Blog: Trans­for­mational Leader­ship Insights

Given Marco’s passion for Transformational Leadership, he is always on the look out for the latests insights and tools from article, books, and research on this topic – from business books, business school publications such as Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review, to publications of strategy consultants like McKinsey Quarterly. Several years ago he started to make regular posts on LinkedIn with the latest insights and frameworks on Transformational Leadership. What started as a few one-off posts has already grown to around 50 posts on the topic. Below you can find a full overview of all posts as a source of insights and inspiration.

Latest posts

insight #47

Better Navigating Uncertainty

In a transformational business situation you have to deal with uncertainty. How can you as a leader expand your capacity to deal even better with uncertainty? In this context I like the recent INSEAD article “Can We
insight #46

Achieve more with Ease

In a transformational situation, it can be tempting to focus on working harder and harder to achieve your goals. However, there is a limit to this on what can be achieved this way. I find Greg McKeown’s
insight #45

The Power of Co-Elevation

In a transformation, it is key to create high-performing teams that cut across reporting line structures. In this context, I very much like Keith Ferrazzi’s recent book ‘Leading Without Authority’. Keith is a real thought leader. The
insight #44

Reduce Change Resistance

In a transformational situation, changing people’s minds and behaviour is challenging. I like the book ‘The Catalyst’ by Jonah Berger, a professor at The Wharton School. He uses leading research to argue that it’s less about persuading
insight #43

How to be Indistractable

In a transformational situation, it’s important to focus on creating traction and not on distractions. In this context, I like the book ‘Indistractable’ by Nir Eyal. He provides a helpful framework, insights and practical actions. Some highlights:
insight #42

Using Change Goals to Inform Leadership

In a transformative situation, an adaptive leadership style is key. But what does this mean and how can you adapt? I like in this context the recent MIT Sloan Management Review article ‘Leading change Means Changing How
insight #41

The Difference Between a Strong and an Effective Culture

Building an effective culture is key in any transformation. The new book by James L. Heskett, an emeritus Harvard Business School Professor, on “Win from Within: Build Organisational Culture for Competitive Advantage” is one that I like
insight #40

Tranformation in Uncertain Times: Tackling Both The Urgent and The Important

Transformational times differ from “ordinary” times. For a successful transformation it is to find the right balance between urgent and important matters. I enjoyed the recent McKinsey article on ‘Transformation in uncertain times: Tackling both the urgent
insight #39

Close The Gap Between Strategy and Execution

In a business transformation, it is important that the strategy is successfully implemented. However, there are pitfalls that regularly cause this to fail. In this context, I really enjoyed the HBR article by Prof. Freek Vermeulen of
insight #38

How to Make Your Organization Future-Proof

It’s important in a transformation to future-proof your organization. I very much liked the recent episode of the McKinsey podcast titled ‘How to future-proof your organization’. Chris Gagnon and Elizabeth Mygatt shared their insightful views on how
insight #37

Seven Principles for Achieving Tranformational Growth

In a transformational situation, growth is key. I like the McKinsey article ‘Seven principles for achieving transformational growth’. It lays out 7 insights: Look past the mythsIt’s key to break free of some limiting myths. For example,
insight #36

Six Practices to Elevate Strategy to a Way of Life

To make a transformation successful, it takes more than a well-thought-out strategy. I like Ikujiro Nonaka’s and Hirotaka Takeuchi’s article in the MIT Sloan Managemt Review which argues that for a company’s strategy to succeed in a
insight #35

The Four Actions Framework

In a transformational situation, high-performing teams at all levels are of course a key driver of success. In this context, I like and recognise the five practical suggestions made by Ron Friedman, Ph.D. in a recent Harvard
insight #34

5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently

In a transformational situation it’s key to explore new spaces and ways for value creation in your industry. I like the framework that W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne and Mi Ji presented in a recent INSEAD article.
insight #33

The 6 Vitals of Self-Knowledge

Transforming a business is a challenge and requires leaders to bring their A-game. One of the ways to raise your game is to know yourself better. I have found the tool of the 6 Vital Strengths of
insight #32

10 lessons from Peter Drucker by Jim Collins

In a transformation, it’s critical to be a highly effective leader. I liked the 10 lessons from the book ‘The Effective Executive’ by Peter Drucker as Jim Collins defined them in an article. Manage thyself.Raise your own
insight #31

Four C’s of Mental Toughness

Harnessing Mental Toughness is key in any transformation. I love the leading research that P. Clough and D. Strycharczyk have done on this and laid out in their book ‘Developing Mental Toughness’. They have boiled it down
insight #30

Ask Purposeful Questions Daily

In a transformation journey, asking yourself daily purposeful questions can be helpful to remain focused. As an example, I have added in the visual a set of questions which Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, Ph.D. of Santa
insight #29

Total Motivation Factor (ToMo)

Harnessing motivation is key in any transformation. An insightful way to make this more measurable and manageable is the ‘Total Motivation’ (ToMo) factor. It was developed by N. Doshi and L. McGregor, and introduced in their book
insight #28

Six problem-solving mindsets for very uncertain times

In a transformation, it’s important to have the right mindset when solving complex problems in an uncertain context. I like the ‘six mutually reinforcing mindsets’ for great problem solving as mentioned in a recent article by C.
insight #27

Mastering Your Inner Leadership Game – 7 Paradoxes

In a transformation journey, it is important to manage paradoxes all the time like ‘short term and long term’, ‘strategy and execution’, ‘global and local’ etc. In this context, I like the recent article in strategy+business by A.
insight #26

From change resistance to readiness

In any transformation, the status quo dynamics of the opposing forces of readiness to change and resistance to change𝐫 must be shifted. As is often the case, the status quo is not an option for the organisation
insight #25

