You are the Platoon Leader – Any Change in Business Starts With You

We are called leaders in business or managers. Personally, I prefer leader. In my interpretation, a manager is the one who has to make sure the processes are working and the procedures are followed. Leadership kicks in when you actually have to change procedures and make them better, make your people better, make the company better.

So at work, you have to be the platoon leader, leading the troops to battle to concur new grounds. People will naturally look at you like that and will follow you like that. What you also have to realize that they copy you, what you do how you act etc.

So if you want to drive change in behavior, change in attitude, change a process that they have to see that you care, you follow the new way yourself. People will change when they see you as a leader change, doing and being consistent about the new thing what you want to push through.

Yes, it is pushing it will take effort, a great deal of it to push changes through. Some companies it is easier, some are greatly difficult. The stronger the culture is the most years served in a company the workforce is, the stronger the resistance will be. Also, it is somewhat different by region of the world, countries with more pride and stubborn attitude, you will have a hell of a job to drive a change through.

So, when you have a chance to lead, have a think how can you demonstrate to your troops that you care, you do it yourself too. Pick a behavior, an act and follow it consistently. Explain it with patience, one hundred times if required, pick a good compelling story to tell and grab every possible venue to tell that story. People love stories, although we all collect birthdays every year, most of us remain kids to a certain extent and love the stories and tend to believe in them.

If you are having difficulty in driving a change, have a think what you have to change in yourself first!

Enjoy the ride and deliver the results!


start changing yourself

Brave new world of private sector

One of my favourite writers is Aldus Huxley and his colourful utopia books about the how the world will look like sometime in the future. I was probably 25 when I first came across his books and at that time I was a corporate soldier working for a large multinational corporation.

I was getting very well trained how to get along in the bubble of corporate kingdom with as many employees as a smaller city somewhere in the world. You have to have certain skills in selling ideas, setting appointments, writing emails, talking and networking all with the aim of getting your agenda in front of someone who can say yes or no or a maybe. This type of structure is very good to learn new cutting edge methods and systems as they have “unlimited” resources to pay for training, consultants, fund projects and so forth. Also you can be specialist in a field within a function and be great and valued.

Also I would say the work morale varies between people a lot. Most of these corporates have employee performance evaluation systems on an annual basis, where they put you into categories of below requirements (you must improve – otherwise you are out); good-ish that you do your job from 9am to 5pm and you do nothing more nothing less and excellent that you are better than the 80% of others wanting to do more.

When you get to the private and start-up type of businesses things change. You have to learn, or have very different skills. The resources are not in abundance; you have to be a financial wizard to make things work. There is no such thing as middle class performance, you are great or you are out and also colleagues, the owners or just simply the market does not tolerate failure. You know the statistics… From every 10 company, 9 goes out of the business in first 5..10 years.

So when you sit in your corporate comfortable chair, and think about having your own business or join a start-up, please do some serious thinking. See how you can improve yourself as a person so you can always deliver 110% and also train yourself all the missing skills and knowledge what you will need in there about sales, marketing, finances, IT and legal.

I did not mean to scare you off, it is a brave new world out there and it is the most fun you can ever have, so I encourage everyone to try!

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

GRisks you did not take

How Can You Involve all Levels in a Company

People are not going to work to do a bad job. Although sometimes you would think it seems that way. But it is simply not true. Sometimes we managers say that employees do not care. Not true…. You have to accept this principle.

To draw the caring out of a team is your job as a manager, so if they do not seem to care, then you failed, not them. How can you then involve them? By asking the right question. We can go back to the basic human needs. There are numbers of theories on how many are there…. But in all theories, once you passed the basic needs for food, shelter, safety and these sorts, you get to the level of Belonging to a Group and Feeling Significant.

So with your questions, you have to achieve 2 objectives:

  1. Bring down the barrier when people feel on the football field and employees vs. Management game is on, and you are playing on the opposite side to them
  2. You need to make them feel important that they hold the key to the problem, together you can solve it

Asking the right questions, telling the right story, providing the right level of information will bring out the desire to solve a problem. You have to be prepared for some period of lack of trust, silence, ignorance and all sorts, but at the end of the day with resilience and not giving up will deliver the desired benefits. People will help you to achieve the common objective.

You do not have to win everyone over, you can focus on a few, the so-called opinion leaders and then once they are on your side than as a small team you can work with the rest of the group.

