How To Develop The Futureproof Mindset

Whenever I get an inside view of a company culture, it seems so easy to find the faults. But what of the recipes for success? The bigger question becomes: How to develop a futureproof mindset?

It starts at the top

My first port of call is to see how switched on the C-suite (and especially the CEO) is and how much and how well they embody the “new” and desired culture. The second port of call is to find out about the way communications happen: how much email is unread? how often are the BCC & CC fields used? how timely are communications sent and responded to? what other channels are used? how frank is the discourse? The third port of call regards the level of, what I put under the term of, secrecy. How open and transparent is the company? How much is happening “between the lines” or behind closed doors? How wide are the gulfs between what is communicated inside and outside the company?

The futureproof mindset

I find three traits that spell out how to develop a futureproof mindset. Continue reading

Storytelling, content marketing and brand building with Carla Johnson (MDE265)

Minter Dialogue Episode #265

Carla Johnson_Small FileCarla Johnson is an author, speaker and expert in storytelling, content marketing strategies and brand building, working with such blue chip companies as American Express, Dell, Motorola, VMWare, as well as the US Army Corps of Engineers. She runs the Type A Communications consultancy and is Chair of the Board of Advisors for Business-to-Business for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). In this conversation, we discuss the challenges of making content marketing and brand come alive within organisations, the gap between promise makers and promise keepers, as well as some keen insights on how to improve brand storytelling and bring empathy into the workplace.

Below, you’ll find the show notes and, of course, you are invited to comment. If you liked the podcast, please take a moment to go over to iTunes to rate the podcast.

To connect with Carla Johnson:

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Announcement – Futureproof Is Business Book Award Finalist – Embracing Change

Futureproof BBA 2018We are delighted to announce that Futureproof has been voted a finalist in the inaugural Business Book Award 2018 in the category, Embracing Change.

The awards ceremony event will be held on March 16, 2018 at the The Grange City Hotel London. Caleb Storkey (co-author) will be on hand at the event.

Check out the trailer video:

The four other finalists are: Continue reading

(Too) Busy Is A Choice

Late for Work Busy is a choice

How busy would you say you are? Would you not agree that many of your friends and colleagues are all saying roughly the same thing, along the lines: “Yeah, I’m super busy. Lots of stuff going on….” Some would consider it a badge of honour to be so busy. Others might feel that they are the victim of a 24-hour clock. Many (most) rue the lack of free time. As a result, things are necessarily falling through the cracks, shoddy work is getting done, critical communications are not getting through, people are showing up late all the time and, worse of all, people are burning out. Being too busy, I am convinced, is one of the biggest issues in business, especially in these frenetic times, where strategic thought is as important as mental & physical wellbeing. Tweet This

The choices you make

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How To Use Tech To Transform Lives And Humanity, with Nichol Bradford, co-Founder of the TransTech Lab and Willow Group (MDE264)

Minter Dialogue with Nichol Bradford

Nichol BradfordNichol Bradford is an author, gamer, speaker, and CEO & founder of the Willow Group, a leading light in personal transformation and well-being. She’s also Executive Director and co-founder (with Jeffrey Martin) of The Transformative Technology Lab at Sofia University Palo Alto, the world’s first transpersonal university. In this far reaching conversation, we discuss the transformative powers and potential of tech and games, whether tech is the problem or the solution to our problems, tech etiquette and more.

Below, you’ll find the show notes and, of course, you are invited to comment. If you liked the podcast, please take a moment to go over to iTunes to rate the podcast.

To connect with Nichol Bradford:

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Listen, I have nothing to tell you…

I was 30 minutes late for meeting the other day and when I got there, my rendez-vous was visibly annoyed. To my great relief, after fumbling through a few poor communication-related excuses, he seemed to get over it and we sat down promptly. He then launched into a barrage of questions. Time flew by. As we had had only one hour booked, at the end of the conversation, he got up, and said, “It was great seeing you. Good luck with everything. Talk soon.”

At this point, looking up at him from my chair, I wanted to ask him a question. And how was he? What was new on his side? What was interesting in his space? How was his family…? He shrugged and muttered something like, “Another time…”

The funny thing is, I felt like I was missing out. Maybe he had more interesting things to tell me that I had had for him?

