Why transparency is (almost) always good with your team, two key ideas.

Your team loves to be driven with innovation but also knowing what is happening around them, specially if relevant to their work or role.

Transparency is a great asset to create trust but also to reduce agitation, reducing the uncertainty of the “is something going on that I don’t know about?” kind of questions that arise in increasingly decentralised teams and ways of working.

Two key elements to make the most of transparency:

  1. Total transparency is easy but might not be the best solution.
    If what you share creates more questions and doubts and uncertainty than answers, perhaps the time to share it is not now?
  2. Make it normal to share – create regular connection points.
    If you are sharing something out of the blue, at an unexpected time, this can be come as a surprise with destabilising effects. Just like when you see lighting in the sky at night, it grabs all of your attention. In your team a surprise one-off announcement can similarly attract a lot of attention (of the wrong attention) and have people forget everything else that is important around them.
    Instead create a rhythm that is normal and expected and that creates stability.
    It can be a weekly all hands meeting. Or the Friday roundup. Or the Wednesday town hall Q&A.
    Do make sure you create moments when your people know they can all interact with you (and with each other) to get a good vision of what is happening.

Key principles for hybrid or virtual team innovation

Every day fewer teams work from the same physical place, your team members might be spread around the world or all live in the same city but have different preference from where they work from, some from home, some from the office … some from the beach or mountains. What is most useful to create good working time in this new hybrid environment? Here’s four (of many more) ideas.

Creating set Times to “come together”
Because everyone has different time preferences, it is vital to create times when the entire team (of 3 or of 100) comes together. Creating order and certainty that on that day, every week, at that time, for example a co-creation session will take place, or a strategy questioning time for everyone to voice ideas that need to pivot.

Coach, support and encourage
If there is ONE thing you as a leader of a time need to take time to, is not necessarily to coach, support encourage yourself but to create a system of coaching, support and encouragement. Make sure there is a process in place and people dedicated to these three fundamentals to bring virtual / hybrid to a state of being looked after, being heard, being supported. It will pay the investment you make manifold

Train for exponential skill development
You assume that everyone in your team knows how to use the tools they need every day to perform their work. They don’t. No one in your team is able to use that App or that VideoConferencing or that Team CRM at 100% of its potential. Invest in training your team to make sure they are not just comfortable with, but super stars of that tool they use daily. The result will be that they will want to go there, desire to use it, be motivated by the new doors of knowledge that open to them and grateful to this organization for upskilling them: most sought after need of employees.

Have cool, unmissable offsite co-creation huddles happen
Unless your team is really spread across continents, do make some physical huddles happen. Find a really cool place that fits your team (you might love a session in the forest, they might hate it!) and create great coming together co-creation experiences with them at the very least once per month. A good portion of the physical huddle should be about human relationship, getting to know deeply, appreciating, highlighting of cool factors of each of your team members.


Make sure the WHY is really clear. Specially when people work far apart (but also when they are all in the same office): be VERY clear and engage fully your team on why are we doing what we are doing, why are we going down this strategy avenue, why is your role, your action, your being here so vital to what we want to achieve.

She is so amazing! The problem with inspiring leaders

You think you need to give breathtaking presentations, rousing speeches, outstanding levels of work outputs but actually being great might be detrimental to you and to your team’s best outcomes.

Why getting a standing ovation at the end of each of your weekly team meetings is NOT what you should be aiming for.

It’s a delicate combination but the best possible outcome to have your team create the best innovation is spreading the amazingness.

When people feel part, feel they are not left behind, too far behind to contribute is when they give their best.
Here is where perceptions play a big role: you think that person over there is useless and well below par and bringing the entire team down. But might they be better at another role, another task?

You want to identify (or train and develop) at least one place where each member of your team is amazing.

Then unite the individual amazingness; as Simon Sinek mentioned “It’s better to have a great team than a team of greats” so making everyone else really aware of each person’s role, skills, amazingness and how they all create the outcomes that make the highest possible outcomes possible.

So try and resist that standing ovation for your next team meeting and identify ways to find that magic spot where everyone in your team feels truly part and amazing.

