Entries Tagged 'learning' ↓

Listening from Keith Ferrazzi

Have you ever been taught to listen?

Many of us are of opinion that ‘Listening’ is a natural process. Hearing may well be the natural process and it is one of the five senses endowed to humans.  Active Listening could be understood as listening for meaning.

I picked up an extract from the book of Keith Ferrazzi ‘WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK’ which I cherish.

The Four R’s of Listening

Much of successful sparring is really about listening. (Most people are better talkers than they are listeners.)  Dr. Mark Goulston, a hostage negotiator and author, describes the way we listen in four different ways, which he calls the Four R’s: removed, reactive, responsible and receptive.

• Removed listening is the kind of listening you do when you’re actually engaged in something else, like using your BlackBerry.

• Reactive listening is when you’re being somewhat more attentive.

• Responsible listening takes place when you not only react to what is said but reply with a further action or elaboration.

• Receptive listening is the deepest form of listening. This is the level of listening we all want to achieve in sparring.  ~

Leadershift by Emmanuel Gobillot

I have retained the following from the book: LEADERSHIFT Reinventing Leadership for the Age of 
Mass Collaboration by Emmanuel Gobillot which I would like to share with you. 
As I am a great fan of Saint-Exupéry no wonder that the stuff hooked me. 
My blog allows me to keep my learning in an orderly manner, easy to sort and find when necessary.

Beyond Leadership

The trends are changing the way organizations create. The new units of analysis are not organizations (in the sense of structurally organized), but rather companies (as in groups of companions). Does that mean that leadership will be irrelevant? Are we going toward some anarchical, communal days where no one is in charge (with the associated chaos we have all been taught to fear anarchy leads to)? Well, the way we have led might be irrelevant but this is not true of leadership altogether. We are living beyond the days of leadership.


“Leadershift” is about facilitating a community’s engagement need. It is that new “leadershift” modus operandi that is defined as:

A type of leadership, non-hierarchical in form, that facilitates the collaboration of a self-selected group, of which the leader is an integral part, in the generation of a narrative that builds and sustains a valuable and co-created outcome.

Blurring the Boundaries

Where “leadershift” differs from leadership is in its search for a truly dynamic, social and co-created form of leadership. This is leadership that blurs the boundaries between leader and follower and places the importance of culture facilitation over that of strategy articulation as the central focus of its efforts.

“Leadershift” actions and behaviors are only legitimate in so far as they are mandated by the community itself. To make a call because no one else can make it is only directive if the community never recognized you as being able to make the call. When the community asks you to arbitrate its decisions, a directive style becomes a helpful style.

Leadership vs. ‘Leadershift’

In “leadershift,” reputation rather than position makes the leader. What creates a reputation is the commitment the leader has shown to the community rather than the effectiveness by which they have made it work for their benefit. That kind of power is interdependent. The leader is only as strong as the community and the community becomes stronger through the actions of its leader. The difference between current organizational positional power and this communal, social power is that both parties need to agree and have the ability to review the contract.


Simplicity is about realigning participants’ intellectual and emotional outlooks. It is a combination of two elements: simplification and coherence.

A leader must learn to distinguish between what matters and what doesn’t to the engagement of a community. Our simplification reflexes have become so sharp that, in our search for efficiency, we risk eradicating some important elements of the community’s strength.

We have all witnessed how changes in processes and structure (even if as a result these are becoming simpler) tend to decrease, rather than increase, levels of understanding. We have all seen employees trying to figure out who and what matters once a new structure is announced. So, while the simplification process is a worthwhile thing to do, it is not the only thing that matters to increasing engagement. What we ignore when we put our focus solely on simplification is the interplay between simplification and our second element of simplicity — coherence.


Coherence is the ability to highlight the interdependence of a system (e.g. a car is a complicated system of parts, but a coherent mode of transport).

The role of the leader must be to deploy strategies that can help bring different elements together to build a coherent whole. The leader becomes a primary agent in helping the community stage discussions on what it stands for. The role of leadership is to help communities articulate the problem they are looking to solve.

What is important to us, as leaders, is not only that people choose our network to invest their time, money and efforts, but that they do so in a way that is beneficial to the organization. We call it alignment. Without it we fear that, instead of getting people involved in a concerted co-creation effort focused in one direction, we may end up with a multitude of unfocused, wasted enthusiasm.


If simplicity is about generating the energy that propels a community forward, then narrative is the vector that helps that community move on a coherent path. A narrative helps that community in two ways. First, it clarifies the role of mass collaboration in a business, and second it helps participants align their actions to the delivery of value.

The second building block to any organizational effort, after engagement, is alignment. Leaders must answer two critical questions:

• How do I ensure that community members understand their involvement in the social process (i.e. how do they best contribute)?

• How do I make sure that people stay aligned behind the mission?

Both of these are normally answered with a plan. But as plans will invariably become obsolete in the face of change, it is better to have a community able to make sense of the evolving environment and respond appropriately to changes. This is achieved through narrative environments that enable free exploration of options while retaining an intact notion of the overall mission.

The role of the leader is to facilitate the narrative — helping participants and the community define who they are, what they aspire to and how they hope to get there.


The role of the leader is not to design plans, but to help the organization construct a narrative by nurturing the narrative environment. It sounds a bit more woolly but it’s much more effective. Nurturing a narrative environment is about helping the organization acquire a tone.

The tone of the organization is the type of story it will tell. Is the story of your department, your function, your organization one of conflict or is it a story of change and cooperation? To nurture a tone forces a leader to understand the key moments in organizational life and frame these in a way that clarifies their significance.


