Shifting from a V.U.C.A. to a W.I.S.E. world

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Our Historical Moment As the first few days of this crisis hit and people began quarantining in their homes in an effort to "flatten the curve" in 2020, I immediately felt that this was one of those events that changes the course of human history. I wrote to some of my professional colleagues in those momentous first days that I believed that future historians would write about a pre- and post-corona world. One colleague responded to me by saying that we had gone through several crises in our lifetime - 9/11 and the financial crash of 2008/2009 - and not [...]

New leadership skills and sensibilities are essential for a rapidly complex and changing business environment.  The growing need for agility has led to the realization that leadership is a team sport which requires the co-ordination and collaboration of many leaders. Moreover, the importance of leadership lies not only at the level of a team, but increasingly at the level of the network. With information flowing at unprecedented speed, no single person can possess a complete overview of the current state of affairs in a business. Due to an environment characterized by complexity and rapidity, it is crucial for leaders to [...]

Cultivating Network Cooperation with Leadership Reconnaissance The design of most leadership development programs has traditionally been utilized to provide a space and opportunity for individuals to reflect upon their leadership strengths and weaknesses away from day-to-day business pressures. Typically the individuals who attend such leadership development sessions are pre-selected based upon their previous performance and perceived future promise to the organization. By that as it may,  the cutting-edge leadership paradigm has another focus on  the level of the network through Network Leadership . Fostering such a novel approach to leadership from the network perspective requires fundamental shifts from the long-established [...]

Entering unknown territory Currently we are all entering into unknown territory, attempting to master the continuous challenges we face today with the behaviors and processes which worked so well for us in the past.  This endeavor reminds me of the competition between Roald Amundsen of Norway and Robert Scott of Great Britain to be the first person to reach the South Pole.  Part of the reason that Amundsen was successful while Scott was not, was that Amundsen used dogs to help him traverse this hostile terrain.  In contrast, Scott used ponies. They had been extraordinarily useful in past explorations, but [...]

Culture and competitive advantage are connected

Culture and competitive advantage are connected

A unique Global Culture Survey which involved 3,200 management leaders around the globe was just released. Managers responded to questions about the influence of culture on business success. The Katzenbach Center, an institution which is part of the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers carried out this annual Global Culture Survey. There are many key takeaways from the results of the survey. One in particular really got my attention: "66% of the C-Suite and board members surveyed said that culture is MORE important to performance than the organization's strategy or operating model." This assessment is supported by more detailed data. Respondents were [...]

A misleading myth Change requires a combination of both honesty and authenticity. There is a long-held and predominant myth that 70% of all change efforts fail. This level of failures has been recognized as the absolute truth for over 30 years. But is is it really true? Where did this frequently cited number come from? In their best-selling business book Reengineering the Corporation which was published in 1993 the authors James A. Champy und Michael Hammer state: "Our unscientific estimate is that as many as 50 percent to 70 percent of the organizations that undertake a reengineering effort do not [...]

Refreshing the design approach of an Expert Forum  Boehringer Ingelheim's Vetmedica division initially conceived the idea for a Forum over 10 years ago. The aim is to create a meeting place to exchange perspectives and practices among some of the main players in the industry. Initially the meeting was labeled the European Forum because the main emphasis was on developments occurring in Europe. However over the years, interest was peaked all across the globe and, as a result, the number of participants coming from countries worldwide has increased every year. Krakow - location of the 7th Expert Forum The original [...]

The essence of our collaboration with a family-owned business over the years has been to develop unique ways to maximize the innovative potential of their meetings. The resulting new meeting strategy captures the knowledge and experience of clients and employees as a means to further develop their business. The following case study illustrates how the power of adopting a 21st century approach for the design of participatory meetings provides concrete and usable results for businesses.  The meeting in question took place over the course of a full day.  In this instance, 60 participants representing key stakeholders in an industry took [...]

Developing leaders for your business’ future

Developing leaders for your business’ future

The greatest challenge for current leaders throughout any organization is to continuously learn and adapt to the rapidly changing business environment. Their ability to do so defines not only their capacity but also the quality of their ability to lead others. But how do leaders come up with the time to cultivate their commitment for continuous learning and motivate colleagues during their busy work schedule?  How can they be motivated to welcome curiosity and experimentation as a fundamental approach to their daily business? To date the classical paradigm of leadership development has been to host multi-day workshops off-site. Why not [...]

The World as Network Our world is organized on the principle of networks. Everywhere we look, networks can be discovered. It was the emerging new science of ecology in the early 20th century which observed that species were linked together through their feeding relations with each other (aka food chains). Subsequently, it was understood that these links are an integral part of a network known as the food web which connects all species in an eco-system with one another. This food web acts as a a kind of natural “circular economy” in which even the waste of one species is [...]

From time immemorial, leadership has been associated with learning. Put simply, leaders are always learning.  The caliber of any leader is revealed in the way they deal with uncertainty and/or novel situations. Especially during these moments, leaders must learn as much as possible about the environment which they are encountering. Their capacity to learn and adapt is closely correlated to the quality of their ability to lead. "Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other."                                                   [...]

A digital offering which inhabits the same dimension where culture lives – its community One of the key activities of any organization is timely and fact-based communication about what is occurring in an organization – whether it be in a time of crisis, change or celebration. Commonly an individual or dedicated staff carries out this responsibility on behalf of the leadership to disseminate information to its employees. The use of specific channels of communication tools mirror the uniqueness of each organization and its culture. But is this classical communication sufficient to foster an organization’s culture which needs to foster nimbleness [...]

Through the impact of the digital revolution, change is occurring with increasing speed in all aspects of both our business and personal milieus. Why would these accelerated developments not have an impact on how business strategy is approached as well? Digital transformation has indeed changed the classical paradigm of strategy. Like everything else in the digital age, the world of strategy is in a state of disruption. This shift is particularly noticeable to me due to my hands-on-experience working for two of the best known strategy consultants in the world. During those years, I was applying what I had learned [...]

Any promising change initiative begins with identifying the projects focus and clarifying its goals.  Digital transformation is so all-encompassing that companies often find it difficult to adhere to these fundamental best practice principles for change management initiatives.  Part of the dilemma is that various misconceptions prevail about digital transformation:  What exactly is it? How and when can it be achieved?  Diverse views on the matter crop up and inevitably lead to a lack of alignment across the organization. Ensemble Enabler has developed a special modular learning initiative consisting of 6 core topics to support organizations to address the digital transformation process [...]

Inspiration from scholars in the field Ensemble Enabler is continually exploring new approaches to capture the wisdom of the crowd to support strategic initiatives, foster creativity and encourage innovation. Our experience has demonstrated that a key factor in this process is the intentional use of dialogue and conversation. A broad spectrum of scholars have explored the conceptual underpinnings which make Peer-to-Peer Networking an effective process. We would like to share a compact selection of authors who have informed our thinking on the value and impact of its use in organizations: Lifelong Learning through conversations Coaching Ourselves© is a process for [...]