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3 Elements of trust. As a leader, you want the people in your organization to trust you. We often see that trust is a leading indicator of whether others evaluate them positively or negatively. Three elements predict whether a leader will be trusted by his direct reports, peers, and other colleagues :positive relationships, consistency, and good judgment/expertise. When a leader was above average on each of these elements, they were more likely to be trusted, and positive relationships appeared to be the most important element.

The Three Elements of Trust

By understanding the behaviors that underlie trust, leaders are better able to elevate the level of trust that others feel toward them. Here are the three elements.

Positive Relationships. Trust is in part based on the extent to which a leader is able to create positive relationships with other people and groups. To instill trust a leader must:

  • Stay in touch on the issues and concerns of others.


  • Balance results with concern for others.
  • Generate cooperation between others.
  • Resolve conflict with others.
  • Give honest feedback in a helpful way.

Good Judgement/Expertise. Another factor in whether people trust a leader is the extent to which a leader is well-informed and knowledgeable. They must understand the technical aspects of the work as well as have a depth of experience. This means:

  • They use good judgement when making decisions.
  • Others trust their ideas and opinions.
  • Others seek after their opinions.
  • Their knowledge and expertise make an important contribution to achieving results.
  • Can anticipate and respond quickly to problems.

Consistency. The final element of trust is the extent to which leaders walk their talk and do what they say they will do. People rate a leader high in trust if they:


  • Are a role model and set a good example.
  • Walk the talk.
  • Honor commitments and keep promises.
  • Follow through on commitments.
  • Are willing to go above and beyond what needs to be done.

We wanted to understand how these three elements interacted to create the likelihood that people would trust a leader. We created three indices for each element and since we had such a large dataset, we experimented with how performance on each of the dimensions impacted the overall trust score. In our study we found that if a leader scored at or above the 60th percentile on all three factors, their overall trust score was at the 80th percentile.

We compared high scores (above 60th percentile) and low scores (below the 40th percentile) to examine the impact these had on the three elements that enabled trust. Note that these levels are not extremely high or low. Basically, they are 10 percentile points above and below the norm. This is important because it means that being just above average on these skills can have a profound positive effect and, conversely, just being below average can destroy trust.

We also found that level of trust is highly correlated with how people rate a leader’s overall leadership effectiveness. It has the strongest impact on the direct reports’ and peer overall ratings. The manager’s ratings and the engagement ratings were not as highly correlated, but all the differences are statistically significant.

Do You Need All Three Elements of Trust?

We were also curious to know if leaders needed to be skilled in all three elements to generate a high level of trust and whether any one element had the most significant impact on the trust rating. To gauge this, we created an experiment where we separated leaders into high and low levels on each of the three pillars and then measured the level of trust.

Intuitively we thought that consistency would be the most important element. Saying one thing and doing another seems like it would hurt trust the most. While our analysis showed that inconsistency does have a negative impact (trust went down 17 points), it was relationships that had the most substantial impact. When relationships were low and both judgment and consistency were high, trust went down 33 points. This may be because many leaders are seen as occasionally inconsistent. We all intend to do things that don’t get done, but once a relationship is damaged or if it was never formed in the first place, it’s difficult for people to trust.

Attention à votre document unique. Il devient quasi public et doit être validé par la direction juridique.

Attention à votre document unique. Il devient quasi public et doit être validé par la direction juridique.

People today are under intense pressure to be “ideal workers”—totally committed to their jobs and always on call. But after interviewing hundreds of professionals in many fields, the authors have concluded that selfless dedication to work is often unnecessary and harmful. It has dysfunctional consequences not only for individuals but also for their organizations.

The authors discuss three typical strategies for coping with demanding workplaces, and the risks associated with each:

Accepting involves prioritizing the job above all else and remaining available 24/7. Because accepters fail to cultivate outside interests, they’re often slow to recover from professional setbacks. And they may be too focused on their own responsibilities to mentor others—a drawback for their organizations.

Passing involves portraying oneself as an ideal worker while quietly pursuing a life beyond the office. But passers may feel isolated from their colleagues because they are hiding parts of themselves, and their perpetuation of the ideal-worker myth keeps the pressure on everyone.

Revealing involves openly embracing nonwork commitments. Revealers may unwittingly put their careers at risk, however, and bosses who penalize them may drive away talent.

So how can organizations build a healthier—and more productive—culture? Managers can act as role models by leading multifaceted lives themselves. They can reward employees for the quality and results of their work rather than the time put into it. And they can enforce reasonable work hours, require vacations, and take other steps to protect employees’ personal lives.

Tales of time-hungry organizations—from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and from London to Hong Kong—abound. Managers routinely overload their subordinates, contact them outside of business hours, and make last-minute requests for additional work. To satisfy those demands, employees arrive early, stay late, pull all-nighters, work weekends, and remain tied to their electronic devices 24/7. And those who are unable—or unwilling—to respond typically get penalized.

By operating in this way, organizations pressure employees to become what sociologists have called ideal workers: people totally dedicated to their jobs and always on call. The phenomenon is widespread in professional and managerial settings; it’s been documented in depth at tech start-ups, at investment banks, and in medical organizations. In such places, any suggestion of meaningful outside interests and commitments can signal a lack of fitness for the job.

That’s what Carla Harris feared when she started at Morgan Stanley, where she is now a senior executive. She also happens to be a passionate gospel singer with three CDs and numerous concerts to her credit. But early in her business career, she kept that part of her life private, concerned that being open about the time she devoted to singing would hurt her professionally. Multiple research studies suggest that she had good reason to worry.

To be ideal workers, people must choose, again and again, to prioritize their jobs ahead of other parts of their lives: their role as parents (actual or anticipated), their personal needs, and even their health. This reality is difficult to talk about, let alone challenge, because despite the well-documented personal and physical costs of these choices, an overwhelming number of people believe that achieving success requires them and those around them to conform to this ideal. That commonplace belief sometimes even causes people to resist well-planned organizational changes that could reduce the pressure to be available day and night. When Best Buy, for example, attempted to focus on results and avoid long work hours, some managers balked, holding tightly to the belief that selfless devotion to the job was necessary.

The pressure to be an ideal worker is well established, but how people cope with it—and with what consequences—is too often left unexplored. Is it beneficial to weave ideal-worker expectations into a company culture? Is it necessary, at an individual level, to meet those expectations? Interviews that we have conducted with hundreds of professionals in a variety of fields—including consulting, finance, architecture, entrepreneurship, journalism, and teaching—suggest that being an ideal worker is often neither necessary nor beneficial. A majority of employees—men and women, parents and nonparents—find it difficult to stifle other aspects of themselves and focus single-mindedly on work. They grapple painfully with how to manage other parts of their lives. The solutions they arrive at may allow them to navigate the stresses, but they often suffer serious and dysfunctional consequences.

Below, we describe strategies that people commonly use to manage the pressure to be 100% available and 100% committed to work, as well as the effects of those strategies on the individuals themselves, on those they supervise, and on the organizations they work for. Finally, we suggest a route to a healthier—and ultimately more productive—organizational culture that can be driven by individual managers’ small changes.

Three Strategies

In our research we found that people typically rely on one of three strategies: accepting and conforming to the demands of a high-pressure workplace; passing as ideal workers by quietly finding ways around the norm; or revealing their other commitments and their unwillingness to abandon them.


