Tag Archives: Intuitive Compass™

How to Evaluate Any Corporate Culture

corporate cultureFor those of you who missed our post last week, we used the Intuitive Compass® to create a Corporate Culture Questionnaire that is suitable for both CEOs trying to get a clearer understanding of how their company culture supports performance and for people in the process of looking for a new job who want to evaluate how well they would fit within the corporate culture of a particular company.  (For those of you that need a primer on the Intuitive Compass, please click here.)

As promised, below is the decoding section for the quiz.  You should have a score between 1 and 5 for each of the four quadrants of the Intuitive Compass: northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest.

Northeast

The northeast quadrant highlights the administrative function.  It shows how business is managed and organized.  This is obviously an important aspect of business:  how can an organization function well when processes are not well managed or are simply absent?  Typically, a financial institution or accounting firm would score high in the northeast quadrant, whereas a startup may not be focusing on how to manage a business that is still being shaped.  Therefore the important facts here are the nature and maturity of the business.  Businesses with analytical functions at their core tend to score high in the northeast quadrant simply because organizational skills are in their DNA.  Mature business tend to score high in the northeast quadrant because over time it becomes highly likely that systems and procedures have been put in place to ensure smooth operations that support continuation of the status quo.  If a business is still young (less than 2 years old) it is naturally more adaptable; its culture is affected by the nature of the activity but can be influenced more easily because day-to-day activities are less ingrained with habits built over time.  It is also important to evaluate the northeast in relationship to other quadrants; a low score in the northeast can sometimes be of lesser importance in a very high-performing culture (indicated by a high score in the southeast) or temporarily out of balance because the company is going through a major phase of reinvention of its business model, which brings more focus on the southwest and northwest.

Southeast

In the southeast quadrant, we have insights into the focus on performance and the measure of performance.  A high score would be typical at a sales organization like a network marketing company.  A low score would typically be found in a company focused on administration.  This quadrant gives you insight into the level of emphasis that is given to results.  If you are talented at working with metric objectives, regardless of your function in the company (marketing or sales), you will probably be inclined to seek a company with a high score in the southeast, like a sales oriented company.  Conversely, if metrics are not your strength of interest, a company with a predominantly southeast culture is unlikely to make you happy or leverage your most valuable talents.  In this case you may look for a company that is more about creation (southwest) and/ or administration (northeast).  Again, the relationship with the other quadrants is key, especially the northwest and southwest quadrants.  I know of highly profitable large consulting firms that have no sales objectives and no ongoing measure of their commercial performance: however, because they are very strong in the northwest (strategic planning), they deliver great ideas, and phone calls from new clients continue to come in.

Northwest

In the northwest quadrant we gather information on creative thinking and strategic planning.  A higher score is always better, because as we saw earlier, research shows that openness to new ideas is a factor of longevity. However, a business may be extremely successful a few years in a row simply due to a series of great deals (southeast) and bold moves (southwest), without much strategic thinking involved.  I’ve observed that a number of large companies tend to focus more on feeding the pipeline or following the “business as usual” routine strategy to meet sales objectives (southeast).  Often companies focus on market opportunities to boost sales, with little thought about sustainable value creation, which leads them to not adapt their business model to today’s new market constraints and their marketing strategies to a new type of consumer; a dangerous path in the long run.  So it is important to look closely at a northwest score and compare it with the score in the southeast.

Southwest

The southwest quadrant shows how much a company is dedicated to R&D and creation.  This quadrant is crucial in the new economy.  A high score in the southwest quadrant indicates a buoyant culture that can generate new ideas and creative initiatives and can support an entrepreneurial spirit.  What can be problematic, though is a high score in southwest and low scores in the other three quadrants, as it would indicate a company where leadership and management are not well rounded and business functions are not well integrated.  CEOs evaluating their own company should strive for a balance whereby creativity is supported from the perspective of both allowing and funding such activities as well as supporting the marketability of the innovations that are generated by developing strengths in the other three quadrants.  Individuals evaluating the possibility of joining a particular company should also look for evidence of this balance.

From these results a number of conclusions can be drawn.

