Rebound—or the Joys of Failure

In a minute or two of trawling around LinkedIn you will be amazed at the great men who all sing the praises of failure: from Churchill to Michael Jordan; from Kennedy to Henry Ford; from James Joyce to Abraham Lincoln. On the other hand, you won’t read much about Joe Dorn, a baker in Pocatello, [...]

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The Blind Spot of Compliance

When I open the paper, here’s what I read: Volkswagen is surreptitiously warming the planet. HSBC is laundering money from dubious sources. Servier is making money off of a health risk. The Carlton offers room service that goes way beyond the mini-bar. A minister, self-styled tax-avoiding Savanarola, proves to be overly fond of Swiss and [...]

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Cultural Integration: How to Marry Your Best Enemy

The Europe of past centuries knew all about cementing alliances. Royalty and nobility married their children into one another’s families. Love had little to do with it compared to the political challenges and the future of peoples who were all too often at war. The goal was peace: durable, fruitful peace between heretofore enemies. Sometimes [...]

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“Beatles” or “Stones”: What About Your Corporate Culture?

We remember the sixties as a time of major worldwide controversies and changes. Eastern Europe had its Iron Curtain; Vietnam was caught in an endless war. In America people were battling for civil rights; France was giving up its African colonies. And in Nanterre it was finally legal for boys to go into the girls’ [...]

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“I Wanna Be a Start-Up” or The Ox Who Wanted to Be a Frog

La Fontaine wrong? You’ve got to be kidding! We all know the tragic ending of the frog that wanted to be bigger than an ox. It swelled and swelled thanks to to thoughtless ambitions until it simply exploded. But what happens when an ox wants to be as agile as a frog? Can you really [...]

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Culture Change Is a Leap Into the Unknown

There’s nothing more “in” than “corporate DNA”. Which only goes to show that people are ready to buy any old metaphor wholesale. It’s as though before having been “birthed”, corporate culture had already begun to develop in the genes of those who “conceived” it. But this is only partially true and it’s partially worrisome. It’s [...]

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Transformation, corporate culture and ballet

“So you’re going to give ballet lessons??” This is what a French executive asked me in the late eighties. I was trying to convince him to pay attention to his company culture as he thought about how to implement the organization change he had initiated. I should have answered yes, because when it comes right [...]

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The Simple Response to Complexity: Teams!

It’s obvious to everyone that the digital revolution represents a total paradigm change. We’ve gone from the civilization of the written word to the age of code; from the word to the icon; from the pyramid to the network; from verticality to horizontality. This is so overwhelming that for the moment no one can fully [...]

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Agility and the Circus Paradigm.

Slogans of the times are always meaningful. There is an old French saying: “Literature always develops in the cracks of societies”. In other words, we talk a lot and write a lot about our unfulfilled aspirations. When it comes to management, today’s word is “agile”. Organizations should be agile in order to adapt to an [...]

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Resilience: 4 Energies for Sustainable Performance

Do you remember how at the end of 2009 those who predicted the crisis would be over by the end 2010 were attacked as “pessimists” and “negative thinkers”? And now, here we are in the beginning 2013 and everybody now knows that “crisis” is probably a misnomer because whatever it is, it’s here to stay. [...]

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