Many people manage the pressure to be fully devoted to work by simply giving in and conforming. Indeed, at one consulting firm among the companies we studied, 43% of the people interviewed fell into this group. In their quest to succeed on the job, “accepters” prioritize their work identities and sacrifice or significantly suppress other meaningful aspects of who they are. People we spoke to across professions told us, somewhat ruefully, of giving up dreams of being civically engaged, running marathons, or getting deeply involved in their family lives. One architect reported: “For me, design is 24/7. This project I’m designing, my boss e-mails me at all hours of the night—midnight, 6 AM. I can never plan my time, and I’m kind of at his beck and call.”

When work is enjoyable and rewarding, an accepting strategy may be beneficial, allowing people to succeed and advance in their careers. But a professional identity that crowds out everything else makes people more vulnerable to career threats, because they have psychologically put all their eggs in one basket. When job loss or other setbacks occur, accepters find it particularly difficult to cope, as other parts of their lives have withered away. For accepters, treating work as the be-all and end-all may be fulfilling when the job is going well, but it leads to fragility in the long term.

Furthermore, people who buy in to the ideal-worker culture find it difficult to understand those who do not. As a result, accepters can become the main drivers of organizational pressure for round-the-clock availability. They tend to have trouble managing people who have lives outside the office. One senior consultant, describing the kind of employee he prefers to work with, said: “I want someone who’s lying awake at night thinking, Man, what are we going to do in this meeting tomorrow? Because that’s what I do.”

There’s no perfect strategy for managing oneself in an organization that values selfless dedication, but it’s useful to know your own tendencies, understand their risks, and mitigate those risks to the extent possible. To get started, think about this question:

How do you tend to respond to texts and e-mails from colleagues in the evenings? 

do you tend to respond to texts and e-mails from colleagues in the evenings?







RAPID ENGAGEMENTYou always reply and, if requested, bang out some work (e.g., “I’ll have it for you in five minutes!”). You rarely make evening plans.

You devote yourself completely to work because it is expected
and rewarded.

You may burn out or be slow to rebound from setbacks.

You may have trouble mentoring others and creating a pipeline of promotable employees.

Set aside blocks of time for other aspects of your life.

Don’t expect subordinates to make work their highest priority.

Be open to different ways of working.


FEIGNED ATTENTIVENESSYou respond and give the impression that you are working (e.g., “Am on it—will take a few hours”). You tend to make and keep evening plans but rarely mention them.

You seek to protect your career while sustaining other aspects of your life.

You may not build close relationships at work. 

You may perpetuate the ideal-worker myth.

Come out to selected colleagues so you feel better known and they don’t feel compelled to sacrifice their personal lives. 

Make it clear that outside activities don’t hurt your performance.


NEXT-DAY FOLLOW-UPUnless it’s urgent, you don’t alter your plans (e.g., “At a show—will get to this tomorrow”). You may not even respond that evening.

You wish to be open in your relationships and believe the organization may need to change.

You may damage your career.

You may sacrifice the credibility needed to push for change.

Emphasize results, not effort, when discussing work.

Encourage others to be open about their behavior and thus change workplace norms.

From “Managing the High-Intensity Workplace,” June 2016


Perhaps surprisingly, accepters aren’t necessarily good mentors even to people who are trying to conform to the organization’s expectations. It can be difficult for junior colleagues to get these individuals’ time and attention, in part because accepters are so absorbed in the job. In the words of one consultant, “They can no longer understand how unbelievably stressful it is to come in not knowing how to play the game.” As a result, they often take a sink-or-swim approach to junior-colleague development


The strategy employed by another group of workers is to devote time to nonwork activities—but under the organization’s radar. At the consulting firm, 27% of the study participants fell into this group. These people were “passing”—a term originally used by sociologist Erving Goffman to describe how people try to hide personal characteristics (such as physical disabilities or race) that might stigmatize them and subject them to discrimination. Consultants who were successful in passing as ideal workers received performance ratings that were just as high as those given to peers who genuinely embraced the 24/7 culture, and colleagues perceived them as being “always on.”

We found that although people across professions developed ways to pass, their strategies for doing so varied. For example, some consultants focused on local industries, which permitted them to develop rosters of clients they could serve with minimal travel time, thus opening up space for other parts of their lives. One consultant explained how he was able to carve out time to sustain his romantic partnership and be an amateur athlete while still appearing to be an ideal worker: “Travel comes out of your personal time, always. That’s why I work for [local businesses]. They are all right nearby, and I take a car.”

Another consultant also limited himself to working with local clients and often telecommuted to reduce his work hours. He used another key tool as well: controlling information about his whereabouts. He reported (with some pleasure) that he had actually skied every day the previous week—without claiming any personal time. Yet senior colleagues saw him as a rising star who worked much harder than most people at the firm.

For other passers, the ticket to success was not staying local but exploiting distance. A journalist we interviewed described taking a regional reporting assignment for a prestigious national newspaper, which allowed him to work from home, engage with his family, and file his articles in the evenings after his children went to bed, all while retaining a reputation as an ideal worker. He laughed, saying: “No one ever really knew where I was, because I was hundreds of miles from the home base. I was the only one in my region.”

Although passing enables people to survive in demanding cultures without giving their all to work, passers pay a psychological price for hiding parts of themselves from their colleagues, superiors, and subordinates. Human beings have a need to express themselves and to be known by others. When important aspects of their identities cannot be shared at work, people may feel insecure and inauthentic—not to mention disengaged. These feelings have real costs for organizations, too: Our research indicates that over time, passers have a relatively high turnover rate. This suggests that although they may get by in the short term, hiding key dimensions of themselves from their colleagues can be difficult to sustain in the long run.

Passing as an ideal worker can also make it hard to manage others. Passers don’t necessarily want to encourage conformance to the ideal-worker image, but on the other hand, advising subordinates to pass—and effectively engage in subterfuge—is also problematic. So is suggesting open resistance to the demands for round-the-clock availability, because (as we shall see) the careers of people who resist are likely to suffer. To complicate matters further, passers may believe that most people in the organization want to work all the time. One senior leader who himself passed but avoided counseling his employees to do likewise made this comment: “I want [my employees] to be happy, but if they derive their happiness from working a lot, that’s not for me to judge.”

A subtly destructive aspect of passing is that by failing to openly challenge the ideal-worker culture, passers allow that culture to persist. Their track records prove that people don’t need to be workaholics to succeed—but the organization continues to design and measure work as if that were the case.


Not everyone wants to pass—or can—and some who initially pass grow frustrated with this strategy over time. These people cope by openly sharing other parts of their lives and by asking for changes to the structure of their work, such as reduced schedules and other formal accommodations. At the consulting firm, 30% of those interviewed pursued this strategy. Although it’s often assumed that people who resist the pressure to be ideal workers are primarily women with families, we have not encountered enormous gender differences in our research. Data from the consulting firm shows that fewer than half of the women were “revealers,” while more than a quarter of the men were.

Revealing allows people the validation of being more fully known by colleagues, which is denied to the passers. However, it can have damaging career consequences. At the consulting firm, performance reviews and promotion data showed that revealers paid a substantial penalty. For example, one consultant indicated his unwillingness to make work his top priority when he asked for paternity leave. With his wife eight months pregnant, the soon-to-be father expected a temporary reprieve. Instead, he faced questions about his dedication: “One of the partners said to me, ‘You have a choice to make. Are you going to be a professional, or are you going to be just an average person in your field? If you are going to be a professional, then nothing else can be as important to you as your work. If you want to be world-class, it’s got to be all-consuming.’”