If you’re looking for a job, it is important to review the relationship between the culture of the company you are considering joining and your own Intuitive Compass® to determine whether it is a compatible match.  For instance, if you are more of a southwest type of professional, you should really consider whether you’re being offered a position in a company that displays a northeast culture, and vice versa.  These results are also insightful if you’re simply evaluating whether or not you should stay in the company you work for.  I have a client, a C-level executive who realized that he would enjoy the southwest culture of a start-up much more than he did the very northeast/southeast culture of the multinational he had been working for since the beginning of his career.  He finally decided to leave his job to create his own start-up: a consulting firm with a built-in incubator to launch new digital companies in the new media industry.

If you’re the CEO of a company and would like to improve the culture of your organization, analyzing the Intuitive Compass in relation to the culture of your company will lead you to identify areas for improvement in every quadrant where a score is low.  You need to put the profile of your Intuitive Compass in perspective with your objectives and also your context at the time of the review:  industry, market situation, mission of the company, corporate strategy.  Each quadrant with a low score or any imbalance between the four quadrants represents an opportunity for growth.  In addition, the Intuitive Compass can help you clarify and articulate to your teams the reason behind the new goals you may set for them.

Playing while you work. The key to success?

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 10.47.41 PMThe following article about the work we do at The Human Company was published on the January 9, 2016 in the magazine L’Echo.

 “Disruption.” Such is the word that describes the powerful upheaval of the rules of the economic game, due to globalization and digital technologies. When the methods of the past don’t work anymore for the problems of the present, finding new keys to success becomes essential. Consultant Francis Cholle is working on just that.

 By Stéphanie Fontenoy

 French-American Francis Cholle, business consultant and founder of the consulting firm, The Human Company, presents us with his Intuitive Compass®, a true compass for innovation in the hands of business leaders to better navigate in this capricious economic weather. As in Edgar Allen Poe’s A Descent Into the Maelstrom, the one who will be saved is the one who will know how to use their intuitive intelligence in the face of the storm. How? By anchoring instinct to reason, so that “a non-rational logic” emerges, holding within new forms of conflict resolution and understanding of complexity. “Intuition is a homing instinct able to forage in areas where rationality would get lost,” explains the expert. His Intuitive Compass® is comprised of two axes: the North-South axis, which connects reason to instinct, and the East-West axis, the results and “play”. Through a quiz, each company can discover its position thanks to this “compass” and find new roads to explore. To create this model, Francis Cholle, a graduate from HEC, not only drew from his experience as an entrepreneur and business owner, but also from clinical psychology, the teaching of yoga and meditation, and operatic singing, fields that he practiced professionally, as well as many other areas of study and scientific research. His workshops or “Labs” have been taken on by several Fortune 500 companies, including L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, SAP-Business Objects, Bristol Myers Squibb, Hachette, Lagardère, Veolia and Ralph Lauren. He is the author of the bestseller L’Intelligence Intuitive (“To succeed in a different way”) and in English, of a book for leaders, The Intuitive Compass (Why the Best Decisions Balance Reason and Instinct).

You introduce the concept of play and techniques borrowed from the theater in your business workshops. Why?

Because the problems we need to solve today require solutions that we can’t access with traditional thinking strategies. It has been proven neurologically that play allows us to call upon layers of the brain where forms of intelligence only accessible through play, meditation, psychotropic drugs or dream reside. When we play, we are less in “self-control”, we are more open, more creative, and able to take more risks.

In what way is intuitive intelligence particularly important nowadays?

Because we have to realize that this “disruption” phenomenon that we are faced with now is not simply a passing phase to get through, but a new norm, a “new normal” that requires a fresh look at the world. We rediscover that change is really the only thing that never changes, whereas so far, we had a much more static vision of the world.

The models taught in business schools do not fit this new reality?

