AMI Consultancy Blog



Fear of bad ideas (Seth Godin's blog)

A few people are afraid of good ideas, ideas that make a difference or contribute in some way. Good ideas bring change, that's frightening.
But many people are petrified of bad ideas. Ideas that make us look stupid or waste time or money or create some sort of backlash.
The problem is that you can't have good ideas unless you're willing to generate a lot of bad ones.
Painters, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers, chiropractors, accountants--we all fail far more than we succeed. We fail at closing a sale or playing a note. We fail at an idea for a series of paintings or the theme for a trade show booth.
But we succeed far more often than people who have no ideas at all.
Someone asked me where I get all my good ideas, explaining that it takes him a month or two to come up with one and I seem to have more than that. I asked him how many bad ideas he has every month. He paused and said, "none."
And there, you see, is the problem.

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce | Video on

A larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.
Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce | Video on


What Really Motivates Workers by Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer

Understanding the power of progress.

The Problem.

Ask leaders what they think makes employees enthusiastic about work, and they’ll tell you in no uncertain terms. In a recent survey we invited more than 600 managers from dozens of companies to rank the impact on employee motivation and emotions of five workplace factors commonly considered significant: recognition, incentives, interpersonal support, support for making progress, and clear goals. “Recognition for good work (either public or private)” came out number one.
Unfortunately, those managers are wrong.


What Matters Now: get the free ebook (by Seth Godin)

Now, more than ever, we need to shake things up. Newauthors

Now, more than ever, we need a different way of thinking, a useful way to focus and the energy to turn the game around. I hope a new ebook I've organized will get you started on that path. It took months, but I think you'll find it worth the effort. (Download here).
Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O'Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

Here's the deal: it's free. Download it here. Or from any of the many sites around the web that are posting it with insightful commentary. Tweet it, email it, post it on your own site. I think it might be fun to make up your own riff and post it on your blog or online profile as well. It's a good exercise. Can we get this in the hands of 5 million people? You can find an easy to use version on Scribd as well and from wepapers. Please share.

2downloadfree Have fun. Here's to a year with ideas even bigger than these.
Here's a lens with all the links plus an astonishing array of books by our authors.


Kwaliteit in de uitverkoop → Hoe de markt radicaal verandert

Chris Anderson, hoofdredacteur van het nieuwe-mediatijdschrift Wired, ziet Google als het business model van de toekomst. Google, met een omzet van dertig miljard dollar en twintigduizend mensen in dienst, geeft al zijn producten gratis weg. Maar gratis is nooit voor niets.

EEN PAAR JAAR TERUG vertrok vanaf Union Square, downtown San Francisco, een door biobrandstof aangedreven busje naar Mountain View, een dorpje naar het zuiden, net aan de rand van Silicon Valley. Het was een fijne route. De passagiers keken uit op de weelderige San Francisco bay area, groen en rijk. De chauffeur draaide de Beach Boys. Het busje stopte voor een groot complex, dat nog het meest aan een campus deed denken. Veel groen, frisse lucht uit de baai. Op een bord voor de inrit stond, zoals altijd in verschillend gekleurde letters: ‘Google’. Het was Googleplex, het hoofdkwartier van het bedrijf, ‘the Citadel of the Free’.

The unspoken rules win the game

Implementation is about exposing the unspoken rules of the game, and making them spoken. Some rituals are so deeply engrained that no one even talks about them anymore. Does "That's just the way we do things around here" sound familiar?

The working methods and the standards and values they are built on are not something that just appeared out of nowhere. Ground rules are the grease that makes the organisation and the interaction between personnel run. Some rules are set out in black and white. But most are informal and are a part of the culture in the organisation.

Some informal rules have a major impact on the success or failure of an implementation. Once in a while, the unspoken rules give rise to vicious circles of negative and repetitive events.

By opening up discussions straight across the organisation, these rules can be mapped out. How are decisions made? What do you have to do to get a compliment or a promotion? What topics are absolutely taboo in the organisation? What choices will have a negative effect on your career? What behaviour is going to get people talking?

