AMI Consultancy Blog



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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