Uncertainty is naturally anxiety-provoking. In the workplace, it is added to other sources of employee insecurity, such as lack of trust or appreciation, management style, or lack of meaning. How can a leader provide psychological safety in an uncertain world?(more…)
Organizations in decline tend to create an imaginary double in which they lock themselves. This double is themselves, but in an idealized version. It is a mask that they create to hide and to insulate themselves from a reality that they refuse, letting the world go without them, even against them. The dissolution of this double, i.e. the acceptance of reality, however unpleasant it may be, is a prerequisite for any recovery. A good illustration of this is provided by the Apple turnaround in 1997.(more…)
The Covid-19 crisis completely disrupted the strategy of all organizations, reducing plans to nothing. Like any disruption, it corresponded to a process in development whose consequences unfolded, and continue to unfold, progressively on all levels: sanitary, social, economic, but also political and geo-political. It was followed two years later by another disruption, the invasion of Ukraine, which had a similar effect. For organizations, such disruptions impose a complete revision not only of their strategy, but of the way it is defined and of the fundamental beliefs on which the process is based, and in particular on how decisions are made in an organization. It requires a rethink of strategy, management and leadership.(more…)
Start with ‘why’! Having a big ‘why’, a noble and ambitious reason for being (purpose), is the secret of winning business strategies. That’s what Simon Sinek, author of the best-selling book Starting with Why, explains. According to him, all organizations know what they do, and most of them also know how they do it. But very few know why they do what they do. Only those with a big ‘why’ can really succeed, and defining that ‘why’ is therefore a prerequisite for any ambitious strategic thinking. It sounds logical, it’s certainly appealing, and it’s a widespread belief today, but it’s wrong. Let’s see… why.(more…)
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How can an organization not only protect itself from uncertainty, but more importantly take advantage of it? The question is a hot one these days. It preoccupies many strategists, jumping from one crisis to another in a world that has become highly unstable and full of surprises. One source of inspiration, perhaps unexpected, is the German army, which built, from the end of the 19th century, a very powerful leadership model from which we can learn a lot.(more…)
Making decisions under uncertainty is a difficult art. One of the reasons is that the tools and concepts we use are largely designed for risk, for clearly defined and recurring situations. Such tools assume that uncertainty is something to be protected against. This mental model of protection, which seems so logical, is actually counterproductive. What if, on the contrary, we should not protect ourselves (too much) from uncertainty?(more…)
“How do I motivate my employees in uncertain times?” is a common question these days, but the answer is far from simple: it reveals dominant mental models that limit our perspectives. Challenging these models can provide a resilient response to uncertainty.(more…)
Faced with the legitimacy challenge they currently face, companies are often tempted to react defensively, bow to the zeitgeist, and hope for the best. Often, the only solution is to build a mask to protect themselves. The problem is that it creates a chasm between who they really are and who they pretend to be, which only increases suspicion. The story of Coinbase, a U.S. startup that found itself in the spotlight, shows that a radically opposite approach of asserting one’s uniqueness is not only possible, but pays off.(more…)
[Version française ici]
In these times of coronavirus epidemic, I have the opportunity to talk to people from very different backgrounds (emergency doctors, researchers, self-employed people, entrepreneurs, retirees, business leaders, etc.) to understand how they “live” the current crisis both personally and professionally. From these discussions, I can draw three courses of action that a CEO can usefully adopt in the face of the extreme and unprecedented situation we are experiencing. (more…)
In 1934, a visionary General De Gaulle explained how the massive use of tanks in time of war could give a decisive advantage. The tanks were known since the First World War, but they were only used as reinforcement of the infantry. De Gaulle proposed to revise this conception completely and place it at the center of the military effort. He was not listened to except by the German general Guderian who put this idea into practice successfully a few years later … against France.
The same is true for the transformation of organizations: the importance of integrating entrepreneurs has long been recognized and organizations have made efforts in this direction, but only in order to become more entrepreneurial. It is this conception that must be revisited: entrepreneurs should not just come to reinforce the existing management, but contribute to transform it by their principles of action. Let’s see how.