news2use | July 2018

This issue of news2use comes during the 2018 World Cup; Watching the world’s top soccer players, who don’t professionally play together, represent their national team at this global sports tournament, is exciting and motivating.

Several billion people will attend and watch this year’s World Cup; the vast majority of these people do so with fair play and peaceful means in mind. This is, in itself, a miracle.

Aside from watching our favorite teams rise or fall, it is also an opportunity to reflect and learn from these world cup experiences. What is significant thus far?

Although we’re only half way through the World Cup, watching previously qualified teams (Ghana, Holland, Italy and the USA) fail to qualify and defending world champion, Germany fail to advance beyond the opening round, reminds me again that winning is, at best, a temporary state.

If we are not continually improving who we are, what we do and how we do it, somebody else will. It is normal to be proud of past successes, but it is not an indication that we will succeed in the future. It is what is ahead of us that matters most; not what is behind us.

Enjoy your news2use and remember to keep your head and your heart looking forward, not back, this month.




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

For You

Growth Begins in the Stretch Zone

If we don’t reflect we don’t learn, if we don’t learn we don’t improve, and if we don’t improve, we become irrelevant. Here is a reflection tool that will help you see how well you are challenging yourself to play at your best.

On a piece of paper or flip chart, draw three ovals next to each other. The oval on the left, in black, is the comfort zone. The middle oval (in green) is the stretch zone. The red oval, on the right, is the panic zone.

Reflect on the past six months. When were you in the stretch zone? What situations or challenges took you into the panic zone?

We all like the comfort zone; routines and patterns are a part of life and should be at certain times. Yet too much time in the comfort zone can put us at risk, because we don’t improve ourselves or grow here.

We may from time to time touch on the panic zone but this isn’t a place you want to be in for any extended period of time, nor do you want your people to be here. Sometimes, however, you have to touch the panic zone to get into a meaningful stretch zone.

Remember that improvement and growth begin in the stretch zone. See that you get some playing time in this zone. Use this visual to let others understand how they can help you play at your best.

For You & Your Team

Mid-year is strategy season, leaders and teams are taking stock of their results and creating strategies for the new year; after all, we’re now in the second half of 2018.

Remember that strategy feeds two difference target groups. It’s the master plan for the organization, the rational entity that rises and falls on the performance, via numbers that are created.

Strategy is also nourishment for people that work in your organization. While numbers nourish some people (often at the very, very top of the organization), most of us are not nourished through numbers. We get our strategic nourishment by feeling we are part of a future picture that has purpose; that is meaningful for us and we understand how we contribute.

I use an exercise on strategic off-sites to make this point. Leaders pair up and sit in chairs, with the chairs back to back so they can hear each other but not see each other. I’ll give one partner the first page from my Adel, Iowa telephone book and ask them to transfer (by talking) as much info from this sheet to their partner, without their partner seeing the page from the telephone book. I give them two minutes and ask the partner what they can recall. It’s not pretty to watch and people remember very little from what they have heard from their partner. Then I give the other partner a post card and ask them to do a similar exercise, without the other partner seeing the post card. Again two minutes.

The results of what people can recall from the post cards, compared to listening to a series of numbers is simply amazing. People can describe pictures in great detail, yet struggle with the numbers. The energy levels are very high when people share their “picture stories”.

What do phone numbers and post cards have to do with strategic nourishment?

We need to know our numbers, but that is not what enables people to challenge the status quo or to contribute discretionary effort in the workplace.

Visualizations and picture language are an important part of any strategic narrative. Make sure you have post card language in your strategy discussions. It will help others carry your strategic story forward successfully. Remember, to move people, use meaningful pictures.


For You, Your Team & Your Business

I recently asked the CEO of a multi-million dollar leadership development firm why most organizations and consulting firms view leadership as an individual endeavor, instead of investing in teams of leaders. His answer was, “it’s much easier to do it that way and it’s the way the industry has always done it”.

In my eyes, that is not a good reason for doing something.

We shouldn’t do something because it’s easy or it’s the way we’ve always done it. We should do things that help us improve, enable us to build better companies and serve our customers in more innovative and value driven ways.

In my eyes; leadership is a team endeavor and it is going to become more and more a game changer for companies.

Most leadership teams are comprised of highly talented and ambitious men and women who don’t operate together as a high performing team.

How does your leadership team stand with the following six statements?

  1. High performance and exceptional results in our business can be directly linked to the effectiveness of our leadership team.

  2. The leadership behaviors in our team excite and engage people in our organization.

  3. Our leadership team collaborates and supports each other in such a way that it sets the positive example for others in our company.

  4. Our leadership team leads the most effective meetings in our company.

  5. Our business strategy is clear and emotionally compelling, due to the effort and example set by the leadership team.

  6. Our leadership team is playing at its best.

These statements lead to powerful discussions in your leadership teams. If you are not satisfied with how you stand next to these statements, I would be more than happy to discuss how you can develop your team to play at their best.   If your leadership team is not playing at its best, why should anyone else?



People, Places & Technology

Are you looking for a good summer read? Tim Harmon, CEO of Nuvoce, recently gave me, Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times.” My initial thoughts were, “Another book about well-known leaders, what else could she possibly share?”

I got that wrong. Nancy Koehn spent ten years researching and writing this book. It is highly informative and distills pragmatic leadership lessons during times of crisis. If you are looking for a summer read to strengthen your leadership or are looking for a gift for someone, I can strongly recommend this book.



Thought for the Day

“We cannnot become what we need to be by remaining who we are.”

Max DePree


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.