Why forming the Belgian government is such a mess. #BeGov

Belgium is without a federal government since ... well, longer than anybody would dare to say it. It is insane. It starts looking like Israel and Palestine when it comes to coming to agreements. One is to wonder why they can't agree on how to sort out issues for such a small place. Belgium is smaller and much less complex than, say, larger San Francisco. Or New York. Being living here, and my core business being helping organizations and individuals to improve their performance, I am appalled by the current state of affairs. Isn't there anyone there having read things like "Getting to Yes" of Fischer for example? There is no long term view, everyone looks like it painted itself in a corner and can't exit by fear of either ego bruises or depleasing its constituency of voters. That's not what statemen do, that's not what a society is to be in the first place. A society is there so that it brings more benefits than trouble by working together. It seems to be the contrary now. Established perks abound, an entitlement mentality is encroached. And with the debt burden, we are heading more and more to the status of a "tax base" instead of citizens with a brain. You don't get anywhere with views like that. Or more precisely you end up in hell. We are in times of turmoil financially speaking, capital flows are rushing around the planet (look at the CHF of late, who ended up pegged with the EUR at around EUR 0.83 because it became a safe haven for a while). So, we need someone at the helm. In Rome in cases like that, they put a dictator to end the cacophony. We aren't in Rome anymore but we may end up their way, with massive devaluations and bad vibes. On a country as small as Belgium, do we ever think of being meaningful in any way on the financial checkerboard? We are going to be tossed around. People in the know do not even list Belgium in the list of countries that could make it. Get someone at the helm and fast. Again, this is a typical case of looking at one's own navel and gazing into it to death when the house is burning. A state of collective political denial that must be escaped. With friends like that, who needs enemies? So, to get out of this mess, there are priorities. And so far, what is discussed in the proposals is not about priorities, it is about minor points that render everyone sick. This is akin to a dysfunctional family full of severe narcissic pathological cases. You can't get anywhere until you have sane people aboard. But you can't because they locked the door from the inside, put the house on fire, and started looking to their own navels while chanting their own gospel. So, let they burn down to the ground and start anew. There are tons of sane people around. Get some of them in charge. Get leaders of socio economic areas in charge, get leaders in social and cultural affairs in charge. The education on financial matters looks like abysmal to me. I am quite unsure if politicians can make sense of a balance sheet and an ROI statement. Is there any case of statement of objectives for all this? Currently, I do see none. I see lots of proposals, actions, and other gestures that are all hiding the truth: that there are no agreed upon objectives. It is fire fire fire without any aim, not to mention Think! And measurements on how we do progress on objectives. Again: nothing, for heaven's sake. No a single measurement. Maybe there are things from each constituency, but no externally visible thing for the citizens. Who do they think they are going to fool? They are sliding into irrelevancy. Soon enough, we'll see a takeover by FX-loaded countries. Why not seeing China buying all debt and imposing a smarter policy centered on growth. They could do it. It would rig the game into another direction for once. Maybe will it be a wakeup call. On the added value for us, the people: well, inflationary measures, an image down the drain, and a mood that isn't that positive isn't going to propel us to the pinnacle of bliss for  sure. Even if we do have very competitive assets in form of brainware, will to get things done and general smarts. The best are escaping to other countries who are decided to fight. We are bleeding talent. That's a disaster. So, we need to get these objectives, measurements, and added value items listed and acted upon. Is it so hard to see what is the common good? We want peace, we want prosperity, we want decent security, we want to be doing business in a supporting ecosystem, we want to behave like humans do, helping the poor and the unlucky. And we want to reduce stupidity levels around. That last bit isn't going to be easy. But it is not because a fight can't be won right away that one's must refrain from trying. You never know, you may get lucky.  

--There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 - 1527), The Prince (1532)
All right, that's kind of my daily routine to be swimming in those currents. At the same time, I am currently reading Ayn Rand's books (quite a task given the pagecount). Call me a libertarian. What may be key success factors in my attitude that are leading to lasting results are in my view:
  1. A genuine interest in seeing things work smoother and with more performance and personnel (not personal) intrinsic satisfaction
  2. No need for being loved by the organization, or its members. Showing mutual respect and commitment is good enough. If you need love in a business, get a dog and phone a therapist fast
  3. Manifesting tangible results and getting along the front line workers, who are the ones getting tangible results anyway
  4. A constant learning regimen, along with practicing for myself what I do ask others to do. Talking the walk is important. Walking the talk is important. So, put both in a repeating cycle for best results.
  5. Being realistic on planning. If you can plan accurately at a two years horizon, I want to meet you! I can't. I can milestone plan but not detail plan. Of course, nobody knows enough for that kind of time frame and such a detailed plan is wishful thinking. No issue with you daydreaming but just be conscious that reality may not agree with you.
  6. Be willing to dig deep in order to understand the root causes of problems to avoid merely fixing the situation and rather deploy some innovative ways that help in getting large improvements.
If you have more insights about this, I'd like to hear from you in the comments.  

