Connecting what you «Do» with what you want to «Achieve»

Connecting what you «Do» with what you want to «Achieve»

I have been consulting several clients lately, and I have discovered a pattern that I think is common in many companies.

The vision, the strategy, and the KPI’s are well established and linked. But I seldom find the “plan – what to do” – included in the strategy management systems.

I often find that “Business planning” is a process that continues as usual and are not linked to the strategy. Often it is actually two separate processes. One process that gives the “direction” and the other separate process that contains the “execute” part.

A Balanced Scorecard that does not link the execution part with the objectives is a scorecard without “energy”. It cannot be executed.
Make sure to do both – or leave it.

If Pharaoh should recruit a leader – how would the world look like?

pharaoh-recruit-leaderIf Pharaoh should recruit a leader – how would the world look like?
Written concepts about leadership developed early. The concepts of leadership, leader and follower are found in the Egyptian hieroglyphs. The hieroglyphs for Leader is:





There were three qualities required of a Pharaoh.

  1.     Authoritative utterance is in your mouth
  2.     Perception is in thy heart
  3.     and thy tongue is the shrine of justice.

Just think how the world would have been if Pharaoh was selecting the leaders to the top leader jobs today. I think it would be a different and better business world. Especially I like “thy tongue is the shrine of justice”.
Let’s follow Pharaoh’s advice and bring justice to the business world!

Manager or Leader

manager-or-leaderI was attending a Global Leadership Summit this weekend, and learned a lot about how to lead people. I started thinking about the managers I have been working for over the last 25 years and I realized that I have been working for two main categories of Managers:

Leaders and Managers
When I thought about some of the “Leaders” I have worked for, I look back on the employment with joy. These people “showed the way” and lead me in the right direction – sometimes even without me knowing that I was being led.

But I have also worked under managers who tries to control everything. The Italian word for manager “maneggiare” explains the difference. To “maneggiare” means “to control,” and was especially used with reference to training horses. Probably the “managers/ maneggiare’s” should look for a job where they can train horses. I think that a lot of value creation is destructed by these type of managers.

The Serious Downside of Working Lunches

Over the past twenty years, I’ve facilitated thousands of workshops during which my clients engage in the significant mental effort required to develop Balanced Scorecards that will lead to the execution of their strategy. It’s hard work – intellectually demanding and often tiring, but ultimately rewarding when the entire team lands on the same strategic page, understanding exactly what success looks like and how they’ll get there.

When the clock ticks close to noon during these events it’s not uncommon for participants to meet my calls for a lunch break with a few sneers and remarks that suggest the not so subtle subtext of: “We’re professionals, we don’t need a lunch break…we can power through this!” I certainly understand the desire to capitalize on the momentum that has accumulated during the morning session, and applaud the work ethic of those wanting to carry on without a break, but as a mounting body of research indicates, working through lunch is simply not a good idea for you, or your organization.

Chris Cunningham, University of Tennessee Professor of Industrial-Organizational and Occupational Health believes a mid-day break is essential in restoring the energy and focus necessary to tackle the pressing problems most of us encounter in our day-to-day work lives. “The attention it takes to focus at work drains (people) of psychological, social, and material reserves, leading to stress and lower productivity. Taking a lunch break away from the desk lets people separate themselves from the source of that drain.”

It’s not just productivity that suffers when you sit at your desk or in a conference room toil
ing through the lunch hour, but in fact you’re putting your health in jeopardy. University of Arizona researchers found that the typical office worker’s desk has about 400 times more germs per square inch than an office toilet seat. The nastiest germ minefields are your keyboard and phone, storing in excess of 20,000 germs per square inch. So if you think hiding out in your office is protecting you from that flu bug going around the office, think again. A cold is small potatoes, however, compared to the damage that excess sitting can cause in the long term. Research from the Mayo Clinic has linked sitting for extended periods of time with a number of significant health concerns including obesity and metabolic syndrome, a deleterious band of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. As if that weren’t bad enough, the research also suggests that sitting too much can increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Fortunately, we can combat these issues with relative ease. Simply wiping your work surface with hand sanitizer can eliminate the vast majority of germs taking up residence around your desk. As to the bigger problems related to excess sitting, the best medicine is to simply get up and get away at lunch, preferably interacting with nature. You don’t need a vigorous hike lasting a full hour, everyone’s clock is different, and for some a ten-minute stroll around your parking lot may be all you need to re-energize and re-focus for the rest of the day. Whatever you choose, know that you’re doing both your mind and body a great service. Research documenting the brain’s ability to subconsciously problem solve is piling up rapidly, so an answer to that challenge you just couldn’t solve before lunch, no matter how hard you tried, may come flashing through while you’re out enjoying a short break. In addition to the mental breakthroughs you’ll enjoy, getting up and spending a few minutes outside is probably the best thing you can do to restore the reserves of energy and focus we all need to succeed in today’s workplace.


-Making the Most of Your Lunch Hour, Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2013.
-Germ statistics from:

Are we in control of rising cost or is cost ruling us?

Future cost trends

As a young financial controller I made an observation that I won’t ever forget. I had collected the various departments’ budgets for the next 5 years (bottom up process) and summarized the numbers. The 5 year period showed increased cost. When my manager saw the rising curves he stopped for some seconds and took the pen and drew a new line. “This is our future cost development” he said. At first I thought he was not serious, but after a while I understood he really meant it.

He told me that I should minimize the impact on the overall operations given the new target cost level. This was a healthy exercise that all businesses should undertake – even if they are not in crisis. My manager did not have to cut cost like this – he just did it – and I admire him much for this.

I worked in the Shared Services Division, and the cost cutting exercise did not impact our services much. Like you reshuffle your furniture at home every now and then – you should also do reshuffling and cut or do less of some activities, for a good cost impact.

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