Building Human Relationships for Business Sales Success

Sales Professionals understand that building human relationships is key to business sales success, something lost on most sales people who come and go. The Visitors.

You see, the Sale begins with You.

VC ~ The Sale Begins with You










There are simple, and complex, human components essential to building authentic, lasting human relationships are also relevant in business sales relationships:

  • You and the Opportunity to Meet Someone New
  • A Conversation
  • The Process of Discovery and Warming-Up
  • Rapport
  • Value
  • Desire
  • Mutual Respect and Acceptance
  • Persuasion
  • Commitment



To Learning with Love

Do you love learning like I do? I mean do you really love to learn?

Invest in people with heart. Invest in people who value you and other human beings. In return, you invest in your organization, and lasting business success.

Invest in people with heart. Invest in people who value you and other human beings. In return, you invest in your organization, and lasting business success.

Then stop using the word “training” (the kiss of death to real learning and retention!). Training is for circus animals, not for you and me.

Love Learning. Remember your greatest teachers, storytellers, mentors, and coaches throughout your life. The ones who inspired your desire, ambition, and creativity.    


Don’t fear what I am espousing here. I learned long ago that the “soft skills” are actually the hardest to learn and actualize within business/life. Be open-minded and fearless.

Training is about telling, mandating, forcing, manipulating. Learning is about absorption, the freedom to immerse yourself. Dive into the deep waters, head first.

Yearn for those beautiful, ethereal, provocative, evocative learning moments; remembrances of when your intellect was stimulated, when you were moved to tears of joy, to action! 

Honor the gurus, advisors, thought leaders, the actors and comedians (even the consultants and facilitators!) and your closest confidantes who influenced the ways you think and act, your ways of being, what you believe to be true. Celebrate the ones who sincerely believed in you, encouraged you, understood the secrets to your success.

Recognize what you’ve learned from books, movies and films, the poetry in extraordinary people. Cherish those people who helped you discover your inner light, and achieve your dreams. Be the catalyst for a genuine learning culture within your business, nurturing the well-being of everyone around you.

There are cascading lessons to be learned from enlightened leaders who invest/reinvest in learning and development for lucrative ROI.

  • Upfront learning of jobs and roles results in…
  • Better understanding of performance expectations and the execution of relevant business imperatives, resulting in…
  • Competitive advantages, superior organizational performance and sustained business growth.

And, don’t forget what you’ve learned from your experiences. Experiential Learning can be brutal, and yet gives you the opportunity see with fresh eyes.

As your love of learning blossoms, you grow. Your Enlightened Leadership will impact emerging leaders, and you will live forever and ever.

As your love of learning blossoms, you grow. Your Enlightened Leadership will impact emerging leaders, and you will live forever and ever.

You can have a lifetime relationship with learning. Embrace It.

Reaffirm your lifetime commitment to never-ending learning.

Enlightened Leaders will understand these messages of love without the need for explanation or analytics.



Believe You Me. Reflection and introspection are highly under-appreciated these days.

Sometimes we must go to the back pages of our personal/professional history to really see and understand our future. Sometimes we must re-measure our humanity (emotional intelligence, kindness, tolerance, empathy, acceptance, our goodness) by what we embrace, create, treasure, include, and give safe harbor. Sometimes we must re-examine our personal/professional constitution, and make amends.

No one can succeed without opportunities. No One. No one can sustain success without opportunities to learn and develop, not at any age. Without opportunities, success becomes an elusive possibility.

As the CEO of our brilliant career(s) we must take calculated risks. We must create our opportunities with the help of key people (along the way). These key influencers are people who sincerely accept, respect, value, and believe in us. These are the people are supportive of us, committed to developing our talents, nurturing our well-being. These are the enlightened leaders (with or without titles!) who live forever in our treasured memories.

Remember, learning and development opportunities do not 100% guarantee success. In the end, we must take ownership of our successes (and failures). On this long and winding road, you and I will always have plenty of opportunities to learn from our experiences.

Seek-out those magnificent, stunning, moving moments of learning that give you wings of passion to do the things you love!

This is my loving gift to you.

No matter who you are, or what you do, you impact someone every day. We impact people intentionally and unintentionally.  How you choose to impact people is up to you.

Happy “Saint Valentine’s Day” from every one of us at Vitalia Consulting!

Marc Ortiz de Candia ~ Executive Partner and Provocateur, Vitalia Consulting | The Enlightened Leadership Leader

Solution-Recognition for Enlightened Leaders

Abre los ojos, los oidos, la mente, y el corazon.

Abre los ojos, los oidos, la mente, y el corazon.

Vitalia Consulting (VC) is not a conventional management consulting firm, and we don’t intend to become one. Our client-consultant role is to inspire forward-thinking solutions and actions. “Solution-Recognition” is an important tool in the process of searching for (and finding) the best innovative ideas.

“We need more ideas” is a phrase we hear almost every day.  Innovation isn’t constrained by the absence of ideas, but the inability to notice the good-to-great ideas right in front of you. It’s not an idea problem; it’s a Solution-Recognition dilemma.

Ideas are free. So, why not take advantage of such a great value? Whatever happened to “Brain-Storming” where no idea was pre-judged as a bad idea, no matter how absurd the idea initially appeared to be? While Brain-storming has morphed into Ideation, White-boarding, Iterative Process, Blue Sky Thinking, etc., it’s rarely used the way it was originally intended. “Thinking Outside the Box” has been so overused and abused, it’s become a gag in bad commercials.

