Cause and effect

Not every cause leads to an effect. Not every effect can be immediately linked to a cause.

The fact is, we are not rational beings and we merely use reason to find an explanation to things that have already happened, to decisions that have already been made.

That’s why brands and stories have so much power. They don’t engage with reason and they leverage the most tribal and innate of our insticts.


If your company wants to measure brands and stories, if they want to find the thread that links brands and stories to material results, they are probably missing the whole point. And the opportunity to establish relationships with employees, customers, stakeholders that can determine long-term competitive advantage.

You got to have faith not to miss this opportunity.


There are two ways organizations promote employees.

One is by tenure. The employee has been in one role for long enough that they kind of outgrew it. The promotion is often formal and comes at the end of a process. It is about dues and achievement.

The other is by stretch. The employee is given enough space that they can grow into it. The promotion is often informal and comes at the beginning of a process. It is about responsibility and potential.

The way your organization does this has much to do with whether the general belief is that trust should be earned or that trust should be given. And it says a lot about many other aspects of the culture.

Upside down

Asking questions is more important than answering them.

You should ask questions when you know everything and when you know nothing. When you are alone and when you are in good company. When things go just as you planned and when nothing seems to fit in the right place.

We tend to think that confidence equals having few doubts and that experience means you are finally in a position to dispense answers.

In reality, confidence if feeling ok with not knowing and experience means you are faster at figuring out the questions to ask.

The world is upside down.

Acceptable and achievable

The stories we are told about what leaders have done and what peers have done have a strong impact on the way we will behave.

What leaders have done shape our view of what is acceptable.

What peers have done make the acceptable desirable (and achievable) for us too.

Instead of leaving your organization in the arbitrary hands of internal gossiping and politicking, use stories strategically to guide behavior.