It is not for leaders to struggle to reconcile the conflict between the organizational role and the individual’s self-image. What the leader is there to do is facilitate the creation of coherence by letting community members create that logic for themselves while reinforcing the need of the community. The best way to do this is to focus on clear task definition.

At this stage in the argument we should have already secured both the engagement and the alignment of any member of the community. We have the simplicity and the narrative we need to transform the organization in a company. Tasks are the critical incidents that move the narrative along. Of course, there is no denying that the organization needs roles; after all, roles are its foundations. However, the reinforcement of the social roles of individuals born out of their self-image can only be accomplished through tasks. Therefore, it is a change of emphasis in a leader’s dialogue that needs to take place.

When tasks are well defined, time bound and necessary, they form the words in the company’s narrative.

Two Types of Tasks

The fact is that in order to fulfill their self-image, people will choose to complete tasks that make the community sustainable. Some of these will be what we may want to call accountability tasks (i.e. going to the immediate fulfillment of the organizational purpose) while others might be best described as maintenance tasks (i.e. tasks that are contributory to the fulfillment of accountability tasks).

It is crucial to understand that, in mass collaboration, the leader’s time is better spent helping individuals find the opportunities to reinforce their self-image while preventing the organizational roles derailing their strengths. The reality is that no one who truly loves what they do will ever reject the accountabilities necessary for their commitment to the company’s success and sustainability.


When leaders ask for commitment, what they are asking for is devotion to the organization. They look for people who will join the organization with the aim of staying and caring enough about it to ensure that their contribution is maximized.

Commitment is about putting the organization first. In practice, it means staying as long and working as hard as is needed for a task to be accomplished. It means showing flexibility to take any extra steps, whether planned or not, to ensure expectations are exceeded. Underlying these demands are two distinct ideas that define commitment.

Showing Dedication

The first is that commitment is about making a pledge to conduct a specific undertaking. Being committed, whether in our private or in our work lives, is about showing dedication. To be real, a commitment needs to be made.

The second idea underpinning the notion of commitment is the idea of obligation. A commitment is a felt obligation to do something irrespective of how much we may want to do something else. This is a critical idea as it leads to the sustainability of the relationship and highlights the fact that commitment and engagement go hand in hand. For commitment to exist, both parties have to willingly relinquish some of their freedom to act.

Commitment Cannot Be Bought

To secure commitment, leaders must look at their organizations through two new, non-financial lenses.

The first lens is to realize that both parties involved in the relationship have to love what they do. To be successful the organization needs all involved to embrace their tasks and identify themselves with the narrative.

The second lens is that a social, rather than economic, incentive can be created by focusing on the community rather than the individual. What matters to the functioning of our communities is not what motivates individuals but rather that they direct that motivation to making the community stronger.


In the late ’90s, Daniel Goleman published a book that would popularize the term “emotional intelligence.” The basic premise of emotional intelligence is that to be successful, leaders need to both understand and manage their emotions so as not to derail their intent.

In 2002, Tim Sanders released his first book, boldly titled Love Is the Killer App. In it, he argues that business success depends on three key factors: knowledge, networking and compassion. He goes on to show how, by becoming “lovecats” (sharing knowledge, becoming a business matchmaker and building people up), anyone can achieve the impossible.

The year 2005 gave us “Lovemarks,” the new marketing technique introduced to the world by charismatic Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts. Following Sanders’ example, he introduced another three-dimensional model, suggesting that by using Mystery (i.e. great inspiring stories), Sensuality (appealing to all the senses) and Intimacy (showing empathy and passion) organizations can do something that fads and brands can never sustain — command both respect and love.


In 2002, Junkie XL remixed a song first recorded by Elvis Presley in 1968 and used in one of his movies, Live a Little, Love a Little. The single went straight to No.1 in more than 20 countries. “A Little Less Conversation” became an anthem that was used in the soundtracks of movies from Bruce Almighty to Ocean’s 13.

It also became a favorite line for journalists and commentators to use every time they were dissatisfied. Politicians of all persuasions were asked for “a little less conversation and a little more action.” Executives spanning the entire economic spectrum from the health to the financial sectors were directed to have “a little less conversation and take a little more action.”

But if journalists saw the resurgence of the song as an opportunity to capitalize temporarily on its popularity, business leaders should have recognized it as the best articulation of one of their most entrenched and mistaken beliefs — actions speak louder than words.

Social Engagement Is Not a Sequential Process

That executives have harbored that belief is not surprising — transactional involvement is built on actions. Create clarity, communicate a plan, hold people accountable and reward appropriate outcomes. The sequential nature of the process reinforces the belief that doing something to others is the one sure way to succeed. On the other hand, social engagement, as we have seen, is not a sequential process.

Simplicity, narratives, tasks and love reinforce each other. So, at the very least, the “doing” part of leadership needs to be more complex, more refined, more interconnected and more holistic. But the fallacy that organizations suffer from a “little too much conversation and not enough action syndrome” does not simply rest on misguided beliefs about the type of actions to take. It is born out of a failure to accept that words and actions are, in fact, intrinsically linked. There are two important aspects to this.

Words Predict Actions

The first is that words can pretty much predict the nature of the actions to be taken.

We know that our moods are contagious. We can feel how the atmosphere in our workplace changes as the mood changes. This happens because of the words we use and the attitudes we display. Clearly, our words and our actions, and, by extension, the actions of others, are not disconnected in the way conventional managerial wisdom would have it. Words speak at least as loudly as actions.

The second element we need to consider in order to put the fallacy to rest is our belief that actions and conversations exist on two separate continua. The fact

is that there cannot be efficient actions without effective conversations.

