Provoke Your People

If you want to achieve dramatic change in mindset and behavior, the fastest way is through provocation. By provocation, I mean deliberately evoking a visceral emotional response in others. There is nothing wrong with provocation if you do it right. It’s just that, as a leader, you ought to be provocative, but never a provocateur—the two are not the same.

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Conversation with LVMH Japan President Norbert Leuret

On February 5th, I conducted an on-stage conversation with LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Japan President, Norbert Leuret, for both the American and French Chambers of Commerce at the Tokyo American Club. Here are my takeaways from that conversation.

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Adapt the Company to Your Style

The most successful expat CEOs in Japan I know never adapt their leadership style to their company’s culture. They adapt their company’s culture to their leadership style, and there is no reason you cannot do the same in your company in Japan.

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You Are Not Carlos Ghosn

Some have argued the reason for Carlos Ghosn’s legal trouble is for having pushed change too hard—that he crossed some kind of Japanese nationalistic redline in wanting to merge Nissan and Renault, giving the French company control over the Japanese entity. Had Ghosn been more conservative in his actions, they reason, he would not be in the predicament in which he finds himself. This narrative, however, is disingenuous.

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Cultivating Boldness

The scarcest resource in a business today is not talent, money, or technical ability, but rather independent thought and the courage to act on it.

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Could You Get a Job at Your Own Company?

If you are finding it difficult to fill key roles with excellent people, don’t assume it is because your company does not attract the right candidates, but rather that the right candidates don’t get through your company’s screening process.

If you applied for a job at your own company, you too might not get through either. Continue reading

Culture Change Manifesto

I define culture as norms of behaviors based on shared beliefs. When a leader says he or she wants to change the culture of his or her company, the ultimate goal is always to change norms of behaviors.

If I want to understand the culture of a company, all I need to do is observe which behaviors are encouraged and rewarded, which are discouraged and penalized, and which are the behaviors to which people are indifferent. I can understand the beliefs that drive those behaviors by asking questions.

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No More New Strategy Tools

In photography, new cameras do not make for better art, just as in strategy, new tools do not make for better business results.

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