20 thoughts for 2020


F or more than twenty years I have had the fortune of working with, and for, phenomenal people. Managers and executives, business people and academics, clients and colleagues. Across industries, faculties and geographical borders. On challenges and opportunities with organisations. Management. Strategy and execution. Innovation. Transformation. And leadership.

Moving into a new year and a new decade I have summarized some of my learnings and thoughts. For the decade ahead. Twenty to be exact. For 2020. Enjoy!

  1. TIME FOR TELOS: Begin with the end in mind. Make 2020 the year when you really start acid-testing your ideas, policies and actions. Start asking WHY and TO WHAT END as much as how. It is time.
  2. CIRCULARITY, COMPLEXITY and CONNECTIVITY: Three words from the last decade that will form the next. Getting ahead requires an open mindset, a collaborative approach and grit. Go get!
  3. WE ARE ALL ABOUT TO VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity rules. No industry can rest on its laurels. Adopt an agile, iterative approach. There is no final destination, the journey is it.
  4. CHALLENGE YOUR ASSUMPTIONS: About the now and the future. About your strategy and your people. Do your assumptions (truly) serve you and others well? If not, challenge them. It will not hurt.
  5. NO YANG WITHOUT YIN: Make room for imagination, and acknowledge your irrational thinking and behaviour. Who knows what wonders may come out of it? 
  6. PROFIT AND PURPOSE: To really make a difference in the world today – if even by small steps – individual and organisational profit and purpose maximization will have to come together.
  7. BRING OUT EROS: Less pressure and more pleasure. Turn up, turned on – and your organisation will thrive!
  8. MIND THE GAP: The gap between seniors and juniors is widening. Time to learn about the digital explosion, data driven business models and the possibilities with technology and algorithms.
  9. McKINSEY versus MENSCH: Rationally guided diagnosis meets less rational Mensch. The complete answer to what to do comes from doing it as much as thinking it. Trust trial and error. With integrity and honour.
  10. POWERPOINTS ARE (still) NOT REALITY: PowerPoints has it merits. But its content will not come to life after a presentation. Unless the people responsible for execution have been part of the process. Do not leave it to them who only know what to do to form the synthesis.
  11. DUALITY IS THE NEW BLACK: Effectiveness and efficiency; innovation and operations; long term strategic thinking and everyday business. Aware yourself of the core activities and abilities linked to opposing forces and different strategic intents. Then, find the bridges between.
  12. INFILTRATE TO INNOVATE: Start to look, listen and ask! Step into someone else’s shoes. Infiltrate! But no need to hide. We are all suckers for those who really want to solve our problems and improve our lives.
  13. STOP RUNNING BUT KEEP MOVING: In an increasingly complex world, moving fast and together is of essence. But running, alone, will get you or your organisation nowhere.
  14. LET GO OF THE CEO: It is time to embrace a new way of coming together to solve problems, address needs, produce, serve and grow. While people on top have to enable it. All have to live it. No use waiting for the CEO.
  15. DIVERSITY DRIVES BOTTOM LINE: The quest for diversity and gender equality will carry on. There is no excuse. It pays off.
  16. BIG NEEDS gig: Not to be relieved of its employer responsibility. But to get the much needed outside perspective and competence which tend to get lost in the corridors of enormous incumbents.
  17. DARE TO SIMPLIFY: Competitive strategies should be hard to copy – but not hard to comprehend. If it is easy to imitate the problem is not that you dared to simplify, but that you and your organisation lack the ability and drive.
  18. LEADERS – LEAD! How much do leader’s ability, or inability, impact your bottom line? Have a look at your budget and challenge the impact on your results. Then figure out how much to set aside to develop real leaders and subsequent gains for the 2020s.
  19. MANNERS MATTER: Greetings, listening when someone else is talking, and acts of gratitude. Simple rules of engagement that takes us far in the workplace. The cost when not applied is irritation, frustration and even inaction.
  20. FEAR NOT – THOU ART BRAVE: Moving ahead in a more complex and uncertain world requires courage. It is up to each and every one of us to get out of our comfort zone, embrace new perspectives and new ways of doing things. Be bold!

Stay tuned for more. Or. Get in touch. I would love to hear Your thoughts.

January 20, 2020