Breaking the “Elvis Fallacy” requires us to start by valuing what we have and, together, imagining and designing what we are imaginative enough to envisage.

Simplicity, Narratives, Tasks and Love

There are four steps that will prove crucial in developing the strengths and resilience leaders will need to foster simplicity, narratives, tasks and love in their organizations.

The first is to learn to do nothing. The focus of “leadershift” is not on what to start or do but rather what to stop.

The second step is to contribute to the narrative. Narrative ownership is distributed through the system rather than owned by the leader, so while it is legitimate (and recommended) for the leader to contribute, that contribution is in no way superior to the contribution of others (unless made as a result of a demand on the leader by the community).

The third is to build personal reputation. To be able to navigate through the mass collaboration effort, leaders need to have a solid reputation. While reputation is underpinned by an individual’s behavior and capabilities, it is ultimately accorded by community members.

Finally, the last step is learn to love what you do. If we refocus away from role to task and learn to embrace our strengths and passions rather than our measured contribution it is likely that we will find more energy.


In his book Wind, Sand and Stars, author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”

The DEAD trends do not, in any way, diminish our yearning for leadership. We want to follow. We want to be inspired. We want to be led. This is not because we are weak or paralyzed by fear, nor because of some deficiency that leaders need to fix. Instead, it is because we want someone to typify the changes we wish to make. We want someone to be the figurehead of a movement we want to drive.

The ultimate leadership challenge is not the erosion of the powers and tools thrust upon us by a turbulent environment. It is our ability to take Saint-Exupéry’s first step. We cannot second-guess the future. There is no point looking for a truth that will answer all our concerns. It is not out there. Our job as leaders is to take the first step, without trying to second-guess or fearing what might lie ahead. Our future lies in our ability to march proudly into the future, at some times leaders and at others followers, working together, building on each others’ strengths.

Panelists from The Churchill Club on China 2010

Robin Chan – Robin Chan is the Founder and CEO of XPD Media Inc. Venture backed with offices in Beijing and Silicon Valley, XPD is building next generation entertainment platforms.

Previously, Chan was Director of Social Media at Verizon, where he was responsible for multiplatform strategy and business unit expansion. He led business development partnerships for video, social networks, gaming, and virtual worlds.

Linda Chen – Linda Chen is a partner at KPMG.

Jacob Hsu – Mr. Hsu joined Symbio in 1998 and has been instrumental in expanding the company from 40 engineers to over 1000 today. While at Symbio, Mr. Hsu has been involved in all facets of growing the company, having previously served as President, COO, CMO, and having led Symbio’s North American and Japan operations.

Mr. Hsu also guided the development of the Symbio Software Institutes in China, and was one of the founders of Symbio Digital Entertainment, today one of China’s leading game outsourcing companies. Prior to joining Symbio, he was the CEO of Trilogica Technologies, a data aggregation software company, and CEO of Epitome Software, an IT Services Company focused on financial services.

He began his career as an investment banker focused on mergers & acquisitions at Fox-Pitt, Kelton. Named by Chief Executive magazine as one of the world’s Top 12 Young Global Leaders of Tomorrow in 2008, Mr. Hsu is a graduate of Wharton School of Business.

Harry Shum – Former managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, Dr. Harry Shum, a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft now, has taken the new role of leading the Core Search Development of Microsoft.

Dr. Shum is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow and an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow. He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Computer Vision, and is a Program Chair of the International Conference of Computer Vision (ICCV) 2007.

Dr. Shum has published more than 100 papers in computer vision, computer graphics, pattern recognition, statistical learning, and robotics. He holds more than 50 U.S. patents.

Lip-Bu Tan – Lip-Bu Tan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. He has been a member of the Cadence Board of Directors since 2004 and serves as a member of the Finance and Technology Committees of the Board.

He also serves as chairman of Walden International, a venture capital firm he founded in 1987. Prior to founding Walden, Tan was Vice President at Chappell & Co. and held management positions at EDS Nuclear and ECHO Energy.

Karen Tucker – Karen Tucker is chief executive of The Churchill Club.

Previously, she served for more than eight years as a senior executive at the Computer History Museum.

Paul Romer

Paul Romer’s most important work is in the field of economic growth. Economists studied long-run growth extensively during the 1950s and 1960s.

Romer is credited with the witty quote, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” This quote became a sounding horn by economists and consultants looking to make a positive take away from the economic downturn of 2007-2009.

His dominant theme

“Economic growth occurs whenever people take resources and rearrange them in ways that are more valuable. A useful metaphor for production in an economy comes from the kitchen. To create valuable final products, we mix inexpensive ingredients together according to a recipe. The cooking one can do is limited by the supply of ingredients, and most cooking in the economy produces undesirable side effects. If economic growth could be achieved only by doing more and more of the same kind of cooking, we would eventually run out of raw materials and suffer from unacceptable levels of pollution and nuisance. History teaches us, however, that economic growth springs from better recipes, not just from more cooking. New recipes generally produce fewer unpleasant side effects and generate more economic value per unit of raw material.

Every generation has perceived the limits to growth that finite resources and undesirable side effects would pose if no new recipes or ideas were discovered. And every generation has underestimated the potential for finding new recipes and ideas. We consistently fail to grasp how many ideas remain to be discovered. Possibilities do not add up.

I had much pleasure listening to Paul Romer for a solid hour on FORA.tv. I really enjoy the positive views he has of the future in his New Growth Theory which gives me the necessary boost to the negativity that comes out of the present media.