Things are changing everywhere, including in business schools. Nevertheless, I think students should get help rethinking their relationship with complexity: admit, on the one hand, that resolving complexity is a field where linear, logical and strategic ways of thinking are not adapted to the demands of “disruption”, and on the other hand, that the human race has never ceased to solve complex situations through hundreds and thousands of years, long before the rise of modern logic. It’s an innate aptitude of man that transcends culture and training, that we have access to at any given time. It’s this universal competence that I help leaders achieve in their companies, in a practical and concrete fashion, at the heart of new methods of management, change organization and realization, new approaches to their markets, their know-how and creation of value. It is what the next generation has to discover and learn to mobilize, in business and elsewhere.

Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.” You mention a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Kary Mullis, who explains that his greatest discovery was made while he was driving, with an idle mind, far from his laboratory and research work. What does that tell us about intuition?

The IBM Global CEO study of 2010 revealed that close to two thirds of the leaders of small and large businesses, in 60 countries and 33 sectors, considered that creativity would become their most important skill during the next five years. In his latest book, Eric Schmidt, head of Google, explains that to face “disruption”, one has to rely more on good creative people than strategists. Other studies have showed that a large part of this creativity resides in our subconscious. We access it while we sleep, of course, but also through play or when our mind escapes the conscious straightjacket of rational thinking. I really like these words by a foundational scientist of quantum physics, Niels Bohr, “No, no, you are not thinking, you are only being logical!” It summarizes well the concept that thought is not limited to what we traditionally call logic, in science. Playing, like any other activity that allows us to disconnect from conscious logical thinking, therefore opens the door to creative intuition. The advantage of play is that it is an active mode that can easily be integrated inside work and collaboration processes. American medical researchers from the University of Washington used it a few years ago. In just three weeks, they obtained results they hadn’t been able to reach in ten years of research, by inviting non-scientist gamers to take part in an interactive game, Fold It.

During your Labs, you ask participants to remove their shoes. For what reason?

Shoes, just like ties or vests, are part of the prerogative of the professional “persona”, the character we build at work. By removing these accessories that contribute to the “persona”, we allow without any particular effort for the people present to be naturally more authentic, so they live less inside their heads and more inside their bodies, so they access what they feel more and their intellect less, and therefore access original creative information.

 Describe to us the play session you use to create this realization that another form of deeper and more creative intelligence lies dormant inside us.

The group must recreate the alphabet, from A to Z, with closed eyes, one letter at a time, following alphabetical order, but according to a random order of participation of each member in the group. The group is not allowed to agree on a specific strategy prior or during the exercise. Participants are only allowed to speak to say a letter. No one knows who will speak or when. If two people say a letter at the same time or if the alphabetical order is not respected, we start over from the beginning. I face the group with a complex situation for which there is no preconceived solution. The logical mind is powerless when it comes to solving this situation, naturally complex. Nonetheless, the logical mind is called upon to respect the alphabetical order. However, the group always ends up succeeding. This demonstrates to leading executives that there is another way to solve problems than that of logical and strategic thinking. Participants need to keep their rational intelligence active, but also let another way of thinking emerge, that of non-rational logic.

 What is the goal?

I want to recreate spaces and times where people function connected to each other on a very instinctive, universal, efficient level because it is beyond opinions, emotions and all expressions of separation. It’s a place that can give rise to a unanimity that could not be reached in another manner, and certainly not that fast, because we can always debate things forever. Culturally, we are very concerned with debating ideas. The goal is to reach a quality of relating to oneself and others that goes beyond the limits of the mental, rational and conscious mind, to accomplish a universal convergence that will open a previously unseen range of possibilities and reinvention. It’s a cathartic experience for each participant. Once this experience has been shared by the group, the executive committee for example, there emerges a sense of the possible and consensus. The quality of the interaction between the members of the group becomes completely different. New solutions appear and concrete actions can be decided upon. The next step is building precise and detailed action plans and allowing each participant to make these new solutions their own and become engaged in implementing them. Finally, the ultimate step is to establish these new practices in the daily life of the group and its participants. This requires support through time to fight individual and organizational inertias. Yet we manage, with time and particular care, to develop this new approach in a durable manner, and impress it on minds, work processes and thought patterns.

Your methodology is used by companies like L’Oréal, Lagardère, Estée Lauder Companies. Concretely, how does it work?

