(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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Change Is Everywhere But Will Digital Transformation Transform?

Don’t you agree that these are exhilarating times? So many of the major companies I work with are in the throes of major upheaval. Change is everywhere. Digital transformation programmes are in action all over the place. But are businesses transforming appropriately? Are there results to show for their efforts? As my pal Sam Villa likes to say:

Change is for sure. Growth is the option.

But is there growth? In these dynamic times, even journeymen employees are having to re-evaluate and adjust their dyed-in-the-wool habits. So, as we roll out 2018 with all the digital transformation programmes afoot, I am looking forward to significant material change. I expect to see change in the way businesses are being run, but I also expect to see widening deltas between the winners and losers. As Kevin Kelly said brilliantly:

“The future happens very slowly and then all at once”

I am expecting 2018 to be an even more rock’n’roll year, with huge unknowns and events fostering doubt, chaos and opportunity, including volatility in the stock market, cryptocurrencies and inflation, the threats of cyber hacks, political instability and terrorism; and, closer to home, the denouement of Brexit. For business, in such a climate, it will be harder and harder to see straight, unless, that is, they have a firm grip on their North. The competition is at once within each industry, and without the industry. It’s also between industries. And yet, with all the furious activity, so many companies still seem to be “behind the eight ball.” Why is that? Continue reading

If Elected, What Emmanuel Macron Might Learn From Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

If Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump are very different in personality, background and politics, I do believe that there are some important similarities between the two men. Let me be absolutely clear, Macron is no Trump. Trump is a genuine populist and maverick. Macron is a highly manufactured independent. However, Macron has managed to get to where he has with a few principles that, I believe, are very similar to Trump’s. And, if elected, Macron would do well to learn from Trump’s first 100 days.

Brand Trump and Brand Macron – birds of a feather?

Macron TrumpI know it sounds a bit provocative, but Trump and Macron do share several common points. At a superficial level, coming into the election, neither Macron nor Trump had ever previously held elected office. Moreover, neither really belonged to a party. Trump only became begrudgingly the Republican candidate. Macron, who split from the Socialist party, for his part will naturally morph his En Marche “movement” into a new political party. But, more importantly, both Trump and Macron absolutely embody their ‘movement.’ There is no feasible replacement. They have both succeeded thus far by creating the cult of the individual. Brand Trump and Brand EM (En Marche = Emmanuel Macron) embody their base. Yet, just as great brands are all about trust, both Trump and Macron [will] have their work cut out in moving from “BIG” words to significant action to create a trusting clientele (in the form of the voting public).

1/ Pragmatism versus a Programme

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President Hollande – There’s a Hole in your Trustworthiness

The latest scandal in France with President Hollande, regarding his First Lady-cum-Second-Girlfriend-cum-Three’s a Party, has brought to the forefront the divide between personal and professional life. In France, the refrain is frequent: what’s personal is private. It’s considered the French touch, a cultural heritage. In an environment where trust is lacking and in a technologically enabled era where transparency is basically a conduit to trust, President Hollande’s secret tryst has made a mockery of the Office of the President.

Trustworthiness in leadership

In evaluating President Hollande’s management of his personal relationship, I think it absolutely matters in terms of gauging his trustworthiness. Not that ‘cheating’ is criminal, but it is certainly not encouraged at school, nor is it admirable or the basis for any solid long-term relationship. Moreover, for his team, it unquestionably has an impact on how they must view him and his sense of fidelity. In an ‘All Boy’s Club,’ maybe that type of behavior will be hammed up in the locker room. But, for a team including women, that has a sense of pride and from whom the leader is looking for total heart and soul commitment, this type of cheating will inevitably have a bearing. Even if it is not officially said to be important, the behavior speaks volumes.


I can only believe that this video above is not legitimate. Surely, with so few views, it’s a fake. But it certainly feels the part!

A Hole in Hollande’s Trustworthiness

I do make parallels between how Hollande managed this affair and what attitudes business leaders need to adopt in order to garner greater trust and to inspire and motivate the workers (or citizens) to follow the vision. In the army, if a soldier doesn’t trust his commander, he won’t feel good about taking the boss’ orders. I tend to believe the same is true of any leader. Sure, one might execute obediently, but the extra step, the extra energy will not be there. I would argue that the President of France has a gaping hole in his trustworthiness. It was there before the Gayet scandal erupted. Now, he has the trust of his very own team to recuperate before even thinking about the trust the population might have put in him.

Trust is intangible but relies on actions

Similarly, in business, engaged employees who live and work around their leader, for at least 8 up to 12 hours a day, need to feel that their leader is trustworthy. In such close quarters, I would also argue that employees will — at least subconsciously — also take note of his/her personal ethics. It’s not possible to separate the two, especially as it regards trustworthiness. If France has made a conscious decision to want to separate private and professional, it comes — at least in part — from its heritage of not wanting the King’s riches and decadence to be generally known by the masses. The French upper crust invoke the code “to live happily, it is better to live hidden.” This is just not a way to garner trust; especially in an era of widening transparency.

Voting for Whollande

For François Hollande, he has shown us throughout his career an inability to commit. What is true in his private life is also true in his public (political) life. Is it not obviously consistent? The natural extrapolation would be that if he treats his First Ladyfriend with such trickery and arctic coldness that he might operate the same way at times with his own team? And, for the electorate, it’s all very well “saying” you don’t care about his private life; then, why did Closer, the magazine that revealed the affair, sell out in the first day? Why has television been galavanting on about the ongoing tryst? Is it not because what is personal is the singular backbone of personality? Politicians, much like CEOs, are mediatic figures. They must accept to live in the limelight. I would argue that they must bring their whole person with them. And, it so happens in a world where digital media helps reveal and spread news, being transparent and demonstrating consistent integrity are the right way to go to build trust, a trust which in polls around the world is so lacking for politicians, business executives and marketers alike.

Ironically, now that Hollande is shifting from Socialist to Social Democrat, personally I am grateful for this latest switch; but will it last?

Daft Punk, The Myndset Digital Marketing & Brand StrategyBTW, is it not beautifully coincidental that the helmeted Daft Punk is a French band that just scooped the Grammy Award for its album? They clearly have the wind in the backs….

P.S. I participated in a “debate” on France 24 television following the press conference at which Hollande was grilled about the Closer revelations.  In case you are interested, here are the YouTube recordings (in two parts): Part 1 and Part 2.

Your thoughts?