Que Sera Sera (Whatever will be will be)

Unlike the song “Que Sera Sera” the future is ours to see. Where there is a will, there is a way. By provoking the future, we can determine what will be.

Vitalia Consultants and Coaches have become “The New Provocateurs.” To be authentic and effective, we must be provocateurs. Why? Because most of our client-entrepreneurs went into business without a market-tested, battle-tested idea, product or service ~ with mind-blowing $ signs in their eyes, lost in wonderland without a clear and precise grasp of “how to manage the business of business.”

As an entrepreneur, a founder and owner of two successful businesses, I genuinely understand the dilemmas facing our clients. Being empathic doesn’t mean that client apathy or complacency is acceptable. Accepting the status-quo is unacceptable.

In reality, most of our entrepreneurial clients are ill-prepared for the business of business. VC The King has fallen from grace“Que Sera Sera” is the worst theme song (attitude) ever for entrepreneurs. Yet, most naive entrepreneurs sing it every business day + weekends and holidays!

What’s the difference between dreamers and doers? Doers are dreamers with a plan. Obviously, when you don’t know where you are or where you’re going, you probably won’t get there.

Cheshire Cat: There you are!

Alice: Oh, no, no. I was just wondering if you could help me find my way.

Cheshire Cat: Well, that depends on where you want to get to.

Alice: Oh, it really doesn’t matter, as long as…

Cheshire Cat: Then, it really doesn’t matter which way you go.

from Alice In Wonderland

Consulting from the inside out, our client-projects mainly tend to be:

Business Growth Projects ~ Companies with a measure of sustained success and profitability over time, searching for ways to grow the business, moving from a developmental stage to a high growth stage, wanting to get from here to there. This usually entails building organizational capability, expanding leadership capacity, identifying emerging leaders, re-imagining brand management (communications and value) revitalizing talent and financial management. These C-Suite Executives are typically seasoned yet open-minded, willing to learn, and enlightened leaders.

Business Turnaround Projects ~ Companies whereby the probability of business failure is extremely high (due to gross mis-management) unless the C-Suite Executive Team makes immediate, decisive, dramatic behavioral changes. These companies are in dire straits, heavily in debt, often in the intensive care coma unit.

(Well-Funded) New Venture Start-Up Projects ~ Companies in the embryonic stages of development, creating a business mission, building an organizational vision and related capabilities, refining business, talent, and financial management tools. Taking their dream to the marketpace, these C-Suite Dreamers are committed to fulfilling their dream by living it.

Vitalia Consulting provides diagnostic tools and prescriptions to help C-Suite Executives sharpen their focus, achieve their personal and business goals, and increase the profitability of their companies.

We often care more about the business of business than our clients do. Our clients need us because they don’t understand the business of business. They hire us because (by doing what we do) we can help them get whatever they truly want from the business. There are plenty of clients who are oblivious to how the harsh realities of their business impact their quality of life.

Example: ($250M Software Company CEO) “God takes care of our business plan. I don’t have time for such things. My devotion is to my business, 80-90 hours a week. There are cameras everywhere here so that I can watch every aspect of my business because people are either lazy or thieves or both. I have never seen my daughter’s piano recitals or my son’s basketball games or gone on vacations with my wife and family, and I don’t ever intend to.”

Example: ($60M Chain of Auto Body Shops Owner) “2010 Hailstorms.” Answering the question, “When was your best year in sales? So that we can replicate it and use it as a stepping stone to greater profitability.”

Example: ($150M Home Improvement and Remodeling Company President, just before declaring bankruptcy) “We don’t need an organizational vision or strategies. People in this business come and go. We don’t worry about it. We don’t call them human resources.”

Example: (Health Services Non-Profit CEO and COO) “Marketing, sales, business development, and account management are the same thing, the same function.”

Example: ($600M High Tech Company CEO + other C-Suite Executives) “We understand that we’re in the technology space. All of the executives here have multiple degrees in engineering, etc. We know everything there is to know about this business. We don’t have time to think about a tax plan or tax strategies to increase our profitability. That’s what we pay our CPA Accountancy to do. We’ll have the company valuated when we sell it, merge or are acquired.”