What you have to be prepared for is that this game is not like football, not 90 minutes. Meeting over and you do not have to care about it any longer. You have to follow up, work with them day by day to make the desired improvement work. You (as one team now) worked out together.

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!


How To Sell Yourself Made Easy…

Every one of us has at least one product to sell, ourselves. If you choose not to do it, no one else will do it for you. You must value yourself that much, be proud of yourself and sell. Once you start, it makes you feel better, makes you want to do it more, and as any good self-fulfilling prophecy, actually makes you achieve better things… Some will say you improve yourself over time, so will say the universe is helping you. Not really sure, I think it is all of the above. However, you have to make the first step. Why not do it today? In the next 2 minutes while you read this post I will show you what makes it super easy to do on a regular basis.

For most of us, it is not easy and not natural to promote ourselves. Unless you have been trained well in sales, it is not a natural strength. However, you can make your life slightly easier, by preparing a little bit every week, or at least every month.

We have talked about reflections in a previous post (The Friday Game Changer – Reflection Time) It is all logical, when you do that you have to carve out some time to make a presentation page on tracking results, documenting achievements. This will give you the advantage when you have an opportunity, someone wants to talk to you about a project you have done, big boss comes to town, you want to praise your team and thank them for the hard work, or you just simply want to feel good and tell everyone, you already have a 95% ready page to send. Makes making a decision and actually doing the self-marketing easy. We all know well ,we have to do it, but also we can do ourselves a favour to make it simple. (Have to give you a tip…. Writing a post is not natural for me either, if I would have no collection of ideas jotted down…. It would be much harder to create a post topic almost every day)

You say… well, tell me how do you build the communication slide…. PowerPoint, brochure, post whatever. First, start with the message…. The title what do you want the audience to remember. Write that on the bottom of the page. Choose some supporting evidence graphic to communicate the message (PowerPoint has this brilliant Smart Art built in, great for most occasions). Put a few sub-bullets that explain the context…. Job done. What you will find that most of the time, compiling data takes the most of your time. To figure out where to get it from and how, because you forgot to document in the first place…. That brings us to a separate subject(… Which I am now adding to my list of post ideas to choose from. ….) With this type of presentations, the good thing is, that you can reuse them multiple times, update the data, the next month and just remind the audience… look I am still great we are doing a super job.

Page built, ready to show, ready to tell how you add value, how you create a compelling message to yourself and others how good you are!

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!



How Can I Ensure a Change Does Not Fade Away?

In life and in business we are making changes, and as always we do our best. The biggest fear of all changes in business people makes, is to make the change and after months or years it just gradually goes back to where it was or even worse.

There is one solution (if done well) that can prevent this from happening. We all remember the saying “Burn the Bridges” as a military tactic, it was utilized by warriors and warlords for thousands of years. Basically building a gap so great that there is no turning back.

When applied to business, as a manager you have the obligation to find a way for the organization to sustain what you have tried to achieve. Your leadership and willpower can not assume, that it will be there forever.

You almost have to honour the work you and the team have done by also coming up with a method to lock it in.

There are multiple ways to achieve this, and the good old-fashioned brainstorming and prioritization tools will help you do that. From the list of ideas…. A 6M chart (Ishikawa or Fishbone) will help you to generate them (Man, Machine, Material, Measurement, Method, Mother Nature). Then you can prioritize them by Impact and Effort.

Remember the question you need to ask:

“How can we make it almost impossible to revert back the change?”

You can think along the lines of hiring or firing, moving, change policies, eliminate or buy something, sign a very strong contract, make it “uncool” to do the old way and anything else. Go creative and burn that bridge!

Challenge me, give me a change problem, and will come back with ideas…. Put it in comments. Or drop me an email on

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!



The Strongest Magnet in Business

Everyone agrees on setting goals and expectations are the best people management tool ever for performance. I agree with that statement, but how do you maintain the power on the day-by-day basis?  After all, you do not have time to micromanage everyone, nor that you should.

Here is the answer… a line.

I found this tool has a pretty big power of mindset and focuses individuals and teams to achieve the goals. It has its history with the foreman drawing the targets on the floor with a piece of chalk and surprises the performance has improved just by doing that.

So what I am suggesting here is that once you have done your homework and established the realistic goals, and the timeline to get there, you get to draw the most magnetic object in the business world, the agreed target line. It has to be realistic and agreed upon. You can not say to a team that I expect you to perform two times better from tomorrow and draw a target line, you will achieve the opposite. But you can draw a linear line from today to the agreed performance target and make them draw the actual on a daily or weekly basis next to it.