The presentation was introduced with the following comments:  Paul Romer is an economist who gets invoked a lot, and the reasons are that he is the primary founder and formulator of what is called New Growth Theory, and New Growth Theory was a formal and persuasive way to make sure that economic growth realizes the economic understanding realizes the power of ideas. So always talking about resources and various economic balances and so on. But ideas in their own right are a powerful source of the creation of wealth. For a while now, I guess a couple of years, he has been working up on a new formulation, which is modestly calling a theory of history and this is the launch of that, there will be a series of presentations that he will be making, putting this idea forth and putting it into application. So please welcome the first look at that set of ideas from Paul Romer.

Le Bestiaire

Sans doute un peu caricatural, je trouve que la définition que m’a apporté   Jean Louis Fel dans un séminaire donne bien les comportements que nous pouvons trouver dan s une équipe. Les 9 types de comportements sont tres bien identifies et illustres.

Jean Louis Fel, s est adresse au manager en devenir!


Les différents comportements dans une équipe

Le Bestiaire



Le timide

Il n’est pas à l’aise et reste muet. Il attend que cela se passe ou qu’on l’interroge.



Le bagarreur

Il se plaint et aime titiller les autres. Il est en train de perdre son temps… Il n’y a que lui qui fait des efforts.



Le sage

Le chic type, toujours prêt à vous aider, sûr de lui, convaincu. Il sait relativiser et se fonde sur du concret. Recentre la discussion sur les objectifs.



Le bavard

Il n’arrête pas de parler et de sortir du sujet. Il est intarissable.



Le grand seigneur

Il ne veut rien apprendre des autres. Il se veut leader. Lui, il a raison. C’est ainsi et pas autrement !



Lui, il est contre

Il aime discutailler, s’oppose pour le plaisir, souvent en désaccord avec ce qui se dit



Le roupilleur

Il ne se sent pas concerné par le sujet ou l’objectif présenté par le groupe.

Il ne s’intéresse à rien et attend que cela se passe.



Le rusé

Il cherche souvent à embarrasser l’animateur.

Il reste sceptique, pose plus de questions qu’il ne donne de réponse.



Lui, il sait tout

Il veut imposer son opinion à tous. Il est bavard mais souvent bien informé.

A dix solutions pour chaque problème.

IQ isn’t everything

I never thought that I had a high IQ. This article from ‘New Scientist’ comforts me.

After watching last night a satirical  TV show on the French Satellite about G W Bush I searched on the web for IQ and  G W Bush.

Having a high IQ doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smart.
Far from it, says Michael Bond (New Scientist, 31st October 2009).

Is George W.Bush stupid? It’s a question that occupied a good many minds of all political persuasions during his turbulent eight-year presidency. The strict answer is no. Bush’s IQ score is estimated to be above 120, which suggests an intelligence in the top 10 per cent of the population. But this, surely, does not tell the whole story.

Even those sympathetic to the former president have acknowledged that as a thinker and decision-maker he is not all there. Even his loyal speechwriter David Frum called him glib, incurious and “as a result ill-informed”. The political pundit and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough accused him of lacking intellectual depth, claiming that compared with other US presidents whose intellect had been questioned, Bush junior was “in a league by himself”. Bush himself has described his thinking style as “not very analytical”.

How can a “smart” person act foolishly?

How can someone with a high IQ have these kinds of intellectual deficiencies? Keith Stanovich, professor of human development and applied psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada, has grappled with this apparent incongruity for 15 years. He says it applies to more people than you might think. To Stanovich, however, there is nothing incongruous about it. IQ tests are very good at measuring certain mental faculties, he says, including logic, abstract reasoning, learning ability and working-memory capacity – how much information you can hold in mind.

But the tests fall down when it comes to measuring those abilities crucial to making good judgements in real-life situations. That’s because they are unable to assess things such as a person’s ability to critically weigh up information, or whether an individual can override the intuitive cognitive biases that can lead us astray.

This is the kind of rational thinking we are compelled to do every day, whether deciding which foods to eat, where to invest money, or how to deal with a difficult client at work. We need to be good at rational thinking to navigate our way around an increasingly complex world. And yet, says Stanovich, IQ tests – still the predominant measure of people’s cognitive abilities – do not effectively tap into it. “IQ tests measure an important domain of cognitive functioning and they are moderately good at predicting academic and work success. But they are incomplete. They fall short of the full panoply of skills that would come under the rubric of ‘good thinking’.”

IQ isn’t everything

“A high IQ is like height in a basketball player,” says David Perkins, who studies thinking and reasoning skills at Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It is very important, all other things being equal. But all other things aren’t equal. There’s a lot more to being a good basketball player than being tall, and there’s a lot more to being a good thinker than having a high IQ.”

IQ tests and their proxies, which are designed to measure a factor known as general intelligence, are used by many businesses and colleges to help select the “best” candidates, and also play a role in schools and universities. “IQ tests determine, to an important degree, the academic and professional careers of millions of people in the US,” Stanovich says in his book, What Intelligence Tests Miss (Yale University Press, 2008). He challenges the “lavish attention” society bestows on such tests, which he claims measure only a limited part of cognitive functioning. “IQ tests are overvalued, and I think most psychologists would agree with that,” says Jonathan Evans, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Plymouth, UK.

The difference between intelligence and rational thinking

Stanovich and other researchers into rational thinking are not trying to redefine intelligence, which they are happy to characterise as those mental abilities that can be measured by IQ tests. Rather, they are trying to focus attention on cognitive faculties that go beyond intelligence – what they describe as the essential tools of rational thinking. These, they claim, are just as important as intelligence to judgement and decision-making. “IQ is only part of what it means to be smart,” says Evans.

