Author Archives: Bianca Le Mouël

How to Take the Leap to Sustainable Value Creation

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 7.59.52 PMMy advice to any executive who has decided to take on an accelerated path to innovation and sustainable growth is to resist the temptation to systematically seek immediate financial results and short-term solutions.  To go beyond business as usual, and to reach truly innovative solutions, you need to shift your focus from financial profitability to sustainable value creation.  The financial logic is exact but not very conducive to imagination.  The concept of sustainable value opens our business reflections and strategies to new horizons.  To make deeper and better decisions, you need imagination, patience, and open mind, and tolerance for ambiguity and confusion.

This calls for a new awareness.  It requires us to balance our faith in logic with the secular wisdom of instinct.  In doing so, we will need to tap into our intuition, an attribute of the feminine part of our psyche.  Intuition opens up new possibilities to feed the masculine part in us, which is ruled and often restricted by the logical mind.  And that is the message of Intuitive Intelligence: anything is possible when the feminine and masculine energies join to cooperate creatively, where improbable solutions can come to our rescue.

In our postmodern age we are still not used to the discomfort of the unknown, the demands of the feminine, and the fact that we are not in control.  But with determination, courage,and faith we can surrender to another belief system, one that enables us to overcome our fear and escape the deadening impact of our need for control.  As is the case with any creative journey, we have no guarantee of success, and no one can show us the way, because the way is unique for each one of us.  But we can receive guidance from the part of ourselves that knows better–the intuitive voice of feminine wisdom–and finally find our way out of control mode into a novel clarity and a deeper relationship with life.

Just as it always is for the mythical hero, the path we’re facing is filled with challenges and unknown factors.  However, we can choose to look at these challenges as parts of a creative process:  the process of evolution.  And we can rely on Intuitive Intelligence to help with decision making and creative problem solving in these unpredictable times.  It will provide unexpected creative answers, which will feel like magic to us because we cannot always explain them.  In this particular time of many unprecedented challenges we have a unique opportunity to engage and be taught in new ways.  

There are many real-life successful examples in the business world that prove there is a plausible route beyond conventional logic.  This will always require a leap of faith, but the leap can be an educated one.  We need to rethink the way we think.  We need reinitialize our thinking program in light of a new scientific understanding of the power of instinct and play and the quantum laws of matter, which show the paradox of our limited individuality within the holistic force of our interdependence and an unlimited number of possibilities.  In this new world view, power has to be reconsidered, money deconstructed and reconstructed into its real purpose:  the prosperity of all.  We’re called to move on.  No time to waste.  A new generation is already there, and we can all do it.  Together we can create a more meaningful, more prosperous, and more balanced world, It requires some adjustments and faith, but it is possible.

The Lakota people have a saying: “It is not about peace on earth but peace with earth.”  When we observe nature, we see how everything and everyone in nature contributes to the whole; that nothing can exist without the others, the conflict, tension, destruction, complexity,  and mystery are also part of it; and that the sum of it all is the most mystifying system we could ever imagine and learn from.


An Important Listening Exercise to Sharpen and Develop Your Creative Skills

Excerpted from Francis Cholle’s The Intuitive Compass, Jossey-Bass3

I am going to teach you an exercise, call The Listening Posture, in which you focus on your ability to listen differently.   Listening is very powerful.  It is a receptive function, which is a feminine quality.  Therefore proper listening can greatly help you access the feminine dimension of your psyche and develop your creative sensitivity.  There are many other reasons putting the emphasis on your auditory sense.  Some are scientific; some are related to ancient wisdom and rituals. Professor Alfred Tomatis developed the Listening Posture.  Although designed for therapeutic reasons, it is also a great way to sharpen your sensitivity, and access and develop your intuition.  You can do it anyplace–in your office, or even in a loud environment such as a waiting room.

Instructions for the Listening Posture:

  1. Set your intention: Think about an area in which you would like to get insights.  Make your question open ended.  Write it down.
  2. Sit still in a comfortable chair, feel your seat in the chair.
  3. Leave your legs and arms uncrossed and relaxed.
  4. Close your eye and focus and your breathing.  Breathe naturally.
  5. Relax your diaphragm (allow the muscular “floor” in your abdomen to move up when you exhale and down when you inhale).
  6. Relax your neck and shoulders, lower back, middle back, and upper back.
  7. Relax your facial muscles and the muscles around your upper lip, and tighten the skin of your face up and out to make it more smooth and even.
  8. Pay attention to the sounds in the room
  9. Focus on your right ear (unless you have impaired hearing, it is the one that can relay sound to your brain in the quickest way).
  10. Focus on all high-pitched founds,
  11. Focus on the harmonics of all sounds )the luminescent part of all sounds, like the crest of a wave).
  12. Float in this sonic bath.  Let these harmonics energize you as much as they open you to greater awareness.
  13. Stay in this state for five minutes.
  14. Open your eyes and look around the room.
  15. Look at your question.  Write all the ideas that come to you.


