Tag Archives: Leadership

October 2014 Book Review – Escape the City; Logbuch für Helden; Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion; Contagious

The books I read or finished reading in October 2014 are:

  • The Escape the City Manifesto, by Escape The City
  • Logbuch für Helden (Logbook for heroes, German book, not yet released in English), by Christian Galvez
  • Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini

The audiobook of this month:

  • Contagious, by Jonah Berger

Two first two books were gifts I received from attendees of my Leadership Development Seminar. One was from an attendee directly, the other from the husband of an attendee with whom I worked during a previous training.

“The Escape the City Manifesto”

escape-book-final-cover-676bdeed27d7fbb94aa4526c7c2b7690is a documentation/guideline especially for people working at large corporates, often earning a lot but being terribly frustrated every single day. The authors of this book were in exactly this situation and they describe how tough it was for them to accept their frustration and realise, that the only way out was to leave that corporation and find a different job or start a company.

Well written, lots of food for thoughts for people in big companies.

“Logbuch für Helden”

Helden-400x270is about assisting men to find their purpose, understand themselves a bit better and develop a plan about what they really want to do in their life.

It’s nicely written and focuses on taking actionable steps – from looking at yourself first to understanding your role and future. If anyone is not so sure, if what he or she is doing is the right thing, this book might help to clarify it a bit. And yes, women could read that book too.

“Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion”

71FDaBi9zaLis already more than 20 years old.It’s very dense but  if you read it in chunks, it works very well.

It describes the 6 main drivers for both being influenced or have influence. The examples and stories shared are often surprising, sometimes consternating. Whenever you try to influence or to sell an idea/product, looking at the 6 drivers can make you more persuasive.

I realized when reading several scientific books, that even if the stories and the messages are clear, the question of ‘and how do I apply it to my life?’ is not so easy to answer. I am personally in the grateful situation that I can invest time into building the bridges into the real life, because it’s a part of my job when preparing new seminars or workshops, but most people don’t have that time.


Contagious1-237x300describes a few principles of why some messages spread, and others don’t. Filled with several nice examples and stories, it makes you think of what could you apply for your business or even your personal life, to have more influence. Because the ultimate result of a contagious message is to have more influence. And when I speak of influence, I am talking about  positive intentions.

New Accelerator Programme for Entrepreneurs by Knife Capital

grindstone_logo“Grindstone Accelerator” is Knife Capital’s entrepreneur development programme for companies going into the phase of growth, expansion and acceleration.

After a successful 2013/14 programme, which ran for a year until 2014, and resulted in a 61% year-on-year revenue growth on average for the 10 participating companies, now the next Grindstone Accelerator is about to start.

We are proud to be the partner of Grindstone by Knife Capital for the Leadership element of this year long development programme. Because no product and no company can be successful in the long run, if the leaders lack leadership skills.



Leadership Development Program for IT Executives of large corporations and their IT departments

“Learning by doing” can be a very powerful way of learning.

Leadership in IT departments does not have the luxury of time for such an approach. IT leaders of today need to be capable of a multitude of skills, from IT knowledge to influencing board members, from finding the right people to keeping existing legacy systems running.

Our unique signature program “IMPACTFUL LEADERSHIP FOR IT EXECUTIVES” for IT departments fills the gap of current leadership development approaches.

It’s 100% tailor made for the needs of IT departments, based on 15 years of experience in the IT industry with an outstanding track record regarding its positive impact on the leader and his people.

Read more about it in our brochure “Impactful Leadership Program for IT executives” and get in touch with us.

We adapt our program to your individual requirements, and we give you a Money-Back-Guarantee!

ImpactfulLeadership for IT Executives

Talk: “Are you the right leader” for Grindstone Accelerator

GrindstoneAcceleratorGrindstone Accelerator (by Knife Capital) is a structured incubation initiative to assist high-growth SA Technology SMEs to become sustainable and fundable.

Many topics are important to start, grow and estabilsh a sustainable technology company. One of them is leadership – especially the leadership role of the founder(s).

Axel Rittershaus got invited to speak at the Grindstone Accelerator Meeting on May 14th 2014 in Cape Town.

His talk is titled “Are you the right leader?” and he will talk about leadership, dogs, challenging questions and the importance of asking “Why?”.

