Culture – more than “how we do things, around here.”

by Decebal Leonard Marin

“Hello. We would like to change our culture. We want you to deliver us some training through which people to change the culture in our company!”

It is the first sign that the interlocutor is at least confused about this subject. Lines like this make me ask myself more questions.  


Why we think rarely and sometimes stupidly

Heuristics and cognitive biases in risk-related decisions

by Decebal Marin

Every day we make thousands of decisions, small or big, better, or worse. Although most of them bring us the desired results, some of them have consequences that we end up regretting.


Identify your organization’s safety paradigm

by Decebal Leonard Marin

In the projects that I have carried out in the last decade for production companies in Romania, I have frequently encountered the situation where, from a legal point of view, the companies are 100% in order with all the documents. Despite all this, accidents happen with an alarming and unacceptable frequency, and as can be guessed, most of them are not reported.


10 simple things you can do to improve your company’s safety

by Decebal Leonard Marin

I’ve been wanting to write this list for a long time. Its content reflects the experience of safety improvement programs, implemented in various international companies operating in Romania.


Cultural change as a wicked problem

by Decebal Leonard Marin

There are two types of problems: “tame problems” and “wicked problems”. Understanding the difference between them helps us to adjust our behavior and choose the right approach.


Managing Hybrid Organisations

One of the biggest challenges of the moment is adapting to the hybrid way of working: the combination of remote work and office work.


Culture is People. People are Culture

by Manu

You cannot underestimate the role of the people in defining the company culture. But how much of a company culture depends on certain people? How much Steve Jobs is in Apple? How much Elon Musk is in Tesla? If this is mostly undeniable when it comes to such iconic leaders, what about the role of “normal” people in defining and creating company culture around them? How much of your company is you?


Risk management. The human factor.

de Decebal Leonard Marin

The mere existence of dedicated legislation, standards and management systems does not ensure a safe working environment.


Coaching direct reports, might not work sometimes

There is a new trend in organisations to use coaching as a managerial tool. Some managers, tend to attend coaching trainings and seminars and starting using “coaching” with the direct reports. I even heard one manager telling one of the reports “you have just been coached”. Sometimes people we work with do not behave or achieve as expected and managers believe that coaching might help. Well…

Even if sometimes looks so, coaching is not a tool to trick someone to do things that you as a manager should ask from the person. It is not a tool to influence people. It is a great way to be helpful.

Coaching is a great tool to accomplish objectives in life and in the organisation, but in my opinion, it requires some conditions to be met.

Sometimes you are part of the problem

Coaching is an excellent problem solving tool. But there are times when the problem you are trying to solve is not your employee problem but your problem and actually you are trying to solve your problem through him. I even met situations when the employee behaviour was in fact generated by the manager. It is obvious that coaching any other person that the person that in fact created the problem is loss of time and resources.

You are not creating a new perspective

One of the most important coaching objectives (imho) is to at least create a new perspective to the client. As managers we use to tell people everything. More than that we use to explain them our “vision” even when is not the case to do so.

Of course is not coach perspective, but a coach can get you there. I noticed that most of the managers are not able to create new perspectives because that they are biased by their objectives and their formal relationship to the client (client is the person that is coached in coaching language).

You think you know better

Sometimes your formal managerial perspective make you think that you already know better what your employee should do and how. And this is killing the coaching process. Knowing better can make you a good consultant, but an awful coach

Maybe you are not there for the person

A coach should be a person that is there for you, to help you get hat you want to achieve. Most of the so called coaching sessions initiated by the managers are taking place with the purpose of making someone to embrace a company objective (or more). Unfortunately company objectives do not align with employee personal objectives which bring us back to first paragraph. This means that you are initiating the coaching for you or for the company, but not for the person. I am sorry to tell you, but it might not work.

What to do?

Of course it is something to do as a manager.

  1. Don’t be coach when you cannot be
  2. Help your report understand how achieving company objectives might help her
  3. Explain your point of view
  4. Get an external coach (it can be someone from another department if you cannot afford an external coach) and be ready to let the things happen maybe in a different manner than you expected
  5. Be a better manager
  6. Be a better leader

Is my Work a tool?

by Manu

Am I a tool? Is my work a tool? Have you ever thought? Maybe one day, your work will be a computer job. It happened before and it will happen again in the future. What makes your work so special? What makes you so special? And what can keep your work in your hands? What if your work is designed as a tool? To answer that you should understand first if your job si a tool. This is not an article where I am gonna say that creativity is important. We all know it is. Let’s see what is this about!

Will the robots take my job?

