Self-Coaching is a powerful skill set of tools and techniques that anyone can
use and apply to create instant and sustainable life and work changes. Drawing
from a range of simple to apply techniques that have roots in the best of
psychology, psychotherapy and management and leadership theories these tried
and tested tools work.
So here, without having to wade through pages of text,
books or online websites are our top ten tips for self-coaching guaranteed to
make a difference.

Numerous research has shown that depressed people have much better rates of success when they keep track of their feelings and thoughts in a journal. Writing down your thoughts, feelings, ideas and plans not only increases your levels of motivation but also significantly increases the likelihood of your success. Very often writing things down crystallizes your own thoughts, gets the creative juices flowing and activates new ideas, solutions and possibilities. Keep a dedicated notebook where you’ll record your thoughts and ideas for your Self Coaching journey.

Asking questions is a significant coaching tool that all coaches use. The key lies in making sure that you are asking the right questions. When it comes to Self Coaching ask questions that move you towards a solution rather than in the direction of the problem. Becoming Solutions focused is one of the quickest ways of self-coaching yourself to success. One common method is to always be on the lookout for when there has been an exception to the problem occurring even in the tiniest of ways.
A typical Solutions Focused question might be:
What’s the easiest thing I could do right now?
What’s the one thing that would get me started in the direction of the solution?
If I wasn’t afraid what’s the first thing I would do to solve this issue?
If I knew I couldn’t fail what’s the first thing I would do.
What’s the bravest thing I could do right now?
What’s the oddest thing I could do right now?
What could I do in the next five minute that would get me going?

Have fun creating questions that motivate you towards

3 Tips To Weave Storytelling

Mark Van Doren said “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery”… and what better way to assist discovery than to tell a story? For the longest time we, both young and old, have been enamored by the power of storytelling. How about online learning? Here are 3 tips on how to weave storytelling in eLearning and offer your learners a context which makes your modules relevant to them.

Storytelling In eLearning Modules

How To Weave Storytelling In eLearning 

From the first cave painting, storytelling has been a key method in how we learn. It’s fair to say that evolution has wired our brain for storytelling. When we were kids we were told stories to not only keep our busy minds occupied, but also to instill moral values… After all, stories have the power to make anything fun and memorable. However, as we entered into the hallowed portals of formal education, stories got replaced with section after section of droning text. Imagine how much more interesting a history lesson would be had they been narrated more as stories of adventures. Stories have the unique capability of drawing in the audience and engaging them with the content…and when you are engaged, you learn better and retain better. In eLearning too, storytelling can be used as a powerful tool to flesh out content and give the learners a context which makes the learning module relevant to them. At the same time, eLearning providers have to ensure that that they take a strategic approach and seamlessly weave storytelling in eLearning modules to deliver a memorable learning experience.

1. Identify The Audience

The first step towards integrating storytelling in eLearning starts with identifying your target audience. What works with one group might not resonate with the other. So it becomes essential to dig a little deep and learn about your learning audience so that you can effectively weave in their reality with the context of the story using situations, jargons used among them etc. This exercise makes the eLearning module more relatable and relevant and provides context to the course.

2. Flesh Out The Story

Having identified your target audience, you now need to head to the storyboard. At this stage, you need to map out the entire eLearning program to identify areas where you can include story points and understand how and where you would want the learners to interact with the said scenario. By integrating real-life problems of the learners in the eLearning module, you are also giving them the opportunity to see and learn the necessary skill sets they will need in the real world. So, to design an effective plan you will need to focus on:

  • The setting.
    This is the place where the story will unfold.
  • The characters. 
  • The event.
    This is the main problem area that your course will try to solve.
  • The body.
    This will define the elements that connect the different story points and carry the lesson forward.
  • The climax.
    The section that explains the results of actions versus the consequence.
  • The conclusion.
    The end point that drives home the lesson summary.

Developing a storyboard helps eLearning developers stay focused, on track and on topic. At this stage, you also need to identify the conversation tone for your learning module. Instead of opting for a formal narrative, keeping the style conversational helps in building engagement.