In our implementation approach, we identify the vicious circles. And we shine a light on the unspoken rules that may be the cause of them. That's how we direct our approach at the heart of the matter.


The first shift happens on the inside

Implementation is taking the personal responsibility to be the first to make a shift. The choice of being open to change is a personal choice.

A shift is a change that represents real movement, a turnaround that is visible and tangible to all parties involved. Shifts that are made as a group are the backbone of the implementation approach. Looking for these shifts is what dictates the course and the colour of the initiative and the underlying development. For example:

solving problems yourself -> discussing problems in the group

I hold back when things get dicey -> I take my own responsibility

fighting out differences of opinion -> discussing differences of opinion

Often, we are well aware of what can be done differently and better. But everyone is also a part of a situation and an ongoing process. No one is a true outsider; everyone is also an insider.

Any implementation, large or small, starts with the question of what the individual's role in the entire process is. What does this implementation require of me? Do I want to make the investment and participate? Am I willing to take a critical look at my own contribution? These are the personal shifts.

We actively seek out these shifts. As a mirror or a catalyst. Because we know that a successful implementation starts with taking personal responsibility.


Entrepreneurs: Stop Innovating, Start Minnovating! by Daniel Isenberg

If we want more entrepreneurs, stop worrying about jumpstarting innovation. Focus on "minnovation."
In reality, the vast majority of real-life entrepreneurs around the world aren't innovators. They're minnovators — mixing small parts of novelty and creativity with huge helpings of flexibility scrappiness and a generous portion of hard-driving execution.
Public officials from Colombia to New Zealand are hoping to create the next Silicon Valley by building modern "innovation centers" for entrepreneurs. But that tactic may unwittingly backfire: overemphasis on innovation as the pillar of entrepreneurship could actually stunt entrepreneurial growth. Some potential entrepreneurs, who think entrepreneurship is only about innovation, don't even bother trying because they know their chances of being the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs are nil.


review of time management techniques

Are things you need to get done falling between the cracks? Does taking an entire day off seem impossible?
Maybe you need a time-management system.
Many readers seem to think they do, based on the email response to my recent column on the importance of taking time off. Dozens asked me to recommend a time-management method that would help them get on top of their work and home duties. In response, I asked a half-dozen executive coaches to help me pick the most widely used time-management systems—not just software tools or high-tech to-do lists, but behavioral-change techniques that help people get organized, clarify thinking and increase output. Then, I tried out for a week each of the three methods they mentioned most often—including one that involved a ticking plastic tomato.


'Staying with No' by Holly Weeks

From Harvard Business:

No one likes hearing "No," and few can resist pushing back — sometimes quite persistently. Roger Fisher, negotiation expert and coauthor of the widely influential book Getting to Yes, used to tell his law students that sometimes he wished he had written a book about getting to no and staying there. When disappointed family members or colleagues pushed back at his no, he would sometimes give up and give in.
Like Fisher, most of us find ourselves torn between our wish to stay with no and our desire to accommodate the person asking us for something. This tension is particularly acute when that person is a valued client or a senior colleague.


When Should You Let an Employee Make a Mistake? by Peter Bregman

Seen on

"Put my training wheels back on," Sophia said in a stern tone, "Or I'm not going to ride my bike!" She had just turned four that day and wanted to learn to ride a bike like her older sister. Now she wasn't so sure.

After a lot of encouraging and a little stubbornness of my own, she was willing to try. We agreed to practice 15 minutes a day until she got it.

A couple of days later we weren't getting anywhere. It's not that she wasn't trying, it's just that she didn't seem to be able to get her balance on her own.

Then it dawned on me: I was getting in the way. I didn't want my baby girl to get hurt. And I was afraid if she fell she would give up trying completely. So as soon as she tipped to one side — even a little — I caught her.