Over time, being sanctioned for failure to conform can lead to resentment. Instead of motivating people to devote themselves first and foremost to their work, it may cause them to leave the organization in search of a better fit.

The experience of revealing their nonwork commitments and being penalized for doing so can make it difficult for people to manage others. Like passers, revealers may struggle with encouraging their subordinates to accept ideal-worker pressures, but they may shy away from advising resistance because they know the costs firsthand.

There Has to Be a Better Way

Our research suggests that if employees felt free to draw some lines between their professional and personal lives, organizations would benefit from greater engagement, more-open relationships, and more paths to success. We outline three steps that managers can take to create a richer definition of what it means to be an “ideal” worker—without sacrificing high performance. These changes don’t have to be pushed by a senior leader within the organization; they can be effectively implemented at the team level.

Develop your own multifaceted identity.

People in leadership positions can avoid the fragility that results from blind acceptance of ideal-worker norms by deliberately cultivating their own nonwork identities: a civic self, an athletic self, a family-oriented self. One architect told us that when he defined himself solely in terms of his work, professional struggles and setbacks made him miserable. Ironically, as he broadened his focus, he found more professional fulfillment. As managers become more resilient, they may also learn that employees whose lives are better balanced create value for the organization.

Managers can start to change organizational norms by pointing out the positive things that employees’ outside activities bring to the workplace. One consultant whose firm had recently merged with another enterprise observed that none of his new colleagues ever stayed in the office past 5:30 PM. When he asked about this pattern, he was told: “We don’t want our folks to spend every waking minute at work; we want them to be well-rounded individuals, to be curious, to see things out in the world, and to have all kinds of different experiences that they can then bring to bear on their work.”

People who pursue outside activities—volunteering in local politics, for example, or at a child’s school—are exposed to experiences, specialized knowledge, and networks that would be unavailable to them if they had spent that time holed up at the office.

Minimize time-based rewards.

Employees who choose a passing strategy do so in part because it’s common to evaluate how much people work (or seem to), rather than the quality of their output. This tendency is often reinforced by subtle and not-so-subtle beliefs and practices. For example, a senior consultant expressed his conviction that successful consultants must have the “high-five factor”: They’ve spent so much time on-site with the client that when they enter the client’s building, employees give them high fives. One firm we worked with awarded a prize to the person who had taken the most flights in a year. Valuing work time over work product—which motivates people to deceive others about how many hours they’re clocking—is an easy trap to fall into, especially for professionals, whose knowledge-based work is difficult to evaluate.

We propose that managers reduce the incentives for passing (and the costs of revealing) by encouraging people to focus on achieving their goals and measuring actual results rather than hours invested. For example, instead of celebrating a high-five factor based on time spent with the client, managers could praise employees for the quality of the advice provided or the number of repeat engagements secured. Managers can also move away from time-based rewards by working to set reasonable expectations with clients.

Other policy changes can be made even more easily. One employee we interviewed remarked that her current boss differed from her old one because he believed late nights were a sign that she was working inefficiently, and he discouraged them. Another employee stated that her manager simply asked her to set her own deadlines—realistically. When given such autonomy, high-performing workers who would otherwise pass or reveal are likely to follow through on their commitments.

Protect employees’ personal lives.

Most organizations leave it to their employees to set boundaries between their work and their nonwork lives—often with the best intentions. When Netflix offered unlimited time off, for example, managers thought they were treating their people like “grown-ups.” But providing complete freedom can heighten employees’ fears that their choices will signal a lack of commitment. Without clear direction, many employees simply default to the ideal-worker expectation, suppressing the need to live more-balanced lives.

Managers have the power to change this by flipping the script and actively protecting employees’ nonwork time and identities. They can, for example, institute required vacations, regular leaves, and reasonable work hours—for all employees, not just some. Making a firm commitment to avoid excessive workloads and extreme and unpredictable hours, rather than simply giving people the option to request downtime, will help them engage with other parts of their selves.

The pressure to be an ideal worker is at an all-time high, but so are the costs to both individuals and their employers. Moreover, the experiences of those who are able to pass as ideal workers suggest that superhuman dedication may not always be necessary for organizational success. By valuing all aspects of people’s identities, rewarding work output instead of work time, and taking steps to protect employees’ personal lives, leaders can begin to unravel the ideal-worker myth that has become woven into the fabric of their organizations. And that will enhance employees’ resilience, their creativity, and their satisfaction on the job.

Comment motiver les salariés de moins de 23 ans a 58 ans

Comment motiver les salariés de moins de 23 ans a 58 ans

Comment diriger quand le monde entier est fatigué. Reprendre le lead après la crise Covid. Trouver un nouveau projet fédérateur.

Après une réaction induite par l’adrénaline au printemps suivi par un faux espoir de retour à la normale l’été venu, la deuxième vague de la pandémie nous oblige à redéfinir ce qu’est la résilience personnelle. Lors de la première vague, on a assisté à une réaction psychologique associée à l’urgence appelée l’éveil. Un choc, une menace et une incertitude soudaine nous mettent sur le qui-vive et mobilisent des ressources instinctives : adrénaline, esprit de combat et solidarité. Cette réponse est impulsive, presque universelle et partagée de façon immédiate par un grand nombre d’équipes.

La deuxième vague, cependant, a activé un autre type de résilience personnelle : l’endurance psychologique. Celle-ci repose sur des schémas émotionnels plus profonds, façonnés par les besoins, l’histoire et les expériences de chacun. L’endurance est à présent d’autant plus nécessaire que cette deuxième vague n’est pas du tout excitante, c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire. De fait, les gens se disent fatigués, déconnectés et troublés. Alors que la première vague a déclenché en nous des réactions instinctives, la deuxième exige de la persévérance, de l’endurance et même de la défiance face à l’imprévisibilité, à la morosité ambiance et au poids de la pandémie.

Dans ce contexte, développer sa résilience requiert un certain « recâblage » émotionnel et une approche différente dans la façon de motiver les membres de son équipe et ses collègues. La tâche essentielle consiste à identifier les défis majeurs qui vont se poser dans l’année à venir, puis à mobiliser l’endurance psychologique dont vous et votre équipe aurez besoin pour les relever. Pour cela, il vous faudra suivre trois étapes clés : comprendre la différence entre urgence et importance ; trouver un équilibre entre confort et confinement ; imaginer de nouvelles manières de se motiver et de motiver les autres.

