- Control the conversation. Control the dialogue. Don’t accept a dialogue imposed on you. Common ground is OK, but only if it’s really common. Reframe, before the (wrong) frame is given to you. A conversation on cost cutting may be reframed as investment and building. A vendor-buyer conversation can be reframed as forming partnership. An asymmetrical big corporation-small business consultancy can be reframed as those who need something and those who have the expertise.
- Control the emotions. Start with the end. Ask, what emotion do I want to have in place at the end, to leave behind: awe, excitement, scare, mission impossible, or the best thing ever/the 10 reasons why it would be foolish not to go that way.
- Control the time. I call it ‘the now and next’: this is what we are discussing now (and what we are not) and this is what is next (including I don’t know, but I will make sure you know ASAP). This is a one hour conversation, or a three week decision. There is always a clock.
- Control the environment. Where all that is taking place matters, the space, the psychology of the place, the branding if any. Don’t hold innovation conversations in a call centre. Rent an incubator space if your counterparts are thinking of something new and risky. Get rid of tables and chairs and bring in sofas if you want to have a conversation instead of a ‘meeting’. Don’t use PowerPoints unless you show Gant charts or spreadsheets.
- Control your discomfort with the use of the word control. Get over it.
- Surprise, always surprise. Never be predictable.
- In doubt: go back to number (1) and check you are doing a good job
‘Good leaders are good path makers. Sometimes the journey is not clear.’ In my book Camino, leadership notes on the road, I reflect on my own walk and on what other leaders can learn from that. A leadership journey in 300+ stops reflecting on leadership as a continuously evolving praxis. For book extracts or to order your copy. 
Dr Leandro Herrero is the CEO and Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project, an international firm of organizational architects. He is the pioneer of Viral Change™, a people Mobilizing Platform, a methodology that delivers large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, which creates lasting capacity for changeability.
Dr Herrero is also an Executive Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organization, Drucker School of Management.
An international speaker, Dr Herrero is regularly invited to speak at global conferences and corporate events. To invite Leandro to speak at your conference or business event contact: The Chalfont Project  or email: email@example.com.