The practicality of Pessimism


Six Social Media Trends for 2010

by David Armano

In 2009 we saw exponential growth of social media. According to Nielsen Online, Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year in February, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the US for the month. Meanwhile, Facebook continued to outpace MySpace. So what could social media look like in 2010? In 2010, social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive — at least, that's my guess. What are the near-term trends we could see as soon as next year? In no particular order:


Policymakers are turning their minds to the tricky subject of promoting entrepreneurship

UNEMPLOYMENT is creeping ever higher. In the United States it will soon exceed 10%. In parts of Europe it is closer to 20%. Around the world young people are finding it all but impossible to get a job.
So far policymakers have focused on rescuing the economy from free fall, boosting demand, however indiscriminately, and rescuing failing companies, however expensively (AIG received $180 billion-worth of government support). But policymakers are beginning to turn their minds to the potentially more rewarding question of creating tomorrow’s jobs, rather than trying to save yesterday’s. The buzzwords in government circles are entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital.


How to Go from Small to Super

Small business is by far the leading job creator, and entrepreneurship the leading engine of American economic renewal. As unemployment swells, small business prowess is needed more than ever. But can a small company be a SuperCorp, like progressive larger companies such as IBM and Procter & Gamble?


'Don't Let Your Strength Become Your Weakness' by Gill Corkindale

Found on 

One of the first things I ask my new clients to do is write down three of their key strengths and three of their flaws. Typically, strengths might be attention to detail, focus, and drive; flaws can be delegation, lack of creativity, and people-management skills. I then ask clients to look carefully at what they have written. Often, they will stare at the paper and then at me. They will ask me to explain. Rarely do they see the connection.
The fact is that our flaws are often the mirror image of our strengths, and it's important to realize that we should not over-develop our strengths, causing them to turn into flaws.


Top Ten Ways to Find Joy at Work by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

I set out to write a David Letterman-style Top Ten list about finding joy in the workplace in tough times. But recent revelations about how Letterman found joy at work is not what I'm advocating. His extramarital affairs with subordinates were perverse, dishonest, conspiratorial, and exploitative power-mongering -- harmful and possibly illegal. No joke. Jobs are not saved nor enhanced by turning workplaces into sleaze factories. Exploiting others is definitely not on my list for getting more joy out of work. But enlisting others in a great cause tops it.


Are You Ready to Manage Five Generations of Workers?

by Jeanne C Meister and Karie Willyerd

Does retirement look a little further off now than it did just a few years ago? If you are over 62, odds are you're putting off retirement at least two to three years, and you may even be planning on working beyond 70. If you're over 50, and lost 40% or more of your nest egg, you are about twice as likely to delay retirement as those who lost less. According to the World Health Organization, men and women who are healthy at 60 will, on average, be physically capable of working until they are 74 and 77, respectively. Combine these statistics and the newest employees entering the workforce might not be joining their parents or grandparents, they might be joining their great-grandparents.


Why Are Creative Leaders So Rare? by Navi Radjou

Yesterday's leadership skills will not work in today's fast-moving and evolving world. Only creative leaders who are visionary and empathetic will succeed. Here are five things you can do to succeed as a creative leader:
  1. Instead of commanding, coach your team and organization toward success.
  2. Don't manage people, empower them. The know-how, experience, and solutions are often out there; it's a matter of helping people discover them.
  3. Cultivate respect by giving it, instead of demanding it.
  4. Know how to manage both success and failure.
  5. Show graciousness in your management rather than greediness. Be humble about your successes and whenever possible, give someone else the opportunity to shine.


To Change Effectively, Change Just One Thing

By Peter Bregman.
I lost 18 pounds in the past month and a half.
I didn't exercise harder or longer than usual. I didn't read a new diet book supported by evidence and filled with rules and recipes. I didn't eat prepared meals from a diet organization.
I've done all those things in the past and some of them worked but none of them lasted. They were too complicated or too expensive or too cumbersome to continue.
So I made a different decision this time. A much simpler one.
First a little background on losing weight. Every new diet book explains why it's better than all the previous ones. This new plan, the author claims with enthusiasm, holds the key to losing weight and keeping it off forever. It will succeed where the others have failed.