Once upon a time (1984-1987) while working with Vici Associates International (based in Milan, Italy) we used the creative-strategic process “ProThink” to stimulate innovative and pragmatic solutions for our client-companies. Guess What? The concept still works! Unfortunately, most companies (then and now) fail to consistently capitalize on Solution-Recognition, and make it an integral part of organizational culture. In my experience, it requires not only a mind-shift but also (and more importantly) a behavioral, cultural transformation.

In the digital speed of social media: Golden Opportunities are lost amidst the chatter. Great moments of brilliance never return to our work/lives.

People tend to think of creativity as flashes of light from the heavens, anointing the next demi-god of genius. In business world reality, new insights and ideas come from hard work. While analytic data can identify real opportunities, these insights must then be transformed into practical, viable ideas. Cogito Ergo Zoom (I Think. Therefore, I go fast.) is the wrong-headed mentality for Solution-Recognition to work.

Solution-Recognition requires:

  • An Open Mind
  • Genuine Listening Skills
  • Passionate Intelligence (Intelligence that can actually be Applied)
  • The Ability to Dream with “Eyes Wide Open”
  • Being Empathic
  • Emotional Intelligence (High EQ)

Research has found that those managers/leaders exposed to a small amount of uncertainty said they value creativity, but actually tended to favor practical word pairings over creative word pairings. If such a negative bias against creativity exists in times of uncertainty, it might explain why so many notable innovations (in business history) were initially rejected. Is this happening in your business?

The implications are particularly relevant now, as few leaders/managers would claim that they’re not working in an uncertain industry. The same uncertainty that propels the need for companies to innovate may also be compelling leaders/managers to reject discoveries that could help them gain a competitive edge.

The innovative ideas that would keep your company alive (and sustain growth) are being killed in the embryonic stage of development, or even at conception.

One possible solution to this “idea killing” is to change the structural system ideas must move through for acceptance and execution. Instead of using the traditional hierarchy to find and approve ideas, this process could be spread across the whole organization. Given a higher priority than immediate revenue, the idea market can create an organizational culture where new ideas are recognized and approved throughout the entire company, a democratization of recognition. What do You Think?

Solution-Recognition becomes an organizational “way of life” based on the assumption that everyone is capable of producing great ideas.

Example: We have a new client (based here in California) who recruited a highly-skilled, experienced Sales Team without building the right organizational infrastructure to support that Sales Team, without professionally mature Sales Management to properly lead and coach that Sales Team, without developing the software tools for that Sales Team to close more deals and succeed, resulting in an under-performing, disillusioned, demotivated Sales Team in complete disarray.

In essence, without Solution-Recognition, “putting the cart before the horse.” Your Management/Leadership habits become either an albatross or a catalyst for growth. The problem lies in Management/Leadership failure to (adapt and change) genuinely listen to the concerns, problems, situations the Sales Team is facing in the field. Genuinely listening to the Sales Team would engender coaching opportunities, and collaborative solutions for the true underlying problems.



Enlightened Management/Leadership embraces Solution-Recognition. Remember, You are defined by what You do.



Example: Enlightened Leaders get out of the office more often. These “empathic outings” are purposeful field trips, a way to effectively connect with employees, customers, vendors, alliance partners, and others key to the success of your business. This also makes an enormous difference in gaining commitment to shifts in business and organizational behavior, and solving related issues. The purpose of these meetings is not just for gathering information, but more crucially to discover, uncover crucial patterns of what’s working and not working in your business, misalignments in your business and organizational vision/strategies.

Example: We use Solution-Recognition in our most productive client-projects:

  1. Business Turnaround Projects
  2. Business Growth Projects
  3. New Business Ventures ~ Entrepreneurial Start-Up Projects

The Message: Reject Solution-Recognition at your peril, and suffer the grapes of wrath. Vitalia Consulting (VC) is not a conventional management consulting firm, and we don’t intend to become one. Our client-consultant role is to inspire forward-thinking solutions and actions. Solution-Recognition is an essential tool for every successful business.

Partner with Us. Let’s start with a conversation. 

  • Marc Ortiz de Candia
  • Executive Partner ~ Provocateur
  • Vitalia Consulting | The Enlightened Leadership Leader

Tango Lessons ~ Building and Sustaining Relationships

No matter how great a visionary leader you may be, you will always need others to fully execute your vision, your dream. It’s a fundamental axiom of business and of life. It takes 2:2 Tango (at least two) and it is a beautiful, intricate, intimate, and powerful dance.dreamstime_m_145488591.jpg

Here are a few free Tango Lessons.

One of the reasons we work in multi-disciplinary teams at Vitalia Consulting is because there is power in numbers and in diverse expertise. No Vitalia consultant, coach, facilitator, advisor or analyst, client services associate is ever left alone to deliver the message, ask the hard questions, or answer the hard questions. The lone exception are Executive Coaching Sessions which are strictly one-on-one private sessions.

As we work with our clients to solve complex business and organizational problems, a team of diverse minds (working together) discovers, uncovers the best solutions.  Partner with Us!

The power of multi-disciplinary teams is proven, especially when working with executive leaders and groups of professionals because no individual (regardless of status, charisma, influence, aura, or personal presence) resonates with everyone.

While building and sustaining relationships is key to business success, few people are effective at doing both. Believe it. Look at your client-customer retention rate. Look at the rising divorce rate. Look at how relationships come and go faster than the changing of seasons. So, when you find a relationship builder who can also sustain relationships, hold onto them like a lifeboat against the current.

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Most of us know “It Takes Two To Tango” is a truism, but how often do we actually practice it? Is it part of your personal/professional skill-set, mind-set?

Face it: Those self-obsessed with expressing only their own ideas just aren’t very good at building and sustaining relationships, find it hard to listen, fail to observe, and never learn to Tango.

