Why leaders should get themselves loved

‘Yes, but the whole meeting should be designed in such a way that we get them where we want’. That were tough words and it framed the meeting unequivocally. My client knew what she wanted. And she was not willing to let others interfere with her plans.   I was preparing a 2-day retreat and… Read more »

If only meetings could be more like sex…

I’ve already blogged about how ideas propagate. Richard Dawkins stated they do this the same way as our genes. Ideas travel from mind to mind, are being used, recombine, fall apart, get lost and father new ideas.   Our meetings can become so much better From that point of view, meetings are nothing more than… Read more »

A low-meeting diet

A low-meeting diet: some do it!

Today I was flabbergasted. On two different unrelated occasions I asked: ‘how many hours a week do you spend in meetings?’ The first person I asked is project manager at a big public organisation, the second manager at a global consultancy.   Both respondents gave the same answer: 5 hours a week.   Example of… Read more »

Meetings: the golden window of opprtunity for change

When an organisation asks me to lead a change, the way meetings are run is rarely a topic of discussion. Points of attention are typically the organisational chart, job descriptions of the new positions (especially at higher level) and typology of the new culture. Meetings are usually overlooked. As if they didn’t matter.   But… Read more »

What Tetris learns you about planning innovation

‘SME’s are reluctant to invest in innovation. The rewards, read profits, are not clear enough for the immediate focus that most SME’s operate in.’ I was discussing with an expert on innovation and instinctively knew he was right. I’ve had difficult experiences discussing innovation with SME’s. There is interest and curiosity about innovation because most… Read more »

‘Get your ass in line’

The admonishment by US House Speaker John Boehner to his fellow Republican became legendary the moment it was uttered. ‘Get your ass in line’ is a rare beauty of the helplessness of the House Speaker during a closed meeting where he tried to rally support from his fellow party members for a debt bill last… Read more »

The 2 rules for an engaged meeting

There are two rules for an engaged meeting: How well you plan, the meeting will always go wrong, If the meeting does not go wrong, you had a sub-optimal meeting.   When I started working as an office clerk some 12 years ago nobody had told me these rules. Being at the bottom of the… Read more »

Happiness, experience and making your own organisation

The Russian economist Kondratieff discovered that market economies develop in 50-70 year long waves. Markets follow an up-cycle of growth leading to a period of stability that is eventually followed by a recession and that in a timeframe of 50 to 70 years before the new wave starts.   Three important trends The current wave… Read more »

Yes, and… let’s revolutionize the world

Not long ago I discovered and joined the Applied Improvisation Network, a worldwide network of more than 1800 dedicated professionals using improvisation within their work. Their work is typically in the field of education, training, leadership, creativity, innovation and organisational development.     The basic rule for all improvisation work is: ‘yes, and…’   During… Read more »

Harnessing your nervousness while working in groups

We were all standing with a partner and asked to keep our arms straight while our partner would try to pull it down. I made a fist and stretched my arm up in the air. After an intense effort my partner succeeded in pushing my arm downward.   Being present Robert noticed we all had… Read more »

Letting the new emerge

On the card John wrote the word ‘listening’. He was proud of it. ‘I learned the importance of listening today. It’s makes for better teamwork. So that’s what I’ll do starting tomorrow back at the office’. As usual I was closing the meeting by asking participants to write down that single action they would do… Read more »

The future in pictures

The whole village had gathered to hear her speak. Young and ambitious, she stood fearlessly on the small podium and was explaining what good she would be doing for the community. A vote for her would not be lost. Her campaign had taken momentum after a TV debate with fellow candidates, all male and well… Read more »

Start making your own advice!

Why would you hire an external consultant? Granted, if the consultant has a set of expertise your organisation does not have, then the question is quickly answered. We need you as a consultant because you know stuff we need but don’t know. Legal stuff is a nice example.   Formulating your own advice But for… Read more »

Creating business values bottom-up

Travelling through Russia can get tough. A few years ago I was standing in a long queue for a train ticket. At a certain moment the lady behind the counter stood up, arranged her hair and closed the desk. I got mad! I had been standing for almost 4 hours! It was almost my turn!… Read more »


I love telling stories to my son. Last time we were in the car for quite a long stretch and my 1-year old became bored and restless. My eyes caught sight of a funny sign saying  ‘island of birds’. I immediately started off talking about all the birds known to men living on a single… Read more »