Insights

Short articles that inform, encourage and provoke.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Matter – 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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Inner Beauty

I’ve reviewed and transformed hundreds of sales and strategy presentation decks in my career. The number one question that I get when clients ask me to take a look at there slides is “Help me make it look good. I want to be proud of it.” Beauty comes from the inside. So, I look at the content, and I always go first for the story. The storyline is...

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There is the antidote

The mind is a story-making story-storing machine. As a result, stories live in minds far longer and far more vividly than facts and numbers. Stories help us make sense of who we are, what we stand for, what we fight against, and what we can do for others. When your business strategy takes the shape of a story: Suddenly, it's east to explain it...

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When Things Get Complex

The future belongs to a new kind of leader, those able to co-create stories with people. We are in a global idea economy. Technology was already transforming every industry, making any idea possible, and redefining the word success. Now, it has just redefined the word survival. Before, success was the way you think. Now, success depends on your...

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Understood

Is your business customer-centric? Of course, it is. As business people, we all know that being customer-centric is important. It’s the condition for staying relevant. In truth: we struggle with it. It’s not because of neglect or because we don’t care. It’s more of a blind spot. We are under pressure. We don’t have the right tools. We don’t have...

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It took 3 minutes to change my life.

In 2001, TOTAL, the biggest energy company in France, had invested $150M+ in building an innovative electronic procurement system that would save ten times that amount, by consolidating thousands of suppliers and millions of SKUs (Single Keeping Units) into a single, digital catalog. If successful, TOTAL would streamline their entire purchasing...

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