Inspiration + Lessons learned


These lessons learned come both from executive and academic experience as well as from other learned sources (quoted here by name or anonymously), and from information found in the book Beyond Control.

Part I: Purpose

"Why would someone spend their money with you, so what is unique about you? "

"Why would somebody work for you?"

"Why would society allow you?"

Samuel Polisano

"There should be absolute agreement between Executives and non-Executives on the Board about the raison d'être/purpose of the company, since it functions as the most important guidepost for the future."

Fred Lachotzki

Part II: Change

"At low tide the shipwrecks become visible"

Gerard Valkier

"It makes no sense to ponder how the world should be,
I take as given how it is and then try to make it better."

Benedict Spinoza

Part III: Positioning

"Go to a spaece where you are uniquely positioned, with enough profit potential, and make use
of the value of existing resources."

Fred Lachotzki

Part IV: Strategy

"Go to a spaece where you are uniquely positioned, with enough profit potential,
and make use
of the value of existing resources."

Fred Lachotzki

"A company or institution possesses stakeholder alignment when all relevant stakeholders
confirm that their interests are fairly balanced with one another"

Fred Lachotzki

"A company or institution is strategically alligned when the curcial people in the company
decide that the quality of corporate organizational capabilities meets their expectations and
enables them to execute the strategy."

Fred Lachotzki

"There are various forms of strategic misalignment: First, there may be a discrepancy between
the strategy intended by the leadership and that perceived by key executives. The second
possible discrepancy concerns ambition levels. Key company executives may have aspirations
above or below the levels required to execute strategy."

Fred Lachotzki

"In order to gain strategic insight, we need to start out with wthat we can learn from past
successes in order to prepare for the future."

Fred Lachotzki

"When you're thinking about the world and plotting strategy, try to be Cartesian, meaning
dispassionate, logical and unsentimental"

Fred Lachotzki

Part V: Moral Compass

“What makes a company sustainable is not that it adds more rules and regulations to control behavior, it is when its employees are propelled by values and principles to do the right things.”


"Integrity starts with the concurrence between thinking and acting."

Fred Lachotzki

“It may be true that the law can’t change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Part VI: Education

“In our Western world the education system has been nurturing, collaborative, disciplined, neat, studious, industrious and ambitious. People who don’t fit this culture, respond by disengaging and rebelling.”

David Brooks

“Teaching is like dropping ideas into the mailbox of the subconscious: you know when they are posted, but not when they are received.”

Amy Lowell (Poet, 1878-1925)

“Education has to do with awakening curiosity in order to rouse the desire to learn and the power to form personal judgments instead of accepting what others say, the awakening of intellectual curiosity, the ability to navigate the infinite seas of inquiry.”


"The advantage of case teaching is the ability to use real-life situations and dilemmas in order to create the ability for reframing, structuring business lessons and possibly even discovering theory."

Fred Lachotzki

Explaining his reasons for introducing elementary education: “Right action is better than knowledge, but in order to do what is right we must know what is right.”


Part VII: Culture

“We need a culture of not just how to share, but how to win and how to lose, not just celebrating cooperation but also celebrating competition.”


Part VIII: Finance

"The role of the CFO is to keep track of tangibles and intangibles and link data and people, while being obsessed with the truth behind the figures."

Fred Lachotzki

"Sustainable profits are a function of financial results and strategic/stakeholder alignment."

Fred Lachotzki

"The annual report should provide insight into the well-being and continued life of the company, but that well-being must be expressed in hard data. This means the report must treat strategic and stakeholder alignment with the same rigor it devotes to financial information."

Fred Lachotzki

Part IX: Audit committee

The status of "Organizational Health" through measuring "Organizational Capabilities" can and must be specified just as exactly and consistently as financial results

The audit committee should take care that the enterprise can be challenged structually as to its "Organizational Health"


Internal Audit bears responsibility for the operational audit; in this connection, an audit of the "Organizational Health" is indispensable.


Part X: Leadership

"Unlike creatures in nature, we are not blind, passive players in the evolutionary game. Through the sciences of complexity, we can come to understand hom evolution works, the tricks it has up its sleeve, and the skills needed to survive in a complex world. If we do so, we may be able to harness one of the most powerful forces of all: evolution will then be the wave we ride to new levels of creativity and innovation rather than the tide that washes over us."

Erich Beinhocker

"In complex systems leaders need to create clear fitness criteria. Fitness criteria give organizations a sense of purpose, a common cause. This will allow people to know what is "good" for the organization, without disturbing their freedom."

Fred Lachotzki

"Complexity is a fundamental evolution of our mental model how systems work."

Fred Lachotzki

"What I do is get good men, and I never give them order. My directions seldom go beyond suggestions. In the morning I get reports from them. Within an hour I have deposed of everything, sent out all my suggestions, the day's work is done, and I am ready to go out and enjoy myself."


"The Board should consider itself the keeper of value and values, as well as the representative of direction and drive."

Fred Lachotzki

“In order to get back into the middle of the corporation, leadership can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the executive dialogue center. There are ten reasons for establishing such a center:

  • 1) It generates clarity on what the company stands for;
  • 2) It facilitates the measuring, matching and managing process necessary to create strategic and stakeholder alignment;
  • 3) It keeps the strategic and stakeholder alignment alive;
  • 4) It improves the quality of the company’s decision-making;
  • 5) It prioritizes the different on-going projects in the company;
  • 6) It creates transparency and accountability for improvement projects;
  • 7) It allows the sharing of knowledge throughout the company on subjects involving improvement projects;
  • 8) It clarifies the responsibilities and accountabilities of individual Board members concerning the strategic or stakeholder alignment agenda;
  • 9) It personalizes the leadership; and
  • 10) It allows the Board’s excitement to be shared with key people.”

Fred Lachotzki and RObert Noteboom

"Creating a consistent corporate story should follow the same procedure as any good
theatrical production. It needs a director, a story-teller, a plot, a setting, characters and a satisfying ending."

Fred Lachotzki

"Power and authority have a tendency to drift apart if the leadership lacks the willingness to involve key people and stakeholders in crucial issues of strategic and stakeholder alignment."

Fred Lachotzki

"Simple explanations don’t always exist. It has become increasingly difficult to reconstruct the causal chain behind many events because of the fast increase in interconnectivity and the exceptional amount of knowledge needed to track all phenomena."

Fred Lachotzki

My fifty years of business experience and academic thinking provide a
wealth of successes - and failures.