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


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




Introducing BusinessBecause

BusinessBecauseOne of the top-5 most popular IntelliVen posts ever published (based on number of views) is on why top MBA students should consider a career in operations instead of in finance.

The post includes a video interview on how operating leaders participate in venture success which was suggested, filmed, and first published by BusinessBecause. BusinessBecaue launched in late-2009 as the first “niche network” connecting business students, employers, business school applicants and business schools around the world.

BusinessBecause publishes fascinating, people-focused stories and provides useful information on choosing a b-school (e.g. Why MBAMBA rankings) and finding a job.  BusinessBecause now has more than 100,000 monthly visitors and a vibrant 20,000-member worldwide community that shares information with each other and that use the network to build valuable career connections internationally.

BusinessBecause also runs EngineeringBecause, for the world’s top engineering students, and a technology business, NetworkBecause, building alumni platforms for organizations.  This IntelliVen post is to announce that IntelliVen subscribers that sign up before October 6, 2013 with the following code receive a free, one-month premium membership to

Premium code: HO7R85RY. 

Expires on October 6, 2013. 


Business Guru Terry Schmidt reviewed Manage to Lead for the Association for Strategic Planning; here’s what he had to say:

Review by Terry Schmidt, Management Pro



Manage to Lead, by Peter DiGiammarino, presents a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance.

I’m a business author and consultant who has read just about everything on management and leadership, but this soft cover book blew me away. It’s full of fresh content, practical exercises and an innovative linkage to on-line strategic planning templates and support resources. Gadzooks – this book verges on disruptive technology for strategic planning consultants!

Continue reading

Make Strategy Real: Manage to Lead and The Seven Truths


FlyerOn September 25th the Northern California Association for Strategic Planning hosts IntelliVen CEO, Peter DiGiammarino as their luncheon speaker in Palo Alto, California.

Register now to attend from noon to 1:30 pm west coast time on September 25th in person or via webinar.

Event Details

When: Wednesday Sept. 25

  • Webinar: 12-1:30 pm Pacific;
  • In-Person: Networking starts at 11:30 am Pacific


  • Webinar: Virtually via the Web (attend as a group for best experience)
  • In-Person: Oshman Family Jewish Community Center at 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Continue reading

How a new top executive can gain respect and affect change by being an aggressive listener.

Most people cannot listen until they have been heard.  As a consequence, wise leaders who want to affect thinking and behavior learn to first listen to those they aim to impact.

Holding back from jumping-in when a key point comes to mind in the middle of a fast-paced conversation can be a challenge but it is also essential in order to avoid being written-off as one who does not listen or understand, especially if the leader is new to the organization.

The following steps help a leader stay in-tune and attuned and dramatically improve their odds of success:

  • When someone talks, give undivided attention and do not interrupt.  While s/he is talking you may think you know what they are going to say and what you want to say next rushes to mind.  In that instant you experience an irrepressible urge to interrupt and jump-in.  Following the urge causes many bright, successful senior executives to often unintentionally and repeatedly use the power of their position to hijack conversations.  The pattern wears on those in the organization and soon the leader is written-off as one who never listens and who does not get, or care about, those they lead. Continue reading

Manage to Lead now available as interactive, digital content powered by the leading provider for higher education textbooks.

MtL_Cover_optManage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World is now available as an interactive digital workbook at

Click on the book cover icon to access its catalog entry on  Download the free chapter to try it out on any iPad, any iPhone, or on any Mac or PC using the Chrome browser.

Manage to Lead will soon also be available in print and as an e-book at Amazon.  Access from Android devices is slated for later in 2013

The interactive, digital workbook has:

  • Work problems,
  • Templates,
  • Animations,
  • Assessments,
  • Videos,
  • Graphics, and
  • Executive team exercises and meeting agendas.

Continue reading

Announcing: Manage to Lead — Seven Truths to Help You Change the World

Whether one wants to change personal habits, implement a new information system, improve a business process, get team members to work together, increase a community’s appreciation for diversity, or even to topple a monarchy, taking seven actions driven by seven disarmingly simple truths will individually and collectively help achieve the goal.

Peter DiGiammarino will present a one-hour summary of his Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World framework, that can be used to describe and assess any organization, at the Northern Virginia Society for Human Resource Managers dinner meeting on April 30.

He will also provide a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance. Continue reading

How to use the Change Framework to turn initiatives into action.