I worked recently with a subsidiary of a French multinational company in Japan, in the beauty industry. This group historically had difficulties breaking into the Japanese market. One of the problems is the adaptation of the company’s development model to the particularities of Japan, as much inside as outside the company. For example, the Japanese don’t deal with problems the way Westerners do. Their approach is contextual. The western way of thinking tends to face a problem straight on, like an arrow on a trajectory to its targeted objective, while Japanese people move forward progressively and according to a “hidden order” for the western mind. This is how they solve problems and lead projects. The alphabet game allowed the company’s executive committee to go beyond this very limiting cultural gap. It allowed the Japanese members of the executive committee to feel understood and the Westerners to better grasp the expectations of the Japanese. They managed to better work together and better overcome their challenges without having to understand all the nuances and differences of their respective managerial cultures. They’ve integrated the exercise and repeat it each time the committee meets, as if to find the same wavelength beyond their cultural differences. Once a group has perceived the depth and power of this process, they implement and use it. This allows them to immediately work better together and efficiently, rapidly, solve complex challenges born from the “disruption” they must face. The stakes and the speed of change are such that we have to learn new swift attitudes and new creative ways of thinking at the same time as we solve pressing issues.

Have you had results backed up by figures?

Yes, always. Our approach is built for that purpose. Most of my clients – companies with several billions in revenue and thousands of employees – like many companies today, are confronted with outdated business models, because of the global competition and digital newcomers, to the extent that some of them are experiencing losses. The reinvention of their business model was absolutely necessary. I’m thinking among others of Hachette Media (press) in the United States or Lagardère Unlimited (sports marketing) in Europe and Africa. In record time – less than a year – our approach allowed them to identify and implement the changes necessary, to get back on track with a viable business model, to regain considerable market shares and to reach a good level of profitability, in spite of a constantly changing competitive environment. “Disruption” doesn’t frighten them anymore. They are now equipped to face it.

Decoding your Intuitive Compass®

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.35.29 PMAs promised, here is our blog post on decoding your Intuitive Compass®.  If you missed our “How you Make Decisions Questionnaire”, check it out here.  For more information about the Intuitive Compass® please check out our July 6, 2015 blog post or our book.

NORTHEAST QUADRANT

In this quadrant you can see how analytical and methodical you are about making a decision, how focused you are on getting the results you want, how you manage the time you have, an how you organize your environment and your resources to come to the best decision.  A high score in the northeast quadrant mans there is a high level of logical thinking and organization involved in your decision making; it shows your determination in the decision-making process and how well your organizational skills are mobilized for this. Conversely, a low score means that for you the process of decision-making does not follow a logical scheme.  When circumstances call for swift, insightful or instinctual ways of making a decision –a capacity very much associated with the southeast quadrant –then little organization makes sense and being methodical is not relevant.  But a low score under regular business circumstances means you would benefit from adopting a more rational and methodical approach to optimize your process of decision making. You may want to talk to a friend who makes good business decisions and manages his or her time, environment, data, and thoughts well.

SOUTHEAST QUADRANT

In the southeast quadrant, you get feedback on three aspects of your approach to the decision-making process: your level of commitment to doing whatever it takes to make a decision, regardless of how challenging it may be; your degree of clarity about the possible outcomes of your decision; and finally, your determination to make the best decision possible. A high score indicates a clear sense of about two or three of these aspects.  A low score indicates a lack of commitment to making a decision and/or making the best one, and/or a lack of evaluation of the potential outcome of your decision.  Depending on what you seek or have to achieve with your decision making you may want to analyze and try to understand why you’re not more committed.  In your analysis you any want to question whether you approach serves you well in your life; if it does not, consider how you can reframe your approach and empower yourself to be more committed when making decisions.  You may also want to spend time reflecting on the potential desired outcome of your decision so that you become more motivated to achieve it.  A lack of determination to make a decision may be the result of a desire to avoid dealing with certain feelings: discomfort, pain, fear, and so on.  This is why if you have a low southeast score you may want to put in in perspective with your southwest score and look for a correlation between the two low scores as the potential reason for your low score in the southeast quadrant. Compare both scores in the southeast and the southwest.  If they are both low it means that whether it is about being efficient and getting results or whether it is about play and free flow it is hard for you to commit beyond what’s logical.  You may consider looking into your ability to trust and examining whether you have underlying trust issues when making a particular decision or making decisions in general.  If it is the first case (trust issue around a particular decision), you may want to review the circumstances around this decision and the consequences of this decision.  Try to evaluate whether these are significant enough to justify your low score. If it is the second case (a trust issue around making decisions in general), you may want to either discuss it with a good friend whom you consider grounded and perspicacious or talk about it with a professional coach.