Is this true? “IT Departments Are a Dying Breed” on csoonline.com

I came across this article on www.csoonline.com titled “IT Departments Are a Dying Breed”. (http://www.csoonline.com/article/2142067/it-audit/it-departments-are-a-dying-breed.html)

Author Steve Ragan writes about the comments from one of his readers regarding the future of IT departments.

His reader’s rant is quite offensive. For me it shows, that IT has a long way to go in terms of how they position themselves. And the value they generate.

I believe, that the future of any company is directly related to the strength of its IT department.

But the IT department of the future will and has to be completely different to today’s IT departments.

IT has to become the technological enabler of business initiatives and at the same time  take care that all systems are available and as safe as needed.

Therefore IT needs to reinvent themselves from “we build, run and maintain” everything – which is currently the main purpose and will be their grave if they don’t change – to “we are THE partner of the business when it comes to the use of technology”.

No matter if IT is developing and hosting themselves or if they are managing suppliers.

Vendors tell business functions whatever they want to hear to sell their solutions. It requires a lot of technological expertise to separate the good from the bad ones. Being the advisor for the business, that’s what IT needs to position themselves in.

Business and IT have to stand on the same side – and not be fighting against each other.

Because those fights make it very easy for vendors to get in! The vendor will be on the side of the business and help them. Help them to buy their solution against the advise of IT.

Few CIOs and their teams are already moving into the right direction – and they become a strong partner of the business.

Those CIOs and IT leaders who blame the business functions that these don’t understand IT and need to adjust to the IT rules, those will be the ones which will be outsourced sooner or later.

Therefore my resume would be “The Current Breed of IT Departments Are a Dying Breed and The Time of the NEW IT acting as a Business Partner is about to start”.

Strong IT departments are the competitive advantage of a company.

The human factor in Governance, Risk and Compliance – Meet me at ITWeb GRC conference in March 2014, Johannesburg

itweb_logo_smlIf governance, risk and compliance (GRC) initiatives are perceived as ‘policing’, people will always find a way to get around rules and regulations.

“This makes for an often daunting stand-off between the GRC ‘troops’ and ‘the rest’ within your business,” says Axel Rittershaus, executive and leadership coach at The Executive Coach.

“If the mindset of people, from the lowest level up to the C-suite, truly supports GRC, it won’t be a big deal. But GRC will never work if it’s an additional project. It has to start with the way people are encouraged by their managers to speak up, and end with the goals the business defines for its employees.”GRC2014-top-image

Employee resistance when it comes to actively engaging in GRC initiatives is a significant issue in South African companies, says Rittershaus. “One of the key issues is a catch-22 situation: since almost everyone needs to work hard to gain market share and win clients, how do you treat the company’s super-star who brings in major deals – but always works on the edge of compliance. This ‘role model’ is seen everywhere by everyone, and the thinking is, ‘well, if he doesn’t care, why should I?’”

Rittershaus, who has worked with numerous companies locally and abroad, says the three critical success factors in any coaching intervention aimed at getting staff to buy into and support GRC within the business are full transparency, total personal responsibility and zero tolerance on all levels.

Employee resistance when it comes to actively engaging in GRC initiatives is a significant issue in South African companies, says The Executive Coach’s Axel Rittershaus.

He will present at the upcoming ITWeb GRC Summit 2014, to be held in Johannesburg in March 2014. He will focus on the practical steps required to create the right mindset among staff towards GRC.


The Agenda for Retail CIOs

According to a global Forrester survey of 192 CIOs and IT leaders in December 2013, all of them are facing very similar challenges. The key aspects vary depending on the economy, but they have several major topics in common:

  • First and foremost, the CIO/IT leaders have to become valued and respected partners for the business (= the other board members) and get out of the “IT is a cost center” stigma
  • Many retail organizations are sitting on a gold mine: Their data.
    But they struggle using “big data” to gain insights for sales, product development, customer engagement, etc.
  • The bigger the retail organization and its IT, the larger the budget used for maintenance and “keeping the lights on”. At the same time, those large businesses need even more innovation and speed delivered by IT. A catch 22 situation.

What is the solution?

When we are working with CIOs and their teams we assist in both positioning the IT as THE innovation partner for the business and aligning all IT people into the right direction.

You can find the complete study here: http://www.tcs.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/White-Papers/2014-Global-Agenda-Retail-CIO-Study-1213-1.pdf

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