news2use | May 2018

Over the past 23 years, our N Vision Learning community has grown substantially, thanks to people like you. During this time we’ve served over 20,000 professionals (73 nationalities) from 130 organizations, in 26 countries. Our mission to support your efforts to lead yourself, your team and your business have been profoundly rewarding and deeply enriching.

Things have changed a lot in the past 23 years and they will continue to change in the future and this is what I want to share with you.

While I still deeply believe in N Vision Learning’s mission, the truth is that more and more of my time has been spent managing the business over the years and less with clients and their leadership and growth issues. With this in mind, I have decided to re-direct my energies to “client serving work” and not to management activities in the future.

This means I’ll serve as Managing Director at N Vision Learning until the end of the year while dedicating my energy to enabling leadership teams to play at their best through a transformational process I call Executive Ownershift®; as well as facilitating leadership growth labs at das Gartenhaus in Munich.

As a program participant, business partner or learning stakeholder, I’ve appreciated the many learning experiences and friendships that have evolved over the years and for this, I will simply say thank you for your trust, and your willingness to associate yourself with N Vision Learning Solutions.

Below you will find news2use, a monthly communique where I will share my insights from the field of life, leadership and business. If you prefer not to receive this and other communiques from me in the future, you can “unsubscribe” in your preference section at the bottom of this mail.

I believe, more than ever, that leadership is everything to the success of your business. I look forward to continued contact and working together with you in the future!


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

For You

You know how when someone who reports to you continuously asks you how to do things instead of developing their own ideas?

Here are three ways to ensure that someone you’re coaching or leading takes ownership for their situation and potential outcomes:

“I understand the situation you’ve just described to me. What do you see as the three options to move forward and which one makes most sense to you at this time?”

“How would you go about dealing with this situation? Share how you would do this first before you ask me; this way I will understand your approach and be able to give you better feedback and ideas.”

“You’ve mentioned a couple of ideas – how would you use what we’ve just discussed? For example, when are you going to approach Cindy and let her know that you don’t appreciate it when she interrupts you? Imagine that I am Cindy and let’s hear how you would share that feedback with her?”

A leader’s input too soon can set up a dependency pattern and rob someone of their opportunity to develop and try out their own ideas.

For You & Your Team

My experience shows that teamwork and collaboration often works well within one’s team or function; however bottlenecks and breakdowns start to happen when interacting and working with other team, departments or locations.

Ask your team to imagine that they are part of an improvisational theatre group, and they and their colleagues from other teams or sites are on stage with them. Encourage them to engage with their partners using three core principles of improvisational theatre:

  1. Accept all offers
  2. Respond with yes and; instead of yes but
  3. Do what you can do to make others look good, save blame for yourself, not others

Still struggling to improve your cross team, cross function or cross site collaboration? Invite your collaboration partners to a meeting. After identifying the issues, switch sides and argue with the views of your counterpart in mind. That’s right, you argue your partners point of view and they argue yours. You only have to do this on three or four points, two to three minutes per point. You’ll be surprised how much energy is created during this “reversed parliamentary debate” and you’ll both see the futility of staying anchored in one point of view.

At the end of the day, there is only one point of view that matters. It’s called your customer’s point of view. Move beyond functional fencing and put your customer at the center of everything you do.

For You, Your Team & Your Business

Smart people don’t always practice smart strategy.

Smart strategy means paying attention to the fundamentals, like speaking the same language. Strategy starts to break down quickly when “strategy semantics” aren’t addressed. Here are three classics:

Plan versus Strategy

I still hear people using strategy and plan as if they mean the same thing. They don’t. A plan describes a shorter term future, usually six to nine months out. It’s a bottom up process, based on forecastable information for the not so distant future.

A strategy is longer term view of the future. Done correctly, it means stepping into future point in time, beyond 24 months, with the intention of looking at market conditions, changing customer preferences, competitive analysis and your organizational aspirations. This is a top down process and demands that you step into a future with imagination and creativity, instead of simply pushing forecasts and assumptions forward until you can’t see them anymore.

What versus How

Have you ever been in the middle of a strategic discussion with your team, started with good intentions, and everything seems to melt down? This often is caused because leaders start mixing “what narratives” with “how narratives”. What your business will look like in the future is an important conversation, however you will derail this conversation quickly if you start discussing how you will manage this journey before you shape the what the end picture should look like.

Remember that what comes before how and that a how should never get in the way of what. There is always a how when you and your leadership team own the what.

What’s a priority and what’s not for our business?

How do you feel when you’ve eaten too much? Lethargic, slow and sleepy? If your organization could talk, it might say the same if everything you do is called a priority.

In my view, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.

Smart strategists operationally define what a priority is and which ones are must win battles for their organization. This clarity helps people focus and deliver on what matters most.

People, Places & Things

The recent Brainstorm Design Conference in Singapore was an excellent opportunity to see how the world’s most successful companies are embracing design thinking in every aspect of what they do. Design thinking goes far beyond product development; today it’s a vital part of strategy that stretches across an organization’s value chain.

I come from a “non-design background”, nevertheless I took away valuable insights for myself and my clients, learning from many of the who’s who from the world of design. Tom Dixon, Harry West (frog), Phil Gilbert (IBM), Joe Gebbia (Airbnb), Miguel McKelvey (WeWork), Ole Scheeren, Kashiwa Sato (Samurai) and Maria Giudice to name a few.

This invitation-only event is worth looking into if you’re a senior leader looking for innovative ideas about enabling your organization and maximizing your customer’s experience.

Next year’s Brainstorm Design Conference (March 5-7, 2019) is again scheduled for Singapore.

I know I’ll be there.

Here’s the link to next year’s event:

Thought for the Day
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking,
Because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings.
Always believe in yourself.


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.