The neuroscience of change

Business leaders everywhere know that success isn’t possible without changing the day-to-day behaviour of people throughout the company. But changing behaviour is hard. (Even when new habits can mean the difference between life and death e.g. adopting healthier day-to-day habits after having undergone coronary bypass surgery, nine out of 10 patients do not manage to follow though.)

However, behavioural change – and business success – has a much likelier chance of occurring if we heed new evidence about change. Breakthroughs in cognitive science about how our brains function contain pointers worth taking serious note of. Continue reading

In flow days

A friend and two of my clients are deeply immersed in getting a few marketing items into place. I too, since mid-February, spent time on marketing, revamped pages on my website, created new pages and gave attention to related items.

It struck all of us: If you are serious about getting something done, spend some uninterrupted time on whatever you do. The key to achieving something remarkable is the uninterrupted stretch of time that you devote to whatever topic. Continue reading

Mental traps into which leaders fall

Some new clients easily take to new strategy development and execution. They experience fewer difficulties that most in obtaining support from their team members when it comes to implementation.

Others struggle. Why?

Planning is the easy part. Execution is the difficult part – and when it comes to execution few leaders lead well, even if they are brilliant. Why do they experience difficulties?

Leaders fall into mental traps. What are they? Robert H Schaffer in an article Four Mistakes Leaders Make in the Harvard Business Review (September 2010) provides valuable insights on this topic.  Continue reading

Important vs. Urgent

A client/consultant and I recently discussed the fact that so many owners and managers are totally reactive. They are forever dealing with urgent matters and are in a crises mode. This could be partly due to the fact that many have not learned to delegate in depth. However, it is possibly equally true that so many are not in the habit of putting time aside for proactively planning, learning and asking “what if” questions aimed at taking preventive action.

Stephen Covey developed a thought-provoking diagramme which depicts four quadrants. In which quadrants are you most of the time? Continue reading

Do you have a Strategy of Execution?

Most of my clients have a Balanced Scorecard. But even if it is perfectly completed with solid objectives, it is not worth much if you and I do not execute properly.

Kaplan and Norton conducted surveys in 1996 and again in 2006 about the state of strategy execution – as reported in their book The Execution Premium – Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage (2008).

Their most important finding: having a formal strategy execution system made success two to three times more likely than not having a system. Continue reading

Level Four “Time Management”

Nobody manages time. We all know that we manage ourselves in relation to time or hours available.

Most of my clients have some system of “time management” in place. I implemented a Level Four approach. It is very liberating as it has only two categories: relations and results. Two smart directors took note and their interest is the reason for this post. Continue reading

Simplicity and basics

While some of my clients are interested in the theory behind business approaches, many are pressed for time and want a simple framework which would guide their thinking. A client observed: “We are so inundated with production work, please keep it simple and brief.” Continue reading