The photo below illustrates one of the most fundamental principles of value creation. Have a look: The owner has bought a ‘cat tree’. This would be splendid, but the cat prefers sitting on the cardboard box! Of course, the cat tree is not for the cat at all. It’s for the owner. I doubt the…

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Fear is a bigger factor in organizational life than we like to admit, and it works against many of the best-practices that are espoused by leaders and their gurus. Reduce fear, and a lot of good things can happen. To start with, I’ve found that senior people often have no idea how intimidated they make…

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I was working with a pharmaceutical distribution business that needed to innovate, and fast. Drugs were coming off-patent, and industry forces were going to change who made money and how. The MD was worried. He was also frustrated that his senior managers, who he described as excellent operations people, were failing to come up with…

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Anyone can get caught in a bubble – it happens without you realising it. And even if you notice, it can be hard to escape. I remember one CEO telling me that his big worry was isolation. Not emotional isolation, but isolation from real information. He felt stuck at the end of a corridor, in…

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Imagine the scene. It’s the early hours of the morning. A young engineer lies awake, unable to sleep because of the excitement. After what seems like an hour of trying to find a comfy position to nod off, he checks the clock. Just fifteen minutes have elapsed since the last time he looked! He worries…

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Manchester, 1955. The table tennis club has four tables. Beginners start at Table Four, down on the right. If you win, you move left. At Table One, the winner stays on. Anyone can find a game at the club, but the standard at Table One is high –those players are junior championship contenders: young, fit,…

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