Partnering requires learning to Tango. Collaboration requires learning to Tango. Networking requires learning to Tango. And not just learning a few basic steps (see Tangerine Tango blog).  You must become a World-Class Tango Dancer to Master the Art of the Deal, to make all the right moves, to gain mutual agreement. See for Yourself: The Best Latin Tango

Every great composer needs great musicians. Every great musician needs great composers.

Mutual attraction, rapport, trust, respect, compatibility, and commitment are key elements of every lasting relationship. Remember this: No relationship can thrive or survive without mutual benefit and commitment. Once these relationship elements are lost, there is no relationship.

Vitalia Consulting builds and sustains cultures of mutual benefit and inclusion, driven by a desire to partner with others to get things done. You succeed by helping others become successful. Helping others helps you, too. Keep in mind, help is only a relationship away. 

Conversely, in cultures where “greed is good” (cultures that value the lone wolf, the lone shark, the lone genius) the act of working with others to get things done gets lost, projects stall, the brilliance of team ideas fades away.

We, Vitalia Consulting, believe that building and sustaining relationships should be a pre-requisite for all vital executive leaders, emerging leaders, and leadership development. True Relationships weather the storms. True Relationships can live forever.

Don’t forget the human touch, gestures, and movements. Give your relationships face time, real time. Be genuinely attentive, interested in people. Listen first. Listen, hear, and learn from their stories. Be open to being enlightened. Tell and show, don’t sell. Be authentic. Be yourself. No one likes a great pretender. Don’t be afraid of being human. Get lost once in awhile.

Want warmer relationships? Exude warmth. Be passionate about something. Meet off-site (whenever possible) at unique venues. Be compelling.

Embrace reciprocity. Give to receive. Relax. Now immerse yourself in the dance.

It really does take at least 2:2 Tango. Come on, let’s dance The Tango!It Takes 2 To Tango

Partner with Us! Let’s Get Started.


Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner ~ Provocateur

Vitalia Consulting | The Enlightened Leadership Leader


When Knowledge (Alone) is Not Enough

One of the most salient things I have observed in meetings with countless C-Level Executives is the overwhelming pool of information they’re swimming in. The result is too much data driving them insane ~ which only yesterday was commonly referred to as “analysis-paralysis.” The results are in-decisions, in-actions and inertia, uncertainty about which move to make. So, nothing changes if nothing changes.

Our initial role (in Organizational Leadership Consulting and Coaching) is to help these C-Level Executives wade through the waves of data to find the right information, the right solutions. At this point, It’s important to note that there is no pitch, there is no presentation, no assumptions or conclusions. In the beginning, we are simply listeners and observers asking key questions, guiding our clients, mired in confusion, out of the abyss. We are facilitators of the process.

When is knowledge (alone) not enough? When is knowledge (alone) not power? You and I have seen zillions of sales professionals, managers, and executives go through cropped-AB-When-Knowledge-Alone-is-Not-Enough.jpgthe “sales training hotel factories” coming out with only a cheap binder and more information (plenty of getaway trip stories to tell) but no knowledge retention, process and skills application, or behavioral shifts that last beyond a few days, a few weeks at best. There’s a reason why “talk is cheap.”

Revolt against the archaic business culture of “just gimme the knowledge, just gimme the information/data!” There’s much more vital work to be done. Of course, this requires Enlightened Leadership with the desire and the resources to sustain high business growth. Nothing happens without Enlightened Leadership.


To illustrate, one of our most recent projects (right in our wheelhouse) is focused on “Sales Performance Optimization.” We’re working with a dysfunctional sales group with mountains of information, tons of knowledge but without the right sales people, without the right sales process, and without the right sales tools. We fix dysfunctional organizations. Partner with Us.

Our approach to every client project is simple and effective. We began this project by meeting with the C-Level Executive Leadership Team, not just the Sales Group Management. We take a panoramic view and then zoom-in. We start by building Organizational Vision and Holistic Strategies because the Sales Group is inter-connected with all other organizations within the business. Many pictures from different angles are necessary.

Simultaneously, we are conducting an Organizational Culture Assessment that will result in a comparative analysis between the leadership’s perception of their organization and what people (within the organization) and customers (outside the organization) are actually experiencing. There are always execution chasms which need to be filled before moving forward with any formal development or learning.

In this case, the Sales Group had the highest turnover rate (higher than telemarketing) in the company, and reported into an Operations Vice President who didn’t understand sales or selling, or the difference between marketing, sales, business development and account management. These things were known by everyone in the client company.

While the assessment offers information/knowledge/data, our job is to uncover and discover the right solutions in tandem with our clients. In turn, radical new buyer behavior requires re-thinking sales. Buyers are much more informed. The sheer volume of information buyers can access can humble the best sales professionals, managers, and executives causing them to compete on price. The new imperative facing sales leaders is to re-tool the organization and build a culture of continuous improvement.

No more worthless seminars or workshops. Everything is done in session-work, one to three hour sessions: Leadership Development Sessions, Vision and Strategy Sessions, Sales Development Sessions, Individual and Group Coaching Sessions…

dreamstime_s_6386770According to The Aberdeen Group “Best in Class” companies determine characteristics of “Best in Class” professional sales performers on an annual basis, as defined by:

  • Top 20% in Quota Attainment
  • Top 20% in YOY Revenue Growth
  • Top 20% in Average Deal Size Increase

The truth is in the performance numbers. This research shows the three key areas in which the best performing companies differentiate from their peers, and adapt to changing sales requirements:


  • Scientifically assess the specific requirements for sales models, and align hiring and development to those profiles.
  • Develop world class capabilities by aligning sales process, methods, and never-ending learning to ever-changing buyer behavior
  • Enable effective, consistent application of best practices by integrating sales tools and state-of-the-art technologies

Remember, the main reason why most “sales closing systems” fail is because there is no opportunity for the sales professional to practice and test mastering the re-tooled sales process. No true individual commitment to the sales process and no reinforcement after the “learning session.” This is why “individual coaching” must be an integral component of every “Sales Performance Optimization” Platform.

