news2use | December 2019

As we look back at 2019, I trust you are proud of the contributions and accomplishments that you have been a part of this past year. Perhaps there were some challenging or painful experiences, which over time, show up now as thoughtful learnings.

It has been a particularly noteworthy year for me, as it was the first time in 25 years that I worked without the N Vision Learning team. Now looking back, as much as I appreciated the people and the work we did at N Vision Learning, this past year has confirmed the importance of looking and moving forward.

I have been able to spend more time with clients, and I have also been able to complete Executive Ownershift, Creating Highly Effective Leadership Teams, which is now available for pre-orders through Springer Publishing.

The close of the year encourages me to reflect deeper, feel and share my gratefulness, and with this in my heart let me say thanks for the opportunities to work with many of you this past year, and to the many others who shared ideas and encouragement during my new journey.

Over the past several weeks, I have been reading and rereading the following Anders K. Ericsson passage:


“The journey to superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor the impatient.

The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice and honest,

often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts.”


It is a gentle reminder that there is a process and a price to play at our best. Happy Holidays and enjoy your December news2use.


Regards from the Gartenhaus,


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

For You

Communication Presents

I have worked with and learned from highly effective communicators; people like Dr Alan Weiss, Dr Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Levy, Paul Rulkens and Karsten Klepper.

Effective communicators are good storytellers and they have the ability to inspire and motivate people into action. Effective communication skills can be learned; and in the spirit of holiday giving, here are five communication presents from the masters above that I would like to share with you.

  1. Speak from your listener’s point of view and anchor your start in their problem. Do not start in your own universe. Talk about how to solve their problem.
  2. Challenge yourself to share your most compelling ideas in seven seconds.
  3. Craft your messages so they are easy to understand. If it sounds complicated and time consuming, people will not use your ideas.
  4. Seize opportunities to speak spontaneously and practice brevity.
  5. Let people know up front how what you share is important to them. It creates the distinction between a general talk and something of immediate interest to each audience member. It answers the most important question: What is in it for me?

For You & Your Team

It surprises me when I hear that some leadership teams still do not peer coach each other on a regular basis. Effective leadership teams share their personal development goals with each other so that they can help each other master the skills they need to develop. Here are five simple, yet effective questions that you can use to coach peers or people that report to you.

  • Instead of getting directly into the business topics, try this in your next jour fixe:

What would you like to talk about today?

  • After someone comes to you complaining about someone else, lay a coin on the table, turn it over and ask:

What is on the other side of the coin? (Meaning, what is the other side of the story, from the other person’s point of view?)

  • Effective coaching helps people find the right place to practice new skills. For example:

That is a good idea. Where do you imagine practicing this first?

  • Everyone can give advice – good coaches help the coachee take responsibility:

If you were coaching yourself in this situation, what suggestions would you make?

  • Use coaching exchanges to see where you can make personal adjustments:

What is the one thing I could do differently to help you be more successful?

For You, Your Team & Your Business

Strategy Stress Test

While many are busy, wrapping presents for the holiday season, leadership teams are wrapping up and putting the final touches on their 2020 strategy. Yet pretty wrappings alone do not translate into an effective strategy. Before you and your team give your “strategy presents” into the organization, shake your strategy up and give it a good stress test. This way you and your team can be confident it will carry you and your organization successfully through 2020 and beyond. Here are eight questions for your leadership team to discuss and to stress test your strategy:

  1. To what degree is your current company situation well described, meaning that the problems you face or the opportunities in front of you create a sense of urgency for organizational change?
  2. How excited and motivated are people in your organization about the compelling picture of the future you have created?
  3. Prior to the leadership team signing off on your strategy, were there constructive arguments and debates or convenient conversations simply aimed to reach a collective yes?
  4. How clearly are your hot topics addressed in your strategy?
  5. Are your bold moves clearly identified, those moves that help you take the must-win battles for 2020?
  6. How well do the functional priorities align and roll up into the strategic priorities of your overall business?
  7. What does your resource allocation look like for 2020? Does your resource allocation plan match the changes dictated in your strategy?
  8. Is the senior leader of the team a true champion for this strategy and the journey ahead?

Wrapping strategy in pretty decorations will not guarantee successful execution in competitive markets. Better to get it right first, then wrap it and roll it out.

If you feel that you and your leadership team would profit from a “stress test strategy day” or an exchange about how to wrap your strategy for exceptional results, I would be happy to work with you on this important subject.

People, Places & Technology

I believe that leadership teams are everything to the success of your business. How they collaborate, communicate and interact with themselves and with the larger organization has a huge impact on how your company performs. In my new book, “Executive Ownershift, Creating Highly Effectively Leadership Teams”, I share what must go right and what can go wrong on the journey to become a leadership team that plays at its best. The book is available directly from Springer Publishing or Amazon.

Thought for the Day

There is no route I know

of that leads from individual contribution,

no matter how excellent or innovative,

directly to organizational goals.

The catalyst that turns individual effort

into organization results is the synergy of teamwork.”

-Dr. Alan Weiss



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.