“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. How many paralysis by analysis essays do we need before we pay heed? Whether a strategy development or choice in solution, we find the dangerous complacency of a glacial world. Meanwhile bold competitors act as ice breakers, opening new doors. Yet those doors will be closed to us. They are occupied by their creators, the first comers. I recall a marketing professor talking about cultural approaches in the product arena, western “cowboy” vs. “old world.” “Get into the market," he announced. "Take your foot hold. Don’t hesitate!” He characterized it in his usually animated way, mimicking a

People Hearing without Listening

When we want our teams to be singing from the same sheet of music, it begins with your having an ear to the sounds and styles. Executives and leaders must be attuned to cultural and operational danger signs, and this depends on leader as astute psychologist, moderator, conductor of the orchestra. It falls to the meeting owner, the agenda owner, the driver of change to listen to tones, vocabulary and pitch. I’ve sat in some of the most non-contentious and polite-to-a-fault gatherings that suffered from lack of directness. And I’ve watched other gatherings whose air was thick with mistrust and antipathy. It’s the job of the leader in the room to fix it. Otherwise, executives and corp

No Value without Depth

A board directors’ most distressing and disappointing offering was, “We need to cut costs.” But you need to know the context. In thousands of board meetings and business exchanges those words offer credible and steady advice when it’s complementary to a strategic direction and supplementary to deeply rooted analysis and alternative advice. We don’t get that often enough. The one I recollect, however, was a voice who didn’t provide any other color, any another recommendation, or any detail on what “cut costs” really means. He may as well have just mailed it in. Is this what the six-figure stipend drives? A mouthful of platitudes that can be uttered by a grad student churning out a case

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