news2use | February 2019

A man walks into a small hotel lobby and the clerk checks him in.

The guest sees a cute little dog near the reception desk and asks,

“Does your dog bite?”

“No”, replies the hotel clerk.

The guest bends down to pet the cute little dog and the dog nearly bites off the man’s hand.

The guest, now frightened out of his wits and exasperated, screams, “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite!”

The clerk looks up, and nonchalantly says, “It’s not my dog.”

While the scene may be familiar and humorous, there is a deeper, sober leadership lesson here as well.

You may not have dogs biting customers in your company lobby, but how often in meetings, projects or in the hallways do you hear people say, in different ways:

“It’s not my dog.”

The costs associated with, “It’s not my dog”, run in the millions, maybe more. It is the terrible (and avoidable) cost of what happens when you do not have a culture of ownership throughout your organization.

Sure, the clerk was responsible. He checked the guest in. We can even presume that he is accountable, say for the petty cash box under the register. Yet, we see that the clerk did not own the customer experience or he never would have let a guest bend down and meet a small dog with a big bite.

If you are missing an ownership culture in your business (i.e. high levels of engagement), watch the following link, Dan’s Nine Markers in the Ownership Space, to create high levels of engagement, a culture of ownership, and people who understand what it means to own the dog.

Enjoy your February news2use.




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

For You

Are you working in a way that allows you to apply your creativity and energy to the initiatives that mean the most to your customers?

Alternatively, does your workday resemble fire fighting, moving from one disaster to the next; saving the day as you go along?

Perhaps you need to spend more time in the Promised Land.

The Promised Land means getting plenty of quadrant II time. Quadrant II time is strategic time, time to work on initiatives that are really important to you and your business, but there isn’t the hectic urgency involved, like in Quadrant I.

If you are struggling to deliver on your strategic agenda, look at the upcoming three months in your calendar and see how much time you have blocked for you and your strategic priorities. Do not wait for your boss or a colleague to suggest this to you, because they won’t. They are expecting results so you have to map your own way, through your calendar, to the “promised land” quadrant.

When is the best time for valuable quadrant II time? That depends on you. What is the most fruitful and energizing time of the day for you? When are you most creative? Block time for yourself when you play at your best. Blocking time means it goes into your calendar and you protect this time vigilantly.

Maybe it is two hours after dinner, or for others, like me now, it is the early morning hours, starting 4 a.m. It is quiet in the early morning hours and this works for me. Choose what works for you.

Practice discipline to get to the promised land of quadrant II.

For You & Your Team

Oscars and Penguins

The Oscar Awards, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will take place on February 25, in Los Angeles, California.

This is a very big deal for the 8,000+ professionals working in this cinematic organization. For the rest of us, it is entertaining and fun to see our favorite stars, gathered together, for one evening after they walk down the red carpet.

While the Oscars are entertaining, the Penguin Awards will change the course of your team and could inspire magnificent insights for your future.

The Penguin Award, inspired by Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture, recognizes a person or a team that tried the most audacious project over the course of the year, and failed.

We talk a great deal about learning from our mistakes, however if the truth be told, most teams and organizations do not make that many mistakes, and even fewer constructively talk about them.

During the time, that I led N Vision Learning Solutions, our team of coaches and consultants shared, on a quarterly basis, lessons learned (mistakes and misfires) from their client encounters. In return, everyone received the mistakes and lessons learned from a dozen other consultants. The exercise was a true team builder, exposing our mistakes and where we fell short forced us to show our vulnerability, which helped us develop deeper trust, and hugely accelerated our learnings as coaches and consultants.

There is no need to sit back and wait for the upcoming Oscars. Host and profit from your own Penguin awards, and be sure to roll out the red carpet for all that participate!

For You, Your Team & Your Business

Two senior HR leaders, from different industries and businesses, spoke with me this month, both frustrated at their inability to get their executive leadership team motivated to develop themselves.

Such a coincidence deserves a response.

Here is some advice for HR professionals, supporting executive level leaders. If you are an executive leader, or aspiring to be one in the future, there are insights here for you too.

It starts with language. Are you using executive language?

Language like “training”, for example. Very few executives are interested in training. They feel they are smart enough, good enough or do not have time for training. Training is for others but not them.

The key to getting executives excited about learning and development is to ask them about the current state of their business, and their aspirations for future.

What personal or business aspirations are within sight, but out of reach for them?

This triggers executives, who are motivated and ambitious, to engage with you about how they can achieve and exceed their business objectives. Speak with them about how their leadership team performs, and how well equipped their team is, in head & heart, to master the challenges ahead.

Competency models, training plans and 360° feedback are important HR tools, but they rarely excite executives, whose focus is more on business results.

Show executives that you can improve their leadership performance AND their organizations results, and you see their attention shift to what you are talking about.

Regardless of what intervention you ultimately agree to do with them, it is essential that the coaching or consulting take place while the team is carrying out their collaborative work, such as leading a Town Hall, working on the company strategy or during an executive meeting. These live learning interventions help executives see gaps in their performance, in real time.

They are eager to learn in such settings and then you have helped manage the best of both worlds; improving leadership performance AND boosting organizational results in your company.

People, Places & Technology

Blowing the Bloody Doors Off, by actor and restauranteur, Michael Caine, is an excellent book, describing Michael’s rise from a poor, South London kid, with a Cockney accent, to a super star actor. Michael shares how he accelerated his learning curve to stay on top of the highly competitive acting profession. He also describes his personal operating system, enabling him to work successfully with the mega egos and sensitive personalities of Hollywood’s biggest names. A refreshing book with many practical tips people who strive to play at their best.

Thought for the Day

“We are all failures – at least the best of us.”

-J.M. Barrie


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.