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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Three Success Factors for Robust Strategy

All strategic plans are perfect on paper in a theoretical static world. However, no strategic plan ever survives confrontation with the ever-changing realities of business and your perception of them. A robust strategy is one that can adapt rapidly to change in the environment as well as to change in your understanding of that environment. Below are three behaviors and practices for robust strategy common to my most successful clients.

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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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No One Has a Five-Year Strategy

No one has a five-year strategy, or even a three-year strategy much less a twenty-year strategic plan.

How much do you think Blackberry’s five-year strategy meant the day that Apple announced the iPhone? Business conditions are too unpredictable for most strategic plans to mean anything even beyond six months, and even that might be too long. Continue reading

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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Principles Reign Supreme Over Values

A company I know has a stated value of innovation that it parades out in front employees on a regular basis, but rarely, if ever, do any staff or managers innovate anything—including staff in research and development!

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