Comprendre la différence entre urgence et importance
Cela peut paraître évident, mais il est assez étonnant de voir à quel point certaines entreprises refusent de regarder en face les difficultés qui se profilent. Cela peut s’expliquer notre façon innée que nous avons de répondre aux crises : nous regardons les choses à très court terme et mettons de côté tout ce qui n’est pas urgent. Puis, une fois les urgences traitées, nous estimons qu’un repos est bien mérité. Plusieurs des équipes auprès desquelles j’interviens ont tendance à refuser de voir les défis à venir, ou à rationaliser leur inaction en se disant « On s’occupera de cette question quand la crise du coronavirus sera passée. »

Les dirigeants et leurs équipes ne doivent pas céder à cette tentation. S’il est évident qu’il faut se reposer durant son temps libre, l’inactivité au travail peut se révéler nocive. Dans l’armée, par exemple, l’ennui et l’attente sont perçus comme plus stressants que les combats eux-mêmes. L’étude « The Challenges of the Disengaged Mind » montre que des volontaires à qui l’on a demandé d’attendre sans rien faire dans une pièce préfèrent s’administrer des décharges électriques plutôt que de rester inactif en silence. La plupart des individus semblent donc préférer faire quelque chose plutôt que rien, même si c’est contre-productif ou néfaste. Dans mon livre « Battle Mind: Performing Under Pressure », un haut gradé de l’Otan me confiait d’ailleurs ceci : « Il vaut mieux agir et prendre une décision que ne rien faire. En d’autres termes, les conséquences sont souvent plus importantes si vous ne faites rien que l’inverse. Accepter de prendre des risques est un prérequis pour être capable d’agir sous pression ou dans des situations difficiles. »

Pour continuer d’avancer, on pourra s’inspirer de l’exemple de cette dirigeante qui a fait appel à mes services de conseil. Alors même que son entreprise n’était pas affectée par la Covid-19, plutôt que de se reposer sur ses lauriers, elle a préféré se demander « Comment transformer cet élan à court terme en avantage à long terme ? » Elle a donc demandé à son équipe dirigeante de lui proposer des idées pour le futur et a mis en place un groupe de travail composé de collaborateurs de talent issus de toute l’entreprise. Plus précisément, elle leur a demandé de réfléchir aux actions qu’ils pourraient mener dès à présent et qui seraient source d’avantages compétitifs à long terme.

Vous et vos collègues pouvez également vous demander si vous êtes vraiment prêts à affronter la concurrence acharnée qui ne manquera pas de suivre la campagne de vaccination. Les entreprises vont faire feu de tout bois pour rattraper le temps perdu et récupérer leurs clients. Pour nombre d’entre elles, la gestion de l’après-pandémie sera aussi intense que celle de la crise.

Posez la question à vos équipes, ainsi qu’à vous-même : faites-vous tout ce qui est en votre pouvoir pour que votre entreprise ressorte plus forte de la crise ? La fenêtre d’opportunité du changement est sans doute en train de se refermer et c’est maintenant qu’il faut traduire les bonnes intentions en actions.

Trouver le juste équilibre entre compassion et maîtrise
Pour passer à l’action, vous et vos employés devez être motivés. En d’autres termes, l’action demande à la fois de la compassion et de la maîtrise. Commençons par la compassion. A ce stade de la crise, tout est réuni pour que la dépression, la solitude et l’anxiété prennent le dessus : l’on travaille de façon isolée, l’on s’inquiète pour sa santé et la pérennité de son emploi, l’on ne compte plus ses heures et les priorités n’arrêtent pas de changer. Une enquête mondiale menée par Mercer indique que la majorité des 270 compagnies d’assurance interrogées considèrent la santé mentale comme un facteur de risque aussi important que le tabac.

Les dirigeants doivent prendre le bien-être mental de leurs équipes au sérieux et intervenir en amont plutôt que trop tard. Ce qui veut dire que vos employés ont sans doute davantage besoin de chaleur et de réconfort qu’avant la pandémie. Cependant, ce n’est pas avec des tableaux Excel et de plannings que vous comblerez ce besoin ; pour affronter les moments les plus durs, il faut savoir être à l’écoute et oser – notamment en parlant de doute et d’inconfort – et ne pas ignorer cette question en passant un peu trop rapidement au point suivant de l’ordre du jour.

Pour ce faire, il existe deux approches. L’une consiste à dire « Je ne sais pas » ou à partager votre sentiment de malaise. Je vois une énorme différence avec les dirigeants qui expriment leur insécurité, car cela va dans les deux sens : quand vous osez partager vos doutes avec vos équipes, elles en font autant avec vous.

Une autre approche consiste à louer la compétence des employés, à leur donner le sentiment qu’ils méritent leur place et que leur valeur n’est pas seulement fonction de leurs actions et de leurs résultats, mais de qui ils sont et de la manière dont ils se comportent. Ne parlez donc pas seulement de « ce qu’il y a à faire » lorsque vous discutez avec vos collègues, mais reconnaissez « qui ils sont » en mettant en avant leurs contributions personnelles, ainsi que leurs qualités humaines. Cela réduira l’anxiété et les suppositions.

Cependant, il ne suffit pas de faire preuve de compassion, mais aussi de maîtrise. La maîtrise est décrite par Anand Narasimhan, professeur à l’IMD, comme « la capacité d’observer et d’absorber ce qui se passe autour de soi tout en donnant une impression de stabilité ». Pour cela, il faut poser des limites, être exigeant, mettre la pression à un niveau optimal et aider chacun à cesser de s’apitoyer sur son sort et à sortir de sa morosité.

De fait, s’ils sont l’objet de trop de sollicitude et de compassion, les individus peuvent tomber dans le piège de la dépendance en étant amenés à croire qu’ils sont incapables de réussir sans l’aide et le soutien d’autrui. Comme Martin Seligman, le père de la psychologie positive moderne, l’a montré, nous devenons passifs lorsque nous sommes confrontés à un stress incontrôlable auquel nous ne pouvons pas échapper. Nous cessons de réagir face aux dangers et acceptons passivement tout ce qui nous arrive.

Donc, une fois que vous aurez réussi à redonner le moral à votre équipe (ou à vous-même), le but n’est pas de la dorloter. Vous devrez bien plutôt profiter de ce que vous aurez établi une connexion pour repartir du bon pied. Comme n’importe quel boxeur vous le dira, ce réveil n’aura lieu que si vous éprouvez de la colère, de la peur et de la frustration et que vous vous sentez prêt à vous rebeller – autant de sentiments que l’on s’efforce habituellement d’étouffer ou d’intellectualiser dans nos vies professionnelles.

Au lieu de laisser complètement tomber la pression et de céder à l’ennui et à l’épuisement, il faut au contraire faire monter la pression et de se mettre en mode combat. Pour cela, considérez sérieusement les batailles que vous allez avoir à mener l’an prochain. Comment allez-vous vous maintenir en tête du peloton ? Comment préparer les étapes suivantes ? Comment mobiliser vos troupes pour attaquer avant l’aube ?
Tous les dirigeants avec lesquels j’ai discuté insistent sur l’importance de pouvoir faire quelque chose au lieu de lâcher prise. Peut-être avez-vous envie de rester au lit toute la journée en regardant Netflix et en mangeant de la pizza, ou de vous « terrer sous votre édredon », comme le dit l’un de mes clients. De temps à autre, cela peut fonctionner avec un peu de déni constructif et d’apitoiement sur soi-même, mais pas tous les jours, ni à chaque coup dur.

Certes, le moment présent invite à la compassion, mais il demande aussi un peu plus de réaction et de révolte face à l’injustice du virus. Les gens devraient dire « Ça suffit comme ça ! » et s’insurger contre la morosité ambiante. C’est la même chose qu’avec l’éducation des enfants : la clé est de trouver l’équilibre idéal entre la sollicitude et l’incitation au dépassement de soi, entre dire « Je t’aime comme tu es » et « Bouge-toi et surpasse-toi ».

Motiver tout le monde, chaque jour
« Je suis étonnée de constater que le plus dur, maintenant, est de lutter contre moi-même », a conclu en soupirant une dirigeante à la fin de notre entretien.