Why You Need Intuition in Business (part two)


This week we continue exploring techniques to sharpen and hone your intuition.  For more about the case for intuition in business, check out last week’s post.2

Relax and Practice Noticing

  • the world-renowned mime Marcel Marceau said, “Our body knows things the mind does not have access to.”  The best gateway to information from our subconscious mind about the world around us is through a relaxed body.  The most efficient way to relax our body is not a five-star vacation, it is breathing.  Breathing can dramatically alter our experience in any given moment.  You can do this almost anywhere with a simple meditation.  Sit quietly with both feet on the floor, hands at rest on your thighs, eyes closed.  Don’t try to alter your breathing in any way, just pay attention to it.  Don’t think about anything–not your problems, not even happy things–simply focus on the movement of your breath.  Do this for a minute, or five minutes, or as long as you like,  Taking this little break, even for just five minutes, may at first make you anxious, but give yourself permission to take five minutes in which you do nothing but breathe.  To focus on your breathing, simply notice the movement of your diaphragm–the horizontal muscle that moves up and down in your mid-torso.  when your diaphragm goes, up, you exhale and your rib cage narrows.  When your diaphragm goes down you inhale and your ribcage expands.  Becoming mindful of the movement of your diaphragm is enough to largely improve your breathing.  When you give yourself this permission, your body will relax and your breath will deepen naturally.
  • Pay attention.  It is very easy to stop noticing small things, or even large things.  Buddhists have a practice of mindfulness in which every movement, whether lifting a cup of tea to one’s lips or placing a foot on the ground while walking, is afforded the greatest attention.  Be mindful during a routine event such as eating breakfast; afterward, record the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arose in the short interval.

After you have tried the exercises from both this week’s and last week’s post, keep practicing the ones that resonate with you.  Over time these exercises will help your intuitive abilities get stronger and will make it more likely that they will become natural part of your daily life. Intuition is a skill not made by either nature alone or nurture alone.  We are born with a capability, and we turn it into a capacity by using it over and over again.  Once you’ve identified the exercise of the few exercises that are most natural to you, with regular practice you will improve your ability to reflect about a decision or a situation beyond pure logic.  This will greatly enhance your ability to pay attention and notice, to trust the unknown and tolerate the confusion that comes with ambiguity and complexity.  You will be more comfortable with your own subjectivity.  It will prevent you from too quickly jumping to a logical conclusion, which would not necessarily get you to the most creative answers


Why You Need Intuition in Business (part one)

In Frederic Laloux’s recent groundbreaking book “Reinventing Organizations”, he makes the case for the value of developing your intuition:1PM

     Wisdom can be a found in intuition, too.  Intuition honors the complex ambiguous, paradoxical, non-linear nature of reality; we unconsciously connect patterns in a way that our rational mind cannot.  Intuition is a muscle that can be trained, just like logical thinking: When we learn to pay attention to our intuitions, to honor them, to question them for the truth and guidance they might contain, more intuitive answers will surface.

Just as we prepare ourselves for an important interview or set our minds to achieve a challenging goal like running a marathon, we can take step to invite intuition into our daily experience.  The following are a number of ideas to ponder and exercises to do.  Consider adapting them in a way that speaks to you.

Revisit Your Perspective and Perceptions

  • Consider the possibility that wherever you are now is now the optimal place from which to get where you want to go.  A Native American proverb says:  What do you do when you get lost?  Stand still.  The trees and bushes beside you are not lost.
  • Look at a painting by Monet or Picasso and contemplate your ability to alter your perception of reality and bring forth something completely new and unexpected.
  • Pay attention to details–like a word, color, or song that catches your attention or comes to mind for no apparent reason–as elements that have the capacity to reveal the whole.  Look around you with a fresh eye to rediscover the environment you’re in or all data and aspects of the situation at hand that you would like to resolve.

Get Comfortable with the Part of Life That Is Not Logical

  • Don’t immediately ban an idea because it is paradoxical and appears illogical.  Welcome paradoxical data or situations.  The word “paradox” comes from the Greek paradoxos “opposed to existing notions, from para- + doxa opinion”; so something that is paradoxical is something we should all look for because we looking for new ideas, not what is already known and widespread.  
  • When you receive information that appears to be out of context, take a moment to notice it.  It may appear to be out of context, but it could lead you to a deeper understanding of something that is not obvious.