Effective Team: GROW 7A

The progress of any transformation journey largely depends on building effective teams. Recently, I read an Insead article by Vincent H. DOMINÉ and Fabio Coluccia on Insead, where they shared their GROW 7A methodology. Aspiration & Alignment
insight #24

Nudging from planning to execution

In a transformation, next to having a good strategy, it’s key to get things done. However, planning can feel more appealing than implementing. I found the “implementation nudges” from the article “Crossing the Chasm” in Business Horizons
insight #23

Leadership Productivity Model

In a transformational situation, you don’t just have to run the business, you have to change it, which often creates a crowded agenda. I have found the ‘Leadership Productivity Model (LPM), by Dobbelstein and Geiselhardt, to be
insight #22

The Power of Well Calibrated Confidence

In a transformational situation, it’s crucial to find the right level of confidence about what an organization can achieve and the likelihood of results. Overconfidence can lead to serious problems, as can a lack of confidence. I
insight #21

How to persuade the unpersuadable?

Often in organizational transformation situations, powerful people who look unpersuadable need to be persuaded. I found Adam Grant’s article in HBR interesting as he describes how people at Apple were able to change Steve Jobs’ unpersuadable views.
insight #20

The Power of Experimenting

To innovate is key in a transformation. Do you have the right balance between planning and rapid experimenting? For example, as most know, at Google, when there is a decision to be made whether ads should have
insight #19

Which personality are you?

When dealing with a transformation, people tend to have different positions. In the classical metaphoric book ‘Who Moved my Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson, four positions to unexpected change are illustrated which you could summarize as follows: The
insight #18

How deliberately do you use decision rules?

How do you make decisions in a transformation? Are you deliberate on what type of decision rules to use for what type of decision? There are several decision rules a leadership team can use. In my experience,
insight #17

The Openness Model

In a transformational journey, it’s key for leaders to get new and better insights and ideas. This requires a certain level of permeability to new views and experienced by leaders. New ideas always arrive via a minority
insight #16

Break the Innovative Paradox

I enjoyed Jeff Dyer, Nathan Furr, and Michael Hendron’s article in MIT Sloan Magazine ‘Overcoming The Innovator’s Paradox.’ They interviewed 100+ innovative business leaders who transformed companies and industries with radical ideas while securing enough resources. The
insight #15

Strategic Doing Cycle

I like the concept of Strategic Doing to drive transformation in a complex environment, developed by Ed Morrison at Purdue University. He established it based on insights from networks of people solving problems together to transform local
insight #14

Outside-in vs Inside-in Leadership

I like the provocative ‘outside-in principle’ for transformational leadership, described in Herminia Ibarra’s book ‘Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader.’ The premise behind it is that thinking and introspection should come only after taking action
insight #13

The Power of Questions

Asking questions to challenge status quo beliefs and assumptions is a key element in any business transformation. Many new disruptive business models are based on a different perspective on what’s possible and questioning status quo assumptions about
insight #12

ABCD Decisions

Great decision making can bring vitalising energy to a transformation. It’s crucial not to treat different decisions with the same approach. A McKinsey & Company article, ‘Untangling Decision Making’ suggests a practical triage: Big-bet decisions: These shape
insight #11

Power of small wins

The motivational power of celebrating small progress wins is a key ingredient in successful transformations. Many tend to focus on and celebrate only big achievements. However, research shows that creative teams found ways to create micro-moments of
insight #10

MAD Change Matrix

“If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more.” A recent MIT Sloan Management Review article explains the MAD Change Matrix, defining 3 types of transformation strategies depending on the context. Enhance Magnitude: Step up
insight #9

Your Impact Matrix

In a transformation, real focus and high engagement are key ingredients to achieving impact, in my experience. A helpful question to regularly ask is how the business overall, the different leaders, departments, projects and team score on
insight #8

Value Creation Matrix

What is real transformation? In his great book ‘Zero to One,’ Peter Thiel shared some provocative views on how to build the future: be optimistic and have a definite view/plan on how to shape it. He introduced
insight #7

From “Knowing It All” to “Learning It All”

In his great book ‘Hit Refresh’, Satya Nadella describes his inspiring journey in transforming Microsoft inside-out, by rediscovering and refreshing its purpose, setting clear priorities, changing the portfolio, etc. but maybe most importantly, by refreshing the culture/mindset
insight #6

Do you have a transformative leadership posture?

How to unleash people around you in transformational situations? Frances Frei and Anne Morriss published a great book called ‘Unleashed’. One of the frameworks they introduce is the ‘Standard-Devotion Matrix’. One axis shows to what level you
insight #5

Busy vs Productive

Transforming an organisation is challenging and it requires change on many fronts. Given the often big agenda and many moving pieces, I have frequently seen management fall into the “busy-ness” trap. It’s appealing because it creates an
insight #4

Are you balancing the right mix of your internal leadership personas?

‘Winning from Within’ is this great book by renowned and inspiring leadership expert Erica Ariel Fox of Mobius Executive Leadership. In it, she introduced the practical concept that everybody has multiple leadership personas inside of them. She
insight #3

Fixing vs. Transforming in face of a crisis. What is your framing?

When faced with a challenge/crisis, the framing of how you respond to it makes a big difference. If the framing is more focused on deficit gap closing, most of the energy goes towards fixing the problem. The
insight #2

Creativity Thrives Under Contraints

How to deal with remote working? Imagination is unleashed by limitations. In psychology, constraints have been studied as a means of being more resourceful and creative and many artists, business people or even athletes are known to
insight #1

Avoid the Don Quixote Trap

I have found that having a clear, compelling vision with conviction behind it is often key to change a status quo. However, keeping an open mind and regularly testing the underlying vision assumptions/beliefs are good practices to