Where to look for the next big lift in performance.


For decades organizations have sought and achieved productivity and performance improvement through information technology and process engineering initiatives.  While these efforts streamlined and automated what organizations do to provide services and products, they failed to address many people and organization needs along the way.  As a result, we still have a long way to go in order to achieve peak performance as suggested by Continue reading

Truths to help you change the world.


The following blog post has been upgraded and incorporated into an enhanced interactive, digital workbook called Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World. IntelliVen visitors are invited to click here to view the updated and improved content on Inkling.

IntelliVen.com is a site for chief executive officers, managing directors, executive directors, and chief administrators; that is, it’s for the person in charge of any organization — no matter how large or small — and those who aspire to hold leadership roles. Continue reading

How services firms should think about what they do to help leaders turn ideas into benefits.

Framework for Service Providers along the Idea-to-Benefit Cycle

There are many ways to provide value to leaders who seek to turn ideas into benefits!  Service providers need to get and stay clear about how they help leaders in order to perform and grow to their full potential.

Click the figure to view a presentation on how to think about helping leaders turn ideas into benefits.

How anyone can use a leadership system to increase the odds of organization success sooner.

The Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World workbook presents leaders with content, work problems, cases, and templates. The collective work product forms the essential elements of a multi-year strategic plan that communicates how the organization sees itself, where it is headed, how it will get there, and what it will do to ensure the plan is achieved.

Those who read, study, and practice Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World know and appreciate that seven leadership truths and actions that make sense in light of them, when applied correctly, lead an organization to perform and grow according to its plan.

The truths and their actions guide leaders to describe: where their organization is now, where they want it to be next, how it will get there, and increase the odds of getting it there sooner.

The seven truths and the actions they drive are each summarized below. Click on the icon at left to get a close look at each truth and a summary of the actions it drives. Page back and click on the action headers at right for a look at the introduction to that segment of the workbook.

Get Clear

Get Clear – Describe the organization in terms of whose problem it solves, how (as in how does it: do, sell, and grow what it does), how well (compared to: others, its past, and relative to its plan and projections). Lay out how its finances work with an income statement, cash flow, and balance sheet for the past two years, current four quarters, and two years hence. Continue reading

How to Aim High and Do Better with intelligent goal setting.

Bank Plan

Set goals to get the results you want base

Figure-1: Under Promise and Over Deliver

Bankers and investors want to know how things will turn out with a high degree of certainty in order to manage downside risk. Consequently, organizations that take professional money learn to conservatively state what they will accomplish to have a high probability of achieving plan. When actual results exceed plan there is cause for celebration as suggested by the under-promise and over-deliver lines graphed in Figure-1. Continue reading

How leaders can upgrade status report submissions with one-on-one meetings to increase the odds of better results sooner.

Stick Figures of Leaders in ActionLeaders whose direct reports submit regular (e.g., monthly) status reports on progress, problems, and plans should consider re-working their approach to include more frequent (e.g., bi-weekly), one-on-one, real-time (in person or via the Web) meetings to discuss submitted progress reports and to collaborate and align on how things are going, priorities, and next steps. Specifically, top leaders ask each direct report to prepare and submit a day or so ahead of meeting one-on-one:

  • An update on progress since last time including a read-out of measures previously agreed upon to track progress.
  • A list of the top three or so things s/he is working on, and for each:
    • What s/he seeks to accomplish
    • What has been done so far to accomplish it
    • What has happened as a result of what has been done so far
    • What has been learned from above
    • What s/he plans to do  next.
  • What s/he needs from their leaders and/or from others in the organization to be successful.

    Continue reading

How to get core leaders clear about whose problem their organization solves.

Get ClearAny organization that performs and grows, exists to solve a problem for a customer.  Its mission explains why it exists and its vision explains where it is headed but neither, individually or together, necessarily explains the solution (WHAT) it provides customers (WHO) and the problem their solution solves (WHY) for those customers.

While it may at first seem simple or obvious, it is usually surprisingly difficult for leaders to sort out and agree on how to describe all three dimensions. Employee surveys invariably reveal that the most urgent need across the organization is to get a better handle on: Who are we and what do we do? which reveals the importance of clearly and consistently communicating all three dimensions to everyone in the organization. Continue reading

National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Washington, DC Capital Area Chapter to Host Manage to Lead presentation.

NACDOn November 13, 2013 IntelliVen CEO, Peter DiGiammarino, will present Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World at the monthly meeting of the National Association of Corporate Directors  Click the figure at left to register.


Hogan Lovells LLP
555 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM


How to think about and work with outsiders to systematically get help in a way that increases the odds of success.

Get HelpLearning to Get Help is one of the top two factors that account for success in maturing a start-up into a credible organization on track to long term growth and performance according to a plan.

Early stage CEO’s at first often think it is a sign of weakness to need help and when they finally do experiment with getting help they often find it frustrating ultimately because they misuse those they enlist.

It helps to think in terms of five types of outside support:

  • Celebrities to draw attention
  • Advisers to provide best practices and perspective based on experience
  • Peers to provide mutual support and community
  • Coaches to provide advice and counsel  to increase personal effectiveness
  • Governors to provide a consistent point of accountability and help with strategy, focus, and access to resources

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Leesburg, VA Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to host Manage to Lead dinner presentation.


SHRMOn November 12, 2013 IntelliVen CEO, Peter DiGiammarino, will present Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World at the monthly dinner meeting of the Leesburg Society for Human Resource Management.  If you would like to attend, please click the figure at left to register.

River Creek Country Club

43800 Olympic Blvd.

Leesburg, VA 20176

5:30 to 8:00 PM




How a services firm can discount its price without compromising hourly rates.

When a professional services firm contracts to perform a big project, it is common for it to get a request to work at reduced hourly rates.  While it may be tempting to discount to lock in the deal, doing so also sets a precedent with the customer and those it talks to, making it more likely that future work will be at the lower rates.

Since a rate, once set, is hard to increase, it is all the more critical to protect it.  A good alternative to discounting is to offer a lump sum credit in the contract.  Position it as an amount that is earned over the course of the contract so that, the more services provided, the greater the share of the credit is realized by the customer.

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How to get on track to success with a poorly performing team member.

If a team member underperforms relative to expectation, the team’s leader should first make sure basic tenets for success have been established using best contracting and governance practices.

  • As the team’s leader, ensure that you:
    • Know what the team counts on the team member to do
    • Believe s/he has the ability do it.
    • Want him/her to do it.
  • Validate that s/he:
    • Knows what the team is counting on him/her to do
    • Believes s/he has the ability do it.
    • Wants to do it.
  • Verify s/he has what is needed for success; including resources (e.g., time, money, space), knowledge, experience, systems, and access to experienced advisors.
  • Ensure there is sufficient incentive to perform up to expectation.
  • Provide governance; i.e., every month or so, ask him/her to tell you:
    • What s/he is trying to accomplish
    • What has been done towards that end
    • What has been the result of those efforts
    • What has been learned
    • What s/he plans to do next.

Continue reading