Accept That You Are Not in Control

  • Allow yourself to be carried away by energies that appear to be chaotic.  Your acquiescence can help the emergence of a new order that you could not have imagined.
  • Try to stay in tune with your emotions, especially in moments of stress or chaos.  Emotions are energies that are all part of a same circle; if we shut one down, we break the circle, and we close ourselves off from all emotions, good or bad.  If we can avoid trying to harshly control emotions that feel uncomfortable, they will pass and we will return to a state of balance.  The more we accept our emotions, the faster they evolve and the faster we can move on.


Does Your Business Truly Focus on Value Creation?

Excerpted from Francis Cholle’s The Intuitive Compass, Jossey-BassScreen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.19.35 PM

Whereas the traditional business model was solely about profit, the new business model is about sustainable value creation.  In the old economic paradigm, we typically used hierarchical power structures and fear to achieve dominance.  In the new economic paradigm, successful businesses leverage collaboration and cooperation into a competition for significance, such as offering value to all the people who are involved, directly or indirectly, with your business activities.  When you deliver substantial value to all of your communities, profitability follows naturally.  The following questions will help you understand the focus of your business model.

  • Is your business strategy profit-centric or based on sustainable value creation?
  • Do you believe that sustainable value is beneficial to all of your stakeholders?
  • Are you looking at short-term or long-term sustainable value creation to measure the impact of your decisions?
  • Are you spending enough time anticipating where technology is going and how it will affect your business?
  • Are you capable of designing totally new product line tailored to untapped consumer groups, including developed market nonusers and emerging market new consumers?

After you’ve answered these questions, you should understand whether your business model is focused narrowly on dollars and cents profit, or if it is focused broadly on value creation.

5 Key Questions to Move Your Marketing/Branding Conversation Forward

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 9.50.35 PMExcerpted from Francis Cholle’s The Intuitive Compass, Jossey-Bass

Marketing and Branding can no longer be a one-way conversation in which companies dictate to consumers.  To achieve top-of-mind status with the new consumers–who are behaving more and more like community members, prosumers (professional consumers), and influencers–companies have to get into two-way conversations that begin with a mutual understanding and the delivery of a valuable service, and then move naturally to profitability and strong brand equity.

Interaction via social networks and codevelopment of products are two innovative ways the forward-thinking companies are revitalizing their marketing and branding strategies.  Answering the following questions can help you understand how your company truly sees its customers.

  • Do you focus on consumer simply as profit centers or as valued members of your community?
  • Do you approach profit as a function of the value you bring to your community members, or do you relate profit to shareholders’ return on investment, or both?
  • Are you only following trends, or are you truly innovating–are you able to be disruptively innovative?
  • Are you able to create retail experiences in which your employees/sales people are evangelists rather than paid mouthpieces?
  • Do you involve the consumer enough in the innovation and value creation of your company?

Answering these questions will guide you to review your relationship with your customers–what it is founded on and how it is facilitated.  Once you know how your organization views its customers, it will be easier to find ways to improve the relationship you have with them and succeed further in the new economic environment.

3 Key Steps You Can Take Now to Deal with Disruption

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 6.32.28 PMAccording to a 2013 Oxford Martin School study, nearly 50% of jobs in the US today will have disappeared by 2025 due to artificial intelligence and automation.

Many middle management positions will disappear as a consequence.

This is the new reality.

Disruption, which we define as a problem of such amplitude that it interrupts an activity or process, seems to be everywhere:

  • Radical evolution of business models. Netflix, Uber, Airbnb.
  • Digital hacking. A July 2015 Fortune magazine article documents the debacle hackers created for Sony at all levels of the organization.
  • Regulatory changes. In an interview with Charlie Rose this past June, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt talks about having to be really paranoid in the face of change. In the case of GE, he refers to regulatory changes being an even greater source of disruption than business competition.
  • Technological failure. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011 was deemed “manmade” by an independent investigation commission. According to the results of the investigation all of its direct causes were foreseeable because the plant was fundamentally incapable of withstanding the 9.0 magnitude Tōhoku earthquake and resulting tsunami.

So what should we do?

20 years ago former Intel CEO Andrew Grove wrote Only the Paranoid Survive. He wrestled with one of the business world’s great challenges in 1994 when a flaw in his company’s new cornerstone product — the Pentium processor — grew into a front-page controversy that seriously threatened its future.

More than ever we need to be hyper-cautious and invest and monitor closely business intelligence, as well as carefully and regularly do scenario planning.

But in a volatile and complex world that’s not enough. These are chess player’s strategies when we need GO* player’s responses, i.e. constant interaction with a moving environment when the pace of change is such that analytical thinking is no longer enough

In his book “How Google Works” Chairman Eric Schmidt says the same thing in another way. He explains that if you want to deal efficiently with disruption, don’t ask your senior strategist to join the brainstorming sessions, invite your smart creative.