The Elvis Fallacy

In 2002, Junkie XL remixed a song first recorded by Elvis Presley in 1968 and used in one of his movies, Live a Little, Love a Little. The single went straight to No.1 in more than 20 countries. “A Little Less Conversation” became an anthem that was used in the soundtracks of movies from Bruce Almighty to Ocean’s 13.

It also became a favourite line for journalists and commentators to use every time they were dissatisfied. Politicians of all persuasions were asked for “a little less conversation and a little more action.” Executives spanning the entire economic spectrum from the health to the financial sectors were directed to have “a little less conversation and take a little more action.”

But if journalists saw the resurgence of the song as an opportunity to capitalize temporarily on its popularity, business leaders should have recognized it as the best articulation of one of their most entrenched and mistaken beliefs — actions speak louder than words.

Just do it….NIKE

Flying cars by Terrafugia



Transition® Roadable Aircraft Moves on to Next Stage of Development

Woburn, MA – June 3, 2009: Terrafugia, Inc. has successfully completed the flight testing program designed for its Transition® Roadable Aircraft Proof of Concept. Having been dubbed “The Flying Car”, the Transition® completed its historic first flight on March 5, 2009 with 27 additional flights completed over the next several weeks.

The successful completion of flight-testing with the Proof of Concept concludes the first stage of a four stage process to bring the Transition® into production. Work is underway on Stage 2, the Beta Prototype. First delivery is expected in 2011.

The Proof of Concept vehicle is the first and only Transition® to be built thus far. It has now achieved its goals by demonstrating driving, flying, and automated transformation between the two in one integrated aircraft. The flights conducted a plan set specifically for the Transition®: characteristics such as handling, performance, and take-off and landing, stability and stall were evaluated. B-Roll footage is available of representative flights. The flight-testing program demonstrated the safety of the vehicle in the air while identifying modifications that will be incorporated into the next Transition® model to be built, the Beta Prototype.

Test Pilot Colonel (Retired) Phil Meteer had a positive review of flying the POC: “I would like to keep flying this Proof of Concept vehicle, but it makes sense to move on to the Beta Prototype.”

Categorized as a Light Sport Aircraft, the Transition® requires a Sport Pilot certificate to fly. It is a two-seat aircraft designed to take off and land at local airports and drive on any road. Transforming from plane to car takes the pilot less than 30 seconds. The Transition® will cruise up to 450 miles at over 115 mph, will drive at highway speeds on the road, and fits in a standard household garage. The vehicle has front wheel drive on the road and a propeller for flight. Both modes are powered by unleaded automotive gasoline. By giving pilots a convenient ground transportation option, the Transition® reduces the cost, inconvenience, and weather sensitivity of personal aviation. It also increases safety by incorporating automotive crash structures and allowing pilots to drive under bad weather. Refundable airframe reservations are currently being accepted.

Terrafugia (ter-ra-FOO-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, is comprised of a team of award-winning engineers who have been advancing the state of personal aircraft since 2006. Founded by five pilots who are graduates of MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and private investors, Terrafugia’s mission is the innovative expansion of personal mobility. “Terrafugia” is Latin for “escape from land.”

Terrafugia would like to acknowledge and thank its corporate sponsors: Ansys, Nor-Tech, SolidWorks Corporation, and CableOrganizer.com. Additionally, the following business partners have contributed to a successful flight testing program by furnishing equipment and services: SpaceAge Controls, Garmin International, Dynon Avionics, CO Guardian, David Clark Company, Bose Corporation, Telex Communications, Aloft Technologies, Icom Inc., JH Audio, and Air Graphics LLC.

I am looking forward to the day we shall be able to drive -fly-drive to Reunion Island from Mauritius…

Creative Tensions

Last month you will recall at the APM convention, I had a glimpse back in the analysis and wisdom of Gary Hamel. And now, I went back through my archives to draw more of Gary Hamel’s and have to share with you the wisdom which oozes from reconciling opposites which he termed a Creative Tensions. As a good leader, one should be able to accommodate paradoxes and above all master the powers of paradoxes.

What is the well-spring of America’s unending talent for renewal? It is a series of seemingly irreconcilable opposites—tensions that America holds in perpetual creative balance. No nation has ever been so defined by dichotomy, or drawn such strength from seemingly irreconcilable opposites.

America makes no apology for its competing and clashing voices. Therein lie the roots of resilience: This ability to embrace the extremes—while not becoming extremist.

So what are these contradictions that America has navigated so adroitly? And what lessons do they offer business leaders and their companies?

1. Coherence and diversity. America is a society born of an idea—that all men and women are created equal and capable of self-government. This idea, when embraced earnestly, puts the newest naturalized citizen on a par with the bluest-blood Daughter of the American Revolution.

We are all hypen-Americans: diverse in our roots, yet, united in our affections for this sprawling, kaleidoscopic country. Spin the globe, and you will find oppressive societies with a surfeit of cohesion and a dearth of diversity, or you will find splintered cultures with much diversity and too little cohesion. Where but in America will you find diversity and cohesion in such full measure?

2. Community and activism. President Herbert Hoover coined the term “rugged individualism”and declared this the essence of the American character. Think of the cowboy, that symbol of personal freedom. Yet the tendency towards fierce independence is only one half of the American spirit—the other half is community. Yes, cowboys often rode the range alone, but west-bound pioneers traveled in wagon trains, raised each other’s barns, built schools and towns, and shared whatever fortune gave them.

Yet, in America, the tender bonds of community have always stretched to encompass the one with the new idea, the gentle rebel who abandons “what is” for “what can be.” It is the activists and the rabble-rousers who have called America to reformation. Yet activism in America is inclusionist by nature. We have little patience for those with a sectarian vision.