In the New Age of Enlightenment, knowledge (alone) is not enough to get things done, to adapt to the rapidly evolving marketplace, to create lasting success. Having a trillion pieces to a puzzle is not enough. You must the right pieces to put the right picture together.

So, what are your answers: Are You An Enlightened Leader? Do you have the right sales people, the right sales process, the right sales tools for sales performance optimization? Are you ready to put together the sales organization puzzle?

Let’s get started! Partner with Us.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting


Shifting and Sustaining Your Organizational Culture


“What is essential is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one can truly see.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

We are currently in the selection process of hiring Vitalia Consulting “Organizational Leadership Consultants” for new client projects, and expanding our global consultant network.Making final decisions before the Thanksgiving Holiday caused me to think about the things that matter most and to reflect on one particular consultant “exploratory meeting discussion.”

While I remain mesmerized by the vast array of multi-disciplinary talent available in today’s job market, and the many memorable meeting conversations, this potential Vitalia Consultant was talking about hot corporate America business “sustainability” initiatives (in the familiar context this word is expressed).

When I think back to that discussion, it still resonates with me. It stimulates questions in search of answers. Why is “sustainability” not directly applied to shifting organizational culture so that it’s in alignment with business vision and strategy?

Ask Yourself: What self-limiting beliefs, values, norms are holding you and your company back from achieving and sustaining the organizational culture you envision? You know, the culture you dream about when no one else is around. 

With the holiday season suddenly upon us, unless you’re in pre-school making paper turkeys traced from your hands, I doubt that many of us are talking about the pilgrims, Native Americans, Plymouth Rock or the first Thanksgiving meal.

In fact, in the last few years, I’ve noticed that almost no one commemorates or celebrates the true spirit of Thanksgiving, the act of giving thanks. The act of giving thanks before devouring our bountiful meals. Most people don’t seem to care about why they’re given time-off to celebrate Thanksgiving. We get lost in reminiscing about Uncle Albert and Auntie Grizelda. As much as I love sports, wagering on the almost always boring Thanksgiving Day NFL games has replaced the tradition of being thankful for what matters most in life: cherished family, friends, neighbors, and other loved ones (present and past). Les Petits Cadeaux.

Thanksgiving Day traditions are now mainly reserved for the wonderment of children, the sentimental reflections of ages past, and maintaining USA status as the #1 obese nation in the world. USA! USA! USA!

So, how can you sustain the best of your organization’s cultural values, beliefs, norms, and traditions?  Like the spirit of Christmastime, you must believe. Are you willing to examine the culture of your organization? Start by observing your organization more, listening more to what your people are telling you (in their words and actions, in their silence). Practice radical acceptance rather than conservative complacence.

Is it possible that gratitude and appreciation can sustain what is great (the best of the best) about your organizational culture? What would a cultural assessment reveal about your company? What’s working in your company? What’s enabled your company to achieve its success? What are you proud of? What are you unwilling to sacrifice? Whatever it is, don’t let go of it! You’ll lament what’s lost.   

After all, business culture celebrates the greatest products ever made, the newest and most efficient service, launching the newly re-designed website, closing the big deal, the best-selling book based on closing the big deal, acquisitions and mergers, the most brilliant software, promotions and successions, the greatest technology you’ve experienced just nanoseconds ago. Now, it’s time to unveil your new and improved organizational culture.

If you are an Enlightened Leader, then you believe that you are defined by what you do. This is where Emotional Intelligence, having a High EQ, comes into play for Enlightened Leaders. Gratitude and appreciation are inherent within your being.

As an Enlightened Leader: What if “Giving Thanks” became a cultural norm within your company? Pequenos Regalos. How might people perceive and experience you and your company differently? Partners? Employees? Customers/Clients? Suppliers? The Marketplace? How might their experience of themselves be different? How might their effect their performance be different?

Go beyond seeing and treating human beings as talent acquisitions, as the #1 corporate capital asset. Go beyond philosophical posters, policies and procedures. Let’s hear less talk. Let’s see more action! This is not about a holiday, or being politically correct. It’s about “being thankful” throughout the years.

Remember: You do it of your own volition.

Move toward “being genuinely thankful” for the people who contribute everyday to the success of your business. Make “being genuinely thankful” a sustainable part of your organizational culture. Consider what matters most to you.

While you can interpret this message as far too simplistic, remember that the wheel was one of the greatest discoveries by humankind. Shifting organizational culture is much harder to do. To make giving thanks a cultural value, you must sincerely believe in “Thanksgiving” in your heart and soul. It must be within you. It must be authentic to everyone within your organization. This is not an intellectual exercise or debate.

Every gap analysis tells the same story: Those companies who align organizational culture with business vision and strategy are 6X more successful than those companies who ignore organization/business alignment, 6X more successful than their competition.

Learn to celebrate every one of us, we the people who directly contribute to the success of your business. The sustainability of cultural values, beliefs, and norms should be a business imperative.

Nurture your organization to sustain “high business growth.” There are plenty of “Change Gurus” everywhere. This time around, try focusing on shifting and sustaining your organizational culture. Keep what’s good. Add what’s better.

