Category Archives: Uncategorized

Should you encourage your employees to take risk to innovate?

General management’s injunction to employees to take more risks to innovate usually has no effect. This is because what blocks innovation is not lack of risk taking but counter-productive mental models.

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Why I like Elon Musk (anyway): vices and virtues of authoritarian business leaders

It’s a tough time for tech companies. Amazon, Meta (Facebook’s parent company) and Twitter are laying off people en masse. After Meta’s difficult week, which saw its market capitalization drop considerably, Twitter found itself in the spotlight after its takeover by Elon Musk. Both bring back the never-ending question of what good corporate leadership is. Is Musk the villainous leader portrayed in the media, an overbearing entrepreneur with an inflated ego, who is destroying Twitter? Not so sure. Because behind the apparent madness, there is a method, even if it is a debatable one.

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Do you need to build a cathedral to give meaning to your employees’ work?

Our era is in search of meaning; at least that is what we hear over and over again in companies and in society as a whole. The absence of meaning leads to disengagement, and the human resources departments of large companies are engaged in a great race to “recreate meaning” under the leadership of visionary leaders. The idea is that an ambitious vision, a noble purpose, a great narrative, will give meaning to wandering souls. This idea is illustrated by a famous tale, that of the stonemason who builds a cathedral, motivated by something greater than himself. However attractive it may be, this tale plays on questionable beliefs, and the fact that it has become a reference for motivational seminars is regrettable. In fact, it is not necessary to build a cathedral to give meaning to one’s work.

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How crises disrupt our mental models and what that means

The Covid-19 epidemics constitutes a major event that completely disrupted world life, rendering all forecasts and plans based on them obsolete within a few weeks. The very nature of a surprise is to bring to light an element of our mental models and invalidate it. In short, crises disrupt our mental models. Because a disruption is a process, the effects unfold progressively, on many dimensions, and over a long period.

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Does uncertainty mean we live in a post-strategy world?

The Covid shock in the spring of 2020 shattered strategic plans. The continued uncertainty, two years after the beginning of the pandemic, has led some managers to question the very possibility of having a strategy when everything keeps changing. Do we live in a post-strategy world? The short answer is no; we need strategy more than ever, but it depends on how one defines strategy.

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Being yourself: The four strategic lessons from the Coinbase story

Faced with the challenge in legitimacy they are currently facing, companies are often tempted to react defensively, conceding to the zeitgeist, and hoping to get by. Often, the only solution is to build a mask to protect themselves. The problem is that it creates a gulf between who they really are and who they pretend to be, which only accentuates the suspicion. The story of Coinbase, a U.S. startup that found itself in the spotlight last year, shows that a radically opposite approach of asserting one’s uniqueness is not only possible, but pays off.

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What Should your Kids Study to Prepare for an Uncertain World?

Why study? The question seems incongruous when asked by Andrew Abbott, professor of sociology, in his welcome address to students at the University of Chicago in 2002. From the outset, Abbott dispels any illusions: what determines success is much more about getting into college than what you do or learn there. Very little of what one learns there is actually useful for a future profession, and non-academic skills, such as the ability to write or think clearly, are rarely the ones that determine professional success. As for the specific knowledge of a trade, apart from the very technical ones, it is most often acquired on the job. It wasn’t until I started running a business that I realized that very little of what I had learned during my MBA was directly useful.

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My New Forbes Piece: The Cargo Cult of Digital Transformation

My latest post on Forbes, written with Milo Jones, is a reflection on difficulty of transformation by incumbent companies in the face of digital disruption. It’s available here.

My article on the Peter Drucker Forum blog: “The 5 principles on which we can create an entrepreneurial society”

I have just published an article on the Global Peter Drucker Forum‘s blog, at  which I will be a panel member, titled: “The 5 principles on which we can create an entrepreneurial society”. It can be accessed here.

The Forum’s program is available here.