I see this working on a daily or weekly basis in multiple ways. The power is with the line, but magic touch lies in the pre-discussion of goal setting prior to that.

This is an area where you can try it out, can be yourself, plotting a weight loss program chart for yourself and plot the actual reads on a weekly basis (on that front daily would be less of impactful and also discouraging)

The quote is from my favourite corporate leader/inspiration Jack Welch. I had the fortune to meet him a few times while working for his company.




Enjoy the ride and deliver results!




What does a leader do on the weekend?

You work very hard during the week and you definitely deserve a bit of break for the weekend. And yes, you do need to take a break and make sure you recharge your batteries.

However, many of you know the story of the lumberjack busy cutting the tree with a blunt saw, and the person walking by can not stand it and ask him “ Why don’t you sharpen the saw?”… “ I am too busy sawing…” comes as an answer.

If you have not read the book of Stephen Covey, the 7 Habits… Please take the time to do so this weekend. So when you take your weekend into account, you have to make sure that you do a bit of sharpening. It is essentially goes into four categories:

  • Body – Exercise, Eat Well, Relax
  • Mind – Learn, Write, Educate
  • Heart – Relationships
  • Soul – Meditate, Journal, Pray

One bit you have to remember is to keep the balance of all this, you can not do a 200% job on Body and only 10% on heart. Imagine if these four categories would represent a quarter in a wheel, and that wheel would be carrying your life. With that imbalance, your life would fee a pretty bumpy ride. Also you have to maintain the balance of how much time you put into all this. It may sound crazy, but if you exercise 2 hours every day, than over 10 years you spend almost 1 year exercising. Well my point is, keep the balance as it may add that 1 year to your life expectancy, but you have not really gained much in the process…

Take this weekend, journal, read, write and go socialize a bit, sharpen your saw, so you are even more productive than the week before!

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!


The Friday Game Changer – Reflection Time

We have gone through the week, it feels great that it is Friday…. But does it?
Friday is just another day and you can decide how you live it. You can be happy about that the week has ended, think of going out have a beer or a glass of wine and do not think about work… lock it out and forget about it for a few days…. The chances are that you will feel terrified or sad when Monday comes.

There is another way…. And as usual it takes not much, just 30 minutes or so, and you will feel great, and will even be excited on Monday. This is not smoking weed…. It is reflections time.

Simple thing you can capture any of the following, and I guarantee you, you will feel happy, you will feel fulfilled, and will feel excited on Monday to continue. This is the list I use for my reflection time…. But feel free to alter as you see fit, it is more important to do it, rather than how you do it.

  1. What was working well from my plan for the week
    Yes you should have a plan of outcomes for a week and you have to reflect on that, what was working well… so you can have this cleared up
  2. What was working not so well
    What did I learn from it… What is worth to remember.
  3. Who has accomplished something that I should recognize
    Capture some moments, individuals…. Even if they do not work for you or with you, who are worth to recognize… Maybe you can even post on Social Media about the lady in the Post Office who was super helpful and cheerful
  4. What was the best moment of the week…
    Here focus on something that I was grateful for to have… One thing I will remember for whatever reason…. It will help you to lift your spirit

Please make sure you capture these in writing…. As words fly away and what is written stays there forever.

So you decide…. Head to the pub and forget or 30 minutes more and remember.

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!


How to Build a One Page Summary of Anything

We are communicating every day, whether you want it or not…

When you type an email, you write a report, make a presentation, verbally or non verbally you are communicating!

Today we will be focusing on how to make your written communication even better than now.

You have to be considerate of 2 things: the audience and you.

Let’s Start With You… Your work is the reflection of yourself. Anything you do is the external manifestation of your qualities and capabilities. The fact is that some are written, therefore remains makes it more important. In verbal settings, your performance is not retained elsewhere than the memories of the participants, but the written ones, you will never know where they might surface later on, so you better focus and do the best you can.

The Audience… It’s not you, so when you write the message has to be constructed for them, tailored and carefully crafted. Also, you have to show your respect for being concise and well targeted. You cannot waste their time or your time, with an improperly compiled message which does not achieve its intended purpose.

