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Milli Vanilli

Milli Vanilli

In the early nineties, there was a popular music group called Milli Vanilli. Their success came to an ignominious end when it became clear that the two charismatic singers of the group were actually unable to sing and were simply lip-syncing at every performance. What’s interesting is that, before their downfall, various live interviews already made clear that the singers…

Zero Based Thinking

Zero Based Thinking

Thinking is a high-energy, time-consuming activity. Therefore, humans naturally try to think in the shortest time possible and then return to their usual routines. As a result, you spend over 95 percent of your life operating on autopilot. The same is true of your daily activities. We are creatures of habit and once a habit has been formed, we seldom…

Skin in the Game

Skin in the Game

In 1802, E.I du Pont founded a gunpowder company, which later became the current Fortune 500 company DowDupont. The gunpowder business is a risky business. He was serious about safety, and even went so far as to build his house in the blast radius of the factory. This ensured that he and his family carried the same risks as the…

Advanced Presentation Techniques

Advanced Presentation Techniques

A few weeks ago I attended a presentation with an excessive amount of Powerpoint slides. After one hour, the speaker announced he was done: Polite, yet un-enthusiastic applause ensued, and there was a visible sigh of relief from the audience. It was a rather painful experience, both for the speaker and for the listeners. As a presenter you will face audiences…

Golden Rules for Strategy

Golden Rules for Strategy

In the past months I have been working with several clients on their strategic goals. I have found that if you want to do strategy well, you need to distinguish between goals, boundaries, and options. A strategic goal is a measurable objective. It’s specific and describes the current state (from) and a future state (to). Furthermore it has a deadline. Finally, you…

Critical Team Conversations

Critical Team Conversations

If teams want to perform at their best, there are three critical conversations which need to take place. One conversation is about energy, the other is about autonomy, and the final conversation is about clarity. 1. The energy conversation A high performing team is a team where members bring the best version of themselves. This means that all team members…

Commander of the Stage

Commander of the Stage

In the past decade, I have done hundreds of keynotes as a professional speaker. I have learned several simple techniques on how to quickly make a professional impression as a speaker, even if you only speak occasionally to larger groups: Empty your pockets. Otherwise, an audience may start guessing the total value of the coins which bounce in your pocket.…

The Tirpitz Timidity

The Tirpitz Timidity

During World War II, Tirpitz was the sister ship of the German battleship Bismarck. After the destruction of Bismarck in May 1941, German high command decided not to risk Tirpitz in the open seas and keep her secured and protected in Norway’s fjords. Tirpitz was a formidable enemy, originally designed to hunt and destroy Allied convoys. Allied naval command kept a…

A Very Short Memory

A Very Short Memory

Not long ago, a top quarterback was asked a fascinating question: What’s the most important skill for professional success? His answer: a very short memory…. He explained that whenever he made a mistake on the field, he only had a few seconds to move back to a mental peak performance state to deal with the next challenge. This would be impossible if he…