3. Decide The Approach

You can weave storytelling in eLearning modules in several ways. Using elements of surprise, suspense, and humor works well when you want to retain a learner’s attention, especially when the topic of discussion is less than interesting. You can incorporate storytelling elements via comic strips, interactive timelines, videos, audio narratives, and even interactive timelines to communicate a series of events. At the same time, you need to make sure that the story elements enhance the learning module, integrate with the core message flawlessly, and do not distract from the core subject matter. The multimedia elements employed during storytelling in the module also have to work towards reducing the cognitive load of the learner. Using irrelevant elements to make the content unique or to provide entertainment will take away the element of clarity, which is crucial to design memorable learning experiences.

Stories are everywhere…In our everyday lives, history, myths, legends, movies, etc. and come in many different forms. But in order to use them effectively, it’s essential to choose your stories well and tell them in a compelling manner to provide a memorable learning experience. Finally, to tell a great story and to make it stick, just keep it simple.


Pass the New Manager’s Trust Fall with Onboarding

The onboarding experience of a new manager can mean the difference between a well working team and a disengaged group of employees. Learning to trust a new or newly promoted employee with your people can be a little gut wrenching, so we often consider these beginning days as the time when new managers are earning our trust. Unfortunately, with nearly 33% of new hires looking for new employment within their first 6 months on the job, it’s not just the manager who will be building rapport.

Employees are depending on these first few weeks to determine if your organization or the position is the right place for them. If you’ve been lucky enough to find someone who is actually up for the important task of leading your workforce, then stunting their progression should be last thing you do. Gain the new manager’s trust in no time with these 5 tips.

Agree on Autonomy

You’ve hired or promoted the employee to a management position because you believe they have what it takes to lead and succeed. Trust that decision. Early on, set parameters for accountability and procedure. Be sure to explain where their authority ends, and their superiors’ begins so there’s no confusion throughout their time in the position.

Download: New Hire Planner and Cheat Sheet

Don’t be a Micromanager

The point of bringing another leader into the company is to alleviate executives of some of their own duties and stresses. If instead, executives are anxiously checking in on assigned projects or, even worse, taking them over midway, you can bet the manager will feel distrusted and hesitant to branch out. If loosening the reins has you nervous, be transparent. Explain why there’s hesitation and work together on what course of action you will follow to pass the barrier. Often, micromanagers break their habit by setting time checkpoints. For instance, ask the new manager to send daily, weekly or monthly reports with specific information. That way, all levels are aware of happenings without compromising trust or tacking on extra, frustrating steps into a process.

Set time checkpoints like this to avoid becoming a micromanager with new hires:

Ask for Permission Sometimes

From day 1, give managers decisions and the room to provide input. As you walk through procedures, ask if there’s anything they don’t understand or wish were done differently. Consider the suggestions as a step toward innovation instead of criticism. The new manager will see how you respect their opinion and expertise as well as notice how receptive your organization is to new ideas. While it might be a little scary, simply opening the floor to suggestions and even asking permission before making position altering choices can turn a frustrating situation into an opportunity to collaborate. Keep it up throughout their employment for the best results!

Open up the floor for innovation when onboarding new executives, like this:

ICYMI: 5 Things New Hires Wish You Would Do During Onboarding

Make Room for Errors

If there’s one thing every employee needs, it’s the room for errors. Obviously there are rules that simply can’t be broken, but for most processes, it’s important to encourage risks and independence. When onboarding a new manager, there should be an established grace period within which the employee is allowed to make mistakes. When or if a mistake is made, pull the manager aside and discuss what should have been done instead. If there are repercussions associated with those errors, clearly outline how those would be administered if they were not new on the force. Finish up with a reminder of when they can expect to begin taking part in the process like tenured employees. After the tough discussion, reiterate your confidence in their performance.

Why allowing employee error is a good thing:

Be Personable

Trust isn’t synonymous with being best friends, but employees do feel more comfortable approaching friendly and positive individuals. This is especially true for the beginning of employment, when the manager is trying to acclimate to their team and possibly a new company overall. Onboarding is an opportunity to develop that supportive relationship between the organization and new managers. This should be one of the easiest parts, too. Your organization may have a standard welcoming procedure, but if not, consider incorporating personal touches like branded materials or a short luncheon to introduce the new manager to their team and co-workers. Carry on the good feelings by appointing a fellow manager as a

Why People Don’t Do What You Want Them To

Powerful principles for analyzing any performance problem.