As for me, I am genuinely thankful for my family, friends, and other loved ones in my life, in my memories. I am genuinely thankful for all of the professional consultants, colleagues, and valued clients who partner with Vitalia Consulting. Like a group of musicians creating magnificent music, making music that matters, I am genuinely thankful for the collaborative organizational solutions that we create together. I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most amazing human beings on this planet. Look around you. We are surrounded by the brilliance of other people. It is time to celebrate being together because (as you know) things change.

In our prior blog “The Ethos of Leadership” we discussed the alignment of behavior, thought, feeling = Enlightened Leadership. It’s a parallel process. Aligning organizational culture with business vision + strategy = success

Let’s look into ourselves. What can we thank ourselves for? How can we give someone else that same feeling and experience? Let’s count our blessings, and stop complaining about the weather, or whether or not.

We are Vitalia Consulting. We are Awakeners! Piccoli Regali.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting



The Genius of Being Bold

“Whatever you can do or dream you can do…begin it! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Enlightened Leadership is about action, not position or title or entitlement. Decisive action is the key to any decisive victory. It begins with believing in something meaningful to the business organization, and acting on that belief. For those who see Enlightened Leadership as a soft concept, nothing more than Sunshine Supermen sitting around listening to Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow,” wrong you are, when you are…Guess Again!

Enlightened leaders move swiftly, out-maneuvering their competition with precision. There is an old Italian saying: “Chi si ferma e perduto.” (when translated to English) “He who hesitates is lost.” It’s a truism in life and in business. In French, “Celui qui hesite est perdu.” In Spanish, “El que duda esta perdido.” In any language, the first product or service to market wins, and dominates the marketplace 96.69% of the time.

Take the first steps toward greatness. Be a bold leader. Become the market dominator, armed with an arsenal of resources produced by your ability to create a thoughtful, risk-accepting organizational culture supportive of innovation and investments for the future.

Unfortunately, traditional corporate cultures are petrified forests of apathy and in-decision, a culture of fear, disdain, fatigue and boredom, negativity, conformity and complacency, reinforced by the executive hierarchy, sadly inherited by the emerging leaders of tomorrow. Traditional corporate cultures, especially in the mature stage of the business life cycle, can become increasingly rigid and risk-averse. Entrenched behaviors and cultures kill the innovative spirit of your people.

In the new age of enlightenment, I believe that there is a better way. We’ve explored many other dimensions of what it means to be an Enlightened Leader: Being open-minded, empathic, High EQ (emotional intelligence) intuitive, actively listening and observing, having a sense of purpose, a willingness to act thoughtfully, and so on. Another important dimension of being an Enlightened Leader is “Being Bold.”

Be bold because innovation requires taking risks. Nurture, support, and cultivate an organizational culture that makes space for innovative insights. To create the business of tomorrow, you must break-down the inhibitors of change today.

While always considering the risks involved (bolstered with contingency plans) Enlightened Leaders are Napoleonic in their fearlessness, relentlessly fearless in the face of overwhelming odds, in the pursuit of their dreams. “Cogito ergo zoom!” (I think, therefore I go fast!) Create a pluralistic culture of bold, free-thinking, decision-makers who deliver decisive actions and results for the good of all.

Understand the idea here is not to replicate Napoleonic leaders through-out your organization. The point is to take one of Napoleon’s most brilliant strengths: a willingness to act boldly and decisively when perceiving the opportunity to do so.

To quote Napoleon: “Ability is nothing without opportunity.” Those opportunities come from the organizational culture that you’re willing to create. In essence, you can create your own opportunities.

In sharp contrast, King Louis XVI (incapable of decisive action, preferring personal interests to the interests of the people) was executed during the French Revolution, just as Napoleon was rising to power.

Yet, the genius of being bold has been abandoned by most so-called “modern business leaders and organizations.” Why? Closed organizational cultures are oppressive and suppressive, causing people to fear political and career retaliation for speaking-up. Remember, silence foreshadows failure.

Ask yourself these questions: Do you have the audacity to challenge yourself and the systemic leadership behaviors within your organization? Are employees at all levels overwhelmed by your leadership’s short-sightedness? Can you survey the whole battlefield? Can you see your strategic advantages by looking at your organizational weaknesses?

Believe in something or you stand for nothing. Anything less is to live without true commitment or conviction.

Here’s a simple way to assess the state of your organizational culture. When you arrive at the next “important internal meeting” look around the room. What do you see? Is the meeting room alive with energy and ideas, or do you see a roomful of the living dead, zombies everywhere you look? Enlightenment can be frightening!

{This section is mostly intended for historical interest and reference points: As polarizing as any discussion about Napoleon can be, his bold vision and brilliant strategies are inarguable. Napoleon was hated by his enemies but respected by them at the same time. The Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley, when asked who he thought was the greatest general who ever lived, answered “In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon.”

Born Napoleone di Buonaparte on the island of Corsica, only one year after Corsica was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa, he later adopted the more French-sounding Napoleon Bonaparte.

Introducing a plethora of innovative strategies, Napoleon’s victories were more decisive than anyone had experienced before. Exporting revolution to the rest of Europe, the movements of national unification and the rise of the nation state, Napoleon’s religious policy emancipated Protestants to an equal status with Catholics. The Concordant of 1801 contained principles that served France for the next 100 years.

The Napoleonic Code was a “revolutionary project” embraced by much of Europe, instituting several lasting reforms, including: centralized administration of the departments, higher education, a tax system, a central bank, civil and criminal law codes, road/bridge/sewer systems, breaking the back of feudalism, and remained in force long after Napoleon’s defeat. Credit Napoleon for reorganizing the Holy Roman Empire, streamlining a thousand entities into 40 nation states. In mathematics, Napoleon’s Theorem is still used today.