I had this training once at a large telecom company. It was a briliant training group, very active and very smart. We spoke about process automation. They asked plenty of questions and we had great discussions about purpose of life.

Then comes a very passionate guy who just asked me straight: “Do you think that the robots will take your job?” “Hmm,… I don’t know! Maybe one day…” I said. “Let’s check!” he said. And we opened a browser and went to Then he said: “You might be lucky. There is less than 2% chance that a robot will do your job in the next two decades”. It made think: “What makes a job “vulnerable” to computers? How can my job be automated?” Of course, I did not have the answers on the spot.

But it made me realise that once there is a process in your job that can be automated, it will be. Even if there is a difficult one. But what makes a job “automatable” ?

Fast Forward Two Years

Here comes 2020. Together with the Covid-19 pandemic. Our core business is face-to-face training, a business that at least in our case, did not show any signs to slow down before March 2020. But the lockdowns hit our business hard. We grew as a local company, focusing on Romanian language trainings with a classic business model. Out of our turnover, face-to-face training holds a 93% stake.

Then comes the lockdown. In Romania, as in many other places, lockdown forbid us to provide face-to-face training seminars. We are suddenly out of business. It takes 4 long months to adapt our business model to on-line business that allows us to make some money again. The take here is that sometimes automation might not be the issue. The issue might be a wrong business model for the business environment. Instead of being hit by the automation trends we are hit by our business model. I don’t know which one is worse. Anyways!

What about AI?

Let’s have a chat about AI. I am not an AI specialist, but I understand how AI works. And I am sure that in the next few years AI will become a big part of our life as the phones are. I don’t wanna jinx it, but AI will probably majorly affect the way we do business. But I was never afraid of AI. Maybe I am naive, but to me AI is something that can help me get rid of the boring works that sometimes I need to do.

For example reports. I don’t like reporting and writing reports. Therefore AI can do that for me one day.

Then I had a discussion with my brother. My brother is a brilliant person. He is one of the most inteligent people I know. He made a great career with his ability of writing reports and proposals. In other words, my brother has the skills and knowledge to write amazing reports. And then he is telling me about an application that allows people with almost no writing skills to write good. “Maybe one day, it will be able to write better than me”.

This discussion make me realise that my amazing brother perceives AI as a competition to his skills, in stead of a tool that allows him to spend less time in making… reports for instance. I managed to shift his paradigm and now he sees AI as a power-up .

What is that?

This is something that makes me understant, that like my brother there are many people out there that think that AI will take their job, like that guy told me few years ago. And maybe it will. But…

Another example: Before computers, in the accounting departments, there were people that use to write down the accounting postings in the ledger. That work no longer exists, because we do everything with the help of computers. Is this something bad? Maybe at that moment, some people lost their jobs, but only for few months until they learned how to use accounting software and were able to ask for better salaries. It was because their job was just a tool for the chief accountant. And a better, cheaper and faster tool came by to replace it.

Since industrial revolution, every now and then, a new technology shows up and replaces the tool-like jobs. Same happens with processes. If your job can be replaced by a process, then a “tool” will replace-it one day. If there is an algorithm, will be a replacement. We designed tools since stone age. People are tool making animals. But some jobs are not like that.

Are you a tool?

Check the jobs around you. You will notice that many jobs are designed like tools for somebody else. Take an assistant for example. An assistant is most of the cases nothing else but a tool for the person he assists. And there are many examples. Take a driver, a nurse, a delivery boy, a cashier and so on. I notice that there are plenty of jobs that are designed as tools.

We design tool-like jobs and we put people on these jobs. Sometimes we call them careers, but in fact they are designed as tools in a process. There is always a better tool waiting to be discovered. The humanity made better tools since forever.

I believe that there are tools-design jobs and human-design jobs.

Maybe is the culture?

This doesn’t happen because of the people, but because of the managers that treat people as tools. We design “perfect” processes where people do not need to use their decision making and creative abilities. Even when decisions need to be taken, we design procedures to ensure that “the right decision” will be made. Like perfectly tuned tools.

Treating people like tools it’s a cultural thing. I can see this in many companies. And of course this exposes people to a so called “better tool”. Because they perform tool-like designed jobs.

To build a “human-designed jobs company”, will be difficult because is a paradigm change and a shift in business ethics. I am sure that some companies will do it, beyond the philosophical concepts that I am talking about. How to do it? I will get back to you in a different article.

How is your business model working with your culture to embrace the AI revolution? How will you grow employees to work with the tools instead of becoming one? I dream of plenty of international companies with few hundred employees and worldwide operations. I dream of a huge diversity and fierce competition.

Wanna ask some questions? Do it here.