Tag: decision making

Road Lightning

Road Lightning

Is it a smart idea to switch off the general highway road lighting during the night? Proponents argue that it saves energy, reduces light pollution, and may even improve safety: After all, modern car headlights provide plenty visibility and a dark road may even improve driver attentiveness. This is all true, yet it completely misses the big issue: When the…

Mythical Thinking

Mythical Thinking

What prevents high performance decision making is usually not the things we don’t know, but the things that we know which are not true. For example, an often stated claim is that 55% of our communication is transmitted non-verbally, and only 7% is transmitted verbally. The source of these statistics is a 1970s study by Professor Albert Mehrabian, who researched the…

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…

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…

Professionals versus Amateurs

Professionals versus Amateurs

When I was young, I used to play competitive chess. I vividly remember that at a certain point I got stuck: In order to win, I relied heavily on mistakes made by my opponents. Since I encountered increasingly better opponents, who made fewer and fewer mistakes, my strategy of trying not to lose, became less and less effective. Only when I…

The Momentum Fallacy

The Momentum Fallacy

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force. This law is applicable to organizations as well and is called the momentum fallacy. Quitting an organizational habit—such as fixed meeting schedules or rigid reporting structures—is a deliberate and conscious activity that doesn’t come naturally . Once an…

Agreements, Expectations, and Hope

Agreements, Expectations, and Hope

An essential part of leadership is to set, communicate, and monitor behavior standards. In my work with high performance organizations, I have found that one of the quickest ways to improve project and strategy execution, is to focus on new behavior standards around agreements. A good agreement has four parts: All parties involved acknowledge the agreement. For example: “It should have been done;…

Turbulent Times

Turbulent Times

In turbulent times it’s important to stay close to your clients, colleague’s, and bosses. A good way to provide practical support is to help them systematically think through and develop options.   Here is a simple and proven framework to have this conversation: What’s the issue? It describes what exactly the issue is, and also specifies what it isn’t. Example: We need…

Five High Performance Trends

Five High Performance Trends

People will increasingly move to a place where other people love their work. Talent retention will therefore shift to recognizing, building, and expanding strengths of individual high performers. What are you doing to shift your focus from compensating weaknesses, to rapidly recognize and develop your own strengths and the strengths of your best people? Exponential value will be created by just a…

Excessive Ahabism

Excessive Ahabism

The downfall of Captain Ahab, the protagonist of Moby Dick, became his obsession with catching the white whale. There is a fine line between admirable persistence and block-headed tenacity. If you’re the only one left on the barricades, it’s probably time to leave and focus your energy on something else. We all recognize moments when we were so obsessed with achieving a goal,…