Alors que nous entrons dans la dernière ligne droite, le plus grand défi pour les dirigeants sera sans doute de rester motivés et de garder leurs équipes dans le même état d’esprit. Nous ignorons combien de temps cette phase va encore durer et nous ne pouvons plus compter sur le sentiment d’urgence sanitaire. Face à de belles paroles telles que « Restons soudés » ou « On va s’en sortir », notre patience a atteint ses limites. Ce que les gens attendent, ce sont des instructions spécifiques et concrètes – quoi faire à présent pour aller ensemble dans la même direction et comment faire pour s’en sortir.

Pour cela, il faut que l’énergie circule et refuser que les réunions et les interactions soient inutiles ou ennuyeuses. L’énergie n’est pas une chose acquise ; elle doit être générée et canalisée en interne. Par exemple, le groupe Lego s’est donné pour objectif de « Dynamiser tout le monde, tous les jours » en en faisant le principe essentiel de son leadership.

Il existe mille façons de motiver une équipe : en partageant des histoires de réussite, en organisant des compétitions ou en morcelant les longs projets en sprints, mais aussi en mettant fin aux interminables réunions Zoom et aux projets sans direction ou encore en laissant libre cours aux conflits constructifs et au feed-back sincère au sein des équipes. Peu importe la manière dont vous vous y prendrez, ce qui compte avant tout, c’est que vous le fassiez.

Les personnes les plus résilientes ont tendance à finir par s’imposer parce qu’elles considèrent les revers comme temporaires, circonscrits et évolutifs. Quand on voit les choses sous cet angle, on peut se dire : « A un moment ou à un autre, ça va s’arrêter, le problème sera sous contrôle et je peux peser sur son issue. » C’est ce qui nous permet d’agir. C’est comme cela qu’un dirigeant résilient réfléchit. Les individus ainsi « câblés » sont plus susceptibles de prendre des décisions parce qu’ils pensent qu’ils peuvent avoir une véritable influence sur la situation et que ça ne leur fait pas peur.

A l’inverse, si on se dit qu’une difficulté n’est pas près de s’arrêter, que c’est un problème général et que l’on ne peut rien y faire, alors on se sentira totalement désarmé. Les individus peu résilients ont aussi tendance à internaliser le problème en ruminant et se disant des choses comme « C’est probablement de ma faute. Je suis nul. Je ne sais rien faire. » Résultat : ça les paralyse. A partir de là, ces pensées peuvent aisément dégénérer et amener la personne à s’autodétruire.

La résilience est la qualité clé pour parvenir à naviguer à travers le chaos. Croire que nous avons la capacité et la force de surmonter des obstacles et d’être performants est un exercice d’équilibriste et, pour la plupart d’entre nous, le défi de toute une vie. Sans résilience, nous avons tendance à agir sans conviction ou à suivre des ordres sans réfléchir. Si nous ne croyons pas en nos capacités, nous risquons de nous retrouver paralysés ou ballottés par des forces hors de notre contrôle. Ce n’est qu’en ayant prise sur notre esprit et en décidant de prendre notre destin en main (tout en aidant les autres à faire de même) que nous trouverons la force de franchir cette dernière ligne droite.

Intérêt de l'entretien de reprise dans la lutte contre l'absentéisme

Comment débloquer une situation. Poser des questions. Identifier les contraintes. Plan d'action. Impact long terme. VA apportée

Comment débloquer une situation. Poser des questions. Identifier les contraintes. Plan d'action. Impact long terme. VA apportée

Parfois le succès est d'éviter de faire des erreurs de décisions ! A surveiller donc :
L'état de fatigue, d'énervement, de prise par le temps ou de distraction,
Un contexte de décisions à plusieurs dont des membres autoritaires,
Le problème n'a pas été vu et validé par vous,
Ce n'est pas votre problème,
Vous n'avez pas observé la situation et les risques avec plusieurs niveaux de filtres,
Vos interlocuteurs ne sont pas légitimes dans la vision du problème ou leurs intérêts sont suspects,
Vous découvrez le problème par les bruits de chiottes ...
Vous ne vous êtes pas mis à la place de,
Vous ne vous rappelez pas de vos decisions,
Vous n'avez pas de valeurs fortes aidant à la prise de décision.

Les 4 règles du décideur face aux experts. EM Lyon.

L'incendie est la principale cause de sinistre. L’assureur est donc très vigilant quant aux facteurs aggravant ou réduisant le risque d’incendie au sein de l’entreprise. Garantie Dommages aux Biens - Comment s'évalue le risque incendie

Daniel Azariane

Bloc Chain. Ledgers (registres de transactions traçabilité et répartition) Contrats (règles métiers) Clefs (permissions)

Vous deviez décrire votre approche du management en quelques mots, que diriez-vous ?
Le management est pour moi la capacité : d’avoir une vision sur la stratégie et le développement de son entreprise, de transmettre cette vision à ses équipes, d’animer ce projet et de l’adapter en permanence pour coller au marché, de gérer avec une prudence dynamique l’outil « entreprise » afin d’éviter les écueils. La prévoyance ralentit peut-être un peu la croissance mais garantit une vraie solidité


Excel at Both Strategy and Execution. My experiences since 35 years are in line with this way of saying things. There is a high risk (probably close to 92% !) To fail when strategy and execution are not bonded. It also often reveal top management is not enough aware of theirs teams and organisation capabilities which is a strong signal often perceived by customers and suppliers. You imagine what is the end ...


Que doit faire le personnage de gauche ? Donner l'exemple , expliquer ....

Que doit faire le personnage de gauche ? Donner l'exemple , expliquer ....

Leader & Patron selon !

Leader & Patron selon !

Condition de succès pour la fixation des objectifs annuels

Condition de succès pour la fixation des objectifs annuels

Trop de KPI . Un manager doit limiter ses indicateurs.

Trop de KPI . Un manager doit limiter ses indicateurs.

A garder en tête. Billet d'humeur

Les managers doivent avoir de la complicité et se mettre à la place de pour gérer leurs équipes.


Une entreprise dont la trésorerie est impactée par l'épidémie de coronavirus - Covid-19 peut demander un prêt garanti par l’État, quelle que soit sa taille et son statut. Cette aide s'applique jusqu'au 30 juin 2021. L'entreprise doit prendre rendez-vous auprès de sa banque habituelle qui donne un pré-accord. La démarche se fait ensuite en ligne auprès de BPI France qui renvoie un numéro unique. L'entreprise communique ce numéro à sa banque qui peut alors débloquer le montant du prêt.

Service Public. BPI

Les entrepreneurs le disent et l’affirment : il faut se faire aider à la création, à la reprise et au développement d’une entreprise. L’accompagnement permet de rompre l’isolement, d’échanger sur son projet, d’identifier des opportunités business, de s’entourer et de faire financer son projet

Réseau Entreprendre

Facteurs clefs de succès du leadership

Facteurs clefs de succès du leadership

Le problème des statistiques et leurs biais cognitifs. Regardez cette vidéo à 41 minutes


A faire un peu tous les jours : bâtir des relations de confiance / former ses équipes / animer son réseau


A garder en tête. Billet d'humeur

Pragmatisme : Les risques de l’approche basée sur l’hypothèse business vs l'alternative fondée sur l’adaptation. Changer de business model en période de crise et d'incertitude adopter une démarche adaptative essai-erreur, ou à ses variantes agiles comme le « test and learn », construite à partir d’une hypothèse de positionnement précis sur un marché, il faut cette fois se contenter de partir des moyens disponibles et sûrs. Une façon de maitriser le risque d'investissements non rentables.