NORTHWEST QUADRANT

The northwest quadrant tells you about your openness to new perspectives and to the various options available to you in the process of making a decision.  It also gives feedback on your willingness to analyze and reflect on your expectations about the potential outcome of your decision.  If your score is low, chances are it will be difficult for you to evaluate precisely how successful your decision was, how successful it could have been, or what it is that you gained from the fact you made a decision, because you don’t have clear expectations.  If, however you made a decision with a clear strategy, chances are it will be easier for you to accept the outcome of your decision no matter what. Even more important, it will be easier to improve your decision-making process, thereby increasing your satisfaction with the potential outcome.  This is because the clearer you are about what you wish to achieve and the path to it, the more flexible and open to improvisation you can be in the process of getting there—and the more prepared you are to accept the outcome of your decision, because it was planned out and thought out rather than random and thoughtless. It is much easier to accept failure after you have strategically thought out a decision than it is when you did not do your homework; in the latter case, playing the victim of circumstances can be an easy cop-out yet completely disempowering.  Moreover, a lack of clarity about making a decision will induce a lack of openness, which in turn will inhibit you from exploring various options for decision making and different motivations to commit to making the decision. A high score in the northwest means that you have clarity about your expectations and an open disposition to new ideas and discoveries about your decision making process, your ideas and your beliefs. A high score in the northwest combined with a high score in the southeast will further optimize your chances of making the best decision.

SOUTHWEST QUADRANT

The southwest quadrant shows your ability to be comfortable while making a decision even when circumstances are uncertain and require you to explore beyond the bounds of logic and let go of mental control over the process.  This quadrant is key in approaching creative decisions, as these often require either subjective evaluations or estimations beyond what we know and what is logical. Such questions ask for another type of decision-making process:  using our intuition to explore our gut feelings and tolerate the unknown.  A high score indicates that you are comfortable making decisions with what many people might consider incomplete data points, or in situations where there are apparently conflicting data. If you have a high score here, you probably can tolerate a high level of ambiguity, and you may very well pursue potential solution in unusual ways; for example, by looking for inspiration outside of the immediate context of the issue at hand.  There’s a potential downside to a high score in the southwest: if it is not balanced by high scores in the northwest (where you connect great ideas to actionable strategies and plans) or the southeast (where you put those plans into action and turn them into concrete results), your imaginative, intuitive ideas may never see the light of day or at the least, may not realize their greatest potential. Conversely, a low score indicates that you could benefit from a more experimental approach when you make a decision.  It would probably be useful for you to reflect on how you much trust more—within the thresholds of integrity and prudence—when encountering new situations.  You may want to improve your tolerance for confusion and try developing a sense of playfulness that will enable you to explore your decisions more easily and enrich the process.  If your score in the southwest quadrant is low, you may also want to reflect on how southwest capabilities have become key to making successful decision in today’s economic environment.  Of course, you need to consider your southwest score in relationship to your scores in the other three quadrants, as optimum results and the deepest breakthroughs will be gains when the scores in all four quadrants are high and are therefore in balance with one another.

HOW YOU MAKE DECISIONS Questionnaire

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.35.29 PMWhere do you fall on the Intuitive Compass®? A great way to start understanding the Intuitive Compass® is to actually use it. Take a few minutes to answer the following questionnaire; your answers will give you a snapshot of how you make decisions. Each person’s Intuitive Compass® is unique, revealing something about the person’s approach to a specific topic (in this case, decision making) at a specific moment in time (today!)

