Archive for April, 2009

The Executive Rule & The “Middle Line”

CEOs and GMs ask me: can you help us increase revenue and improve the top line? Can you help cut cost and improve the bottom line?

My answer is, “yes! We can help you grow your top line! And we can improve your bottom line too!”

“How?” they ask. “It’s simple. We will help you improve your top line and your bottom line by focusing on your point of leverage­, your middle line.

In a challenging environment, leaders create breakthroughs or crash. For company leaders, the next worst thing to facing a tough business environment is creating their own lethal downward spiral. Unfortunately, that is exactly what some leaders are doing right now, destroying their business rapidly. No one wants to fly into the ground, but good pilots make terrible mistakes. How do I know? I have seen it. In this environment, leaders who are not aware of the impact of incongruent communication increase the damage by creating stress, fear and disengagement in their teams. In the desire or need to increase productivity they produce hyper-active or frozen environments, both leading to catastrophic productivity loss.

The carpenter’s rule is – “Take care of the edges and the middle will take care of itself.” The executive rule is opposite – “Take care of the core (the middle) and the bottom line will take care of itself.”

Your core is your middle line. The middle line hides your breakthrough potential to dramatically improve your top and bottom lines. In our rapid “mid-line workshop”, we ask: how are you in “the middle”? How are you in “the middle” with your people? How you are in “the middle” with your clients? How well are your people coping and managing in these challenging times? Do you bring out the best in people or are they more stressed and anxious around you? Do you help clients with their greatest source of pain? Do they know how to make the most of your products and services?

We are the experts of the mid-line. We help you focus on the great multipliers of your business – the key leverage points that generate results, grow your top line and improve your bottom line. Here are six mid-line factors that determine organizational and business results: great leaders and teams:

1. Cultivate relationships of trust
2. Develop creative solutions
3. Produce rapid alignment
4. Build leadership capabilities
5. Create effective execution
6. Generate energy and commitment

If you are absolutely serious about helping your teams raise the bar and turn challenges to opportunities – if you are committed to realize your goals call or write us to find out about a “mid-line inventory” and a rapid “mid-line workshop” for your team or entire organization. This innovative discovery workshop customized for your team will generate rapid results to help you improve your top and bottom line. We work with you to discover the best solution for your teams and business. The workshop can help you:

* Realign activities to capitalize on new opportunities.
* Free up and repurpose resources.
* Accelerate go-to-market strategy.
* Clarify decision rights, roles, responsibilities and objectives.
* Create rapid alignment and collaboration.

The “mid-line workshop” can be customized for large and small groups for half-day sessions or a series of shorter sessions. We’ll work with you to adapt the optimal format for your needs. And yes, we will improve your top and bottom line!
© Aviv Shahar

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© Aviv Shahar

Coaching Trends & Challenges

The world is changing, are you changing with it?

I sense more worry, anxiety and stress from executives in recent coaching sessions. There are more challenges. Some speak of relational explosions and difficulty in staying clear and focused; some speak of reactionary response from managers, employees and clients. Most struggle to stay focused and productive. It’s as though the scenery is changing and with it the experience.

There is a paradox at play. High productivity is needed more than ever, but more people are distracted and lose productive focus. “I feel like I am running in water” says one executive. “Everything seems out of control” says another. “The pressure is relentless” says a third one.

You get the sense that everyone is in overdrive. Work habits that delivered results in the past are not sufficient. There is growing pressure for top line achievements and bottom line success, but it is the “middle line” – the inner working of teams that suffer most. There is a relentless, very stressful, non-productive intensity. It is more than psychological pressure and the 24/7 news cycle phenomenon. There is an energetic dimension to this shift. The whole system of work and life – the entire human system seems to be going through an octave leap – an epochal transition. It’s as if, en masse, we have all connected to a higher voltage power. Our previous wiring and insulation hadn’t totally prepared us for this time. You see coping difficulties all around and circuitries are being burned.

Every generation has its rendezvous with challenge. And this one is ours. The massive change and discontinuity underway is a generational shift. Welcome to the new epoch – the epoch of continual change.

Here are a few themes and capabilities needed in this time of change which are surfacing in recent coaching sessions with executives:
1. Staying focused, clear and intact.
2. Maintaining strategic clarity while executing effectively on the short term.
3. Developing deeper trust in key relationships.
4. Managing stress and anxiety.
5. Reframing problems to discover opportunities.
6. Taking care of basics. Attending to health and balance.
7. Managing ambiguity and uncertainty to improve resilience.
8. Tapping new innovative collaborations and alliances.
9. Replenishing oneself energetically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
10. Creating a narrative of meaningful and impactful communication.

What are your coaching needs? Who are you mentoring and coaching?

Call or write to us to find out about a coaching clubs for your team or entire organization. We’ll work with you to adapt the optimal format for your organization. And yes, we will improve your top and bottom line!

© Aviv Shahar

Are You A Meg Ryan Or A Meryl Streep?

Before I make my point, let me say, I like both of them. I like Meryl Streep and I like Meg Ryan. Each is beautiful and great in her own unique way. The point is that each represents an archetype. Meg Ryan is the same person regardless of the character she plays. Meryl Streep is distinctly unique and different in each character she plays. Meg Ryan’s authenticity is expressed in being herself in each role she assumes. Meryl Streep stays authentic by becoming the character she plays. It is not about good and bad, we love both. The question is, what works for you.

Before you say I hate Meg Ryan or I don’t like Meryl Streep, think again. Are you a different person as you move through the roles and situations of your life? Or do you stay the same regardless of the situation? This is not about your likes and dislikes on the movie screen. If you are the same person wherever you are, then you are in the “Meg Ryan” tribe. If you change, adapt and shape shift like a chameleon you are part of the “Meryl Streep” tribe.

Okay, here is my bias. We know that Meryl Streep is the queen of the screen. She is really in a league of her own. But if you try to be a “Meryl Streep” in your life you run two risks. First, the risk of mixing roles — acting one role when you interact with a group wherein you normally operate under another role. The second risk is that you may be “found out” and be perceived by some to be inauthentic when they see you take on a different role, act in a different capacity to the one they have seen you in previously.

As a consultant I work at being adaptive. When I facilitate a strategy summit I ask the unasked questions. I need to turn on a dime when I teach. In the teaching mode I may speak with enthusiasm for two or three hours straight. As a teacher the focus is on transferring experience, knowledge and the energetic vitamins that will help people connect up with new possibility and meaning, and take action. As a strategy consultant the focus is on helping the executive access new ideas and insight, and frame options. Coaching one CEO may be very different to coaching another. Each extracts a different voice out of me. One situation calls for validation, another for challenge. At times, silence opens the way forward and other times, shouting with passion shocks us into a new direction. It is more than style of presentation. It’s about stepping into a different role, where what’s needed is different. A different mode. A different speed. Different insights. A different conversation. Even different brain chemistry. Each situation creates and needs a different response. It is almost being a different person in a different space. That is doing a “Meryl Streep”. It is a mastery of a special kind.

On this blog I speak in few voices. They all come out of the same person, but they address different issues and are directed at different groups I associate and work with. What is the unifying thread? I seek to help you improve your situation. To open a new perspective. To encourage new thinking, growth and development. Is it smart to use multiple voices? I don’t know. It is easier to have just one voice. To be one thing in all situations. Branding 101 says: be consistent. Stay on message. Focus on a niche. One inch wide and go a mile deep. Become known for one thing. Be the strategy guru. The sales expert. The CEO coach. The leadership specialist or the talent expert. The Chutzpa guy. The wise sage. The creative thinker. This is the smart branding and marketing strategy.

The question is what works for you? What are you here to do and be? Are you here to do a “Meg Ryan” or a “Meryl Streep”? The freedom of Ryan is you can just be you. The freedom of Streep is that you can be anything you need to be. You can be many people and many things.

I love both but I’ve chosen Streep over Ryan in my journey. It affords me the range and freedom to live on purpose in a versatile way. To serve many situations and people. To learn and engage with a great diversity and to discover the different “voices” and “lives” that are called out of me.

© Aviv Shahar


Forgiveness is to love what you can be today and tomorrow more than you love what has happened to you yesterday.

© Aviv Shahar

Innovation DNA – Shai Agassi

Watch below an inspirational Shai Agassi vision at TED to decipher his innovative DNA code:

1. The question. Ask a new question or reframe the question in a new way: How would you run a whole country without oil?
2. The boundaries. Eliminate the implausible (no ethanol / no hydrogen) and define the boundaries: A total solution (entire country) electrical, more convenient, more affordable.
3. The solution. Redefine the problem to find solutions: separate the car ownership and the battery ownership.
4. The formula. Analyze the solution boundaries to frame a solvable formula: Cars are driven two hours and rest 22 hours. Charge to drive ratio works out to be a minute to a minute.
5. The scale. Develop a complete system solution: The last foot connection and the battery swap system.
6. The incentive. Develop individual and global incentive systems that improve with time: E-miles get better and better in comparison to gas-miles.
7. The business model. Create a business model that supports your solution and redefines the field. Cars 2.0
8. The opportunity. Be opportunistic. Use big names. Identify high visibility opportunity: Israel, Denmark, Australia.
9. The story. Develop a compelling story.
10. TED. Get your story on TED.