Il n’y a qu’un seul patron : le client ! Il peut licencier tout le personnel depuis le directeur jusqu’à l’employé, tout simplement en allant dépenser son argent ailleurs.

Sam Walton

91% des dirigeants éprouvent de la solitude et de la frustration par manque de réalisation de leurs ambitions.
75% des PME ont besoin de ressources variabilisées pour mener à bien des projets ponctuels et stratégiques.
56% des dirigeants de TPE-PME manquent de temps pour embaucher des associés qui mettront en marche leurs équipes et leurs projets

If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough. The first challenge, is “omission bias” the reality that most people with a new idea choose not to pursue the idea because if they try something and it doesn’t work, the setback might damage their career. The second challenge is to overcome “loss aversion” — the tendency for people to play not to lose rather than play to win, because for most of us, “The pain of loss is double the pleasure of winning.”


Cout d'un recrutement raté 8Dec20

Cout d'un recrutement raté 8Dec20

Pour réussir en management => Service au client + sens de la débrouille + un peu de bizarrerie + raison d'être + fiabilité & adaptabilité

Tony Hsieh

Le plaisir plus court chemin vers la victoire E. Grospiron 2020

Le plaisir plus court chemin vers la victoire E. Grospiron 2020

Renforcer l’engagement des collaborateurs pour rebondir après la crise


Relationship is more important factor in business. Relative position of all criteria

Relationship is more important factor in business. Relative position of all criteria

Feedback has little impact on our performance and over one-third of the time, it actually negatively impacts it. Ask for good advice instead.


This short story reminds us our associates adapt their behaviour smartly to stupid rules. Therefore avoid stupid rules is wortwhile


Culture is like the wind. It is invisible, yet its effect can be seen and felt. When it is blowing in your direction, it makes for smooth sailing. When it is blowing against you, everything is more difficult.

For organizations seeking to become more adaptive and innovative, culture change is often the most challenging part of the transformation. Innovation demands new behaviors from leaders and employees that are often antithetical to corporate cultures, which are historically focused on operational excellence and efficiency.

But culture change can’t be achieved through top-down mandate. It lives in the collective hearts and habits of people and their shared perception of “how things are done around here.” Someone with authority can demand compliance, but they can’t dictate optimism, trust, conviction, or creativity.

At IDEO, we believe that the most significant change often comes through social movements, and that despite the differences between private enterprises and society, leaders can learn from how these initiators engage and mobilize the masses to institutionalize new societal norms.

Dr. Reddy’s: A Movement-Minded Case Study

One leader who understands this well is G.V. Prasad, CEO of Dr. Reddy’s, a 33-year-old global pharmaceutical company headquartered in India that produces affordable generic medication. With the company’s more than seven distinct business units operating in 27 countries and more than 20,000 employees, decision making had grown more convoluted and branches of the organization had become misaligned. Over the years, Dr. Reddy’s had built in lots of procedures, and for many good reasons. But those procedures had also slowed the company down.

Prasad sought to evolve Dr. Reddy’s culture to be nimble, innovative, and patient-centered. He knew it required a journey to align and galvanize all employees. His leadership team began with a search for purpose. Over the course of several months, the Dr. Reddy’s team worked with IDEO to learn about the needs of everyone, from shop floor workers to scientists, external partners, and investors. Together they defined and distilled the purpose of the company, paring it down to four simple words that center on the patient: “Good health can’t wait.”

But instead of plastering this new slogan on motivational posters and repeating it in all-hands meetings, the leadership team began by quietly using it to start guiding their own decisions. The goal was to demonstratethis idea in action, not talk about it. Projects were selected across channels to highlight agility, innovation, and customer centricity. Product packaging was redesigned to be more user-friendly and increase adherence. The role of sales representatives in Russia was recast to act as knowledge hubs for physicians, since better physicians lead to healthier patients. A comprehensive internal data platform was developed to help Dr. Reddy’s employees be proactive with their customer requests and solve any problems in an agile way.

At this point it was time to more broadly share the stated purpose — first internally with all employees, and then externally with the world. At the internal launch event, Dr. Reddy’s employees learned about their purpose and were invited to be part of realizing it. Everyone was asked to make a personal promise about how they, in their current role, would contribute to “good health can’t wait.” The following day Dr. Reddy’s unveiled a new brand identity and website that publicly stated its purpose. Soon after, the company established two new “innovation studios” in Hyderabad and Mumbai to offer additional structural support to creativity within the company.

Prasad saw a change in the company culture right away:

After we introduced the idea of “good health can’t wait,” one of the scientists told me he developed a product in 15 days and broke every rule there was in the company. He was proudly stating that! Normally, just getting the raw materials would take him months, not to mention the rest of the process for making the medication. But he was acting on that urgency. And now he’s taking this lesson of being lean and applying it to all our procedures.

What Does a Movement Look Like?

To draw parallels between the journey of Dr. Reddy’s and a movement, we need to better understand movements.

We often think of movements as starting with a call to action. But movement researchsuggests that they actually start with emotion — a diffuse dissatisfaction with the status quo and a broad sense that the current institutions and power structures of the society will not address the problem. This brewing discontent turns into a movement when a voice arises that provides a positive vision and a path forward that’s within the power of the crowd.

What’s more, social movements typically start small. They begin with a group of passionate enthusiasts who deliver a few modest wins. While these wins are small, they’re powerful in demonstrating efficacy to nonparticipants, and they help the movement gain steam. The movement really gathers force and scale once this group successfully co-opts existing networks and influencers. Eventually, in successful movements, leaders leverage their momentum and influence to institutionalize the change in the formal power structures and rules of society.

Practices for Leading a Cultural Movement 

Leaders should not be too quick or simplistic in their translation of social movement dynamics into change management plans. That said, leaders can learn a lot from the practices of skillful movement makers.

Frame the issue. Successful leaders of movements are often masters of framing situations in terms that stir emotion and incite action. Framing can also apply social pressure to conform. For example, “Secondhand smoking kills. So shame on you for smoking around others.”

In terms of organizational culture change, simply explaining the need for change won’t cut it. Creating a sense of urgency is helpful, but can be short-lived. To harness people’s full, lasting commitment, they must feel a deep desire, and even responsibility, to change. A leader can do this by framing change within the organization’s purpose — the “why we exist” question. A good organizational purpose calls for the pursuit of greatness in service of others. It asks employees to be driven by more than personal gain. It gives meaning to work, conjures individual emotion, and incites collective action. Prasad framed Dr. Reddy’s transformation as the pursuit of “good health can’t wait.”

Demonstrate quick wins. Movement makers are very good at recognizing the power of celebrating small wins. Research has shown that demonstrating efficacy is one way that movements bring in people who are sympathetic but not yet mobilized to join.

When it comes to organizational culture change, leaders too often fall into the trap of declaring the culture shifts they hope to see. Instead, they need to spotlight examples of actions they hope to see more of within the culture. Sometimes, these examples already exist within the culture, but at a limited scale. Other times, they need to be created. When Prasad and his leadership team launched projects across key divisions, those projects served to demonstrate the efficacy of a nimble, innovative, and customer-centered way of working and of how pursuit of purpose could deliver outcomes the business cared about. Once these projects were far enough along, the Dr. Reddy’s leadership used them to help communicate their purpose and culture change ambitions.