You do not need to meet deadlines, you need to create a team able to meet deadlines

In our daily rush to innovate, prototype, deliver MVPs … we feel constantly stressed out running to meet deadlines. We should actually not focus on meeting those deadlines, instead invest time in the people of our team, develop their capacity and innovation to make and meet their own deadlines.

It might sound counterintuitive but forget all three of those urgent deadlines you have today. Instead think well and deep about how you can have a series of sessions with your team, to develop their capacity, increase their autonomy, create a stronger trust amongst them. Because THAT is what will allow you to “sit back and relax” knowing that your team has it under control, can do it, can both meet those deadlines and also decide what actually is a deadline, an important deadline to be met, and what is one of the many fictitious targets we are asked to meet “yesterday” … which actually there is no rush to get to.

It all starts from rethinking people in your team, people you work with. From someone who has to get stuff done, well and quickly. To individual human beings, “mines of gems of inestimable value” , individuals with an infinite and mostly untapped capacity to make amazing things happen … if you let them and encourage them and accompany them.

So enjoy a stress free day (or week?), forget deadlines and enjoy rethinking the role of your people and their infinite capacity to deliver.

Why you should bring a painting at work with you, to accelerate innovation

We are definitely living in crazy times but why should we do something crazy like … bringing a painting, ideally a physical one into your workplace? Not only bringing it there but then ask everyone in your team to observe it and ask “what do you see?”

What will surprisingly happen will be:
1. make us all better at observing,
2. make us better at analysing,
3. make us freer to creatively innovate

The painting is not the next crucial strategic decision you need to make, instead it is a surprising and non-threatening object that “does not belong” that lands in your office. This situation will open possibility and permission, curiosity and creative thinking. If you make this painting-observation / commenting session a habit, you will find that your own team will start to take decisions in a new way. They will be more observing before acting, they will be more creative in the useful options they will offer. The mood will feel freer and lighter; things will happen with less burden and effort.

It’s because you are opening more of your senses.

With most of our days, specially our working days, focused on productive tasks, your other all important senses are left dormant.
To be truly innovative you need to awaken all the latent abilities.
Ideally awaken them in all the people you work with.
Making the experience together with all the people you are interacting with will ensure that not just one or two people but that the full team will be moved to this new place. Behaviours and interactions will never be traditional, old, and obsolete anymore.

The super power of empathy used by the most successful teams and leaders

To try and understand why leaders acting with empathy are so successful nowadays I started by looking at the definition of Empathy (and I share more about this fundamental trait in these articles here and here ) :
The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

At a time when everything seems to happen with such little opportunity for us to control speed or direction, being understood, having our team leader being sensitive to our discomfort and uncertainty is such a fundamental element. It allows any team member to feel understood and as a direct consequence feel part of the team, feel it is worth being in that team, feeling that I belong here, that I want to contribute to the success of this team.

Empathy unifies people in a team, organization. It creates stronger support through which your motivation raises but also your willingness to innovate, to take intelligent risks, to try things out increases dramatically.

And today and tomorrow’s companies desperately need that confidence in the future, that daring attitude, that working together with full engagement. So that’s where empathy becomes such a super power.

You don’t naturally feel empathy? Aware of just how important this element is at this time of uncertainty, then look for team members who do have that trait and put them in a position of influence, complementing your own other leadership skills.

unify around a goal not a person, ideally a higher purpose

“You cannot unify everyone’s thoughts, but you can unify everyone through a common goal.

Don’t even think that you are able to unify what everyone is thinking; it is impossible.
30% of all people will never believe you. Do not allow your colleagues and employees to work for you.
Instead, let them work for a common goal.
It is a lot easier [and safer/better] to unite the company under a common goal rather than uniting the company around a particular person.”

from an interview with Jack Ma (billionaire founder of the Chinese Ali Baba portal)

I personally see the need to find not only unifying goals, but also higher purposes, of the kind that bring not only the mind but the entire being of each individual of your team to dedicate their full set of talents to achieve them:

I push you to find unifying, higher purposes, that connect to the customers you serve and to the bottom line you need to achieve.