Coach Takeshi’s coaching journal. Sharing the many mental models that I actually use for client sessions.

The Delegation, Empowerment Spectrum

“I don’t delegate, I empower.” The mantra of the modern enabling manager. I don’t disagree. Though caveat emptor. The delegation, empowerment spectrum is intricate business. Feed a newbie sales person to a lion. They’re going to have their head chewed … Read More

Classic Leadership Balance Still Holds for Agile Leadership

Again, it’s all in the balance. If it’s just all vision and empowerment, the team won’t move. Even as an agile leader embracing servant leadership values, you still need to command and lead your tribe, and get your hands dirty … Read More

Aristotle’s Influence Model

We use “logos” (rational) too much. It’s “pathos” (empathy), “ethos” (credibility, presence), and “kairos” (right time, right place), in balance. We love convincing and persuading. What’s wrong with being right, right? So, “logos” is our default communication style. Logic, reason, … Read More

The Three Competencies of Mastering Complex Product Development

It’s mastery, so don’t expect it to be easy. As both a serial entrepreneur and agile coach to teams of all sizes, I have come to understand that mastering complex product development converges into three competencies. (1) Content competency: the … Read More

The Two Simple Traits of Performing Teams

What do you do? The dreaded elevator pitch question. I fumble on it every time. Some days I will say that I activate people. One conversation at a time, I activate leaders, teams, organizations. Other days I say I specialize … Read More

8 Mind & Heart Hacks for Emotionally Charged Situations

Here are eight mind and heart hacks for immediate deployment in emotionally charged situations. I use Rhythm Section and Observe, Orient regularly. And more than once, Lean-in has saved me (us) from situations with dramatic effect. I don’t think there’s … Read More

Why learning from failure is so hard: Because we can’t stand looking stupid

There’s one HBR article that I share but never hear back about. It’s Chris Argyris’ “Teaching Smart People How to Learn” (https://hbr.org/1991/05/teaching-smart-people-how-to-learn). Maybe it’s the intimidating title that ticks off the interest to read. Or maybe because it’s a painful … Read More

Mental Model Dōjō TV: Agile Success Stories – Solaria Labs, Liberty Mutual

Does Agile work? To answer that question, I am starting a new video series of curating Agile success stories. The first story I’d like to share is with Justin Yiu, from Liberty Mutual’s innovation arm Solaria Labs, and their innovative … Read More

Mental Model Dōjō TV: Ambidextrous Organizations Explained

Link to case study video: https://youtu.be/EW_PX50NAps Transcript What is an ambidextrous organization? In a nutshell, an ambidextrous organization takes care of current core businesses with the right hand, while taking care of innovation with the left hand, as physically separate … Read More

Innovator’s Dilemma and Organizational Ambidexterity

A tribute post to Professor Clayton Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma” (1997), who passed away after a long illness. I am a big fan of Organizational Ambidexterity, made famous by Charles O’Reilly (Stanford) and Michael Tushman’s (Harvard) 2004 HBR … Read More

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning and the Divergent, Convergent Double Diamond in Design Thinking

There’s science and philosophy behind Design Thinking’s divergent and convergent double diamond. It’s the logic of deductive and inductive reasoning. Also: “Experience by itself teaches nothing… Without theory, experience has no meaning. Without theory, one has no questions to ask. … Read More

If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent van Gogh There’s neuroscientific truth in this. This is the same brain hacking we use in … Read More

The Map Is Not The Territory

The map is not the territory. – Alfred Korzybski, 1931 Semantic scientist and philosopher Korzybski coined this term to distinguish our beliefs from reality. The concept is helpful in understanding how misunderstandings happen. > What we perceive as the territory, … Read More

Design Instead of Planning

I actually think planning and designing are pretty similar. It’s just that designing is much more colorful, multi-faceted, free form. Probably more fun too. Planning for your trip? How about, “designing your next trip”? Sounds more adventurous and intriguing, doesn’t … Read More

The many flavors of Experimental and Iterative approaches

The importance is to experiment and iterate. What approach you take is of secondary importance. Chose whatever approach that best fits the situation, and eventually you’ll get there. Time after time, trial and error has been proven most effective.

The non-linear, non-sequential nature of Design Thinking

Design Thinking is process driven. It is a process to help us activate our creativity. Meanwhile, our brains don’t necessarily work in linear fashion, particularly when we’re being creative. So, by nature, Design Thinking can be non-linear, and non-sequential. Go … Read More

Liberating Structures

Liberating Structures is a collection of powerful team exercises curated by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless (www.liberatingstructures.com). The following slides are abbreviated instructions and some modified contents to their original work. For original instructions, please visit their website. Here’s the … Read More