Harness networks. Effective movement makers are extremely good at building coalitions, bridging disparate groups to form a larger and more diverse network that shares a common purpose. And effective movement makers know how to activate existing networks for their purposes. This was the case with the leaders of the 1960s civil rights movement, who recruited members through the strong community ties formed in churches. But recruiting new members to a cause is not the only way that movement makers leverage social networks. They also use social networks to spread ideas and broadcast their wins.

Leadership at Dr. Reddy’s did not hide in a back room and come up with their purpose. Over the course of several months, people from across the organization were engaged in the process. The approach was built on the belief that people are more apt to support what they have a stake in creating. And during the organization-wide launch event, Prasad invited all employees to make the purpose their own by defining how they personally would help deliver “good health can’t wait.”

Create safe havens. Movement makers are experts at creating or identifying spaces within which movement members can craft strategy and discuss tactics. Such spaces have included beauty shops in the Southern U.S. during the civil rights movement, Quaker work camps in the 1960s and 1970s, the Seneca Women’s Encampment of the 1980s and early 1990s. These are spaces where the rules of engagement and behaviors of activists are different from those of the dominant culture. They’re microcosms of what the movement hopes will become the future.

The dominant culture and structure of today’s organizations are perfectly designed to produce their current behaviors and outcomes, regardless of whether those outcomes are the ones you want. If your hope is for individuals to act differently, it helps to change their surrounding conditions to be more supportive of the new behaviors, particularly when they are antithetical to the dominant culture. Outposts and labs are often built as new environments that serve as a microcosm for change. Dr. Reddy’s established two innovation labs to explore the future of medicine and create a space where it’s easier for people to embrace new beliefs and perform new behaviors.

Embrace symbols. Movement makers are experts at constructing and deploying symbols and costumes that simultaneously create a feeling of solidarity and demarcate who they are and what they stand for to the outside world. Symbols and costumes of solidarity help define the boundary between “us” and “them” for movements. These symbols can be as simple as a T-shirt, bumper sticker, or button supporting a general cause, or as elaborate as the giant puppets we often see used in protest events.

Dr. Reddy’s linked its change in culture and purpose with a new corporate brand identity. Internally and externally, the act reinforced a message of unity and commitment. The entire company stands together in pursuit of this purpose.

The Challenge to Leadership

Unlike a movement maker, an enterprise leader is often in a position of authority. They can mandate changes to the organization — and at times they should. However, when it comes to culture change, they should do so sparingly. It’s easy to overuse one’s authority in the hopes of accelerating transformation.

It’s also easy for an enterprise leader to shy away from organizational friction. Harmony is generally a preferred state, after all. And the success of an organizational transition is often judged by its seamlessness.

In a movements-based approach to change, a moderate amount of friction is positive. A complete absence of friction probably means that little is actually changing. Look for the places where the movement faces resistance and experiences friction. They often indicate where the dominant organizational design and culture may need to evolve.

And remember that culture change only happens when people take action. So start there. While articulating a mission and changing company structures are important, it’s often a more successful approach to tackle those sorts of issues after you’ve been able to show people the change you want to see.

Bryan Walker is a Partner and Managing Director at IDEO San Francisco

Lean & Kaisen 

The seed of lean was, back in the XIXth century a very simple idea: how can we make worker’s job easier? It grew into a second idea: how can we help workers in themselves making their jobs easier? Ultimately, the best way to help customers would be to help those that add value, task after task.

Look at their eyes!” I remember one of my senseis trying to explain to me standard work. “Look at their hands. Look at their feet.” I was watching an operator on a line, pen and paper in hand, with a neat format to break down work into value added, transport, check, etc. – and seeing nothing.

The aim of the exercises was not to produce more detailed instructions to better program the human robot in performing the task in the one best way. I was to find the pain points in the work sequence and make the work easier. 

Eyes to see where the person had to concentrate because he needed to focus, or because he needed to make a judgment. Hands to see where he struggled and flubbed the job. Feet to see why he had to move around looking for parts or tools rather than find them on hand – or worse, having to carry stuff back to his station.

Contrary to what I believed then, standardizing work was not a matter or detailing work instructions so that each worker did exactly the same. It was about making the work so intuitive and easy that each worker would perform every task fluidly, smoothly and seamlessly, so that in the end it would be done equally well in the same time – as we do with any routine task around us, such as brewing a cup of coffee. 

The standard would not be the same for lefties or righties, for tall or short – it had to be adapted in small ways to each person. But some tricks would be the same for all, such as grab this part before this one, or use both hands here. Easy. Smooth. Seamless.

Decision points, such as part choices or quality checks were made to appear starkly, and with clear, visible criteria so that at a glance you could say whether it was okay or not. In some places, quality being a human feeling, more experienced people would need to feel whether the part was right or not.

Kaizen became inevitable. You struggle to pick up only two screws at a time from the box? How would you build a screw dispenser? You have to look for the electric screwdriver? How would you hang it in front of the workstation at the most convenient place? Let’s try your ideas. How can we help?

Organizations’ entire purpose is to help their customers. Organizations produce either products or services or knowledge:

  • Products to make you more autonomous: with a product in hand, you no longer need help to do something. With a desktop coffee maker, you no longer need to go down to the café to have the barista use the large machine to brew a cup. You can do it on your own, by yourself, in your own time.
  • Services to have someone do something for you: the hairdresser cuts your hair, the plumber fixes your sink, the insurer writes up you policies. Services require someone helping you to do something.
  • Knowledge (and entertainment): whether in books, films, reports, conferences, seminars, training, many organizations provide food for your brain, either as knowledge or as entertainment – often both.  

To do so, they must be cost effective and better than the alternative of doing it yourself. So they organize labor: they divide by specialism, they find the lowest cost, then stitch together complex supply chains. Someone has to manage the mess all this organizing creates, so they have managers and specialists and people who write procedures. Then when something goes wrong, the managing heads get together and write some more procedures so that it doesn’t happen again, or put in place a computerized system that will control the process, and so on. Until the job itself becomes only a small part of the complex organization.

In the process, organizations also become perfect places for ambitious people to help themselves: there are careers to be built and money to be made. As they compete and race up the ladder, executives think less and less about customers (a vague, indistinct mass) and more about their status up the monkey tree, their power over their rivals, and who gets the big bonuses. As they look up, they forget to ever look down, to the people who do the real job.

The seed of lean was, back in the XIXth century a very simple idea: how can we make worker’s job easier? It grew into a second idea: how can we help workers in themselves making their jobs easier? Ultimately, the best way to help customers would be to help those that add value, task after task.

This also meant clarifying what needed to be done, which led to Kanban and being able to see the next job at hand without having to ask a boss. And Kanban revealed plenty of opportunities for kaizen as it showed how work stagnated here and there, or how management’s misconceptions, mostly born of cost accounting, created losses and wasted work. Kanban led specialized divisions to coordinate better and work more closely with each other at solving problems. Recognizing problems led to a deep understanding of the role of training in the business. Not surprisingly, such an approach generates a growing base of satisfied customers and an unprecedented stream of profits, while being frugal with materials and the environment. Lean thinking naturally leads to green thinking.

Real lean is first and foremost an ethical project – I am not talking here as Taylorism masquerading as “lean” where lean techniques are used to further exploit workers – in order to help customers, we need to help employees, and if we align employee fulfilment and corporate destiny, we will all thrive together.

