Simon Heimlicher Leadership & organizational transformation
Great leaders are not born — they evolve as they grow at the challenges they face.
What does it take to lead?
Leadership demands a broad variety of character traits. I believe that self-awareness, courage and humility are key. L. David Marquet models these and many others and I am fascinated by his books and speeches.
What is a strong culture?
The foundation for an organization to thrive is its culture. One of the most-revered corporate cultures is the one of Netflix. How it came to be and what it took to keep the culture strong through the phenomenal growth of this company is laid out in Patty McCoord's book Powerful.
What separates great organizations from the mediocre?
Strategy is what we will not do
The difference between organizations that thrive and those who struggle is rarely a matter of luck or favorable circumstances. Rather, it is the rare but crucial ability to say no.
While everyone gets behind a call to focus, I prefer the clarity of the expression to say no. One way to determine what to say no to are Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). As opposed to methods such as Management by Objectives (MBO), the OKR methodology limits the number of objectives to five and asks organizations to say no to everything else.
What is often forgotten is that OKRs were born out of necessity. In the late 1970s, Intel decided to say no to everything other than selling the product they had available, the 8088 microprocessor. Despite the limitations of this product, Intel launched the now legendary Operation Crush to once and for all defeat Motorola.
Better every day
It’s not a few lucky punches — but rather what we do every day that determines our fate. But as with other widely-accepted truths, the actions of us humans unfortunately do not correlate with our stated beliefs. One sad example is the state of performance management.
While the name of this common practice suggests that something — performance — is managed, most leaders think about it about three times a year. Since the observable impact of performance management is typically as small as one could expect from something they deal with three times a year, their view of performance management not adding value is confirmed. While Objective and Key Results (OKR) can be part of performance conversations, the two should be kept separate.