Great…. Now we are all scared to write an email…. Not at all the case. As anything in business (or life) to create a great one-page summary you’ll need to follow three steps:

Step 1 – Create the Ultimate Message

This is the most important part: what you want to achieve with the message? Inform, take action…. These are the major categories. So basically you write the last part of the communication first, make sure that it is crystal clear, what the message is. If we are talking email, this is a last sentence before the ending part…. What do I want the audience to do or remember…? One thing no more.

If you talk in PowerPoint terms this is the sentence on the bottom of the slide, preferably one line text with roughly font size 20…. If it does not fit to one line try to reconsider unless you are using super long words for whatever reason like “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”, which is a lung disease as I was told…. Try to avoid these unless you are a scientist and you are talking to a group of other scientists, but even with them they will not have to remember that word, they would have to remember the thing about it or the thing what they have to do.

Step 2 – Create Your Entry

This is your opening sentence in your communication, almost as summarized as the message that leads the audience into the chain of thoughts from where they are into the comprehension of the final message.

If the piece of work is an email, that it is a situational summary, if it is part of a longer presentation, you have to lead from the previous section into the page you are on. Imagine this as the “opening statement” of a lawyer in court, it has a powerful message on its own and gets the jury focused.

Step 3- Build the Logical Chain to Your Final Message from the Entry point

You have to support your information with facts, data, emotions and whatever to make the Final Message stick in the audiences head. They will not have to remember these, they have to remember the final message. But these have to be powerful enough to make them remember or make them do whatever they have to do. Again the courtroom analogy, this is all the pieces of evidence and witnesses the lawyer presents to support the case and influence the judge or the jury to make their final call.

Bonus Track – If Any of you Remember from the DVDs we Used to Use….

If this is an email, the subject is a message on its own. You are fighting with the massive overflow of emails, so you have to be very good at formalizing the subject line for people to open your email at all. What I found interesting on this in the corporate world is that if you use similar tactics that the marketing people use on the emails when they try to convince you to buy something then it becomes much more effective. Again, remind yourself that if it is important to you, than you want to make sure that it gets opened and read to the end, better be short than…

Enjoy the Journey and Deliver Results!


Best Ever Question for Leaders

We all get very busy every day, focusing on problems to be solved, people to talk to and tasks to be completed. In 90% of the time, we live like machines, reacting to inputs we receive or slaves of the moment.

Our mind, however, is destined to achieve so much more. You must have read studies on how much of the brain capacity we use and sure there are some myths around that. However, we can all agree there is much more in the reserves in there, should we decide to use it?

For that the best ever question is: “Why?” … This can be a stimulating question to ask in any situation. Breaks you away from the moment and the complexity of situations, and focuses you on a forward-looking state. It feels like a switch to the brain…. “Time to work!”.

This is an excellent tool to formalize strategies, create motivation, solve complex problems and a lot of others.

I am posting this on a Wednesday, so if you have gone through your manic Monday, when everyone seems to have downloaded all the great ideas they had over the weekend, every person who wanted to follow up on something had sent the emails to you. And the Tuesday, when you took care of all what came about on Monday…. It is time to set aside a bit of time and work on the “Why?” a bit. I find it most efficient to set aside time to work on a project, strategy anything important on Wednesday. I even had some jobs, when I took some part of Wednesday off and did not go to the office I was working on things where thinking was required. It is not to be confused with planning time when you have answered the question already, but take time aside and ask the “whys”…

So let’s walk through an example of how would this work:

You are a leader and your team needs to do a better job on whatever your team is doing. You take your Wednesday morning off, switch your email, set an out of office, turn the mobile off, or forward to someone else’s number. Get yourself a table at you favourite coffee place…. The background is all set, your mind is free, you are in a familiar but not an office environment, so your brain is being reminded that something unusual and great will be taking place.

Why are we not doing a good job? And list out the things that come to your mind in the next minute… Do not spend too much time, your brain will be more or less coming up with the important stuff in the first 30 seconds, the minute is only required for your hand to catch up with the writing

Then, ask the question Why again on the items on the list. This way you will build a logical chain. After you finished the thinking I would encourage you to come up with a document, preferably one page to summarize your thinking. This will be required to explain what you have come up with to the key members of your team and continue the thinking together. The document has to be clear enough to be printed and put in front of anyone and without you saying a word the other person should understand the message.

Once you have the one-pager, you can reward yourself with another coffee, cake or whatever you like, pack your things and go back to work. Although Wednesday is the lowest point of the week, you have just built a piece of strategy and could proudly be the leader you deserve to be.

If you wish to post your ideas in comments, we are happy to help you with any questions you might have!

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!