Which makes lean a political project: which party do you want to join? The party of let’s take all the money we can out of the business now and who care about what happens later? Or the party of let’s focus on helping workers better serve customers, and they’ll reward us with steady profits? Because it will matter. As we face the massive challenges of the XXIst century with a fast-degrading environment, growing inequality and a stream of man-made catastrophes, we need to choose, as a society, what kind of capitalism we want. The “take the money and run” savage capitalism of shareholder value? Or the waste-free capitalism of respect and teamwork? 

One thing lean experience shows is that, when confronted with unsolvable problems, if we add up and share local countermeasures and then get inspired and build on them, even if they first amount to not much, we can build a network of engaged people whose minds will spark and share and eventually come up with a radical, unlooked for solution that will change the world. Lean works better than any alternative, every time.

The entry ticket, however, is a commitment to help workers, not exploit them. Help in the most practical sense of looking at the pain points in their jobs, listening to their ideas and supporting them in building their own solutions. This is the true meaning of standard work. This is the true meaning of lean. It’s a verb, not a noun. It means: go and help make things easier


For decades, we’ve often thought of leadership profiles in unique buckets—two popular varieties were the “visionaries”, who embrace strategy and think about amazing things to do, and the “operators”, who get stuff done. We intuitively knew that there must be leaders that span these areas, but in fact, few do. According to a global survey of 700 executives across a variety of industries conducted by Strategy&, the strategy consulting division of PwC, only 8% of company leaders were said to excel at both strategy and execution.

You may think that success can be achieved by excelling at either strategy or execution individually—that great visionaries can change how we see the world, or that amazing operators can wind up outperforming competitors. But our experience and research suggests that the days of keeping strategy and execution as separate topics are ending: We need leaders that can create big promises to customers, and help their organizations deliver on those promises.

Take Starbucks: CEO Howard Schultz created a very ambitious aspiration for the company, far more than just being a seller of coffee. He wanted Starbucks to be a “third place” for conviviality beyond home and the workplace. Visit a Starbucks anywhere in the world, and you will find the same consistently comfortable and welcoming ambiance. But he didn’t get there simply by telling his staff to “be warm and friendly”.

Starbucks has been able to deliver on its promise because that promise is tightly linked to the company’s distinctive capabilities. The feel of Starbucks stores isn’t created merely by the layout and the décor—it exists because the people behind the counter understand how their work fits into a common purpose, and recognize how to accomplish great things together without needing to follow a script.

Over many years, Starbucks has built a capability to foster a relationship-driven, “employees-first” approach. It was Schultz who famously said “You can walk into [any type of retail store] and you can feel whether the proprietor or the merchant or the person behind the counter has a good feeling about his product. If you walk into a department store today, you are probably talking to a guy who is untrained; he was selling vacuum cleaners yesterday, and now he is in the apparel section. It just does not work.”

Schultz made sure that Starbucks would be different: Workers are called “partners” rather than employees, and even part-time staff (in the U.S.) receive stock options and health insurance. At the height of the global financial crisis, when other companies were cutting HR costs wherever they could, Starbucks invested in staff training, including coffee tastings and courses that ultimately qualified employees for credit at higher education institutions. Beyond employees, much of what you will see and experience at Starbucks has been well thought out to accomplish the company’s mission, from the music played to the furniture selected. Even the bathrooms are strategic at Starbucks, because they play a part in allowing customers to spend time in the “third place.”

Leaders like Howard Schultz don’t just have both the visionary and operator skills—they deeply value the connection between the two skill sets. In fact, they see them as inextricably linked, since a bold vision needs to include both a very ambitious destination and a well-conceived path for execution that will get you there. This is ever more important today, where differentiating your company is so difficult. Differentiation increasingly requires more innovative thinking, and the use of very specific areas of expertise (like Apple’s winning design, a capability that wouldn’t have been prioritized in most technology companies before Jobs).

Leaders who master both strategy and execution start by building a bold but executable strategy. Next, they ensure that the company is investing behind the change. And last, they make sure the entire organization is motivated to go the journey.

Developing a bold but executable strategy starts with making sure leaders have addressed the questions of “What are we great at?” and “What are we able to achieve?” rather than coming up with lofty plans and asking functional and business-unit teams to do their best to execute. Indeed, they spell out the few differentiating capabilities that the company must excel at to realize the strategy.

Ensuring that the company is investing behind the change means that leaders recognize that the budget process is one of the most important tools in closing the strategy-to-execution gap. Cost isn’t an exogenous variable to be managed—it is the investment in doing the most important things well. But rarely are budgets linked closely to the strategy. If your company is merely incrementalizing the budget up or down by a few percentage points, ask yourself whether the investments are really reflective of the most important tasks.

Motivating individuals is a hugely underleveraged tool to close the gap between strategy and execution. Great leaders know that success stems from specific skills that come together in unique ways to do the challenging tasks in executing the strategy. But today most employees don’t even understand how they are connected to the strategy. In a recent (not-yet-published) survey of 540 executives, managers, and non-managers by Strategy&, only 28% of employees said that they feel fully connected to the purpose and identity of their organization. Articulating the strategy in human terms—what capabilities the company will need to build, and what skills are required to do so—not only helps the company focus on how to develop the right talent, but it allows individuals to understand how their role fits into the overall strategy, and allows them to see their work in a much more fundamentally connected way.

How are you doing in combining strategy and execution? Below are some questions for you to think through that cover all three stages of the strategy-to-execution continuum. Getting these three areas right allows leaders to make a big step forward toward closing the gap between strategy and execution:

  1. Build the strategy.
  • Are you very clear about how you add value to customers in a way that others don’t, and about the specific capabilities that enable you to excel at that value proposition?
  • As strategies are being developed, are you using the classic approach of “build the strategy, then think about execution,” or are you asking yourself the question, “Do you have the capabilities needed—or can you build the capabilities needed—to execute the strategy?”
  • As you’re dealing with disruption, are you shaping the world around you with your given strengths, or are you waiting for change to happen, and therefore playing by someone else’s rules?
  1. Translate the strategy into the everyday.
  • Are you diligently following through on what you have decided? You need to be very clear about what the strategy is and what it takes to succeed—and to communicate it so that everyone in the organization understands what they should be doing.
  • Are there visible programs (for example specific new technologies, new processes, or training programs) to build the key capabilities your organization needs to win with its strategy?
  • Are you building specific connections between strategy and the budgeting process so you’re reallocating funds to where they matter most? And do you have mechanisms in place that translate the strategy into personal goals and rewards for managers and employees?
  1. Execute the strategy.
  • Are you motivating employees every single day to understand how what they’re doing connects to the important strategic levers that you have focused on?
  • Are you enabling employees to work together across organizational silos to tackle the cross-functional challenges that allow the company to win?
  • Are you keeping track not just of your performance, but of how you’re building and scaling up those few key capabilities that enable you to create value for customers in ways that others cannot?
  • Is your management team engaged in how you are executing the strategy—not just by measuring results, but by constantly challenging the organization and supporting it in improving its key capabilities? Are you setting your team’s sights high enough for what they need to accomplish, and by when?

We believe there’s a tremendous upside for companies that can succeed at strategy through execution. The leaders who are able to be both visionaries and operators, and switch between these two mindsets, are the ones who can turn their organizations into super-competitors

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