These quotes would be funny if not so tragically true, especially for small ($15M+) to middle market ($600M+) companies, and we’re not talking about “Mom and Pop” businesses. Ever notice how more than 50% of the Inc. 500 “Top 500 Companies” disappear from the list year to year? The following facts are profound:

  • 4 of 5 small to mid-size businesses are failing
  • 81% fail within the first 5 years
  • 94% of the remaining businesses fail within 10 years
  • 69% are operating without a real business plan
  • 84% with a real business plan don’t manage from it
  • 85% are operating without a succession plan
  • 89% don’t capitalize on tax planning using a board certified tax attorney/planner/strategist
  • 90% have no exit plan strategies
  • 96% don’t have their business valuated periodically (every two years)
  • Entrepreneurs within these stats have among the highest rates of divorce, suicide, depression, alcoholism, heart attacks, and ulcers
  • 70% of the entrepreneurs who somehow succeed end-up selling their companies for 60% below fair market value
  • 87% do not act as the CEO (or a C-Suite Executive) instead act as an employee whereby the business eventually owns them (mind, body, and soul)
  • Most entrepreneurs finance their own deals; borrow to fund debt; file for bankruptcy; and ultimately, lose everything.

Most of these entrepreneurs are candidates for “Business Turnaround Projects.”

 

~ Deuxieme Partie ~ (Part Two)

CNBC recently reported Business Owners Trying To Do It All: “The greatest mistake entrepreneurs make is to believe that they can do it all themselves. While entrepreneurs can do almost everything, they do almost everything poorly. Just like any other person, an entrepreneur has one or two natural talents. As an entrepreneur, it is your job to identify those talents and focus on them to the fullest. Surround yourself with people who are strong where you are weakest. Great companies are built on the foundation of exploiting a few strengths, not trying to be the masters of everything.”

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While CNBC correctly describes the single greatest challenge of every entrepreneur, CNBC didn’t go far enough in setting forth the solution. The pragmatic solution to fixing the problem of “trying to do it all” is to re-organize the business with the right organizational structure with clear lines of authority, delegation of duties, methods of accountability, and the systems needed for greater controls. Optimize organizational and business performance with the right people, the right processes, the right tools ~ on the right road to recovery.

Accept it or not: In reality, our clients need our organizational leadership consulting and coaching help, not just from anybody, because we’re not like everybody else ~ because we can’t be like everybody else, and do our work effectively. Our mission as provocateurs is to positively affect change in the lives of our clients, and client companies, while delivering a significant 2:1 return on their investment.

Partner With Us.

Developing “Enlightened Leadership” is key to our success. In turn, we can help our clients get their real wants. What our clients want is a clear understanding of how to run the business by the numbers (not for the sake of compelling, colorful graphs and charts) so that they can have freedom and peace of mind.

Alice: I simply must get through!

Doorknob: Sorry, you’re much too big. Simply impassable.

Alice: You mean impossible.

Doorknob: No, impassable.  Nothing’s impossible.

from Alice in Wonderland

We start with a “Business Insights Analysis®.” We show our clients the true business of business by looking inside the numbers, an in-depth look at the four components of every client-company:

  • Sales
  • Production
  • Financial Management
  • Talent Management (within the current Organizational Culture)

Often the Business Insights Analysis® findings become the catalyst for systemic changes, paving the way for revitalized vision, strategy, positioning, structure, financial management, policy, controls, process, reporting relationships, talent management, organizational culture, all requiring management and leadership behavioral changes.

To be provocateurs, we must be confident, bold, forthright, and assertive. Provoking is giving tough love, engaging the client with passionate (applied) intelligence. Our passion comes from knowing that no one says on their deathbed, “I wish that I had spent more time putting-out office fires.” Provoking is holding the client accountable. Provoking is never buying the client’s excuse for procrastination. Time is of the essence. Provoking is never putting the client at risk by accepting “let me think about it. Time waits for no one.

Freedom lies in being bold. ~Robert Frost

Enlightened Leaders understand that the future cannot be created by holding onto the past. Unlike the song “Que Sera Sera” the future is ours to see, the dreamstime_s_13519579future is there for our entrepreneurial clients to create. The client must have a passionate desire to fulfill their real wants ~ on the right road to recovery.

