Institutionalize Confrontation

If you want to improve collaboration in your business, it should not be done by encouraging harmonious interaction. Rather, you must institutionalize confrontation.

No healthy organization is ever in harmony; it is constructive disharmony that is the ideal state. Natural tension always exists between individuals and groups in any organizations, and there is no resolution of conflict without confrontation.

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Authority Isn’t Empowerment

Empowerment is like breathing. We all recognize its need but we’re rarely aware of it until something is wrong. Passivity in business is the most common symptom of lack of empowerment. Continue reading

Ownership Trumps Buy-In

New methods can appear threatening to some managers who have never had to change in order to be successful.

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Start With Strategic Absolutes

Any business, in any situation, in any market always has multiple options for a strategic direction that are all good. It is a terrific boon to buy-in when your leadership team can come up with a strategic direction that matches yours without you having to tell them what your vision is.

However, that rarely happens on its own.

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veronica prat van thiel and steven bleistein

Conversation with Cartier Japan CEO Veronica Prat Van Thiel

On December 12th, I conducted an onstage conversation with Cartier Japan CEO Veronica Prat Van Thiel at the Roppongi Hills Club in Tokyo co-hosted by the American and French chambers of commerce in Japan. We had a full house, and lots of great questions from the audience.

This was an off-the-record event. Below are my personal takeaways.

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Incentive Pay Doesn’t Work

If I offered you more money for results, would you change anything that you are doing now?

I have asked this very question to numerous successful CEOs, and invariably the answer is no. I suspect yours is as well.

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Chauvinism in Disguise

Once when I made an offer on buying a house in Japan, the owner initially accepted, and then immediately rejected my offer after learning I was not Japanese. For me, such experiences are by far the exception and not the norm. Nonetheless chauvinism, racism, and xenophobia exist in Japan just as anywhere else, and while outrage might be justified, I have rarely found outrage helpful. Chauvinism often masks a deeper concern. What is presumed conventional wisdom is often chauvinism in disguise.

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Make your own era

Make Your Own Era

The passing of an era in a company is often so subtle as to create an illusion of inertia, like the pushback from the jetway of a passenger jet that is only discernible by looking out the window but otherwise goes unfelt. Such changes in era are only remarked when someone asks, “Were we always like this?”

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