For more information about the Intuitive Compass® please check out our July 6, 2015 blog post or our book.

For each question, rate yourself from 1 to 5 (1 is least, 5 is most) as it relates to how you approach decision making. When you are finished we will explain how to chart your answers on a diagram of the Intuitive Compass. We hope you will gain insights on how to optimize your decision-making process in the future.

Questionnaire
1. How willing are you to review your creative options with an open mind while you are in the process of making a decision?
2. How willing are you to systematically gather facts and data surrounding your decisions?
3. How willing are you to evaluate the potential outcome of your decisions before you make them?
4. How organized are you in making the best use of the time you have to make decisions?
5. How willing are you to approach making a decision with a playful attitude—that is, not focusing on expected tangible results?
6. How committed are you to making proactive decisions even when the decision-making process is challenging and it would be easier to avoid making a decision altogether?
7. How ready are you to question your own ideas and beliefs while making a decision?
8. How willing are you to be present to your emotions, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, while you are in the process of making a decision?
9. How willing are you to organize your environment and resources to optimize your decision making?
10. How willing are you to openly explore new concepts and new perspectives while making a decision?
11. How committed are you to making the best decision possible?
12. How accepting are you of being confused while you are in the process of making a decision?

To calculate how you score in each quadrant:
For the northeast quadrant, add questions # 2, 4, 9 and divide total by 3.
Northeast Quadrant Score

For the southeast quadrant, add questions # 3, 6, 11 and divide total by 3.
Southeast Quadrant Score

For the northwest quadrant, add questions # 1, 7, 10 and divide total by 3.
Northwest Quadrant Score

For the southwest quadrant, add questions # 5, 8, 12 and divide total by 3.
Southwest Quadrant Score

Your Intuitive Compass®

Please print the image that goes with this post and follow the instructions below.

Mark a dot in each quadrant at the point on the line that is closest to your score for that quadrant and then draw lines to connect the dots in all quadrants. Use the following sample compass to plot your own score and connect the dots.

Next week we will talk about how to decode your compass.

Copyright © 2012 Francis Cholle (text and images)
humancompany.wpengine.com

Learning About the New Business Paradigm from Generation Y

In March of 2010 I took a Virgin Air flight from Los Angeles to New York and mid-flight (thanks to Virgin’s on-board Internet access) I sent an email to my friend Max to get some feedback on a couple of projects I was working on. Max emailed me right back and said I really should get in touch with Jeff Rosenthal, whom he helpfully copied on the return email. Jeff is one of the co-founders of Summit Series, a community of millennial entrepreneurs that is redefining the relationship between business, politics, and philanthropy in a way that illustrates the dynamics of a new business paradigm. By the time I landed in New York Jeff and I had traded several emails sharing what we each do and are passionate about and he had put me in touch with the woman who would soon become the literary agent for my upcoming book, The Intuitive Compass (Jossey Bass, Oct 2011) . This experience made me curious to learn more about Summit Series, their goals, beliefs, and achievements, and what lessons they can offer to today’s business leaders. Read More

Listening for Clues to The New Economy

In 2003, when the Indian auto giant Tata Motors decided to design a new low cost car, the Nano, for lower income consumers they made a key decision: rather than starting from a traditional four wheel car and stripping it down, they would start with an auto-rickshaw (a small, three wheeled vehicle) and build it up. Also, rather than making design assumptions based on decades of auto development for the middle and upper classes, their design team researched the features their new lower income target audience – many of whom had never owned a car before – would value. One of the interesting things they discovered in their research was that their new target audience didn’t care about having a radio; they preferred having extra storage space. At this point in the evolution of car engineering and design, a radio is seen as the most basic of equipment. It’s not terribly expensive, but in the context of trying to make the lowest cost vehicle possible, it could be eliminated and simultaneously transformed into something more valuable to the target consumer: space. Read More

The Future of Magazines & Newspapers: A Conversation

Not long ago, at the airport, I had a conversation with John – a business man in his early 40s. 


