Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Many executives have the command & control management style. That is the dominant style which they have learned (and copied) from their bosses and that is the style with which they grew up in the organization. Although many would say that they are not applying that style, the day-to-day practice proves otherwise. That is quite natural. In times of a crisis we fall back to the behavior with which we are most comfortable.

However, both command and control are totally not working anymore in the modern workplace.

Most workers are knowledge workers, so it is an illusion that a leader or manager can tell them what to do and in what way. With the rapidly changing markets and the huge amount of information available, it is even hard for the experts to stay up to date on a certain subject. So, it would be wise to develop a more coaching oriented leadership style, which is much more suited for the knowledge workers in your organization.

Alan Webber in his book Rules of Thumb says about control that it is undoubtedly the biggest illusion of our time. “Anyone who thinks that they are in control of anything needs to check into the twelve-step program of his or her choice.

A command & control style is the biggest obstacle for innovation. People will take no initiatives, they will only strictly adhere to what they are told and not think out of the box. The aspects on which the control takes place will be the boundaries for their new ideas. In other words there will be no room or incentive to come up with groundbreaking or game-changing ideas.

Today’s challenging marketplace requires fresh and bold thinking, so please make sure that your management style is in support of innovation!


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


 One of the main constraints that managers and executives face is time and related to that priority. The day-to-day business and its challenges, small fires and other problems are consuming all their energy and time. They are always so busy and their agenda’s are fully booked. There is hardly any time left to get lunch or even to go to the bathroom.

These time constraints prevent you also from having new ideas and new perspectives. They do not take time to detach, to reflect or to use others as sounding boards. Because of this behavior they are trapped in the trap of doing business in a way that it has been done for a long time.

But.. Today’s changing environment requires a different approach and different perspectives. Otherwise you will not be the frontrunner, not even the survivor in your business.

So, what is needed is to plan a fixed time of minimal one hour in your agenda, every week! This is your holy hour, this cannot be changed, not be touched. Please feel free to use this hour only for:

-       Getting inspired
-       Getting new ideas
-       Getting new perspectives
-       Meeting new people
-       Talking with customers and competitors
-       Brainstorming with frontline employees
-       Reading a book
-       Looking at inspirational video’s
-       Inviting an interesting speaker with a complete different background and experience
-       Connect with nature
-       Do some sports
-       Have a walk in the park or in the city

This holy hour will give you so much more energy and fresh perspectives that you will easily finish your other work in much less time that you would need usually. Your enthusiasm will also inspire others to do the same. And that will create a vibrant, creative community. And that is what is needed to be a winner in this game of business.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Most organizations do have a fix set of partners. They cover many area’s:

-       Accountants
-       Consultants
-       Project managers
-       Security
-       Catering
-       IT
-       Telecoms
-       Recruiters
-       Coaches
-       Advertising
-       Etc

The challenge for new potential partners is to be put on the preferred supplier-list. In many cases is Purchasing the owner of the list.

This list tends to be rather static, i.e. it is hard to get on the list, but easy to stay on it. Given the urgent need for change and innovation, there is a problem with this practice. The longer these partners are on the list, the less they will have a fresh look. They become one with the existing culture and way of doing things. There is hardly any difference between the perspectives of partners and regular employees. Also these partners become less and less critical, as they are afraid to be excluded from the list.
These longstanding partners are not very supportive in your need for freshness and bold perspectives.

So, if you really want to change and innovate, than you must hire new partners and be open to ‘another way’ of doing things!

Are you willing to refresh your business partners?


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Tuesday, November 3, 2009


 It is an open door to talk about all the change that is necessary and all the change programs that are work in process.

However, there is also plenty of evidence (McKinsey, IBM) that the majority of the changes do not deliver the required results. There are two main reasons for this issue.

  1. most leaders think that their people (managers and employees) should change, but not themselves. And the (middle) managers and frontline workers think that they are okay, but that the leaders should change.
  2. Most change programs cover only the professional/business aspects of change. They forget the crucial aspect of personal/behavioral change.

The solution is quite straight forward: change is non-discriminatory, everyone should be open to change and personal change is equally important as professional change. Remember ..... when you point your finger towards someone else, there are always three fingers pointing at yourself!

Please find here an overview of the ProPer Change Cycle.


  • Change only happens when cost of the status quo is > risk of change

The 8-Step Process of Successful Change (John Kotter)
1. Create a Sense of Urgency. 
Help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.
2. Pull Together the Guiding Team. 
Make sure there is a powerful group guiding the change—one with leadership skills, bias for action, credibility, communications ability, authority, analytical skills.
3. Develop the Change Vision and Strategy. 
Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how you can make that future a reality.
4. Communicate for Understanding and Buy-in. 
Make sure as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy.
5. Empower Others to Act. 
Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who want to make the vision a reality can do so.
6. Produce Short-Term Wins. 
Create some visible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible.
7. Don’t Let Up. 
Press harder and faster after the first successes. Be relentless with instituting change after change until the vision becomes a reality.
8. Create a New Culture. 
Hold on to the new ways of behaving, and make sure they succeed, until they become a part of the very culture of the group.


Change is personal or it never happens.

 Rule 1: It is a prerequisite that everyone (leaders, managers, employees) changes in order to grow.
Rule 2: People don’t change when we tell them they should. They change when they tell themselves they must.

Key questions for individual change:


  • Why is change necessary?
  • What to change?
  • What is the new goal (organization, department, personal)?
  • What do I have to do differently?
  • What is my new metric?
  • Where can I contribute (share ideas, give feedback, be engaged)?

  • Want to change
  • Will to change
  • What excites me?
  • What is in it for me (benefits, rewards, recognition)?

  • How to change
  • Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my ‘new’ work right?
  • Where is support available for me to cope with ongoing change?

*Change your thinking
*Change your behaviour

  • Are you producing the required results, professionally and personally?

  • Adapt yourself continuously
  • Stay focused
  • Reward success

This holistic approach to change will create an environment, a culture, which sees change as a normal, accepted way of working, rather than an exception which needs to be resisted.

So, are you ready to change yourself??


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