Insights

Short articles that inform, encourage and provoke.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Students Should Have Mental Health Days – The Strategic Story –

In the training workshop that I am teaching this week at Microsoft, I share my framework for strategic storytelling - the 12 questions that I use to create your strategy based on a story, first. As homework between day 1 and day 2 of the training, I ask that participants find an example and take it through the 12 questions. Kylie shared a great...

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The Shapes of Stories

This week, I will be teaching an online training workshop I named “The Bigger Story: Strategic Storytelling to Drive Profit and Engagement". Anyone in a position where the art of strategy, storytelling and persuasion is essential could benefit from this class. This particular session is for a group at Microsoft where most participants have an...

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A Musical Interlude

Sometimes, you just need a break and some music. Music brings everyone together, no matter their age, race, gender, political opinions, etc. Music puts you in a good mood on a Thursday morning, when it feels like it’s already been Friday. “Where words leave off, music begins.” – Heinrich Heine For all of you who just joined this email list today,...

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The Most Important Myth You Can Build Right Now

In a matter of days, the priority for many businesses went from growing like crazy to surviving. In our current tough reality, all the rules have changed, people have modified their habits for good, and also lost trust along the way. For instance and sadly, some of my friends in the Aerospace industry lost their business, their job and their...

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Leading Is Not Selling Anymore

Look around. We live in a post-advertising age, where nobody wants to be “sold” anymore. Nobody wants to be interrupted to hear the pitch. Instead, we will stop, lean forward and listen if we are inspired by a story that conveys truth, ideally relevant to us. That’s why the demand for ad blockers is going through the roof, and so is the demand...

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Which Language Should you Speak to Your Buyer

When they present their company, none of my clients want to sound like a pushy salesperson who tries to trick you. I don’t think anybody wants that. When I worked in retail sales, I hated myself for failing to avoid that mimicry. Why is it that at some point, we all fall into the trap of doing it? I think it’s because we make the false assumption...

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Black Lives Matters – From 2020 Vision to Reality

The business community had high hopes for 2020. A few years back, 2020 was the year when your big visionary strategy was supposed to become a reality. Your company had to have a “2020 vision”. Whether it was just vaporware or a real thing, if you had one, at least it sparked ideas and dreams in people’s hearts and minds. Hopefully, 2020 would...

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Take Down That Construction Sign

Business strategy is not a project anymore, it’s a continuous process. If you’re still building your strategy as we used to build software in the ’90s, through the waterfall technique, you’ve got a problem. Does the concept of the annual strategic planning retreat still make sense? Maybe not. This year, if that event happened in January or...

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How To Be Heard

I used to think that big words would make me sound smart. I used to think that a long phrase was a trait of a wise man. At least it felt like that’s what schools, firms, peers and work deemed to be right. Then I learned that it’s not true. And that made sense. I saw that those who lead with class kept it short. Once, a friend told me that to be a...

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A 3-minute Masterclass on Leadership Alignment

It is 1980 and the band Queen is about to release one of the greatest hits of all time, the song Another One Bites the Dust. Written by bass guitarist John Deacon, the song was inspired by "Good Times" by the disco group Chic. At the time, Disco is the new game in the music industry, but for Queen, playing disco is a major shift in artistic...

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The Dream of Every CEO

When I started my consulting business, I couldn’t really explain how I came up with the business name of MetaHelm, beyond the fact that “Meta” is a prefix that I always found cool and “Helm” is the second half of my first name in German. That’s Wilhelm - also William in English and Guillaume in French. As a founder, I wanted a made-up name that I...

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Parlez-Vous Strategy?

My wife Deana teaches French. She is a language teacher, a real one. Unlike a native speaker who can’t explain grammar better than by responding “that’s just the way we say it” (that would be me), she can go to the root of things. She can really teach French. She will make anyone love wrestling with the 1,000 exceptions and absurd rules of...

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How To Not Dream Alone

The most powerful force in getting your message to people is clarity. What else is more important than people understanding what your business is about? I am always surprised to see how many business leaders struggle to explain their strategy in simple terms. At the same time, clarity doesn’t come naturally. It takes self-discipline and...

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Where to Start

If you have something to sell me, like a solution, a product, a service, an idea, a strategic plan or anything of that sort, I suggest that you resist the temptation to tell me everything about you and your stuff for as long as you can. Don’t tell me what it is yet, and why it’s so great. Wait before you go all-in with arguments like world-class,...

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Change, In One Sentence

How are we going to make people care more? This is a fundamental question. People care and therefore people change because they react to what’s at stake to them. Whether it’s about a change in your life, a change that your clients should operate, a strategy change in your organization, or a transformation that must happen in our country, the...

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Repetition

Aligning a whole team on the ultimate direction of your business takes time and repetition. How many occasions to present, discuss and illustrate your perspective will you need until people believe in it? Go ahead, what’s your estimate? Now that you have that number, double or triple it. You’re probably way closer to reality. Repetition is more...

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What’s in a Name

Everyone is talking about storytelling in business. And there’s a good reason for this. We all know that a good story will make us more engaging, creating more emotional and meaningful communication. But that’s not all. What almost no one understands about storytelling is how it can be used to structure your vision into a powerful perspective...

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Who Cares

The hardest thing about strategy is to implement it. Anybody can have a great plan, but that plan is only as great as the ability of the people around to understand it, believe in it, and make it happen. It comes down to culture. For that reason, Peter Drucker’s quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is...

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