Many in the international community still admire the many accomplishments of the self-made emperor, and celebrate his legacy. Moreover, many probably wish Napoleon had achieved his unrealized goal: To make it a law that only those lawyers and attorneys who win their cases should receive fees. How much litigation could have been prevented by such a measure! This is a brilliant idea, wouldn’t you agree?}

Now that you know about the “Genius of Being Bold” do you have what it takes to start your own innovation revolution?  

  • Get the framework and the tools to move beyond current impasses 
  • Be prepared to get uncomfortable for awhile
  • Time to remove the handcuffs, the shackles, and the blinders
  • Get out of the state of denial
  • Confess the Machiavellian truths about “business as usual”
  • Challenge the complacency of day-to-day routines
  • Implode the cannons defending the status quo
  • Set yourself (and your organization) free
  • Deliver the core message of change as revolutionary, thoughtful, and resilient
  • Ignite the thinking revolution
  • Order a call to arms throughout your organization
  • Renounce the tranquility of repetition
  • Everyone is an innovator / Everyone is a change agent
  • Be prepared to look at yourself as you look objectively at your culture
  • Time to create the future you want for your business
  • Empower people to think critically, question relentlessly, act boldly
  • Move your business from complacent to competitive!

In partnering with our Vitalia Consulting clients, our consulting methodology is purposely designed to identify the challenges and discover the possible solutions together:

  1. We Listen and Assess. Where is the organizational culture relative to the business?
  2. We Partner and Facilitate: Strategic Vision and Strategy Process
  3. We Partner and Facilitate: Overcoming obstacles on the road to victory
  4. We Lead and Facilitate: Leadership Coaching Sessions (Group and Individual)
  5. We Lead and Facilitate: Leadership Learning Sessions
  6. We Partner and Facilitate: Individual and Organizational Behavioral Shifts
  7. We Partner and Facilitate: Creating an “immersive” sense of place, of home for everyone within your organization
  8. We Partner and Advise: Sustaining the Vision over time.

By the way, this is not done by simply having an annual PowerPoint Presentation!

Be a bold, enlightened leader. This is a better way of building organizational capability. As the speed of organizational behavioral change accelerates, critical thinking, questioning, inventing, and exploring become business priorities.

The future of high growth business belongs to those (leaders and organizations) who can adapt and grow, who lead with boldness. You’ll need the tools to move beyond your current impasses.

Understand the boldness of these assertions because without revolution nothing changes. Remember, powerful words backed by powerful actions is a catalyst for true change. Strategically placed Enlightened Leaders are vital to your organization and to your business. After all, there’s a little Napoleon in every one of us. Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite!

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting

To learn more about how we can work together, go to the partnering page at and complete the contact form. Let us know how we can help you, or someone you know. Every relationship begins with a conversation.

What Do You Say and Do?

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962 in Houston, Texas USA

When I was a small boy (believe me, when I tell you that I was a very small boy) I saw President John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” on TV. It was an awe-inspiring moment for me, for most Americans. Few people remember how unpopular and unsupported “space travel” was at that time. Most people didn’t believe it was even possible. It was something you could only imagine, or experience in science-fiction books and movies. Most politicians thought it was too ambitious, and unrealistic. JFK had an ace up his sleeve: A tenacious vision backed with passionate intelligence and conviction. The “Moon Speech” shifted American perception of space travel, and in turn, our sense of other endless possibilities.

As a working-class boy, I wasn’t permitted to be a free-thinker. I was imprisoned by the limitations dictated by class and ethno-centric discrimination: Hell on earth! I was constantly bombarded by messages from those who brandished absolute power, telling me/showing us, that nothing I dreamt would ever come true for me, or for any one of us.

JFK moved me to see, for the first time in my embryonic life, that anything is possible if you believe in the vision, if you are genuinely committed to making the vision come alive. You must commit without hesitation or doubt or excuse to retreat, to fallback. No matter what others say and do to destroy your dreams, JFK showed how vital it is to move forward and execute your vision with confidence. Defiance in the face of overwhelming odds.

We sometimes tend to romanticize great leaders like JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi. We focus on their vision and charisma, forgetting that these enlightened leaders are best remembered for getting things done. Getting things done is the real legacy of these enlightened leaders. We’ve all experienced managers, executives, and politicians with vision and charisma (who may even look the part) but do absolutely nothing. Vision and charisma are not enough, enlightened leaders possess a High EQ (emotional quotient) for getting things done with emotional intelligence.

Being an enlightened leader is not about espousing new rhetoric or reciting recycled jargon. Enlightened Leaders execute their strategic vision. Words and actions are consistently in alignment.

Contrary to the same old tune we’ve all heard before: Silence is not golden.

In the multicultural management consulting and learning services firm that I founded and led, De Candia International Corporation (1987-2007) we uncovered the “conspiracy of silence” in Corporate America whereby no one says anything to challenge or confront systemic deception and collusion, to keep the status quo intact. A conspiracy of silence engenders collusion, and collusion is the arch-enemy of change.

The message: Lead sans silence. Speaking-up makes a difference. Execute your vision with conviction. Lead with determination while remaining open to pluralistic perspectives.  

Understand the value of speaking-up, taking a stand, with conviction. While no one else may believe in your dreams, it doesn’t matter what other people think, even when you feel the whole world is against you. If you feel that you can’t speak-up: ask yourself, “What messages am I receiving from within my organizational culture, telling me it’s not safe to speak-up.” The answer always lies within how the organizational culture is set-up. Change the set-up of the culture and you’ll see the behavioral change. Try this in small ways: participating in a meeting, working with a team on a project. You know that you believe in your vision, and you are willing to take the calculated risks to see that it happens, by whatever means necessary (without becoming the new Prince Machiavelli).

