Wednesday, September 28, 2011


In Fast Company of September 2011 there were some shocking statistics about the (dis)engagement of the workforce.

United States

While disengaged workers are not productive at all and harming your organization, the huge opportunity is to raise the level of engagement of all other employees.
An engaged employee is more productive, creative, loyal, resilient and happy.

An increase in employee engagement has a direct (positive) influence on the bottom line. There are many actions, which you can take to increase employee engagement.
One of the most important ones is to start listening to your employees. And I mean real non-judgemental listening. It is key to plan an hour for that every two weeks. In that way the employee feels values and taken seriously and the manager can learn what is happening out there.

Do you have a schedule to listen to your employees?


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It looks like that we are always looking for a situation where we are at ease, where there is no stress, in other words where we can be in our comfort zone. We want to have a break from all the changes and just focus on continuing the status quo.

While it is good to be at peace and to be calm at all times, there is a danger in staying in this comfort zone for too long. If you (and your organization) stay too long in your comfort zone, conformity becomes the standard and complacency kicks in. The daily operations require so much of our time and effort, that we pay less and less attention to what is happening in the market and we loose the contact with our customers.

This is why it is crucial to have some people in your organization who keep you stretched, who make sure that you are on the tip of your toes and don’t miss any major opportunities. These people are not the most loved, because they play that role of the disruptor. They are pulling us out of our comfort zone. That doesn’t make them the most popular kid on the block.

These trailblazers and quartermasters are crucial to stay in business, not only today but also next year. They play a crucial role in staying relevant. More than a year ago, I had a talk with Zappos about entering the European market. They said that they were not focussing on it yet. Now there are some very active local competitors (Zalando, Brandos) which have a similar offering and business model as Zappos. If Zappos now wants to be serious about the European market, it will be much more difficult then 1,5 years ago. Even, this highly innovative and admired company has become complacent in some form.

It is therefore vital to have these ‘scouts’ on board  AND to listen to them.
Who are your scouts?


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Everything is connected

I have just finished reading The Bond from Lynne McTaggart, a highly recommended book.  The Bond shows that the essential impulse of all life is a will to connect rather than a drive to compete! The latest evidence from many disciplines – from neuroscience and biology to quantum physics – suggests that nature’s most basic drive is not competition, as classic evolutionary theory maintains, but wholeness.

In fact we are inescapably connected, hardwired to each other at our most elemental level – from cells to whole societies. The desire to help others is so necessary that we experience it as one of our chief pleasures, as essential as eating, and we succeed and prosper only when we see ourselves as part of a greater whole. It is recommended to help foster more holistic thinking, more cooperative relationships, and more unified social groups.

“… the dance of life is not a solo, but a duet – that every part of you connects to an essential and irreducible Bond.”

This impulse to seek connection has four signatories in any society: a need to belong, a need to agree, a need to give, and a need to take turns.

“ We now require nothing less than a revolution in our thinking. We must abandon the path of atomization in the way we relate to people, in the way we create our neighbourhoods, in the way we view our world. It is time for all of us to embrace the new scientific discoveries across all the disciplines, which are proving that we have maintained a false and dangerous view of ourselves. It’s time to begin a new Age of Enlightenment, one that recognizes and honours wholeness, and abhors the polarization of one people, one religion or even one political party against another. Like Nipun Mehta, we must all begin our individual efforts to make the Bond our superordinate goal.”

This means that employee as well as customer engagement is crucial to our business. We should focus on building alliances, rather than competitive strategies. It is also necessary to be connected with the scientific community, to stay up to date on the latest research.

What are you doing to be connected?


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Change needs a young mindset

The pace of change is very fast and everyone is talking about it. Talking about the need to adapt quickly to all the changes. On the other hand, most change efforts are not successful. The intended results are rarely achieved.

One of the reasons is the lack of a young mindset. What do I mean by that?

Most elderly people (baby boomers) have a lot of possessions (house, position, status, stuff) and commitments (partner, children, mortgage), which they are trying to keep. They put in a lot of effort to protect what they ‘have’. That also creates a fear of loosing it.

Most young people (Millenials) start with a blank slate or even with a debt (college fees). So, they are looking for ways to create and build up something. They are willing to take more risks, as they have nothing to loose. They have an enthusiasm for gaining and winning.

Real change requires this positive, risk-taking, and creative mindset. That is why you should have young people in your change team as well as ‘old’ people with a young mindset.

How does your change team look like?


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