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.

If the leader thinks s/he knows what needs to change and that everyone is aligned, ask: “How do you know your team knows what you want to do; why don’t we ask them just to verify? If they all say what you expect them to say, a positive step towards getting what you want done will have been taken just by bringing it to the center of their attention. If it turns out that some or all of the team are not as aligned as expected, then remedial steps can be taken.”

Survey the leader’s top team and ask them each:

  • To describe the current state, that is: how things are today.
  • What really good things happen if we change and what really bad things happen if we do not?
  • To describe how things would be in the future if their ideal changes were successfully implemented.
  • What needs to be done in order to get from where things are today to where things would ideally be next?
  • What will make it hard to do what needs to be done in order to get from today to the targeted next state?

Review results with the leader to bring him/her up to speed on the group’s data. Look for and discuss fully any points the leader finds confusing or surprising.

Convene an offsite with the leader and the leadership team to review collected data, reach consensus on each of the five topics, and decide what needs to be done. At the offsite, review survey responses one question at a time in the order above. Highlight responses that are the same or similar thereby indicating progress towards consensus. Guide the group to discuss the data until agreement is reached on how things are today, why things need to change, and how things would be if the desired change had been implemented.

Use the Change Framework to make the case for each Strategic Initiative.

The diagram in Figure-1 presents a convenient way to visualize and store the group’s consensus in a Change Framework diagram similar to that originally introduced by Richard Beckhard and Wendy Pritchard in Changing the Essence: The Art of Creating and Leading Fundamental Change in Organizations, Jossey-Bas Inc., San Francisco, 1992.


Fill out the Change Framework to make a clear and compelling case for each initiative.  Iterate with the team until all members are crystal clear about each initiative.

If participants share their thinking openly, fully, and honestly they can go a long way towards achieving clarity and alignment. An effective leader then holds the results of these efforts and furthers their development, communicates progress to stakeholders, and assigns, aligns and drives resources in their pursuit.

Figure-2: Follow the above tips to build a clear and compelling case for the change driven by each initiative.

A well formulated initiative, using the Change Framework, tells a story about where things are, why they need to change, how things would be if the intended change occurred and what must be done to get from here to there. A well crafted change framework is rational, compelling, and flows smoothly from the present through to the future.

Follow the tips in Figure-2 to piece together the context and the story for each of the initiatives the organization must do next to stay on track to long-term growth and performance.

Figure-3: A classic looking list of initiatives from an executive off-site.

Many management offsites produce a list of initiatives, such as shown in Figure-3, after intense effort and exhilarating breakthroughs. A list without context, though, fails to reveal the motivation and importance behind each initiative and so makes it difficult to communicate or to muster the energy, resources, and commitment beyond the session needed to implement them.

Using the Change Framework instead of a simple list helps but even still, far too often, the same initiatives are again listed at the next offsite with little if any progress since last time simply because no one was put in charge and resources never allocated to implement them.

Upon reaching agreement, the group may feel drained but good about what it has accomplished. It is important to make sure the group knows it has done great work and come a long way but there is still more important work to be done. Their effort may be for naught unless one more step is taken.

After the list of initiatives is developed and before ending the session the leader assigns each team member to:

Figure-4: Click on the figure to fill out and submit the Initiative-to-Action form for a Strategic Initiative.

  • Take 20-minutes to fill out an Initiative-to-Action template using the link in Figure-4, for a specific initiative, preferably one the leader would like the team member to sponsor; and then to
  • Lead the group in a brief discussion about the assigned initiative.

Each team member, in turn, briefs the group on their initiative using the filled out Initiative-to-Action form. As each speaks, the rest of the leadership team adopts the mindset of close adviser and on the same team as the one speaking. Their objective is to ensure that the key points from the group’s work are captured so that the best thinking of the group is at-hand and in mind as efforts to progress with the initiative proceed on the heels of the session.

Filling out and briefing the Initiative-to-Action form launches the governance process and gets a leadership team member into the role of the initiative’s executive sponsor and on-the-hook to make progress on behalf of the group.  As such the team member becomes accountable to the group for progress on their initiative. Motivation and commitment soar and the odds of making progress go up as well. Over the ensuing performance period, the leader calls on each team member at some point to brief the group on how their initiative is progressing.

Example Change Framework:

Example Change Framework for an organization whose leaders decided to move from a functional to a cross-functional approach to client services.