I love the work of Robert “Bob” Mager, including his framework for preparing learning objectives and criterion-referenced instruction (CRI), and his work on dealing with performance problems.

If you haven’t already read his book, “Analyzing Performance Problems,” and the included process flow, you should. It is a valuable tool to invest in for figuring out why people aren’t doing what you think they should be doing.

According to Mager, there are potentially seven reasons why people drop the ball on performance results. I continue to see these seven reasons highlighted in my work with employee recognition, let alone why things don’t get done at home, or even within my community and church responsibilities.

Let’s take a closer look at these seven reasons.

1. No Expectations: Nothing will ever get started if you don’t set clear expectations for what you want done, when you want it done by, and with general guidelines for how to do it and where to go for needed help.

I have seen managers not giving employees the kind of recognition company engagement surveys said employees lacked. But no one had told the managers what employees wanted nor had senior managers set the standard for recognition giving to happen.

It can sound crazy to have to give people permission to do what seems like common sense. But as Mark Twain wisely penned, “Common sense isn’t so common.”

2. No Feedback: Both positive and constructive feedback is essential to knowing if you are on the right track. Feedback given the right way can help a person with proper growth and development for his or her career. You will never know if you are reaching the desired expectations or how you could improve if you don’t receive candid feedback on your performance. Proper feedback is both motivational by giving you reinforcement for work well done and beneficial by providing needed course corrections along the way.

3. No Resources: If you don’t have the right tools, or perhaps the manpower, to ensure a task is done correctly, nothing is going to change.

I was trying to chisel out the hole in the door jamb of our home’s front door where the strike plate for the door lock would go. But the chisel wasn’t cutting in too well. I called a carpenter friend of mine, explaining I didn’t want him to do the job but just to give me some tips on what I needed to do. He looked at my dull chisel point and told me it wouldn’t even cut butter. He sharpened the chisel and showed me some methods to chisel correctly, and I had the job done in no time. It wasn’t just about having the right tool but making sure it was functioning at optimum levels, too.

4. No Training: All of us need to know how to do specific tasks or actions the right way, or to receive knowledge and instruction to help us with our work. This likely will require us to learn through various methods how to do something. Whether it is in-class instruction, online learning, or reading books and manuals, if we don’t know how to do something the right way, we will be paralyzed and unable to move ahead. For example, managers who are poor givers of recognition often require education on the behavioral skills needed to be effective givers of recognition to employees.

5. Punish the Right: Have you ever had a manager ask who completed a specific assignment given to each person in the room? You feel good about being able to report and share how you finished the task but then find out that everyone else has not, and they start saying negative comments such as “brown-noser” or “Mr. Goody Two-Shoes” or other smart remarks.

Getting negative put-down responses from peers becomes a disincentive to report performance completed, and can cause a person to not finish future assignments in a timely manner.

6. Reward the Wrong: It was with a power company where I heard my favorite example of “rewarding the wrong” things. They wanted to have zero accidents. When dealing with electrical power, little things can add up to fatalities, and no one wants to visit employees’ family members with bad news. The company established a reward system where departments that submitted reports with zero accidents rewarded all employees with a $50 gift card for each specific time period.

Guess what happened? The focus on receiving the reward caused all levels of employees to ignore reporting minor accidents so they could send in zero accident reports. By doing this, everyone received his or her free bonus of a $50 gift card for an empty report even though small safety infractions had occurred.

7. Ignore Either: And the worst of any consequential feedback is to receive nothing at all—no praise, criticism, or correction of any kind.

The scary part about why people don’t always do what we want them to is it is most often the manager who didn’t bother to prevent these seven reasons from happening. That’s right, the responsibility most often falls back to the manager, supervisor, or person extending the assignment.

What can we do to counter these seven areas that so often get in the way of great performance? Consider the following quick perspectives on how to address these principles:

1. Clarify the expectations of the task.
2. Provide people with the right kind of feedback.
3. Provide the resources to complete the task.
4. Provide accessibility to appropriate training.
5. Remove unwarranted punishment.
6. Remove inappropriate rewards.
7. Deliver appropriate consequences as necessary.

It would appear that great performance is in our hands after all.

Leadership is PLURAL ! – an article by Vidusha Nathavitharana


There is something fundamentally wrong with how we approach leadership.  Since time immemorial our approach to leadership has been to look at ‘great individuals’ who had power and influence, derive their traits and behaviours and theorise around it.  We forgot one fundamental basic : the word itself.

