news2use | May 2024

We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch, said the late physician and poet Lewis Thomas.

My mother spent most of her adult life teaching elementary school.  While she taught different grade levels over the years, watching her interact with those little kindergarteners was always a favorite time for me.

During my university years, I’d leave for the holidays a day early and make a beeline to her grade school class before I even went to the house. Watching her align the attention of those young children, with all of their curiosity and energy, was a sight to see.  It was a great learning experience for me, for at the time my studies in psychology were more theoretical than practical.

Her leadership touch wasn’t just the gentle guiding touch of her hand while helping kids work out their alphabet or expressing an idea. Her touch included eye contact, the way she spoke, and she gave her undivided attention to every kid she interacted with. When she smiled at one of those little guys, they smiled back, as if she’d used her fingers to shape that smile.

From my Mother I learned that the leadership touch meant;

Less can be more. Pushing and pulling people gets you what you want in the short term, but it’s rarely sustainable and requires huge energy outputs.

Touch is more than tactile. Your eyes, listening skills, and voice are huge “touch points” and we often underestimate their power.

Touch can be much more than a transaction. At the end of the day, how do you want your touch remembered?  As one who only “got things done” or as someone who helped others grow and become better people (and got things done in the process)?

Enjoy your May news2use.



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

For You

I recently challenged a CEO on how he was spending his time, and he threw his arms up in defense and said, “I operate in this way because I am a micro-manager.”

How often have you heard someone say…

“I’m not a people person.”

“I don’t do well with technology.”

“I don’t deal with conflict.”

When people are quick to label situations, others, or themselves, they stop seeing opportunities for growth.

Here’s my coaching hack to move beyond these self-limiting labels. The next time you catch yourself or hear someone say, I don’t deal well with conflict (for example), rephrase this in the past tense and describe how you have moved beyond that previous state, such as “Oh, I used to shy away from conflict and today and I am more willing to address conflict constructively when it comes up.”

Stop slapping self-limiting labels on yourself. Make an ownershift and live life beyond that label.

For You & Your Team

How many follow-up questions were asked in your last client meeting, or leadership team meeting?

My guess is, not very many, and by neglecting to use follow-up questions, golden opportunities escape.

Inject your client and leadership meetings with a strong dose of Q.T.A.V.

Q.T.A.V. stands for “Question to A Void”, meaning that to understand the true nature of the challenge and to create solutions that are value-adding, we need to dig much deeper into the situation at hand, and we do this through questions.

Here are examples of follow-up questions that help you get beyond the superficial surface:

Why is that important to you?

What would an ideal outcome look like for you?

If you had to present this idea or proposal today, how would you feel and what’s missing, in your eyes?

What are you hoping to achieve by this course of action?

What is driving your desire to pursue this project?

Here are two suggestions to carry forward; observe closely and track the number of questions and follow-up questions asked in your upcoming meetings. After the meetings, take a few minutes to reflect on this question. “What questions could we have asked during this meeting that would have helped us get a better understanding or created a clearer call to action?

For You, Your Team & Your Business

“It’s going to be a tough year”, sighed an executive client.

“Really, why is that” I asked.

“Haven’t you been watching the news, the economic indicators are out, and they don’t look promising.”

The primary business climate you operate in, rests between your ears, and should not rise or fall based on a few economic indicators. The mental business climate you experience reflects your attitude, which shapes what you perceive, which in turn influences your behavior.

In other words, if you think you are going to have a bad day, you probably will.

I rejoice and celebrate when people complain about a poor business climate. While such news makes some people tired, reluctant, and tentative, I realize this presents an advantage and opportunity to those that are positive and seek to solve problems and create value.

During a recent keynote for 80 sales leaders, I asked, “What would help you make a dramatic improvement in your business results this year?”

After I collected their comments and ideas, we together reflected on their list. Some good ideas emerged, yet not one idea had anything to do with them personally. Every comment or idea was related to someone else doing something that would help them.

Take ownership of your mental climate, never give this away to some obscure economic indicator. People make themselves smaller when they give away personal ownership. 98% of a bad business climate is self-inflicted, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t celebrate a parade in the rain.

People, Places & Technology

Turn down the volume on vision, mission, and clear and elevating goals and use diagnosis as the starting point to create a strategy, says Richard Rumelt, author of “Good Strategy, Bad Strategy” in his latest book, “The Crux, How Leaders Become Strategists”. Rumelt again challenges conventional thinking in his provocative, yet pragmatic approach to create a meaningful and results-oriented strategy. A must read, in my opinion, for leaders that want to strengthen their strategic leadership practices.

Thought for the Day

“I give fewer answers,

and I ask a lot more questions.

It is almost possible now,

 to go through a day and

 do nothing but ask questions.”


-Jensen Huang, Nvidia CEO commenting on how his leadership has evolved.


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.