When Individuals Don’t Matter by Michael J. Mauboussin

“If you watch an ant try to accomplish something, you’ll be impressed by how inept it is,” said Stanford biologist Deborah Gordon in a National Geographic article about swarm theory. “Ants aren’t smart…ant colonies are.” If you’re familiar with the ideas behind the wisdom of crowds and swarm intelligence, you’re probably nodding knowingly. Under the right conditions, groups—whether ant colonies, markets, or corporations—can be smarter than any of their members. In these complex adaptive systems, hard-to-predict behaviors emerge from the interaction of the individuals.


Schools kill creativity - Sir Ken Robinson

How Do Innovators Think?

What makes visionary entrepreneurs such as Apple's Steve Jobs, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Ebay's Pierre Omidyar and Meg Whitman, and P&G's A.G. Lafley tick? In a question-and-answer session with HBR contributing editor Bronwyn Fryer, Professors Jeff Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of Insead explain how the "Innovators' DNA" works.This post is part of's Creativity at Work special package.


Win the fight, lose the customer (from Seth's blog)

Does it really matter if you're right?

Given the choice between acknowledging that your customer is upset or proving to her that she is wrong, which will you choose?

You can be right or you can have empathy.

You can't do both.

It's not the nature of capitalism to need to teach people a lesson, it's the nature of being a human, we just blame it on capitalism. In fact, smart marketers understand that the word 'right' in "The customer is always right" doesn't mean that they'd win in court or a debate. It means, "If you want the customer to remain a customer, you need to permit him to believe he's right."

If someone thinks they're unhappy, then you know what? They are.

Trying say this to yourself: I have no problem acknowledging that you're unhappy, upset or even angry. Next time, I'd prefer to organize our interaction so you don't end up feeling that way, and I probably could have done it this time, too. You have my attention and my empathy and I value you. Thanks for being here.

If you can't be happy with that, then sure, go ahead and fire the customer, cause they're going to leave anyway.


The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500

Posted by Gary Hamel on March 24, 2009

The experience of growing up online will profoundly shape the workplace expectations of “Generation F” – the Facebook Generation. At a minimum, they’ll expect the social environment of work to reflect the social context of the Web, rather than as is currently the case, a mid-20th-century Weberian bureaucracy.
If your company hopes to attract the most creative and energetic members of Gen F, it will need to understand these Internet-derived expectations, and then reinvent its management practices accordingly. Sure, it’s a buyer’s market for talent right now, but that won’t always be the case—and in the future, any company that lacks a vital core of Gen F employees will soon find itself stuck in the mud.


Understanding business development (from Seth's blog)

Business Development is a mysterious title for a little discussed function or department in most larger companies. It's also a great way for an entrepreneur or small business to have fun, create value and make money.

Good business development allows businesses to profit by doing something that is tangential to their core mission. Sometimes the profit is so good, it becomes part of their core mission, other times it supports the brand and sometimes it just makes money. And often it's a little guy who can be flexible enough to make things happen.


How to Make Solving Problems Fun

From the Harvard Business Blog:

When my friend Richard asked me to join him in training for a triathlon, I carefully considered his request. For about a second.

"No way."

"Oh, come on. Why not?"

"Because I've raced triathlons before. They're painful. It takes me a week to recover. And for what? It's . . ."



Richard St. John's 8 secrets of success



An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day

Yesterday started with the best of intentions. I walked into my office in the morning with a vague sense of what I wanted to accomplish. Then I sat down, turned on my computer, and checked my email. Two hours later, after fighting several fires, solving other people's problems, and dealing with whatever happened to be thrown at me through my computer and phone, I could hardly remember what I had set out to accomplish when I first turned on my computer. I'd been ambushed. And I know better.

When I teach time management, I always start with the same question: How many of you have too much time and not enough to do in it? In ten years, no one has ever raised a hand.


Feedback That Works

by Cynthia M. Phoel

Fundamentally, feedback is a good thing. For managers, it's an important tool for shaping behaviors and fostering learning that will drive better performance. For their direct reports, it's an opportunity for development and career growth.