Since I consult in the highly-challenged paper media industry I asked him how he feels about reading magazines and papers.

I assist a major firm identify the fundamentals of the media of the future, facilitate a culture of innovation and accelerate the reinvention of their business model. For those of you less familiar with the challenges of this industry in the US  let me tell you what they are in this digital age: Read More

“Intuitive Intelligence” on iTunes U: Top Download

The “Intuitive Intelligence” conference I put together for HEC MBA – first business school in Europe per FT ranking over the past 5 years – has become one of the top global downloads for iTunes U.

You can download it for free >>
iTunes U gathers more than 250,000 free podcasts of lectures, films, interviews from 600 prestigious universities and institutions from all over the world. The weekly statistics provided by Apple, routinely show 60,000 to 70,000 visitors. Read More

Les Echos: Les neurosciences au service de l’entreprise

A short article in Les Echos:

Les-Echos-13-08-2009.gif

Translated:

Another way to manage and lead
Neurosciences in the service of business

Francis Cholle author of L’Intelligence Intuitive recommends to executives to combine their analytical mind with their intuitive aptitudes to gain further consumer insight and improve business performance.

From our correspondent in the Sillicon Valley, Laetitia Mailhes

For beauty and fashion executives time has come to reconsider every aspect of business. “The economy is changing consumers’ behaviors, independently from the evolution of incomes, explains NY Fashion Institute of Technology Professor Stephan Kanlian. To open their wallet consumers today want more than brand prestige. They demand more and more added value and a greater match between products they buy and their own values.” But the business community is not well prepared to adapt to such a radical change.

“Obsession for financial return has led leaders to often forget they share a common humanity with consumers,” says Francis Cholle, author of L’Intelligence Intuitive, innovation consultant for large corporations and advisor to their C-Level executives. A graduate of the best European business school, HEC (Ecoles des Hautes Commerciales) Francis Cholle insists that sustainable value creation requires the necessary synergy between analysis and ROI on the one hand and play and instinct, on the other (see graph below of The Intuitive Compass™).

intuitivecompass.gif

The role of intuitive intelligence

“Neuroscience showed in 2005 that parts of our brain traditionally associated with our instinct are involved in our most sophisticated decisions” says our expert in reference to MIT Picower Institute for Learning and Memory research on our reptilian brain aka instinctual brain, published in the  scientific journal Nature. “It is very noticeable in consumer behaviors. For this exact reason if a company wants to understand its market and meet its expectations, it is necessary that they  understand how intuition works and integrate an intuitive process in their business approach,” adds Francis Cholle. His message is well received. “My daily conversations with Francis Cholle greatly deepen my thinking at a particularly critical time for our company” says Ralph Lauren Fragrances and Beauty President Guillaume de Lesquen, based in New York to orchestrate the brand development on the world stage.

Long before the economic recession Francis Cholle started to advocate the role of intuitive aptitudes and their impact on value creation. Biotherm for Men global marketing director, Charles Haddad is quite satisfied that he could attend one of Francis Cholle’s seminar and acquire tools that explain in a simple language many key aspects of brand development and marketing that he could confusedly feel but could not clearly understand even less so replicate. Today Charles Haddad  encourages in his team ” free and spontaneous communication. We then select what we feel is relevant”. “It is not about leaving behind our marketing objectives but rather about dissolving automatic censorship mechanism often inherent to corporate structures.”

Armand de Villoutreys, CEO of Firmenich in Paris and president of Firmenich Fine Fragrance World Division, asserts that he has “learned to approach differently his leadership role in a creative corporation.” And it showed very tangible results! “We started four years ago to integrate into our management practices the principles of Intuitive Intelligence,” says the French executive. “We have been happy to see an accelerated growth of our financial results across continents well above market average.”

© Les Echos n° 20486 dated 08-13-2009 p. 06 (Authorized translation by Peter Camo)

Intuitive Intelligence and Diplomacy: Barack Obama Reaches Out to Muslim Communities

Those who criticize Obama’s speech as “just words,” would be well advised to look at history. 