To be provocateurs is to have sincere love for our client’s business, having genuine empathy for their well-being. We are the guardians of Entrepreneurial Corporate America. We pitch nothing. We sell nothing. Our role is to to provide light in the darkness of despair. ♥

We deliver pragmatic and provocative solutions. We offer rays of light, hope for a brighter future by presenting entrepreneurs an opportunity to evoke change in their business and life.

At the least, we give every client we engage the option, the chance to change their course of direction, to never stop improving ~ to be successful in business and life.

Imagine us as personal physicians conducting a detailed, complete examination. Would you want us to intervene in the earliest stages of cancer? Would you want an accurate diagnosis/prognosis, or just hear what you want to hear, see what you want to see?

Let’s Get Started. Partner With Us!

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.

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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

 

The Compassionate Pursuit of Happiness (Prosperity)

Warning! This blog may not be suitable for all readers, especially for those who made resolutions against happiness and prosperity in 2013, and for those who do not believe in the Constitution of the United States of America.

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Enlightened Leaders can make others happy. Understand, this is not meant to say leaders are responsible and accountable for other people’s happiness, but Enlightened Leaders with high Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are responsible and accountable for creating environments where people can experience happiness. Consider this: The compassionate pursuit of happiness is not about what you want to be, it’s about who you want to be in this world:

  • as a compassionate human being
  • a compassionate organization
  • a compassionate business entity

Time is passing not everlasting. Notice? You blinked a few times and February 2013 is upon you, and will soon be gone. The Golden Globe Awards are behind us and now the Academy Awards are a couple weeks away. Time is passing not everlasting.

Have you had a chance to see the impressive small film, Happy? I highly recommend how this film explores the intrinsic contributors to our happiness as compassionate human beings. According to filmmaker, Michael Pritchard, “Compassion leads to happiness. Search the world for secrets to life’s greatest emotion, happiness.”

Economic growth has doubled in the last 50 years, but we’re not any happier, even though we have much more materialistic stuff. Right? Is everything we were taught about happiness and prosperity wrong-headed? After all, the study of happiness is nothing new. The point is that we haven’t seemed to learn very much from all the happiness research, and Corporate America (and society in general) hasn’t exactly embraced happiness or its relationship to compassionate leadership.

After all, most of us began the new year making promises to improve our lives, resolutions and un-resolutions based on what we did and didn’t do the year before. So, without looking too far ahead, look back at 2012 and assess what happened, what got you there, and most importantly, what made you happy, and why?

I believe that if you can tap into what makes someone else happy, you’ve expanded your enlightened leadership competencies. Plus, the fulfillment of making others happy reinforces your own happiness. For we cannot have relationships with others without reciprocity, mutual acceptance, respect, and value. Mutual benefit must exist to sustain relationships. Without mutual benefit, relationships die.

There are many things we do not fully understand on this planet, not on this plane. Yet, we must try to understand. Trying to understand is simply an exercise in becoming a better human being, a better leader.

Dr. Richard Davidson, University of Wisconsin, “Quantify happiness and you can quantify anything.” We’ve spent forever studying depression. Isn’t it high time we take a closer look at the value of happiness in leadership. The goal of psychology has been to help people rid themselves of their problems. Positive psychology studies and guides people towards happiness. Did you know that “Happiness” has become the most popular elective course at Harvard?

Marci Shimoff, author of Happy for No Reason says, “Our values are a key component of happiness.” Shouldn’t our values shape the kind of leader we are capable of becoming? Happiness is which something so often easily discarded as a “soft skill” is actually hard to develop, unless the essence of Enlightened Leadership is within you, and your organizational culture supports it.

Forbes released the January 15, 2013 report on the “World’s Happiest Countries.” Guess what? The USA wasn’t among the Top Ten again this year! What’s wrong with us?

Researchers have long known that we have pre-disposed genetic set points that play a role in determining how happy we can be. Moments of great joy or great sorrow return us to our happiness set points. Here’s the thing ~ While 50% of our happiness is genetically pre-programmed, only 10% is based on circumstances, 40% is based on intentional behavior! In other words, it’s what you choose to do, who you choose to be that has a significant impact on your lasting happiness, and in turn, the happiness of others around you.

