So what’s next in business agility?

Innovation fads are coming and going every two or three years. They express how most companies are troubled about technology acceleration and markets transformation. Fair enough. But shouldn’t you pause and actually leverage what you explored before jumping to the next trend?

So yes, we are going to the NEXT conference in Hamburg this year, whose theme is: Digital sucks! After years of excitement with everything digital, the time of disenchantment is upon us and the Next conference will ask / answer the question of what’s next? This triggered my thinking about what is next in business agility, now that all the corporate excitement about working with startups and being intrapreneurs is deflating like a souflé.

Continue reading “So what’s next in business agility?”

You might need a Company Culture VP

Having an Innovation or Digital VP in is always a good sign that the company doesn’t care enough to invest deeply the subject. Someone eventually ends up in charge because the board passed the hot potatoe to her. But for corporate culture, that might actually be a good idea…

In the past year or so, with so many media scandals about various company culture dysfunctions, many other corporate cultures being dissected, scrutinised and analysed, and the many advice published online, it seems about time to hire Company Culture VPs to ensure the culture is supporting and not hindering your strategy and image. In this short article, I’m presenting the three key missions of the company culture VP.

Continue reading “You might need a Company Culture VP”

Emotions powered innovation

Leveraging emotions to get more powered innovation is like being able to harness an underestimated and sustainable source of energy. What is stopping you?

When we talk about innovation we say it is motion. Until there is movement or change in the market, you cannot call your invention or idea an innovation. Emotions at work can either support or hinder innovation. They can be strong drivers for action, change and movement, and keep people alert and aware of signals in their environment or become uncontrollable, completely unproductive or even freeze creativity. Finding the “right” level of emotions or as I call it “emotional sweet spot” is key to powered innovation.

Continue reading “Emotions powered innovation”

Three scenarios of corporate culture change

From birth to old age, the company culture is not embedded in the same way. Hence it is essential to take a differentiated approach to corporate culture change.

The main reason why a corporate culture change fails is the lack of awareness of what the specific culture of the company is. Although it can be observed via the behaviours of employees, leaders are often blind to it until something unexpected and critical for the organisation happens. As it was the case for Uber and United Airlines. But waiting for such a wake-up call might be lethal as the company may not be able to readjust the culture in time and recover from the public blow.

Continue reading “Three scenarios of corporate culture change”

A full stack approach to corporate culture change

Avoiding the usual pitfalls of culture change means focusing on coherence and meaning.

Even when most of the “right” ingredients were implemented, most corporate culture changes fail anyway. And the quintessential trap is always the same: the culture of a company is a multi-layered assemblage. Work on one layer at a time (such as the behaviours) and you’ll have results. However, after a while, other layers that were unchanged (values, vision…) will collide and counteract the initial results. These various elements of corporate culture move at different speeds. They don’t even have the same plasticity and are driven by factors that can be very counter-intuitive. In the end, avoiding a full-stack approach to corporate culture change is a rookie mistake. Let’s see then how to deal with it…

Continue reading “A full stack approach to corporate culture change”

4 Keys to boost your reverse mentoring programme

Ask junior employees to mentor senior managers on the digital transformation. Such an obvious and bright idea. What can go wrong?

After a few years designing and supporting reverse mentoring programmes, many of the same issues keep coming back. Reverse mentoring is often a great strategy to support the digital transformation of an organisation since it connects senior decision makers with junior digital natives. The idea is simple, by encouraging cross-generational discussions and experience sharing the organisation gains in agility in the digital era. However, in reality, many issues cloud this simple logic and we are going to explore why that happens and how to get over it.

Continue reading “4 Keys to boost your reverse mentoring programme”

Why culture change fails

Companies are making many different attempts to change their cultures as they realise that it has become critical if they want to survive in their rapidly evolving markets.