Being Cyrano (Dans La Peau de Cyrano) – A Review

Last night, I attended the world premiere of the English version of a new play, “Being Cyrano.” Originally written in French, the play is entitled “Dans La Peau de Cyrano.” The play is a one-man show, starring Nicolas Devort, who plays 5 very different roles, including the ‘lead,’ Colin, who is a boy entering a new school with a rather daunting challenge.

being cyrano dans la peau de cyrano

What I liked most about this play is that it shows the power of the arts to help in our development. The Maths & Drama teacher at the school decides to put on the play Cyrano de Bergerac and, with parallel stories between actors and characters, plays out how acting and music can be most therapeutic. But the therapy isn’t just for Colin (or Cyrano). It’s for us all. Nicolas Devort spins through the different personalities with a wonderful and distinct set of accents, ticks and manners. The marvel of Nicolas is that he is able to deliver the play in both French and English. An extraordinarily tough act that anyone who is bilingual will understand perfectly.

If you get a chance, check it out. It’s 1h15 in length. Well worth the visit en famille. Here’s the trailer with subtitles en français.

dlpdc-v05 from Marc Kawam on Vimeo.

The show is in Brussels on Tuesday next week (in French). Book here. Then the show moves to Casablanca on the 14th Jan! The show will be coming out in English officially in March 2017. Contact the team directly to find out about dates.

Is There A Win-Win Case In The Brexit Vote?

brexit euro 2016Isn’t it ironic that the BREXIT vote is happening in the midst of Euro 2016? With good fortune (or planning?), there are no matches on Thursday 23rd. I am not particularly fond of football, but I feel like such tournaments are the best way to get out our atavistic nationalistic tendencies. May they remain there.

I have lived two-thirds of my life in Europe. I love Europe. I love Europe for its diversity of food and language; for its culture and history; for its proximity; for having the Alps and the Mediterranean; and much more. And, yet for Europe, I believe a BREXIT Leave vote will be best. Here’s why.

BREXIT – Business Angle: Short or Long-Term?

Taking the viewpoint of businesses in the Brexit debate, I have to state that there is little incentive for the UK to bust out of Europe. Businesses in general, and the stock market, in particular, do not like uncertainty. However, those vying to Remain based on financial matters, are doing so with no better assurances than those clamouring to leave. The difference is that the Remain camp is focusing on the negative shorter-term impact, while the other (Leave) camp is more concerned about the longer-term impact.

Brexit Euro 2016

Obviously, no one knows for sure what would happen if Brexit goes through, except to say that it will cause a distinct amount of chaos. We know that there will be a major impact with the mobilisation of resources to reorganise (adjusting the legal and constitutional framework, redefining European political and trade relationships…). Another major thorny issue: what to do with the 3 million EU nationals living, working and/or studying in the UK, or the 2 million UK nationals spread throughout the EU?

Remain = Status Quo

Yet, to remain is to accept the status quo. Things I personally appreciate about the EU include the ability to travel without having to change monies or get visas and/or my passport stamped every time I cross a border. As a French national, I have the opportunity to settle wherever I would wish in Europe. Last but not least: the general peace Europe has enjoyed, regardless of the gross misfortune of the radical Islamic terrorism.

The one thing of which we do have a better understanding is if Europe stays as is, i.e. the UK votes to remain. Pretty much everyone everywhere knows that Europe is sickly. Even in the Remain camp, there are many who agree. What does the future hold with Europe continuing with the status quo?

Europe is ill

Europe is suffering on many layers, not least of which is its economic health. The European economy is systemically handicapped. The list of illnesses range from the systemic to the temporary to the cultural. The list of problems includes (but not limited to):

  1. the lack of fiscal harmony
  2. the hideously bureaucratic (and consensual) decision-making process in Brussels
  3. the lack of a harmonised vision of Europe across the 28 member countries of the EU
  4. the legacy feelings of entitlement
  5. the continuing divisions within the countries (Catalonia in Spain, Flemish in Belgium, Scotland in Britain, and an enormous laundry list of other active separatist or autonomy movements in Europe courtesy of Wikipedia)
  6. the risk of further pollutive immigration from the IS ranks

A chief argument for the Remain camp is that it will be easier to change from within… But, change hasn’t exactly been easy to forge in the past (especially over the first sixteen years since the introduction of the Euro). The UK’s half-wedded status has perhaps not helped them or Europe in this regard. Why will remaining in the EU mean that change will come any faster or better considering the poor record? An EU without the UK may be freer to move in the right direction?

Vote for Radical Change?