3. Strength and compassion. More often than not, the history of power is the history of brutality. How rare the government that, like America’s, combines great strength with even greater humanity. When America has gone to war, it has done so with a singular combination of compassion and strength. We see it in today’s War on Terror, as American planes bear not only smart bombs, but payloads of emergency food rations. As someone who has visited virtually every corner of this planet, I can tell you that America is more admired than despised, primarily because America’s strength has never come at the expense of its compassion. Indeed, never has power worn a more compassionate face.

4. Courage and prudence. Our Constitutional system by, of, and for the people has produced leaders who only reluctantly send soldiers into the fray. The caution of America’s leaders—their reluctance to engage unless attacked, their caution in planning before joining the battle, their care in articulating the moral grounds for war—has always been a source of courage for America’s soldiers. No one asks, or expects, them to be martyrs. We don’t celebrate their march into battle. Instead, we pray God’s protection for every man and woman, and we bemoan every loss. We are brave, but we are not foolhardy.

5. Spiritual and material. America is a land in love with the new, a nation of novelty seekers who can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. And yet, as a people, Americans manage to keep sight of the deeper, more permanent things. Americans are among the most religious people on earth. About half attend religious services each week, and 65 percent are members of a congregation, a higher proportion than in any other developed county. On the other hand, who can match America’s raw commercial instincts—that ability to make a sale, or close a deal?

How strange that a country of believers should have a Constitution that bars the state from interfering in religious life. How unlikely that one of the most avowedly spiritual countries is also one of the most materially successful. Again, we welcome the extremes, grapple with them, confront them—and ultimately, transcend them.

Whenever the pendulum swings too far—towards banal commercialism or overbearing religiosity—Americans find a way of restoring the balance. Today, the pendulum is moving back towards timeless spiritual values.

What can struggling companies learn from the grand American example? Just this: To embrace the power of paradox whole-heartedly and unreservedly. To be single-minded about nothing and open to everything.

The power of paradox is the power of and. In my experience, executives too often see an either/or when they should be searching for an and. Too often these choices are posed as short-term versus long-term, control versus autonomy, cutting versus growing. But a truly resilient company can’t be all one thing; it can’t even be most of one thing. It must have all of many things: all efficiency and all innovation, all optimization and all experimentation, all discipline and all passion, all evolution and all revolution.

Accommodating these paradoxes will require ambidextrous leaders and companies where the accountants and engineers become dreamers and rebels, where bold strategies are pursued with temperate means.

Resilience is an American specialty. After all, a paradox stands at the heart. E Pluribus Unum: “From many, one.”

Dominique Annet – Verger Informationel

Sous le titre de ‘Verger Informationel’ Dominique Annet pose les bonnes questions pour un site web d’une entreprise.

Qui est Dominique Annet ?

De ce que j’ai pu glaner sur le web, un auteur qui écrit sur la communication et le web. Combinaison bien d’aujourd’hui ! J’ai eu la chance de la rencontrer il y a quelques années  lors de sa visite à Maurice. Depuis, je la vois au moins une fois par an dans le réseau de L’APM . Elle sort en ce moment son dernier livre : ‘La pieuvre informatique’.

Je reproduis un article de Dominique elle a publié au mois de mai 2009 que je trouve très intéressant pour les sociétés  mauriciennes qui œuvrent dans la construction des sites web et des sociétés qui en on des sites. Je constate avec regret les sites web des sociétés mauriciennes  qui sont aujourd’hui des arbres sans fruits et sans vie. Des Titanics enfouis au fond de la toile !

O Réussir son site web, c’est d’abord poser la bonne vision managériale

Pourquoi donc des sites web sont-ils des échecs alors que le temps et l’argent y consacrés dépassent le raisonnable ? Pourquoi d’autres, rapidement conçus et avec une bourse légère rencontrent-ils le succès et l’objectif fixé ? Pourquoi certains dirigeants ne voient-ils pas que leur enseigne virtuelle est un gouffre (de temps, d’argent, d’énergie), un instrument affaiblissant leur marque, leur renommée, l’adhésion de leurs clients, partenaires et collaborateurs ? Pourquoi d’autres, sans d’ailleurs souvent en connaître la raison fondamentale, réussissent le défi de la toile ? Non point un miracle mais une attitude en préalable à toute action de (re)création d’un espace virtuel. Attitude naturelle ou à construire et qui nécessite avant tout une compréhension. Voici donc quelques outils de réflexion pour manager allant de l’avant.

O D’abord combattre trois a-priori : l’argent, le temps, le contrat.

Lorsque je visite la toile mondiale, les sites web de mes amis et partenaires, une pointe de déprime me guette. A l’heure où beaucoup se bousculent aux portes des conférences sur les web 2.0., voire le web 3.0. (qui ne les fait que rêver), les mêmes se sont dotés d’un site même pas digne d’être porté au catalogue des sites web 1.0. Les erreurs sont si nombreuses et si grossières que j’en appelle à ce que les dirigeants posent enfin un regard critique sur leur propre réalisation. Au moins parce qu’elle leur est si vitale, ils ne peuvent la négliger. Rompons donc d’abord le cou à quelques idées fausses.

Un site web n’est pas proportionnel à la taille d’entreprise. Les meilleurs sont d’ailleurs souvent le fait de petites organisations, parce que plus souples et plus en phase avec le paradigme qui les a fait naître (nous le verrons plus loin). De plus, avec le web, les TPE disposent d’un potentiel de notoriété aussi fort qu’une multinationale.