Today we need to tap into another form of intelligence that bridges the gap between the rational mind of the strategist and the instinct of the creative. It is called Intuitive Intelligence.

That’s what soldiers and officers have to master for the battlefield, what the greatest performers have to learn to move audiences of thousands, and what athletes need in order to break Olympic records. High performance professionals are required to do both a lot of analysis and minute study as well as to grow their ability to respond instinctually to unforeseen circumstances through continuous practice and exploration. They all have to develop Intuitive Intelligence to be able to perform at their best in a very unpredictable environment: a war zone, a performance stage or a stadium.

Business life today is very similar.

Today it is no longer as much about strategy as it is about quick adaptation and constant experimentation.

I would recommend making disruptive change the new normal and the instinct of the creative the necessary attribute of today leadership, both in your own way of thinking and throughout your organization. To apply this effectively my three recommendations are:

–          Explore with your team what this means for your business model, marketing strategies, organizational design, management culture and leadership style.

–          Describe in detail what all of these changes will look like: what are the competencies needed, behaviors to adopt, industries or competitors you can learn from, new products and services likely to appeal to consumers, and new distribution models to leapfrog competition.

–          Apply these changes in increments. You will not be able to apply them all at once. Start somewhere, and crack open the new code of business within a limited area of your company.

And if you cannot implement it internally because your current way of doing things is too essential to your existing business, create a sister company, experiment in it with new ways of doing business, keep the link with the parent company tight and learn from it.

I have helped leaders apply all of the above in a number of organizations, of varied sizes and in different industries and continents. It works and delivers results. Contact us if you struggle with these ideas.

*An ancient Chinese board game that is the most popular game in the world today.

How to Create a Work Culture that Maximizes Creativity and Agility

Excerpted from Francis Cholle’s The Intuitive Compass, Jossey-BassScreen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.59.51 PM

To get the most out of employees in terms of creativity and agility, you need to create a work culture that enables them to explore new ideas freely and fail without fear of reprisal.  A work culture that is open to new ideas is key to success over the long term.  A work culture that honors autonomy generates unexpected–and often lucrative–new products.  A fluid, vibrant work culture resonates with and balances the complexity and unpredictability of today’s business landscape.  The following are some questions that can reveal the state of your work culture as it stands currently.

  • Is your work culture about anticipating your employees’ deeper need for meaning?
  • Is your work culture hierarchical only?  If not, do you have systems in place for informal gatherings, informal exchanges of information, informal participation?
  • Do you really care about people being happy, or do you just give it lip service?
  • Do you make it explicitly safe for people to try new things and to fail?
  • Do you encourage diversity in age, ethnicity, professional background, gender, and sociocultural styles?  If so, how?
  • Do you allow for and promote play?  If so, how?
  • How do you inspire employees’ creativity?
  • How do you create among employees a natural sense of belonging to your organization?

 Each question represents one key aspect of a work culture relevant to the new economic environment.  Answering these questions should help you understand your current work culture and see ways that you can improve it.


7 Questions to See if Your Leadership Mindset Meets Today’s Challenges

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 10.52.47 PMExcerpted from Francis Cholle’s The Intuitive Compass, Jossey-Bass

In the new leadership mindset, the conventional view of hierarchical power is replaced by a web of interconnected relationships.  It requires a deeper understanding of human nature and takes into account instinct and play.  This mindset recognizes the power and promise of intuition and the unconscious.  It’s important that you have a reasonably objective understanding of your own leadership style before you can effectively change the way you lead your organization.  The following questions will help you get a sense of how you lead.

  • Is your leadership style about control or influence?  Does it embrace the nonlinear aspect of life, or is it more conventional?
  • How do you influence your team members’ work?  What systems do you have in place?
  • Is your leadership style addressing the instinctual and emotional dimension of every relationship, or is it more intellectual?
  • Is your leadership really about bringing value to all people around you or simply about getting people to do what you want them to do?
  • Do you, as a leader, understand the power of symbols and stage powerful business rituals?
  • Do you seek adulation or ego-reinforcing behaviors from your employees, or are you more likely to encourage your employees to be honest and forthright with you, even if their feedback is not positive?
  • Do you allow yourself to notice the unusual in order to innovate and stay ahead of the curve in all areas of your business?

Asking yourself these questions will help you get a stronger understanding of your leadership style, where it lies on the Intuitive Compass, and which aspects of intuitive intelligence is embodies as well as which aspects of intuitive intelligence it is not tapping into.

For more information about The Intuitive Compass™, check out last week’s blog post here.

And to learn more about intuitive intelligence, click here.