artist, posted his latest challenge in Facebook.  He had presented a product idea to […]

March 30th, 2014

When necessary use words

Saint Francis of Assisi is a 13th Century figure revered as a Saint by the Catholic Church, and who founded […]

March 29th, 2014

The Thoughts of The Week

Launched this week, thanks for the growing list! We had  two false starts delivering garbage text to our subscribers. And […]

March 28th, 2014

The leader who saved my country and then forgot who he was

Adolfo Suarez, first President of the Spanish Government in the democratic transition, died on the 23rd of March at 81. He […]

March 27th, 2014

The best of A plus the Best of B may be Crap!

The automatic pilot thinking during a merger says: lets take the best of company A and the best of company […]

March 26th, 2014

His greatest success was not to fail

Many people, many of them in high managerial positions, succeed by avoiding failure. They become unmemorable by design. A new […]

March 14th, 2014

Business Case Studies as a bad form of journalism

When I did my MBA many moons ago I had to comply with the fashion of the Business Case Study. […]

March 14th, 2014

I can prove anything in management thinking. Watch me!

I can’t remember where I saw this. This is part of the point. It could have been anywhere. But I […]

March 7th, 2014

Emotional Ignorance needs a book

Emotional Intelligence was a paragraph-length concept expressed in a library of publications. At the time it was a shock in […]

March 6th, 2014

Corporate Flash Mobs

Many corporate initiatives are one-off efforts to get everybody involved, aligned or communicate some messages. Away days, off sites, Conventions, […]

March 6th, 2014

I missed my Eurostar train! How wonderful! (Me as a case study)

Last week I was in a hotel and conference centre in Belgium, half way between Brussels and Antwerp, working with […]