Remarkable Event 1Leandro 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™, an unconventional and very successful way of creating large scale behavioural and cultural change. He leads the Viral Change ™ Global network of companies.

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 Gran Davos Award in a World Communication Forum. He has also presented 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.

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. His consulting work focuses on management of change, leadership, human collaboration, organizational branding and innovation. He has designed a suite of ‘Accelerators’ to speed up change, innovation and people alignment in organizations. These ‘Accelerators’ have an accreditation system.


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  Daily Thoughts

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 […]