Why, then, is it so problematic? Most managers say they dislike giving feedback and don't think it's as effective as it could be. Those on the receiving end say they don't get enough feedback they can actually use.


Why not? About problemsolving and creativity

How a 2-Minute Story Helps You Lead

Interesting article of Harvard Business Review

Leaders gain trust and teach people what's important to them by telling stories. But these days there's so much to attend to — now! — coming at us so fast. You might be tempted to let slide your soft skills, like how to tell a useful story. Just get to the point and move on to the next thing on the list. No time for fluff.

Even President Obama, who masterfully demonstrated his storytelling skills in the campaign, was recently described as shuffling from one crucial issue to the next, like an iPod listener flits from song to song. No time for albums. Trying to do too much, too fast, and on too many fronts can be risky, yet today's environment requires that we get better at doing so.

All the more reason, then, for giving attention to how you get others to pay attention. The trick is to show movement on the issues that matter while, for each issue, helping your key stakeholders grasp the meaning of what you're aiming to achieve — why the goal matters to the team or the organization and how we're going to get from here to there.

So don't give up on honing your storytelling skills; instead, learn how to move faster among your different narratives. Through practice and feedback, improve your ability to connect through stories — while keeping them short to hold beleaguered attention spans. For even as the digital age compels us to develop ever-increasing capacities for a switch-your-focus-but-remain-present state of mind, as a leader you still have to be able to convey a narrative that resonates with your people and inspires them to move with you in the right direction.

A good leadership story has the power to engage hearts and minds. It has these six crucial elements:

1. Draws on your real past and lessons you've learned from it.
2. Resonates emotionally with your audience because it's relevant to them.
3. Inspires your audience because it's fueled by your passion.
4. Shows the struggle between your goal and the obstacles you faced in pursuing it.
5. Illustrates with a vivid example.
6. Teaches an important lesson.

Leaders at all levels and in all walks of life can improve their skill in telling a good, fast leadership story. Here's how: think of a story that meets these six criteria and convey it to someone — anyone who you'd like to teach — in less than two minutes. Then ask them what impact the hearing of your tale had on them. Where they moved? Did they learn what you wanted to convey? Next, repeat with someone else — but do it faster. Then again, faster still.

Let us know what you discover.


Obama's 10 Leadership Mistakes (And How Not to Make Them)

1:22 PM Tuesday August 18, 2009

Tags:Barack Obama, Leadership, Politics

It's a case that might stump Sherlock Holmes. President Obama has a superior intellect, a keen grasp of history, powerful analytical skills...and yet, something's missing.

The Obama Presidency is continually, easily disrupted by featherweight PR flacks, junior political hacks, run-of-the-mill lobbyist attacks, cliques that run with the pack, and debates that veer off-track. Why doesn't anybody have Obama's back?

President Obama is an ineffective leader, one unable to transform power into policy, resources into action. Here's why — and how not to make the same mistakes whenever and wherever you're called on to lead.

Horse-trade with hardliners. Effective leaders only negotiate with those who are willing to negotiate. Granting concessions to those who won't reciprocate is a surefire recipe for failure. Instead of negotiating with hardliners, leaders sideline and marginalize them.

Impatience. Great leaders are patient — and they never cave quickly. Many never cave, period. It took all of six months for Obama to abandon the health care reform Democrats have fought decades for. That kind of impatience is a surefire recipe for leadership failure: adversaries know they can get the better of you with little investment.

Trade courage for detachment. Mr Miyagi taught Daniel-san that fighting is for wimps — but he also taught Daniel-san that when bullies bring the fight to you, fight back as publicly and honorably as possible. Sometimes, bullies need to be taught a lesson. When you're trying to lead — but others shout you down — the time for softball is over. In situations of coercion, your power as a leader is never more necessary.

Have no secret weapon. Mr Miyagi knew that every leader needs a secret weapon; that's why he taught Daniel the Crane Kick. Speak softly, but carry a big stick — you know the score. Obama's problem isn't, in fact, that he doesn't have one — he does: it's his silent majority. Rather, Obama's problem, curiously, is that he's the super-Daniel. He refuses to use his secret weapon even when exigency demands it.

