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Focus on Culture! In his initial run for President, Bill Clinton is famous for reducing his campaign message to campaign staff to one simple sentence: "It's the economy stupid!" During his presidential campaign, there were many competing issues to engage with such as foreign affairs (the first Iraq war had just ended and the Soviet Union had just been dissolved), healthcare, trade policy, attacks on his character - to name only a few. However, he told his campaign staff that the only issue which really mattered was the economy. With the support of this fixated focus , he [...]

Organizational Culture and Networks

Organizational Culture and Networks

In today’s digitalized world, it is difficult to conceive of work getting done without harnessing the power of networks.  There are virtual groups and teams, communities of practice, webinar meetings, etc. When it comes to organizational culture however, corporations tend to underutilize the power of networks. Perhaps that has to do with the abstract nature of culture. Managers have a difficult enough time grasping how to renew culture – never mind how to use networks to that effect. Yet networks are essential to the Culture Renewal process. Cultural messages often contain a large dose of emotional content.  When talking about [...]

We have encountered the enemy and the enemy is us A four year research project conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte has just come to an end.  For a period of over four years, more than 16.000 people were surveyed about their experience with digital disruption and the adequacy of their organization's response. The results are in. The true challenge of mastering digital disruption (and a major part of the solution) is enabling people.   Companies can effectively navigate the challenges of digital disruption by undertaking initiatives which are far more organizational and managerial than technical. Source: [...]

Silos and Octopus Traps

Silos and Octopus Traps

In the wheat growing areas of the world, grain is stored in large towers known as silos. Multiple silos are usually required. Each silo rises high into the sky, independent of the other silos. However, this colorful metaphor that has become commonplace to describe separation and lack of coordination in organizations and in society is not necessarily understood across the entire world. Silos are not to be found in rice based economies. When in 2005 the newly appointed CEO to Sony – Howard Stringer (an Englishman who had led Sony’s North American operations) – made his first strategy speech in [...]

Focusing on the future Feedback is an essential element of good leadership and high performance teams.  Individuals cannot function in a vacuum.  They need to know what they are doing well and what they need to improve. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith - a well known management educator and coach notes that feedback has a fundamental limitation.  Feedback by its very nature looks at the past instead of looking ahead towards the future.  This makes feedback potentially static and undynamic.  The past cannot be changed. It is in the future that possibilities for development reside. To address this fundamental flaw in feedback [...]

Keystone Habits

Keystone Habits

I recently read a story which merits retelling . It is a powerful story about how an unwavering focus on a specific value can help to turn a company around. The year was 1987. The company was the A luminum Company of America otherwise known as Alcoa. The business results in the last few years had not been good. A new CEO was being brought on board to see if the ship could be tumed around. That new CEO was Paul O’Neill – a former government bureaucrat. The investment community did not know too much about him, so when he [...]

Value through Alignment

Value through Alignment

The influence of over 300 years of traditional thinking patterns is being swept out faster than we think. It’s happening right now, step-by-step…Our blog The Ensemble Enabler aspires to explore this shift in thinking and what its means for all of us – both in the world of business and our daily lives. Each blog post of the The Ensemble Enabler will explore the “shifting sands” of our challenging and complex world by sharing stories and insights about systemic alignment, how it can be achieved and how it creates value. Our aim is to have each of our blog posts [...]

Lifelong learning Knowledge is accumulating at an ever increasing pace in today's world. As a result, fostering lifelong learning is regarded as essential for a company's on-going success. Individuals continue to learn throughout the course of their working lives. Companies support their employees' learning journey by offering a broad spectrum of courses and trainings as part of their management development programs. Normally such formal courses and trainings are based on an established template and carried out again and again. Often external experts with specific know-how present this knowledge to the participants. This may provide the most effective way to promote learning centered [...]

A unique process to foster individual, team and organizational learning Coaching Ourselves is a peer-to-peer learning process which enables employees to learn from and with each other. It provides a framework through which employees are able increase both their knowledge and skills in specific business areas on-site at their business location. By expanding their skill-set and know-how, employees are empowered to personally contribute to creating a more agile organization. (Take a look at the following introduction for a detailed overview to Enable Enabler's approach to peer-to-peer learning: The Value of Peer-to-Peer Learning for your Organization Recognizing the power of providing [...]

Supporting Change Processes through Peer-to-Peer Learning

Supporting Change Processes through Peer-to-Peer Learning

The Context The EKN division of E.O.N. - a German based energy company - convened a meeting in the form of a systemic dialogue in order to enhance employee engagement.  150 employees out of a total EKN workforce of approximately 800 participated at two locations - Hamburg and Landshut.  During the course of these meetings, multiple proposals were made that could potentially have a considerable impact on EKN's workplace.   However, over 600 employees were not able to participate directly in the formulation of these proposals.  How could these employees not only be informed of the potential proposals being considered, [...]

A Fish Out of Water

A Fish Out of Water

PMG is a medium size company specializing in the manufacturing of automotive parts.  New management was recently hired to lead the organization into the next phase of the company's development.  After a review of the business, the leadership embarked on several strategic change initiatives. How could the management be better prepared to guide these initiatives in an effective manner? Taking the Fish out of the Water A fish does not know what water is until it is taken out of the water.   Similarly, leaders and managers in organizations often do not see the water around them either – until [...]

Circa 100 different topics offered through the CoachingOurselves module library Ensemble Enabler is proud to be a certified provider for CoachingOurselves© – the company which was inspired by Professor Henry Mintzberg of McGill University in Montreal. This Peer2Peer Learning concept was launched in 2007. Over the years, CoachingOurselves© has developed an extensive library of content for use in Peer2Peer Learning sessions in conjunction with world renowned experts and business leaders in their fields. For instance, Professor Philip Kotler – a distinguished Professor of Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago – has written modules on [...]

6 Key Benefits for your Organization

6 Key Benefits for your Organization

Peer-2-Peer Learning is a novel approach to employee development Peer-2-Peer Learning (P2P) can enhance can company’s development programs in a myriad of ways while at the same time improving its organizational effectiveness.  P2P could be used in any business or organization toward achieving the following goals:             1. Providing development opportunities where none (or few) existed before             2. Enhancing existing development programs             3.Supporting the effectiveness of existing competency models             4. Enhancing inter-organizational networking             5. Bolstering change initiatives             6. Turbo-charging internal communications P2P offers both a flexible, low-cost approach to develop organizational skills P2P is not [...]

Holocracy - an organic approach to organizing work

Holocracy - an organic approach to organizing work

Encountering Holocracy I became aware of Holocracy in 2016 when I read an article in the German language newspaper Handelsblatt on the recent work of the distinguished Professor Gary Hamel who is known for introducing the concept of c ore competencies in the 1990s. This theory suggests that companies can build a sustainable competitive advantage by identifying and investing in the core processes that drive their business.  In more recent years, Hamel's work has taken a very different direction. He is concerned with the future of management. He believes that in many ways hierarchical management is actually impeding the generation of value.  Somewhere in the footnotes of [...]

Making the Whole Elephant Visible

Making the Whole Elephant Visible

This blog will take a look at a novel approach which companies are using to deal with complex issues – an energy company aspiring to improve internal communications, an organization dealing with an aging workforce and a pharmaceutical company targeting to create a learning environment within its marketing department. All of these issues are multi-facetted. For instance, communication within a company includes top-down and cross-functional communication, bottom-up and inter-departmental communication, performance reviews and feedback, etc. – not to mention the myriad of instruments available to support this communication. Most attempts to deal with such issues revolve around the tried and [...]