Decades of research proves that happiness increases nearly every business and educational result: increasing sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19% as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements. Among those companies that don’t take leadership development seriously, vital and emerging leaders, these same companies ignore the role happiness plays in leadership effectiveness.

What can your company do to raise the happiness level of an employee? Happy human beings function better, are more productive, and live longer. Is the dissatisfaction in your company caused by depression stressors, or combined with low levels of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) within your leadership team, or the absence of happiness within the organizational culture?

Think about it. What did you do when the umbilical cord was cut? Cry, Baby Cry.

Knowing happiness can be quantified and measured, why has Corporate America been so slow to capitalize on its value to business? What about your company? (Conference room donuts, bagels, muffins, cookies, brownies, hot cocoa, and coffee don’t count!)

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Nearly every company gives lip service to the philosophy “people are our greatest asset.” Results from the Conference Board’s most recent survey (tracking job satisfaction) shows that employees are “the unhappiest” in the 24 year history of the survey! Around the same time, CNNMoney reported that 87% of Americans are unhappy with their job. Mercer’s “What’s Working” survey found that one in three US employees are serious about leaving their current jobs. The numbers are higher among younger employees under 30 who tend to trend toward far more restless movement.

In her new book, The Myths of Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor, argues that holding on to fallacious ideas about happiness, thinking we’d be happier if we had the right relationship, social status, material possessions, or…[fill in the blank] works against us. The issue is that these kind of thoughts keep us mired in our past, and don’t reflect how one cultivates happiness in real life.

Appreciating our relationships compels us to extract the maximum possible satisfaction and helps us to be grateful for it, relish it, savor it, and not take it for granted. Cultivating appreciation also helps us feel better about ourselves, more connected to others, more motivated to nurture relationships, and less likely to compare our situation to others and become envious. When given the choice between competition and collaboration, compassionate human beings will choose collaboration. 

We all know someone who has stellar success in their professional life but completely miserable in their personal life, every relationship an apparition. What’s your story?

Based on the metrics alone, you can easily make the case that the single greatest competitive advantage, in the modern economy, is a happy and engaged workforce.

In the New Age of Enlightenment, Enlightened Leaders must lead the way out of the darkness of depression and recession into the light of happiness. We, through intention, can change our brains, and in turn, the world around us. Enlightened Leaders perceive happiness as a skill. Compassion is in our DNA, caring about people, places, and things outside of ourselves.

People joke about “natural highs.” Truth is, science has proven that the compassionate pursuit of happiness gives you “natural highs” as good or better than any drug.

Acknowledge that happiness is an advantage at work that can be leveraged to get things done. Seek happiness in the present instead of waiting for future success. Exercise your brain for higher levels of happiness by creating habits shown to increase job satisfaction:

  1. Write a brief e-mail every morning thanking or praising a team member.
  2. Write down three things you are grateful for each day.
  3. Spend a couple minutes recalling something positive you’ve experienced over the last 24 hours.
  4. Exercise every day.
  5. Practice “Mindful Meditation” for a few minutes. Focus on your breathing in/out.
  6. Be forgiving. Practice forgiveness ~ every day of your life.  

Of course, if you can’t see the value, none of this will matter to you, and you should have read the disclaimer. Happiness comes from the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think and act freely, to risk life, to be needed not ignored.

Happiness: Set your compassionate self free, and the world is yours.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting

 

Music Playlist to Get Your Happiness Groove On:

  • Can’t Buy Me Love ~ The Beatles (Hard Day’s Night movie soundtrack)
  • Respect Yourself ~ The Staple Singers
  • Sweet Dreams ~ The Eurythmics
  • Higher Ground ~ Stevie Wonder
  • Sweet Dreams ~ Senor Coconut
  • Happiness Runs ~ Donovan (Yes! That Donovan!)
  • Ode to Joy ~ Beethoven (from Symphony No. 9 in D Minor)
  • Tomorrow Never Knows ~ The Beatles (Revolver)
  • Oh Happy Day ~ The Edwin Hawkins Singers
  • Bossa Per Due ~ Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • 100% Pure Love ~ Crystal Waters
  • Happy Talk ~ South Pacific (South Pacific movie soundtrack)
  • If Six Was Nine ~ Jimi Hendrix
  • Stand By Me ~ John Lennon (version)
  • Four Seasons ~ Vivaldi
  • Because ~ The Beatles (Abbey Road)
  • Instant Karma ~ John Lennon
  • Imagine ~ John Lennon
  • Happiness ~ Johnathan Jeremiah
  • Here Comes The Sun ~ The Beatles (Abbey Road)
  • I Can See Clearly Now ~ Johnny Nash
  • Inner Light ~ The Beatles (b-side of Lady Madonna)
  • A Beautiful Morning ~ The Rascals
  • Rain ~ The Beatles (b-side of Paperback Writer)
  • Living in a Material World ~ George Harrison
  • The Trip ~ Donovan (Yes! That Donovan again!)
  • Across The Universe ~ The Beatles (Abbey Road)
  • Love ~ Air
  • Yellow Submarine ~ The Beatles
  • Feelin’ Good ~ Joe Sample and Randy Crawford
  • Groovin’ ~ The Rascals
  • I’ll Take You There ~ The Staple Singers
  • Happy Birthday ~ The Beatles (“aka” The White Album”)
  • You Can’t Buy My Love ~ Robert Plant (Band of Joy)

 

 

 

 

  

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 vitaliaconsulting.com 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 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

Leadership is About Love

"And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give." Lennon-McCartney

Our client focus groups are telling us that the purpose of leadership vital to “building organizational capability” is not just about achieving business aspirations. In fact, talking with diverse groups of professionals, managers, and executives, people are saying in essence, “leadership is about love.”

There is a strong correlation between how leadership is perceived and given definition, and how people experience the state and ways of being in love. Traditional leadership tends to be authoritarian (some might say fascist) based on title and position within the hierarchy. Have ever you met anyone who was coerced into a loving relationship?

When you think about it, leadership and love are mutually inclusive. Creating mutual trust, value, respect, and acceptance, a shared vision and mission with another human being, a sincere commitment that doesn’t fade away when the sky isn’t blue. There is no absence of clarity, no ambivalence.

Think deeper, no time for hesitation, immerse yourself in the love pool. Leaders who have high emotional intelligence (EQ) are accessible, followers are believing with eyes wide open. Leadership is About Love. Here is a list our findings, and related notations:

  • Enlightened (seeing what others can’t see)
  • Emotional Intelligence (High EQ)
  • Caring (giving of themselves)
  • Willingness to partner (and collaborate)
  • Willingness to change behavior
  • Nurturing Relationship(s)
  • Genuinely committed to relationship(s)
  • Resilient
  • Pluralistic (and inclusive)
  • Thought-provoking
  • Inspire Action
  • Coach for optimum performance
  • Mutually Adaptive
  • Open Minded: Receptive to Multiple Pluralistic Perspectives
  • Open Hearted (Actually Give a Damn)
  • Being Generous (without expectations)
  • Admirable
  • Trustworthy
  • Ethically Driven
  • Thoughtful Listener and Observer
  • Creatively and Strategically Balanced
  • Do as they say (follow-through)
  • Authentic
  • Lead by Example
  • High Self-Awareness
  • Appreciative
  • Empathic

Why is this important? Consider this, “Enlightened Leaders” (who possess High EQ) are directly linked to individual, team, organizational, and business success.

Yet, research has shown that emotional intelligence is not valued in mainstream business, and EQ dramatically declines within more senior management and executive groups. Despite EQ being introduced years ago, the problem remains: how to increase Emotional Intelligence (we can call it “the love factor”) within the highest organizational levels.

The vast rejection of Emotional Intelligence by most of Corporate America is even more astounding when considering that organizations are comprised of human beings (with emotions!). It’s as if the soft skills have been purposely devalued to divert attention away from this fact: developing High EQ is hard for most “leaders” because of cultural, societal, and business-orientation.

Remember, Enlightened Leadership with High EQ can create new waves of understanding, and  innovative organizational solutions.

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

  • What do you think the correlation is between love and leadership? Why do you think it matters?
  • What is your definition of love?
  • What is your definition of leadership?
  • Are you an enlightened leader?
  • What do you think the correlation is between emotional intelligence and success? Why do you think it matters?

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting