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The Root Canal Approach to Business

The Root Canal Approach to Business

If you only focus on cost cutting, you have embraced the root canal approach to business. How then can you save money, while at the same time move vigorously towards your most important goals? A helpful approach is to make use of the concept of organizational energy: The limited power for any organization to get important things done. The figure below—The MasterMind…

Strong Weaknesses

Strong Weaknesses

The road to high performance starts with building on strengths, instead of improving weaknesses. This approach is not always easy. Below are ten warning signs of organizations moving away from their strengths. More than 80% of a typical performance review is about what is not going well. Personal development plans are focused on building skills which don’t play to people’s…

Super Talents

Super Talents

I recently watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi: A documentary of 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, working in his famous Tokyo restaurant. What impressed me most was his relentless pursuit to create the perfect sushi: From being first at the fish market to select the best pieces every single morning, to massaging octopus meat for more than 45 minutes to get the…

Compound Improvement

Compound Improvement

If you want to improve a skillset, you can use the concept of compound improvement: Small, consistent improvements add up over time and have a massive effect on your results. One powerful method to engage in compound improvement is to set a Smallest Achievable Perfection (SAP). On a daily basis, pick a single, small element of the desired skill, which…

Dominant Thought

Dominant Thought

According to Greek mythology, the goddess Pallas Athena was ‘birthed’ from the head of Zeus. Not only that, but she skipped childhood and became a powerful and mature goddess from day one. Wouldn’t it be nice if our decisions to do things differently jump out of our head—fully formed like Athena exiting Zeus’ head—ready to act upon? Alas, in reality,…

The Waiting Games

The Waiting Games

In order to get the most favorable spot at the start of any NASCAR race, drivers need to clock the fastest time at the qualification laps before the start of the race. Significant speed increases can be achieved using a technique called slipstreaming: Along a straight part of the race track, a car following close behind another car, uses the slipstream…

Strategos Autokrator

Strategos Autokrator

More than 2300 years ago, Philip II of Macedon—the father of Alexander the Great—became strategos autokrator of the League of Corinth: the first federation of Greek States. The title strategos autokrator meant that he had the freedom to do what it takes to advance the interests of the Hellenic states, while at the same time he remained accountable for his actions. This ancient approach to…

Not and Never to Do List

Not and Never to Do List

The enemy of ultimate perseverance is distraction. If you could focus your mind on a single goal for a long period of time, the results would be staggering. Unfortunately, the brain isn’t naturally wired to shut out distractions and move ahead with a single task. If 25 years of practice to become a serene, single-minded and accomplished Zen master sounds…

Artisan Everything

Artisan Everything

Recently, I stayed a few nights at a nice hotel in the fascinating city of San Francisco. When I first entered my room, I immediately noticed a prominent display with two beautifully crafted bottles of water. The brand name of this Norwegian water was Voss: It included a small card with a lengthy explanation why this water is called Artisan Water.…

Advanced Decision Making

Advanced Decision Making

Sometimes we face a decision to let go of a comfortable status quo, in order to achieve an even better future. Think of the decision to leave a well-paid and interesting corporate job and start an uncertain, but more exiting business. This type of decisions can be paralyzing.  A powerful and practical approach to make better decisions is to create…