news2use | April 2023

The village elders spotted a talented craftsman and asked him to oversee a group of young apprentices learning the same craft. The talented craftsman was eager to share his experiences with the young team and was quick to point out when the apprentices made mistakes, showing how he had mastered that particular difficulty.

Day by day, fewer of the young apprentices showed up to learn from the talented craftsman. Discouraged, the craftsman asked the village elders, “I have worked so hard to learn this craft, why are the young apprentices so reluctant to learn from me?”

One of the village elders replied, “Just as a tree grows from a small seed, you must carefully nurture the seeds in your apprentices. As the warm sun and sweet rain nourish the small seed that becomes a tree, you too must pay attention to what your apprentices get right on their journey and not only point out what they get wrong and how well you know it.”

Leading others means finding enjoyment and pleasure in seeing others succeed, not showing how much you know.

With this knowledge, the craftsman shifted his approach, and the apprentices returned to learn, which created great benefits for all in the village.

In this issue, I will share some experiences of learning and leading, perhaps you will find an idea or two that you can apply at work, or at home – enjoy your April news2use.



“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”

For You

Meeting after meeting, after meeting. How can you show up, over and over again, at each and every meeting focused and prepared?

I use a micro-prep practice that really turbo charges me. Even in those few minutes between TEAMs calls, it is enough time for me to ask three questions to help me focus on the upcoming meeting:

Why is this going to be an effective and worthwhile meeting (or exchange) for me?

How can I contribute meaningfully to this meeting?

How can I show up in a way that supports others and helps them get what they need?

These short questions help me eliminate the afterthoughts of my previous meetings and bring a focus to the most important meeting of the day, and that’s the one right in front of me.

For You & Your Team

“We are all very polite in our team, how can we learn to give feedback to each other that helps us all improve without hurting people?”

This courageous statement was shared recently in a leadership team. This person, and others in the team, recognized that communication, problem solving, and collaboration was not at its best, in part because people weren’t forthcoming with genuine feedback.

This team overcame their feedback famine, using four feedback accelerators:

  1. Leaders started asking for more feedback, and showed they were interested in what others had to say to them.
  2. Others shared that they had recently gotten feedback and they shared how it had helped them, sending the message, I am open and interested in feedback from others.
  3. Leader team members started sharing more positive feedback, what worked well in a meeting, solving a problem or complimenting ideas, which opened others up for more critical feedback.
  4. Using more focused questions to trigger high yield suggestions, instead of asking, “Does anyone have any feedback for me”, leaders started asking, “What’s the one thing I could do differently to help you be more effective?”

A highly effective feedback culture is a competitive advantage, pure and simple. Creating this feedback culture does not start in the middle of your organization, or the bottom of the organization. It starts at the top. How do your executive leaders set the example for a highly effective feedback culture in your organization?

For You, Your Team & Your Business

A collaborative climate smells good; here’s what I mean.

I have observed several leadership meetings recently where you could almost smell the highly collaborative climate. A collaborative climate does not mean being nice to everyone, it is finding the balance between being tough on issues and supportive with people and their ideas. Here are some of the observations I made recently at these meetings where the collaborative climate was high:

  • It’s not hectic, people aren’t rushing in to talk over each other.
  • Constant noise was NOT present, there was space and reflection between ideas and comments, sometimes even silence while people thought about what had been said.
  • High quality listeningwas present, with good follow-up questions and ideas that developed from these exchanges.
  • Good questions were asked to learn more, nobody was trying to look good, or score point with their questions.
  • I didn’t witness any so called “killer phrases” that knocked people back in their seat.
  • The senior leaders in these meetings let others discuss and share ideas first, creating involvement and came in at the end or when they had something highly relevant to add.

Are the collaborative climate aromas seeping out of your leadership team meetings? If not, it’s time to change the recipe!

People, Places & Technology

Does your company strategy sit like a masterpiece in the executive suite?

When executive leaders treat the company strategy as masterpiece, or a work of art to be admired and not challenged, your company will never play at its best.

Strategy becomes effective, useful, and powerful when we challenge and debate it, because good strategy is full of tension, trade-offs and at times, contradictions.

In this NORENBERG’s NINETY SECONDS, learn how a masterpiece attitude can derail the real strategy discussion and how you can create deeper meaning and ownership when you share your strategy.

Thought for the Day

“The sooner the day comes when you realize that you have more to learn from your team than they have to learn from you, is the day your learning truly accelerates”.

– John Allan, former CFO of DPDHL


Contact Information

Dan Norenberg
Wensauerplatz 11
81245 Munich
Phone: +49 172 862 5123

About Dan Norenberg

Dan Norenberg improves leadership performance and organization results through Executive Ownershift®, his transformational growth process for executive teams. As a trusted advisor, consultant and professional speaker, Dan’s mission is to enable executive teams and their organizations to play at their best.