In a scene reminiscent of JFK in Berlin and Ronald Reagan exhorting Gorbachev to “tear down the wall,” Barack Obama has taken the initiative with the culture impasse between the West and communities across the Muslim world. 

His speech in Cairo has set a new benchmark for leadership:

Not only did he manage to state his case with firmness and resolve, he was able to break through the years of mistrust by standing and acknowledging the truth on both sides. 

His sincere yet calm delivery struck the right chord with the people in the streets of Cairo. So says Annelle Sheline, a Cairo-based American journalist:

In a taxi, I asked the driver for his opinion, and he launched into a
happy spiel in heavy Cairene about Obama wanting peace and trying to
make all the countries of the world work together. When I asked if this
was possible, he responded that there had never been a president like
Obama in the US, and therefore, “Aiwa, mumkin” (Yes, it’s possible).

His strategy was to understand that the imagination of the people resides in the South-West Quadrant of the Intuitive Compass.  He examines the hopes of the people in the street, and addresses them.  

Sheline tells us that Dalia Mogahed, the executive director of Gallup’s Center for Muslim Studies had outlined the three points indicated by polls that Muslims wanted to hear.


Respect.

Respect from the United States for the religion of Islam and for Muslim cultures.

Cooperation.
No more unilateral action, but cooperation between equal partners.

Issues.
Address the policies of the United States that have angered Muslims on key issues, including Palestine, Iraq, Guantanamo, etc.

Without respect no trust can be established – without trust little creativity and substance can unfold; without equality there is no real long lasting effective change; and, without integrity and introspection there is no growth. Obama’s speech touched on each one of these cornerstones. 

Obama seized the initiative and brought the voice of reason back to the table. The President is, like it or not, a living symbol – and nothing is more
powerful than symbolic action in an atmosphere of suspicion and
hostility. The Times reports:

Barack Obama must have said something right if Osama bin Laden, Ayatollah
Khamenei of Iran and the Jewish settlers on the West Bank all lined up to
denounce his speech to the Arab and Muslim worlds.

For too long, the dialog on the future of the Middle East has been dominated by extreme voices.  Obama’s speech spoke directly to the aspirations of the common man. He humanized America, by opening up and sharing his personal story.

Words are the weapons of change.  Just ask Ted Sorensen.

And now, we see signs that the “Obama Effect” may be sweeping across the Middle East. Iran’s election too, has become a referendum for change.

Earlier, we saw Obama’s overtures in Turkey. The political commentators who were concerned that Barack Obama‘s visit to Turkey was high on style but low in substance may not be as right they believe they are. Their view is focused on the North-East Quadrant of the Intuitive Compass™ – they are focused on measurable results and timelines.

Let’s look at a historical snapshot of public opinion in Turkey, courtesy of Gallup:

gallup_turkey.gif 

Question: If the U.S. can’t get any respect in Turkey, a “secular” democracy, how can they  achieve any progress in the Arab world at all?

Flashback: The last attempt at winning the “hearts and minds” of the Muslim world ended in shambles when Bush’s fellow Texan and close friend, Karen Hughes, walked away from the job in total failure. And before her there was the Charlotte Beerspropaganda show.

All of which makes President Obama’s short trip to Turkey even more spectacular. He accomplished in two days what the PR-experts couldn’t accomplish in eight years, and he didn’t waste a billion dollars.

How, you ask?

Watch this video of Obama talking to the youth:

These are the same students, who according to  to Rupert Murdoch‘s Wall Street Journal, have, for the past eight years,”fostered deep anti-American sentiments exacerbated by an unpopular war in Iraq and a perception that the U.S. is biased toward Muslims.” 

What we are witnessing in Obama is the promise of authentic leadership which speaks directly to the heart of people.  The most powerful leader of the most powerful country in the world stood in the center of a circle of Turkish students in a university to address their concerns.  The circle = cooperation, the center = respect, and addressing concerns = the truth.

With his speech in Cairo, Obama knocked down the psychological wall which separates western culture and the mindset of Islam – now the work at hand is to reach across the wall and shake hands for a brighter future for all.  That will happen through the concrete actions people take in the weeks and months ahead.