Paralysis by committee. One of Obama's greatest failures as a leader is the homogeneity in perspectives and attitudes of those closest to him. His economic advisors — Larry Summers and Tim Geithner — share a similarly orthodox economic mindset. Numerous eminent economists have complained vociferously about being frozen out — they can't gain access to Obama. Sound familiar? It should: organizational closure is the same mistake Dubya made — he surrounded himself with neocons, and when their ideas failed, so did his presidency, and the nation.

Bark without biting. Rahm Emanuel is the most feared guy on K Street since Karl Rove. Or is he? How tough can Rahm be if health care reform, financial reform, and military reform are so easily squelched, if junior Senators openly rebel against the President, and if his entire party is taken to the mat by...a has-been VP candidate who was a national lampoon just a few short months ago? A leader who can't enforce his power has no power at all.

Let the burning platform sputter. Where is the Obama administration's burning platform — not merely for health care, but for the multitude of challenges facing America? Where is the burning platform for education, finance, transportation, manufacturing, energy — to name just a few 21st century challenges? Great leaders ignite burning platforms — and never let them sputter.

Never name your adversaries. When anonymous forces derail you, it's game over. Every great leader humanizes his opponents, because every opponent is a human with a human agenda. Obama's now associated with "death panels" courtesy of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck — but Obama hasn't traced the meretricious attack back to its source, which would effectively neutralize it.

Strike Faustian bargains. Every great leader has to cut a deal with the devil, right? Wrong. Just ask Gandhi, Ataturk, MLK, or the Founding Fathers. All forged coalitions, and crafted compromises — but none made deals that poisoned the very institutions they fought so hard to craft. Yet, Obama has consistently dealt with those interested in stopping reform: lobbyists, megacorporations, and fringe groups. Imagine, for a second, if the Founding Fathers had cut deals with King George, so their nascent United States could "gain legitimacy." Would we still remember them as leaders?

Sell out, instead of buying in. Lately, I get the sense that Obama has confused leadership with salesmanship. Leaders aren't salesmen because leaders aren't sellers: they're buyers. They buy into shared interests instead of selling out to conflicting interests. In a way, that was the point of Arthur Miller's play: Willy Loman ended up broke, alone, and defeated because he couldn't lead anyone, anywhere, to anything — because he was too busy selling. Instead of buying in, Willy was selling out. Sound familiar? It should: striking deals that are riddled with pervasive conflicts of interest has become a hallmark of the Obama Presidency.

I'm disappointed in President Obama for many reasons. But the biggest is also the simplest: he's failed to lead at the time at exactly the moment leadership was needed most.

Fire away in the comments with questions, criticisms, thoughts - or, if you feel I've missed some, add your own leadership mistakes that you think Obama's made.

een andere indicator voor de economische crisis

De onderbroeken-indicator

Bron: The Washington Post

Een van de betere indicatoren voor het verloop van een economische crisis is de verkoop van onderbroeken. Economen hebben uiteraard veel gewichtiger maatstaven, alleen, die spreken elkaar allemaal tegen. Dat doet de onderbroeken-indicator niet. De verkoop van mannenonderbroeken is, in normale tijden, stabiel.
Zodra consumenten denken dat er zware tijden kunnen komen worden ze, mogelijk zonder het zelf te weten, zuiniger op hun onderbroek. Het slipje die gisteren nog zou zijn versleten, kan nu nog wel een maandje mee.
Zo kon de crisis al worden waargenomen in de verkoop van mannenondergoed in de eerste helft van 2008. Ook een groot deel van 2009 was de verkoop beneden het peil van een jaar eerder.
Maar er is goed nieuws, schrijft The Washington Post. De verkoop van onderbroeken in de VS stijgt. De crisis nadert zijn eind.

Bron: The Washington Post

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stockmarkets and sentiment

This is a great discussion on personal passion and entrepreneurship