When dealing with corporate culture change, companies usually choose among three main strategies. Every one of them has obvious benefits but often is badly implemented because the overall logic of culture change is not understood. One of the usual trap is that culture change is often too directive, and directing hundreds or thousands of people to behave differently, to think differently, to make different decisions, to have risk mindset… becomes an impossible task. Here we’ll explore the three usual ways to change organisational culture follow, see their benefits, and why they fail. This will lead us in a follow up article to open a different approach more rooted in how the organisation’s DNA and its culture intertwine.

Continue reading “Why culture change fails”

Emotions augmented leaders

For many years Emotional Intelligence has been in the many leadership development agendas of HR and training program managers. In this series about emotions, I’ll endeavor to offer leaders a new way to understand emotions so they can develop their emotional and self-awareness as well as their capacity for empathy.

Continue reading “Emotions augmented leaders”

Being market ready is not all about strategy

Market readiness is key when launching new businesses. Too soon and you burn money without onboarding customers, too late and you become an overnight commodity.

When I deal with leaders considering new strategic options for the future of their organization, they very often stay cautious and declare “the market is not ready”.

Continue reading “Being market ready is not all about strategy”

Growing within when company is growing out

When companies grow by acquisition, the company culture and what keeps it coherent might be lost along the way. Mentoring is one practice that can help people continue growing within the company more smoothly as it is expanding and becoming more complex.

Since 2014 I’ve been working with Worldline on designing, implementing and supporting two mentoring programs (traditional and reverse). They clearly support their growth and transformation strategies which need a good attraction, development, and retention of talents as well as a capacity to rely on and learn fast from each other. “Growing within the company” is key to avoid unstable workforce which could hinder the fast growth path they’re walking.

Continue reading “Growing within when company is growing out”

What type of entrepreneur are you?

In my just over fifteen years of working with entrepreneurs, I have met many profiles and for each individual comes different needs for support. A couple of years ago, I put together this typology, based on behaviours rather than personality for an acceleration program…

It is key to understand what type of entrepreneur an incubator is supporting in order to cater to their specific needs. Do they need to develop their awareness of opportunities or their capacity to engage with the right ecosystem? The profiles are based on 3 key families of behaviours which have been proved to be critical for entrepreneurs to succeed: Continue reading “What type of entrepreneur are you?”

Mentoring for innovation culture

Avoiding being « uberised », innovating like startups in large rigid structures, helping employees regain creativity, exploring new business models… are the issues we see our clients confronted by everyday.

To foster innovation in large corporations, several keys and « difficult to get » ingredients need to be gathered: creativity, market awareness and risk mindset whilst being reassuring to existing customers with a solid efficient structure.

Continue reading “Mentoring for innovation culture”

HR and Innovation from Expectra’s interview

At the end of last year, Expectra interviewed me to include my expert opinion about HR and innovation in their monthly debate. They asked the question “Innovation in the business: Do HR have to be involved?” And of course, I said “no”. Here’s the translation of the whole debate starting with Isaac Getz (professor at ESCP Europe) opinion that yes HR should be involved and finishing with mine:

Continue reading “HR and Innovation from Expectra’s interview”

Should Mentors of Entrepeneurs be Trained or their Experience is Enough?

You can download our latest research paper on mentors training in entrepreneurship programs, published by Intech, in collaboration with Université du Québec à Trois‐Rivières, Trois‐Rivières (Québec), Canada.

Science against the mentor myth

Many myths have been generated around serial entrepreneurs, high achievers, or successful CEOs as mentors. Science says he doesn’t even need to be an entrepreneur.

Forget all your romantic ideas about what a good entrepreneurial mentor is: experienced in entrepreneurship, he/she has started several companies in his/her lifetime, has failed a couple of times and learned from it and succeeded enough time to still be active now. He has mentored several startupers so he/she knows how to transfer all that experience and entrepreneurial wisdom to the neo entrepreneur that you are. Having such a mentor will mean you will increase a hundred fold your chances of success. This is the mentor myth we share in our collective unconscious… And science says different. Continue reading “Science against the mentor myth”