Un bon site web n’est pas non plus dépendant des moyens financiers (et technologiques souvent y liés ). Souvent même, le trop de moyens nuit à l’efficience du web. « Ce qui a un prix n’a pas de valeur » disait Nietzsche qui s’étonnerait d’être repris en pareil contexte. Mais cela est ainsi désormais : l’efficacité informationnelle n’est pas corrélée à l’investissement financier. Certes, il faut un minimum, mais la rentabilité d’un site naîtra d’une certaine intelligence, d’une vision du web et non pas d’un portefeuille bien garni.

Un bon site web n’est pas lié à un contrat bétonné avec un quelconque fournisseur, bien au contraire, souvent ainsi cet ami brutalement perdu tout son site web suite à la faillite de son fournisseur. Internet et le web sont, dès l’origine et dans leurs fondamentaux, des espaces libres, antithèses de toute dépendance, mais qui doivent néanmoins bien s’inscrire dans une logique d’interdépendance. Quoi qu’il arrive, l’entreprise doit pouvoir préserver ses données, ses graphismes, ses contenus, ses architectures, etc … elle doit protéger la graine qu’elle a planté et fait grandir. La perte d’un site web revient à voir son usine réduite par un incendie … mais il n’y a aucune assurance en ce domaine pour en couvrir les dommages.

O Ensuite rappeler ce qui fait un bon site web : l’adéquation, la fluidité, la vision.

Des grilles d’évaluation de sites font légion, certaines meilleures que d’autres, certaines complémentaires à d’autres.

Dans ce cadre limité de cet article, je ne retiendrai que trois des items qui me paraissent devoir être prioritairement pris en considération.

L’adéquation d’un site web tant à l’entreprise [c’est-à-dire à son projet (faut-il encore qu’il fût défini vraiment, ce qui n’est le cas que pour moins de 20% des organisations), à son attente de la communication internet (quels objectifs ?), à son existant (sur tous les plans humains, matériels, méthodologiques, etc.)] que, surtout, au “monde” dans lequel elle évolue. Sur ce point, je constate que la vision de ce “monde” est erronée dans bien des cas.

La fluidité de l’espace virtuel par rapport à l’espace réel, des outils entre eux, des informations entre elles, des relations entre les contenus, le graphisme et les utilisateurs (soit la facilité de navigation, l’ergonomie, l’empathie vis-à-vis de l’utilisateur), etc. La fluidité de tous les flux en somme, et l’abandon des logiques procédurales et procédurières, donc.

La vision enfin et surtout. La réussite d’un site web efficace dépend avant tout de la vision managériale qui l’oriente. Soit-elle erronée et le site ira à la dérive, heurtant forcément un iceberg dans une mer que le capitaine croyait, à tort, dégagée.

Il y a en effet deux manières d’envisager la communication, et la communication via internet en particulier. L’une est celle du capitaine du Titanic. L’autre est celle du jardinier s’occupant de la croissance de son arbre. Une vision est mécanique, l’autre est organique. La première est celle de la société industrielle finissante du XXème siècle , la seconde est celle de la société noétique (de la connaissance) naissante du XXIème siècle .

O Quelles différences, direz-vous ? Autant qu’entre un gouffre et une montagne !

La vision mécanique est celle du manager du XXème siècle qui est, qui pense et qui fait … de la gouvernance compliquée, des organigrammes, du pouvoir vertical, des tableaux de bord (analytique), de la sous-traitance (avec des intermédiaires) et qui (pense qu’il) vend, achète, gère des produits matériels (même quand ils ne le sont pas).

La vision organique est celle du manager du XXIème siècle qui est, qui pense et qui fait … du management tribal (il est le patron familial d’une communauté … même s’il est patron d’une multinationale), réticulé (son pouvoir est horizontal, il est le centre d’un réseau), opportuniste (il est intuitif, active son cerveau droit), intégratif (le web est un relais et fait partie d’un ensemble plus large) et il vend, achète et gère des produits immatériels (même quand ils sont apparemment matériels) c’est-à-dire de l’intelligence.

Entre les deux, il y a bien plus qu’un jeu de nuances : un saut de paradigme, un changement d’époque, de monde … Et sage est celui qui accepte que lorsque l’environnement change, il est préférable de s’adapter, si ce n’est naturellement, au moins en faisant quelques efforts. Une simple question de … survie. Aller vers le gouffre ou le sommet de la montagne. Chacun choisira sa destination …

O Votre site web est un arbre

Le web n’est donc pas un outil compliqué, unidirectionnel, vertical, nécessitant des tas d’intermédiaires, et surtout il n’est pas une machine. Le web n’est pas un Titanic. Celui-là coula à pic alors qu’on le croyait insubmersible !

Le monde du web est celui des jardiniers et non pas des ingénieurs. Il vit de graines, multiples, plantées aux meilleurs endroits, croissant selon le soleil et l’eau dont elles profitent. Une graine n’est pas de fer comme il en est d’un boulon. Elle est vivante, née d’une conception, d’une volonté de vie, d’une énergie de croissance. Elle a à se déployer, à aller au

bout d’elle-même. Le dirigeant doit la vouloir forte, souhaiter une pousse résistante aux tempêtes. Il doit aussi accepter son cycle de croissance, ne pas attendre avant de la mettre en terre (de crainte qu’elle ne meure avant même d’être plantée), lui apporter à chaque moment les éléments nutritifs nécessaires, y prêter chaque matin son attention, couper les branches qui l’affaiblissent dans sa croissance, renforcer son tronc, cueillir ses fruits et faciliter son ensemencement. Car une graine devenue petit arbre, puis grand arbre, ayant produit feuilles et fruits, un jour meurt. Ainsi, en va-t-il de toute vie. Mais l’arbre peut disparaître en donnant la vie, à la condition qu’on lui ait permis de déposer, à son pied, quelques graines dans un terreau prêt à les accueillir.