What matters most is what happens in the long run. JFK didn’t live to see his moon dream realized. Others, who were inspired by his vision, fulfilled his dream in 1969. No one accomplishes anything alone. Understand this: “Resilient conviction” is part of every enlightened leader’s behavioral profile.

Believe me when I tell you, I was rejected by everyone under the moon and sun, ridiculed as a politically incorrect ranting and raving lunatic (even by many of the people closest to me – my colleagues in other firms and practices). I was excluded, an out-cast by some organizations, who was said that I was conceptually and literally wrong about everything I conceived to be true. Yet my firm thrived for more than 20 years with impressive Fortune, Global, and Inc. 500 clients. Other management consulting firms interpreted my professional life as a contradiction (or just dismissed me for being a crazed, conflicted, Spanish-French Pisces).

Despite what fascist, authoritarian textbooks may have taught you, listen to your inner voice, see with your mind’s eye. Think about it: Are you flying your true colors? Are you saying what you believe? Or, are you just repeating what you been told is the proper company line. Great leaders are revolutionary not evolutionary, executing their visions with precision. Enlightened Leaders use their voice as a catalyst for action and change.

Come what may, when is the wrong decision, the right decision? When no one around you believes in doing the right thing, but you. Learn how to speak-up effectively. Challenge the powers that be. Storm the Bastille!

According to recent research from VitalSmarts: Silence Fails. Leaders can substantially improve their organizations ability to execute on high stakes projects and initiatives. Yes, you can break the code of silence on five astoundingly common yet mostly unspoken, undisclosed, and ignored problems that contribute significantly to almost all project and initiative failures.

Based on the VitalSmarts research, when an enlightened leader skillfully creates even a moderately safe environment, the likelihood of a project or initiative failing is reduced by 50%. When enlightened leaders effectively step-up, hitting schedule is 40% more likely, quality improves 60%, and the potential for project or initiative ending with strong morale and intact stakeholder relationships is 70% greater.

Based on the VitalSmarts study, the five crucial conversations most prevalent and most costly to lasting success are:

  1. Fact-free Planning: A project or initiative is set-up to fail when deadlines or resource limits are set with no consideration for reality.
  2. AWOL Senior Executives: Senior Executives (sponsors) provide no leadership, political clout, time, or energy to see a project through.
  3. Skirting: People work around the priority setting process. (You know, there’s one in every crowd, on every team, and more than one in every organization and family.)
  4. Project Chicken: Team leaders and members don’t admit when there are problems with the project, but instead wait for someone else to speak-up.
  5. Team failures: Team members are unwilling or unable to support the project.

Each brings with it a myriad of misses, cost over-runs which plague projects, initiatives, teams, organizations (and yes, dysfunctional co-dependent family relationships). The VitalSmarts key findings show that these problems are most likely caused by a high degree of interdependence among levels and functions. The organizational culture tends to be closed rather than open. Challenging norms, especially within a hierarchy, is the kiss of death. When these problems are not openly and skillfully discussed, projects and relationships fail miserably, significantly impacting what leaders, teams, and organizations can achieve.

Enlightened Leaders influence lasting success and achievements, the way we see ourselves and each other, causing us to re-think what we thought we knew, shifting our perceptions of things, the way we feel and act. Enlightened leaders shoot for the moon, and beyond.

So, what do you say and do? Let’s continue the conversation.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting

What Do You See? What Do You Hear?

“You see what you want to see. You hear what you want to hear.” -Harry Nilsson

Have you ever noticed how some things we learned long ago and far away, things that were once upon a time valued in business/life, and our pluralistic culture, have been pushed to the wayside, and mostly forgotten like yesterday’s news?

It can evoke questions: What was the point of learning these things in the first place? What was the purpose of the lessons taught to us, the life lessons learned? To what end? Were these just mad theories espoused by respectable gurus of the day? A backwards tape with forward thinking, not meaningful in the long run? Some things change for the better, some things remain the same. Were you just living in an eighties daze? Still have classic business suits with classic concepts in your pockets? Are you no longer the youngest one in the room? You know, the one with all the answers. Ah well, and so it goes.

I am most concerned here about the under-valued skills of listening and observing. Is it possible that we’ve lost the importance of listening and observing in business/life? When was the last time you sincerely listened to understand, quietly observed to perceive – without thinking about what you wanted to say next?

When I was a small boy (maybe 9 or maybe 6) I was sitting with my Father on the east riverbank across from our metropolitan city, our cosmopolitan city.

Being among the working-class poor, we could only own parts of the city in our torn and tattered daydreams. In our shared reality, we didn’t own much of anything, except in imagination. In our mind’s eye, we could be anything, anywhere.

It was twilight. Even though we could feel the world changing rapidly all around us, there was no sense of urgency in my Father’s voice, only gentleness. My Father asked me, “What do you see, what do you hear as you look at the city from this distance?” I didn’t understand what he meant in the moment, or what he was really asking me, but I answered anyway (because that’s what children do). I knew so little about the ways of the world. Even as mature human beings, we tend to tout and lean on only the things we do know. We’re taught to make sure the world knows what we know. And, may the Gods help us if we don’t know the answer. After all, you’re suppose to be the expert, aren’t you?

So even then, in the moment, I thought, “What difference will my answers make to these questions, to our lot in life – surrounded on three sides by factories, and a flood plain on the fourth side? After all, wasn’t everything glorious built from greed and gold? With the victors come the spoils. The steeples are dwarfed by financial towers. Architectural brilliance replaced by concrete boxes in neat little rows. Woe to the man who is different. He shall be mocked, he shall be scourged.”

