news2use | December 2020

An old man had a fine horse that ran away.

His neighbors came to comfort him.

“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again showed up to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after his son’s accident, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

The old farmer did not judge the events above; rather he saw them as situations that presented many options. Said in another way, the farmer recognized it is not the hand we are dealt that determines our future, but the way we play the hand that we are dealt.

Over the course of this most unusual year, I have worked with many professionals, who like the old farmer, refused to “rush to judgement” regarding the challenging situations in front of them. Instead, they addressed these situations with imagination, patience and innovative energy that led to unexpected and positive outcomes.

Our ability to create alternatives, develop options and select choices in the challenging situations that confront us, remains one of our most precious gifts.

Make the most of your choices and share the gift of non-judgement generously with those around you this holiday season.

Enjoy your December news2use.



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

For You

Where is your telephone book?

The telephone book is a metaphor that represents something that was common, in fact essential in the past, yet is no longer needed today.

Are you holding onto a belief, a behavior or a task that no longer adds value? When we protect or hoard old habits, business practices or obsolete programs, it prevents us from reaching out and taking hold of something new, more satisfying, and more valuable.

How often have you heard a colleague complain that they do not have enough time to get all their work done? All too often, these same colleagues are not practicing discipline to identify and discard their “telephone books”, which creates the space and energy to tackle the newly defined important things for the future.

What about you, when was the last time you tossed out a non-essential telephone book?

For You & Your Team

“Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous.”

Thoughtful insights from Confucius.

What were your successes this past year and how will you carry forward your key learnings into the New Year?

How did the effort and resources you invested influence your business returns?

What can you learn from your missed opportunities and use in the year to come?

These questions are fundamental for teams that strive to play at their best. Starting at the top of the organization, this process then cascades down through the other teams in the organization, leading to thoughtful and stimulating conversations that encourages teams to make changes where needed and double down on efforts that worked well in the past.

While individual reflection is valuable, focused, collective reflection helps teams accelerate their transformation efforts, ensuring that they adapt and change faster than their competition and the environment around them.

Here is a reflection framework that works well, using two groups within the leadership team to reflect with slightly different perspectives:

Group One

Group 2

After the group work, present results and discuss the key learnings. Share your takeaways with the larger organization and encourage teams throughout your business to deliberately reflect on their experiences over the past year.

These conversations ensure that reflection and learning take place and are a good bridge into your 2021 strategy. Reflections lead to significant returns – but you must work them first!

For You, Your Team & Your Business

How do you and your leadership team stack up against these statistics?

Only 20% of executives think they are part of a high-performance leadership team. (McKinsey)

60% of executives say that trust is a real issue in their team. (McKinsey)

50% to 60% of executives fail to achieve the strategy they were hired to execute within 18 months of taking the job. (Gallup)

83% of senior executives rarely collaborate or do so only on an ad hoc basis; 17% said senior executives in their organization regularly collaborate. (Deloitte)

Non-executive issues and practices consume 40% of executive meetings, wasting time and setting a poor example for the rest of the organization. (Office Solutions)

If you recognize that you and your leadership team could be working together and performing more effectively as a leadership team, see my Christmas offer below.

People, Places & Technology

Leadership teams, moving fast and always busy, often overlook small things that can make a big difference in their performance. If you and you team are interested in success shortcuts for your team, here is my offer. Purchase ten copies of my book, Executive Ownershift, Creating Highly Effective Leadership Teams, by the end of the year and I will spend a virtual hour or virtual lunch break with you and your leadership team at a time that fits in the new year. During this exchange I will help you uncover success shortcuts to help you become a more effective leadership team. It is not a free lunch, but close. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Thought for the Day

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection.

From the quiet reflection will come

even more effective action.” -Peter Drucker




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.