Comme les budgets, le temps de conception d’un site web peut en effet aller du plus court au plus long. Et ce ne sont pas les compétences de l’informaticien, du communicateur, du webmaster, ou de tous autres intervenants qui sont en jeu (du moins s’ils disposent bien des compétences requises dans leur domaine), ce sont encore moins le nombre d’euros investis ou le nombre de technologies et serveurs acquis. Ce qui fait la différence dans l’efficience, c’est-à-dire le meilleur rapport qualité/prix, la meilleure chance de faire « un bon site web », c’est la vision managériale de ce qu’est le web et donc le monde d’aujourd’hui. Et au-delà d’une correcte vision, sa capacité de mise en actions en cohérence avec cette vision.

Le dirigeant est donc jardinier. « Mais je n’ai pas le temps de m’occuper de cela » réagit-il. Certes, il a d’autres choses à assurer que la gestion de son web. Son métier est bien d’abord de clarifier et d’animer une vision, un projet d’entreprise et de trouver les ressources pour le mener à bien. Mais il doit être convaincu de ceci : cette enseigne virtuelle est vitale pour son entreprise. Sans enseigne (ce qui devient rarissime) ou avec une mauvaise enseigne (ce qui est le cas pour la plupart), il hypothèque son projet et sa propre fonction.

S’il n’est pas jardinier lui-même, il lui faut s’adjoindre un jardinier, un bras droit à qui il fait confiance et donne des outils, et auprès de qui il s’enquiert régulièrement de la croissance de son arbre. Comme le DPH (directeur des potentiels humains, encore nommé trop souvent DRH) a rejoint son cercle intime de management, le DPI (directeur des potentiels informationnels, et non pas DSI, directeur des systèmes d’information récupéré par la direction informatique), jardinier de l’information, sera aussi à ses côtés. Sans ce double appui -les talents et l’information étant désormais les deux ressources vitales à toute entreprise-, le management se condamne à régresser.

Ce jardinier ne sera donc ni informaticien, ni communicateur. Il sera, quelle que soit sa formation, l’artisan d’un système (complexe) d’informations. Il aura une vision globale et prospective, il aura ce souci de gestion « en bon père de famille », évitera les modes coûteuses qui ne font que quelques éclats médiatiques (dont presque plus personne n’a que faire). Il disposera d’une graine (la volonté du dirigeant d’entreprise de faire croître son enseigne), étudiera le terrain (le projet de l’entreprise, ses ressources humaines et technologiques, l’état de réceptivité des publics, etc.), trouvera les ressources indispensables (supports technologiques, rédacteurs en ligne, animateur permanent, etc.) et créera l’enseigne.

Je suis étonnée, choquée souvent, de constater le nombre d’enseignes virtuelles plus mortes que vives alors qu’elles sont vitales pour les entreprises. Elles sont là, laissées à l’abandon, à peine arrosées, considérées comme «fabriquées » une fois pour toute, immobile durant une période voulue la plus longue possible, comme le serait un Titanic à quai, juste entretenu d’un peu d’huile dans les rouages. A perte de vue, je vois des forêts d’arbres mourants, et aucun jardinier au travail. Presque toujours trop tard, le patron constate la catastrophe. Il se précipite chez un plombier, un réparateur : une réparation s’impose d’urgente ! Il paie le prix fort. Il paie son manque d’attention, sa vision erronée de ce qu’est le web, il paie … son erreur de management. Pardon d’être sincère pour les dirigeants qui pourraient me lire mais à leur décharge, la vision proposée ici n’est guère promue par les mécanos de l’informatique technique. Et comme, le plus souvent, il frappe à la mauvaise porte, celle d’un plombier-informaticien qui ne comprend rien à la logique communicationnelle, l’entreprise paiera le prix fort car elle paiera deux fois puisque le résultat ne sera pas à la mesure de son attente, qu’elle sera déçue et qu’elle sera encore plus résistante au prochain changement qu’elle aura, de toutes façons, à faire.

Que de temps, que d’énergie, que d’intelligence gâchées !

Car que cherche une entreprise ? A aller au bout d’elle-même. Elle veut mieux vendre à de meilleurs clients, séduire et préserver des collaborateurs talentueux, fidéliser ses bons partenaires et fournisseurs. Elle sait que c’est à ces conditions que sa survie sera assurée. Pourquoi donc tant d’entreprises mettent-elles en péril leur enseigne, scient-elles elles-mêmes la branche sur laquelle elles sont assises, formalisent-elles leur propre repoussoir ?

Par manque de connaissances de ce que devrait être la communication, par manque de compréhension véritable du monde du web, par la confusion née de leurs rencontres avec ceux qui s’autoproclament professionnels du web alors qu’ils ne sont que des informaticiens, et par manque, naturellement, d’un jardinier du web, de ce nouveau DPI, directeur des potentiels informationnels.

La clé est dans cette question : est-il possible qu’un dirigeant, même s’il a tant d’autres choses à faire, puisse regarder le web, non plus comme un outil, comme une tuyauterie, comme un Titanic … mais comme un arbre, voire un jardin ou une forêt ? Accepte-t-il qu’un nouveau métier soit né ? Pourra-t-il devenir ou s’adjoindre l’indispensable “jardinier” de son verger informationnel ?

Eléments familiers de nos paysages matériels, les arbres sont des êtres vivants qui, comme tous les être vivants, naissent, grandissent, se reproduisent et meurent.

Eléments familiers de nos paysages immatériels, les sites web sont des êtres vivants qui, comme tous les êtres vivants, naissent, grandissent, se reproduisent et meurent.