Still, I remember seeing towering blue glass and silvery steel structures which outlined the skyline darkening our city like a scene from a Batman Movie, complete with a massive power plant down river from us. There were the thickest and tallest smokestacks I had ever seen, filling me with trepidation (despite the fact that I grew-up in the waning days of the industrial age, surrounded by hulking, dilapidated factories that would spew filth, scum particles raining down on us, night and day). I remember walking with my younger sister to our Catholic School, pausing on the street corner, and laughing out-loud because we could feel the pollution tickling our faces like a snow scene from the movie “White Christmas.”

In a few brief years, these same factories would be silenced by the death of industrial manufacturing. I could see aged, arched train bridges with coal black engines steaming in the shadows. Surveying our city more closely I saw a few dimly-lit windows, must have been the men my Father had warned me about: the men with white shirts and ties, smiling with bullet teeth, killing with their smiles, burning the midnight oil (these same men who I’d be competing with in a few years) and fragmented lights glimmering off the water from after business hour offices. There were the bright neon nightclubs along the old gaslight district. Streaming taillights on the outer expressway circled and strangled our city like a noose. Hearing the white noise of traffic and exhaust pipes, I could see the silhouettes of men moving, long trucks resting on the riverfront cobblestones. Remembering routine front page photographs of bodies washed onto the waterfront, could these be the same mafioso guys from our neighborhood?”

My Father then told me about what he had seen and heard looking at his village from across his childhood river. “We dreamers are not alone in this world. I saw dreamers, like you and me, dreamers who do, dreamers who built great church steeples rising to the heavens, grand works of timeless architecture, beautiful bridges that would stand the test of Fascist and Nazi attacks, the sounds of simple conversations and endless laughter streaming from the bistros, vitriolic words exchanged amidst uncontrollable political, social, and cultural differences. The marching of what appeared to be toy soldiers from so far away, the heavy movement of tanks on stone roads, a rumbling blur in a smokey haze, flags unfurled identifying friend or foe. The romantic, shimmering splendor of an empire’s last days.”

He went on to tell me, “Someday, everything you now know, you see and hear, will live only in your memories.” It’s becoming true, you know. Sitting on the same riverbank today, I’d see and hear things differently.

When you look at the world around you, what do you see? What do you hear? Listening and Observation require a quiet inner calm. Do you have what it takes? Remember this: What you’ve been told are the “soft skills” are actually the hard skills that you must master to be a truly successful leader in a global society.

We’ve explored what role “feelings” plays in Thought Leadership writings focused more on Emotional Intelligence, and the importance of developing High EQ: “What Do You Feel?”

Give me a team of learners, not know-it-alls, any day. The first step to enlightened leadership is becoming genuinely open-minded and self-aware, to admit our ignorance. Then, fling open the doors of perception to the importance of listening and observing.

The beginning is always today. Let’s continue the conversation.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting

Tangerine Tango: Let’s Dance!

Learn the steps of the dance, the art of conversation and build powerful, lasting business relationships that work for you.

Every lasting relationship begins with a conversation, even business relationships, even partnering for mutual benefit. Yet, sometimes we forget the easy way to connect with the new people we meet, on something we have in common, other than business, a simple generous gift of conversation.

The nice thing is that conversation can be about anything, almost anywhere. Natural humor stimulated by life and living in this world, an affinity we share, it may be something complimentary or complementary.

Build powerful, lasting business relationships, especially Advocate Relationships, without breathlessly pontificating about what you do and how you do it, without talking about business, without selling anything at all. No matter what business you are in, the relationship business is key to your business growth.

To illustrate: Did you know that the newest Pantone Color released in 2012 is called “Tangerine Tango.” For our purposes, Tangerine Tango is simply “starting that initial conversation.” The fun part is that you can initiate conversations anywhere, anytime (not exclusively at business events). The potential for human interaction is all around us. You know you’ve got to face the music sometime, somewhere.

Best described as “warm, uplifting, and energizing” Tangerine Tango is the perfect color for increasing business relationships.

Think, act, be Tangerine Tango! Learn the basic steps, the art of engaging in simple conversation is just like a dance. Learn the dance. Practice each step with your newest partner. You will remember where to step with every beat of the music. One caveat, unfortunately if you are not genuinely committed to Tangerine Tango (reflecting the behavioral ways you cultivate relationships) it will be transparent to everyone around you.

You can use Tangerine Tango in networking, in expanding your business relationships, your sphere of influence, again without selling anything. (We can call it, “The No Pitch.”) Learn the dance. Establish rapport, trust, and value creation with people.

Give the gift of value in your conversations to create “Advocate Relationships.” Advocates are people who will make a case to recommend you to others, without you ever asking. Advocate relationships are the most important relationships. These are people who will give you unsolicted referrals because they like and trust you.

Try Tangerine Tango just once. Try it, and decide later. Is it right for you? It’s a simple choice. Work it. You’ll feel Tangerine Tango working for you without you even having to be here, there, and everywhere. Build powerful, lasting relationships that work for you, and you’ll want to do the dance over and over again. There are two other basic steps essential to expanding your business, branding and building your image. We will explore these dance movements another time.

Can you really think outside-the-box? Here it is: Tangerine Tango!

Every lasting relationship begins with a conversation. After all, when’s the last time you really danced in your business life? Remember what they say, “It takes two to Tangerine Tango.” Let’s Dance!

The beginning is always today. Let’s continue the conversation.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting