Canoeing with Mintzberg

Canoeing with Mintzberg

The CoachingOurselves Reflections 2017 – Rebalancing Society conference was an outstanding 3-day event filled with ideas, presentations and passion shared with us by the brightest minds: Henry MintzbergPhilip KotlerDan PonterfractEd ScheinJonathan GoslingMitch Joel and many other prominent thinkers, businesspeople and coaches.

This true feast of sustainable leadership was concluded with a savory dessert – The Great Canadian Canoe Trip, five hours in double canoes going down the Devil’s River in Mont-Tremblant National Park.

Now, mentally going through the experience again, I think that this trip in the end of the conference was more than just for pleasure and relaxation. The unbridled nature, the canoes, and the river flow – all have their profound role in the understanding and “internalization” of the worldview experienced during the main event.

Here are my key takeaways from the Canoe Trip.

1.      Key safety rules in the canoe are familiar to every manager:

  • Avoid sudden movements.
  • Go with the flow.

Nothing new, but that does not mean “don’t rock the boat”; it’s just that any disruption creates unnecessary risks and may lead to an accident, and is not necessary when you are on the right course.

2.      The real leader in the canoe, the helmsman, is the paddler in the stern. He is the more experienced one, doing the steering. Leading from behind, he will be looking over the front paddler’s shoulder all the time, and if the latter does not have a small frame and wears a hat, the helmsman will not see much. Continue reading “Canoeing with Mintzberg”

Reflections 2017 Global Conference


To learn more about the critical role Leadership Development professionals play in society, come to the Rebalancing Society Event, hosted by Henry Mintzberg, Philip Kotler, Mitch Joel and many others.

““Leadership, like swimming cannot be learned by reading about it.” Henry Mintzberg.

Register to see Henry and other thought leaders at Reflections 2017 Global Conference!

Why Most Lean Six Sigma Projects Fail?

why lean projects fail


Stats indicate that the success rate for Lean initiatives is hardly over 5%. That means that up to 95% of continuous improvement programs fail to rescue the operation and have no sustainable effect.

The data and my analysis do not claim to be exhaustive but I believe the TRUE ANSWER to the question is provided indirectly by the Lean Six Sigma group on LinkedIn.

Here’s what I discovered today. Continue reading “Why Most Lean Six Sigma Projects Fail?”

What Do Starbucks and Lean Six Sigma Have In Common?

Lean Six Sigma vs Starbucks

In essence, both are not new. They are derivatives from older businesses or trends that have been in existence for at least some decades: Lean is a mass-market Toyota Production System and Starbucks is a mass-market coffee retailer. Continue reading “What Do Starbucks and Lean Six Sigma Have In Common?”

What Makes Life Worthwhile? Good People Made Better

What Makes Life Worthwhile

Once in a while you get news that makes your life worthwhile.

Last week a colleague sent me a text with the phone number of a former client: “He wants to speak with you.”

I called the new mobile number right away and learned that Vlad has been promoted to the top position at an oil production (E&P) company. For a professional, this is an incredible achievement!

Continue reading “What Makes Life Worthwhile? Good People Made Better”

Coaching Ourselves May Be the Way Forward

I attended an interesting webinar – “Peer-Coaching Groups with CoachingOurselves: A modern approach to developing leaders.”

Peer coaching with professional facilitation is an interesting concept. Although I did not hear Henry Mintzberg ever mentioning this, but it reminds me of the Quality Circles. They were popular in Japan in 1950s-1960s, made popular in the West by W. Edwards Deming especially in relation to Toyota.  Not a surprise that CoachingOurselves’ success story (still ongoing) is about their program at one Japanese company.

If you want to know more about the concept and the program, check out their website and youtube channel.

Highly recommended to managers who want to become better but cannot afford a coach. And Henry Mintzberg’s ideas are always interesting and thought-provoking (read: good for self-improvement).

How to Improve Your Organization’s Performance

Performance Can’t Be Improved With One Weird Trick

Introducing his movie’s cast members at a US premiere, Woody Allen once said, “I’m always very lucky to get a great cast. If you cast very talented people, you get out of their way and don’t screw them up, and they make you look like a hero, and then I take credit for it.” In this short tribute to his team Woody Allen demonstrated qualities that distinguish an outstanding leader: positive focus, humility, respect for the team, and a good sense of humour. Continue reading “How to Improve Your Organization’s Performance”