And now, some long lasting excellence in action: Kylie

Launched in '88. Still kicking ass big time. Get a clue (or two, three, four, ...) from her!

How to make innovation real in your organization

Innovation is essential to survival and growth
  • We are sailing through troubled times, competition heats up. And management needs to tell where to go. But is there a clue?
  • Changes are occurring all around. And faster and faster. Adaptability is a mandatory skill.
  • If you do not adapt and thrive, you'll soon be like the dinosaurs: extinct.
  • Innovation, the ability to continuously raise the bar, and pass over it is the key to survival and growth.
Innovation is a process
  • Letting go of perfection is key. Perfection is freezing one down. Are you?
  • Believing in innovation must also be there. Paying lip service isn't going to cut it.
  • Make innovation into a habit since accretion of little innovative things over time goes a long way in making it work. Waiting for the big idea to strike may leave you in the dust before long.
  • Make it sustainable, and not a one shot thing.  Otherwise, it will not stick. And you'll not grok what it is.
Taking innovation seriously is a competitive weapon
  • It keeps you fit.
  • It keeps the crap in check.
  • It keeps people interested and recognized.
  • It makes a great PR engine.
  • It keeps you up to date and in the race.
You need a listening organization to make it happen
  • You need to reduce the power distance.
  • You need to have an experimentation-friendly culture. Failure must be allowed. Otherwise, you'll ossify.
  • You need to be able to iterate rapidly: experiment/fail/move on, and every once in a while: bang! Innovation that works. Nobody's gonna be right the first time, every time. Forget about that.
Take action today
  • What can you do to improve a process right now?
  • What can you do to improve your customer relationship right away?
  • What should you learn to get to the next level?
  • What must be abandoned to recover your ability to innovate?
  • What about turning the knob of innovation 3 or 4 notches further?
Until next time, let's get innovation in motion!

Innovation requires stubborness

I was thinking about innovation, and read a bunch of content on that.

Innovation made overcomplicated

I seems endemic that people overcomplicate innovation with process charts, complex things, and overall mess. This ultimately ends up in clouding the issue, making it "special." This blocks innovation from happening. This isn't what I want innovation to be for the rational self interest of my clients. YASFRUM. Yet Another System For Racking Up Money. That's what they all appear to be to me when running them on the delivery side. Who on Earth will have  the time to go through that given today's hectic pace?

Innovation is a critical "Thinking Skill."

And most people brains aren't all that analytic, nor process centered. Think about the difference between "process practicioner" and "process engineer." The practicioner doesn't give a damn about all of the charts. He wants to get results. As far as I can tell, being innovative requires to be largely stubborn in some ways. It requires one to be boneheaded when submitted to the ideas and comments of naysayers, critics, normalizing pressure and other people forecasting doom to the innovative ideas being IMPLEMENTED. Yes, implemented. Implementation is where the meat lies. Getting an idea. Well, yeah, worth .0001 €,$,£. Who cares about that idea? What is of value lies in implementing the idea. And learn through the process. Get real. See how it works with real people, refine, refine, refine again, so that at the end it brings something of tangible value to the table. I guess this is good enough an implementation right now to get some other ideas gravitating around this one.

The innovation dream in Europe #eyif

The innovation dream in Europe: being able to achieve things that have not been done anywhere else in the world. Potential for quantum computing is going to change computing. I would say spintronics but who am I hey! Over qualified people not finding a job up to their talent. Root of the issue? Europe is currently losing ground against competition. There is an emergency here. Innovation affects all of us. To address this: First innovation is not research. Entrepreneurship is not innovation. Innovation is connected to both but is on it's own. Shared risk. Since putting more money down the tubes isn't going to help. Society that supports individuals wanting to take risks. But how? By improving access to innovation. Today: to fuzzy. By providing facilities By enhancing our participation. By removing barriers. We aren't there yet!!,! Think - Do - Change loop. The eyif process looks like a funnel. From idea to help to reality. So, the digital innovation platform is there to help.