My personal opinion underlying my position on the Brexit vote is that Europe needs to find a way to heal, and to do so quickly. I don’t believe gradual change will be good enough. With its highly consensual process, any change has been laborious to push through. Europe needs a real wake-up call to understand that staying as is will be like the proverbial frog in the (gradually) boiling pot. If a Brexit Leave vote will be painful for Europe, it will certainly be more painful for the UK, at least shorter term. But short of a Brexit, I do not see how or why Europe will take the necessary and hard decisions that need to happen to fix it. For this reason, Tweet This It won’t be pretty, but it would provide the best chance of forcing Europe’s hand to bring about necessary radical reform. Staying “within” will mean that any such change will come only with major compromises that bring Europe down to its lowest common denominator. Given the obvious stresses that the immigration issue will continue to provoke, much less the continuing slow slide of the European economies, facing off against much more competitive global players, Europe in its current incarnation seems destined to hit the wall.

I thus support Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

Your thoughts and reactions are welcome.

Unbroken film review – Angelina Jolie’s tribute to a great spirit

The film, Unbroken, the epic story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, was released this Christmas Day. Based on Unbroken Film Trailerthe eponymous and gripping book by Laura Hillenbrand, Angelina Jolie’s inaugural film as a director is a worthy film to see. As stated at the beginning of the film, this is a true story … that is very hard to believe, it is so gruelling and impressive. This 136-minute film was clearly shot with the Oscars in mind, in that there are a number of “big moments” that are portrayed with intentional big screen drama. On the positive side, though, for a wartime film, Jolie did not overplay the violence. It’s a war film, written by a woman, directed by a woman, that shows a man’s war with pathos and intensity. As such, my wife and daughter, as well as my son and myself, enjoyed the film. Neither my wife nor daughter had read the book, so they had no attachment to the book version. And that’s okay, as far as I am concerned, because the purpose of the film is both entertainment and educational. The film does a good job of portraying the emotional journey of Zamperini, played by the English actor, Jack O’Connell. Zamperini’s stout resistance in the face of sadistic treatment is credible and inspiring.

“If you can take it, you can make it”

The POW experience in Japanese prison camps

Unbroken film review defianceFor someone who has read some 300 books on this part of WWII and has interviewed over 100 ex-POWs, the film, Unbroken, does a standup job of portraying just enough of the inhumane treatment. It glosses over some of the daily miseries, such as the ever-present insects, the menace of tropical disease and the paucity of food and clean water. However, between the missing finger nails, the wretched forced labor, the harrowing punishments imposed on Zamperini and the scene of the hundred punches, the execrable POW treatment is evident. The 30% to 40% death rate in certain Japanese prison camps is understated, since none of the prisoners around Zamperini ever die during their internment.

Telling history

The film, Unbroken, does not portray the Japanese captors in a favorable light. As mentioned above, there is enough grim treatment in the film to capture the essence of the cruelty. That said, there is no gratuitous violence portrayed, whereas it is well known that there were miscellaneous bayonettings, beheadings and beatings bestowed by the Japanese captors, whose Bushido code designated prisoners as less than worthy. Unfortunately, the Japanese have never truly recognized their responsibility nor officially apologized. There is a current movement in Japan to re-write history and whitewash this chapter of the war. In point of fact, there is a movement underway to ban the film in Japan. Read this article in The Telegraph (UK). This is deeply unsatisfying. According to historian Rudolph J Rummel, in his research, “Statistics of democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900 Transaction,” about 10,700 US POWs were killed by the Japanese in captivity, including my grandfather (see the Smithsonian article by Gilbert King). An appalling total of 570,000 POWs were killed in Japanese captivity — Chinese 400,000, French Indochina 30,000, Philippines 27,300, Netherlands 25,000, France 14,000, UK 13,000, UK colonies 11,000 & Australia 8,000. (Source: Wikipedia).

If you so agree, please do sign this petition to encourage the film Unbroken not to be banned in Japan. (Via Change.org)

SIGN THE PETITION: STOP THE BAN

And read the book

Unbroken Film reviewIf you have not read the book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, I most strongly recommend it. The hardcover version has been 180 consecutive weeks on the NYT best-seller list. The paperback version is now available for $9.60. It has been translated into 29 languages.

What did you think of this Unbroken film review? What did you think of the film? Please do let us know your thoughts!

A perfect Vine video?

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I visited The Grove — a rather celebrated shopping center, replete with Apple Store and Nike Running store among others. In any event, at the center, there is a fancy fountain that is musically coordinated. Playing with Vine, I managed to cut an almost seamless video… with a great degree of luck. Hope you’ll enjoy!