© Aviv Shahar

Twitter Helps To Focus The Mind

Multum in parvo. Much in little. Brevity is power. Twitter helps focus the mind. I have 140 characters to capture a message. Yes, most people use Twitter in the hope to create a following and viral marketing. I find that it puts the mind into a discipline of communicating in verse. Instead of replying to the question “what are you doing?” I think of the question: “What inspires you” and “What is your verse?” Here are a few twitter verses in case you do not follow:

1. When everyone keeps telling you what you cannot become, you are left with the option of becoming you!

2. What was is no more. What you used to have no longer matters. What you are here and now is what counts. Leadership is about here and now.

3. Power is not something you possess or own. You are entrusted to manage it. Monetary, social, political, or authoritative powers are managed not owned.

4. Your Leadership begins with trusting yourself and listening to your inner guidance. Develop your practice of awareness and reflection.

5. Coaching leaders to realize greatness is thrilling. You help brilliant people step into the unknown to discover and define what’s possible

6. My discovery today – the difference between possible and im-possible is in how you define or redefine the I’M

7. To follow intuition and guidance, let go of the fear of what others would say, the fear of failure and humiliation.

8. Think not where the answer to my question is but what question I might find or become an answer for.

9. What do you give power to? The things you are afraid of, and the things you say yes to. Neutrality does not hemorrhage power.

10. Self leadership – What holds you back? Three quarters of HOLD is OLD. What are you prepared to let go and forgive?

11. What is your development project at this time?

12. What have you said yes to today? 7 yeses a day align the world your way.

13. GROW = Generate Resourceful Options (of) Wellness/ Wisdom / Wealth

14. WISDOM = W-hat I-s S-erving D-evelopment O-ffers M-astery

© Aviv Shahar

The KEY: To Lead Is To Transform

When Nelson Mandela walked into the presidential palace for his first meeting with F.W. de Clerk he was still officially a prisoner. In fact he had been a prisoner for 26 years at that point. In his mind though, Mandela was freer than the person he was negotiating with. He was a free man because he had made a decision to transform his past animosities into a readiness to engage in an open dialogue. His own transformation became a tool to enable the transformation of his people.

Leadership is not a role. It is not a title. To Lead Is To Transform. This KEY goes to the heart of leadership. Discover what great leaders do and why courage is the most essential of all qualities. Help your team change the conversation and lead. Read The KEY: To Lead Is To Transform.

© Aviv Shahar

And The Winners Are

In our contest the riddle said: GOI & LIG is a powerful formula for success and for happy living. Assimilate the meaning and essence of GOI & LIG and your energy level, focus, and leadership charisma will double. What is the meaning of these two abbreviations: GOI and LIG

Gerardo Garcia from EDS HP was the first to send the correct answer to the riddle: GOI and LIGGet Over It & Let It Go

Gerardo is the recipient of the Emerald Keys 10 CDs prize.

Here is a starter list of things we would all be better off if we ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Got Over It’. It’s not always easy. It’s not pleasant, it’s painful at times. But if you get over it and let it go your life will become better, more fulfilling and you would be able to move forward to new opportunities faster.

Get over and Let go of:
1. Rejection of an idea you put forward.
2. Someone that promised to help but did not deliver.
3. Critical feedback about something you said.
4. Being misunderstood.
5. A bid you lost.
6. The promotion you didn’t get.
7. A friend that betrayed you.
8. Stuff that happened not according to your plans.
9. Projections you had that did not materialize.
10. You won the silver and not the gold medal.
11. You did not sell at the top before the correction.
12. Not being sure about what will happen tomorrow.

And then there is more…
13. A delayed flight.
14. The weather.
15. Your age showing in your skin, your face.
16. Taxes that never go away, not until you die.

You get the idea. So much energy is spent on fighting things you can do nothing about. It’s exhausting and takes away from all that you can do and all you are already accomplishing.

Get over it and let it go.

We decided to also honor Guy Shirk, President of Bottom Line Strategies with a complete set of the Emerald Keys for his creative reply:

GOI and LIG – Get Over It, Life Is Good

© Aviv Shahar

Be Your Own CEO

Don’t miss the first personal mastery teleconference – “Be Your Own CEO: You are not only your own Chief Executive Officer, you are also your Chief Evolution Officer—in charge of creating your future growth and development.” Register here today.

We focus on these two vital aspects of your leadership: Evolution and Execution. You will learn 30 unique strategies: 15 strategies to become an effective Executive Officer of your life and 15 strategies to become a resilient Evolutionary Officer of your endeavors. These strategies will help you turn uncertainty to initiative, move from fear to freedom, and transform concern into capable and confident action.

This is a great opportunity to take the driver seat of life, focus on what matters most, defy fears and anxiety and take command of your opportunities. This set of strategies has never been put together before. Don’t miss this opportunity. Join our teleconference here – Be You Own CEO.
© Aviv Shahar

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