news2use | July 2020

Two monks were returning to their monastery after a day of teaching in the nearby village. On the way back, they had to cross a river. Just as they were about to enter the river, they heard a woman crying.

The older monk approached the woman and asked what was troubling her.

“I need to get back to my child, who is waiting for me in the village across the river. Since the waters have risen today, I am unable to get back,” she said. She was miserable that her child would cry for her all night.

The older monk volunteered to get her across the river. After he carried her to the other side, she thanked him, and the two monks continued their way to the monastery.

After a long, uncomfortable silence, the younger monk finally spoke. In an agitated tone, he said, “Do you realize the seriousness of what you just did?”

The older monk nodded. “Yes, I know,” he said.

The younger monk continued, our Master said, “Never look at a woman,’ and you spoke to her!”

“Master said, never speak to a woman,” and you touched her!”

“Master said, never touch a woman and you carried her.”

The older monk paused for a moment, and then said calmly, “This is true, but I set her down a half hour ago. Is it not you who is still carrying her?”

Most of us, at one time or another, have carried emotional baggage far beyond its useful life. As we move through life and encounter new situations, our baggage can trigger negative thoughts and associations. In many cases, these patterns from the past do not help us constructively deal with challenges in new ways.

A business can develop organizational baggage. An overabundance of priorities (we just cannot say no), legacy processes that no longer or never did serve the customer, or an organizational vision that lost its luster long ago, are the signs of such baggage. It is weight (energy, time, and resources) that somebody or some part of the organization carries unnecessarily.

Are you like the young monk who is carrying something that is no longer relevant or needed? Regarding your business, how are you using this most unprecedented time to let go of the past, so you can embrace the future?

This could be a good discussion with colleagues or team members and could lead to everyone throwing some unneeded baggage off the platform.


We can profit from past experiences without carrying the baggage forward.


Enjoy your July news2use.




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

For You

It is frustrating when you have good ideas and you are not sure how to share them. Even the brightest idea cannot take off if you do not introduce it.


Here is how you can introduce ideas and get people to talk about them:


  1. Set an imaginative stage. Ask people to get creative and use their imagination, then insert your idea into this “future fantasy”.


  1. Invite others to build on your idea, do not insist on being an idea monopolist.


  1. Share how the customer profits from your idea. If you put the customer close to your idea or the benefits of your ideas, you will win over the hearts of others that totally enjoy serving clients.


  1. Build stakeholder interest in advance. Give “idea previews” to others; to test run an idea and tune it.


  1. Address a recurring problem in the team or business. Problems repeat themselves until something is learned. If you notice a problem that keeps coming back, chances are others notice this too and will be receptive to your ideas.


  1. Take a personal stand. When sharing your idea, use your passion and personal conviction, because passion is positive and attractive to others.


You can also introduce your idea in form of a question, to engage others. In fact, a smart question often works better than having a smart idea.

For You & Your Team

Business as before or headed to the Strategy Tool Shed?

While many organizations are returning to business as before, reestablishing pre-Covid practices and dusting off their business as usual status quo strategy, others are headed to the strategy tool shed, ready not to return to business as before, instead to address business in the new now. Which approach is your team taking, returning to business as before or strategically pivoting to ensure your success in the new now?

If you are headed to the Strategy Tool Shed, here are some questions for you and your team:


  1. How bold is our strategic vision? Does our vision stretch our imagination and our capability, and do we feel some degree of risk and emotion in our vision?


  1. To what degree do our functional capabilities provide aligned support for our strategic objectives? Do we have a clear process that outlines how our functions and people collaborate to reach our bold vision?


  1. Are we disciplined in our strategic discussions, keeping in mind the difference between what we want to achieve in the future with how we want to achieve our targets?


  1. What is different for us, coming out of this Covid experience? What have we learned that we must stop doing, and what must we start doing for the future?


  1. Do we have the leadership mindset and the map to ensure that we implement a review process that monitors our strategic progress rather than treating strategy like a one-time event?


  1. How will we practice outcome-oriented strategy debates rather than conversations about the activities we are involved in?


  1. If we knew that we absolutely could not fail, what would we pursue in this new now?


Additionally, do our “tool shed debates” ensure that people understand how their work contributes to our strategic success and provide consequences for failure and success?


For You, Your Team & Your Business

Imagine creating a culture of ownership throughout your organization.

Even the most stoic executives feel their mouth water when they think about the potential performance this statement infers. Yet studies show that 50%, and by some estimates 80% of organizational initiatives fail to successfully create cultures of ownership.

Most efforts to create an ownership culture fail, because they do not start at the cultural source of the business.

This is the executive leadership team.

At your next leadership team meeting ask, “Who owns this team?”

Pay attention, observe what people say, how they say it, and reflect on how long it takes to say it.

If that does not give you enough to work with, follow up and ask the team to identify how everyone demonstrates they are owners of the senior leadership team, and in what ways they are not showing ownership.

A culture of ownership does not start somewhere in the organization. It starts at the top, specifically in the senior leadership team.

If you are interested in developing an ownership culture that starts in the senior leadership team, please feel free to contact me.

There are many reasons to create an ownership culture in your organization. There is no reason to start this anywhere except in the executive team.

People, Places & Technology

One of the advantages of being “grounded or locked down” earlier in the year is that it challenged me to search online for opportunities to continue my personal and professional development. One of the sources I started using is Masterclass. This is an online learning platform with exceptional instructors from specific fields.

The classes cover topics like business, leadership, writing, lifestyle and technology, to name a few. Each class has video lessons, with a workbook that allows you to personalize your learning.

I’ve taken business courses from Howard Schultz (Starbuck CEO), Bob Iger (Disney CEO) and Sara Blakely (Spanx CEO) to name a few. There are serious business topics, creative topics and topics that are just fun.

My only regret is that I didn’t do the Malcolm Gladwell course on writing before I wrote my book. I certainly gained some good insights from Malcolm and will use them on my next book for sure.

By the way, I don’t receive anything for suggesting Masterclass, I just find it’s good value for money and the next best thing to doing a program with me. 😊

Thought for the Day

“When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.” – Tuli Kupferberg



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.