The other day, a friend asked me why the world seems to be heading back into another COVID spiral. He believed that we would have everything under control by now.
His question reminded me of how easily we can fool ourselves because of cognitive biases that shape our perception of reality.
For example, after nine months of social distancing, working from home, and wearing masks, most people are sick of guarding against infection. During the summer and early fall, as infection rates went down, people assumed we had COVID under control and that this winter would be better than last…
Boards provide stability for organizations, but they’re also crucial for big directional decisions and course corrections. It’s not easy to straddle those two challenges. But it is easy for cognitive biases to come into play.
It’s easy to know that change is necessary when a crisis comes. The Board will play a massive role in helping the CEO navigate the uncertainty. The danger however is an over-reaction to the situation, resulting in the abandoning of what might still work for the promise of something new or different.
I always advise organizations in times of crisis to get very clear on…
January 20 — Pondering the Meaning of Life!
Are we here to pursue happiness and make our dreams come true? What does happiness even mean? Is it like biting into wonderful home-made Swiss Chocolate? Or is it more like making wonderful home-made Swiss Chocolate for others to enjoy?
My YPO Forum-friend, Sandra, and I had this very debate next to a fireplace on a cold, wet winter evening. It was one of the most open and vulnerable conversations I’ve had in years. I told Sandra:
“I want to leave my mark. I want my kids to remember me for something…
Organizations exist to amass and coordinate/deploy resources. They are structured to make the best strategic decisions accordingly. Organizational hierarchy is meant to help that decision-making process. The higher up the ranking, the more decision-making power the individual usually has. This dynamic creates corporate dangers that the Board should watch out for and help monitor and prevent.
Continuing from the previous article…
Let’s look at three.
7. Authority Bias
Most of us are wired, to some degree, to associate rank with expertise, knowledge, experience, and even wisdom. We give authority figures a certain amount of deference and respect accordingly…
A strong culture and a sense of purpose are critical markers of high-performance organizations.
Think of Apple after the Steve Jobs return or Amazon under Bezos or Unilever under Polman. Such organizations are highly cohesive and driven by their vision or mission. To outsiders, they seem to have their own language and a particular swagger. Inside, people adapt to a very shared way of approaching problems, finding solutions, and seeing the world.
The benefits are enormous. Internal identity. External brand. A sense of clarity and speed around decision-making. Connection to customers. Boldness in the market.
What happens to the news when it’s no longer news?
I thought of this recently when someone mentioned Zika. Was it a drink? Was it an app? Yes, maybe an app. No, perhaps it was a new fast fashion kind of clothing line? I am not that old yet, but It took me a moment to recall that a couple of years ago, a terrible virus, spread by mosquito bites, had invaded South American and the US, posing a grave threat to the fetuses of pregnant women.
Had the virus gone away, or was it still a problem? And what…
by Christos Tsolkas
The French Revolution began 13 years after the American War of Independence and lasted six years. The democratic ideals behind the revolution seemed to fail afterward, as conservative forces took back power. Yet, ultimately, democracy proved too powerful a force and spread around much of the world. Democracy, today, it is the norm.
by Christos Tsolkas
Volkswagen and Toyota were both launched in the 1930s to produce affordable automobiles for the people of Germany and Japan, respectively. Volkswagen even labeled itself as “the people’s car” — a slogan that became linked with its purpose.
Both companies were enormously successful after World War II, growing to become real global businesses. Toyota became the world’s largest auto manufacturer in 2006. The next year, Volkswagen set the same goal for itself within ten years.
The Board must approve any such goal, and such was the case with VW. The company achieved its goal by 2015, three…
Was so touched by Sean Connery’s death today. For many people, Sean was the epitome of style, coolness, politeness, humility, and humor. Sean was a symbol. For me too. We were observing him “maturing, not aging.” Appreciation apart, I was also touched because he had the age of my father. When browsing today over the social media, all RIPs and postings of love, appreciation, memories of youth, and the like, I met this short video sharing some of his life lessons, in the case of the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award back in 1996.
Boards provide critical guidance and support at every stage of a company’s life. The traditional orientation of a Board, however, is to focus on performance and growth to drive shareholder value. While these are worthy objectives, they represent outputs, not causes. The inspiration, alignment, and resiliency required for organizational success come from a sense of purpose. Purpose is the impact the company aims to have on the world. For startups, the Board can help articulate a purpose that is expansive and unique, connected ideally with a level-one problem, directing it toward exponential growth. For mature companies, Boards can help align…
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