M&A: Overcoming the Culture Shift Challenge

When I wrote the “Mentoring by FabMob” white paper, I was already hinting at an example of use of mentoring to facilitate the cultural integration in the case of acquisition of a new entity. I do not wish to go into the well documented difficulties that large companies face when they are merging or acquiring, how people issues come into play, and how the integration of different ways of working, thinking, communicating can put a real spanner in the works. Even though we all know it is a challenge, still very little M&A really work on the cultural aspect, and very little use mentoring as a tool for creating real human connections for a faster blend of cultures. 

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The most common misconception about innovation

As many professionals in my field, I get this question a lot: « What is the most common misconception about innovation? » The short answer is that most of the time, innovation is discussed and operated as a single thing. It’s not. It’s a complex blend of diverse forms of « innovations » that obey different rules, different mindsets and requires different tools.

The long(er) answer is:

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You Can’t Just Decide To Be Customer Driven

I am very much surprised to see many analysts thinking seriously that Facebook facing a colossal data-gate, could turn around and suddenly become customer-driven. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Facebook will be Facebook. But to understand that you have to go past obvious solutionism (they should do this or that) and understand that any successful business was born with a powerful DNA.And you can’t change your DNA.
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Corporate Culture and HR Strategic Role

A recent podcast about “How to fix your company’s culture” grabbed my attention because it illustrates how rarely big corporations actually work on their culture. Although, I would say the “fixing” entails something is broken and I wouldn’t say that corporate culture could be broken. It might be mismatched with its environment or within itself (vision and values are not aligned with behaviors), or worse, your culture might just have faded away…

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You might need a Company Culture VP

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.

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Three scenarios of 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.

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A full stack approach to corporate culture change

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…

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HR is powerless!

I have been meaning to write this article for ages and not daring to say some obvious truths about organizations and how they think as a collective. Since the work that I do is on the “soft” human side, it has often been associated with HR, but a great number of my work to change organizations is not ordered by HR. And the best programmes that I do are not sponsored by HR, they are backed by CEOs themselves, Executive Committees and high level management. In many instances I have found that HR is powerless! Continue reading HR is powerless!

Mechanics of emotions

… And why engineers can be great at dealing with emotions at work, once they get the manual.

I presented this TED-like talk for the Airbus Group Leadership University’s trainer day, held in Toulouse on 11 December 2014. In this short talk, I wanted to present to my peers a few perspectives on how to bring soft subjects like “emotions at work” to engineers, since a vast majority of Airbus managers we train come from an engineering background. The pedagogy for engineers needs to be very coherent from the title “mechanics of emotions” to the metaphors (engine), the language and the concrete cases and tools. Continue reading Mechanics of emotions