Leadership is a verb.  An act.  A process.  Leadership therefore is the PROCESS of guiding a group/team towards a common objective.  By very definition, ANYONE who partakes in this process or activity therefore is a leader.  The mistake we make is to only identify those in positional power to be the ‘leaders’ and expect others to follow : after all, if no one is there to follow who is leading ? is the question that is often posed.

This thinking is dangerous.  Leadership is not about power.  Its not about one person taking helm and making it happen – it NEVER happens because of just one person.  We have made the great error of ‘blowing people up’ and subscribing all the success to this one near ‘mythical’ person.  Is this actually the case ?

Was Alexander the SOLE reason for the conquests ?  Was the Mahatma the SOLE reason for India’s independence ?  Was Nelson Mandela the SOLE reason for the abolishing of Apartheid ?  Certainly these celebrated leaders were able to galvanise others towards the common cause : but, so did many others, each in their own right : and the COLLECTIVE leadership effort is what brought the result.  So, why do we home in and single out one person ?  This historical anomaly which started through the chroniclers of the kings who painted themselves larger than life and very careful about how they ‘portrayed’ their ‘leaders’ continues to this date : and therefore, we make the horrible mistake of assuming that these monumental moments in history (of an organisation or a nation) is the result of ONE MAN’s (or woman’s) leadership.  Nothing can be further than the truth.

Leadership must, and should be existing throughout an organisation – at every level.  Mere ‘followers’ are not enough : there needs to be leaders at every level who work tirelessly towards the common objective.  Its the objective that galvanises and moves people as much as the leader.  Loyalty to the person and not the cause is what creates despots and tyrants : as well as egotistical bosses!  It is also the reason why many organisations fail – because ultimately the whole things is centred around one person, and everyone else merely follows : take the person out, the entire organisation collapses.

Leadership is a collective exercise.  For sustainable, strong, value centric organisations, it is imperative to groom and grow leadership at every tier of the organisation.  Assuming that the CEO is the ‘Leader’ is both foolish and wrong.  The CEO certainly should be a leader : as should the Senior Management, the Middle Management, the Executive and non executive tiers.  NO ONE should follow : they should ALL take leadership : which is, to drive towards the objective set.  Without this effort, the organisation will always need to be ‘pushed.’

At different levels of the organisation, different types of leadership and attributes are required.  This is why we need to be careful in how we peg competencies.  Each level must dovetail back to the overall objectives and direction.  As such, ensuring that each layer actually compliments the other holds the key.

Leadership IS plural.  Unless you have slave labour and the ability to resort to violent reprisals which the ages gone by DID resort to, the traditional leadership model fails on every count.  It is morally wrong, and counter productive in the long term.  ‘Superhuman’ leaders leave a trail of greed, ego and hollow values behind : as many a scandal in both politics and business will aptly demonstrate. The reason for all this malady is our nonsensical veneration of one person.  Unless leadership is looked upon as a plural and a collective exercise, we will forever be subjected to tyranny and abuse.

10 Habits of a Successful Hotel General Manager

10_habits_hotel_general_managerAs anyone in the hospitality industry will confirm, General Managers (GMs) have their work cut out for them.  According to, it can take up to twenty years to become a hotel General Manager. This long and bumpy road is undoubtedly filled with excitement and accomplishments as well as challenges and sleepless nights.

While some qualities of a successful hotel GM may seem innate, such as: composure, patience, being a “people person,” and leadership (to name a few); most hoteliers will tell you that a lot of blood, sweat and tears is involved to get to the top of the ladder.  So which best practices ultimately earn them the revered title?  We have lined up ten habits of a successful hotel General Manager:

1. Make decisions quickly

Successful leaders are expert decision makers.  A General Manager’s day is filled around the clock with meetings and exchanges with staff, guests, vendors, suppliers and new recruits, etc.  The goal of each meeting and encounter is to make decisions.   Successful hoteliers either empower their employees to reach a desirable outcome or they do it themselves.  They focus on “making things happen” at all times – encouraging progress and keeping their hotel above par.

2. Get out of the office

Years of hands-on experience in the trenches have finally led to a nice, large office, but don’t get too comfortable. With so many meeting, emails, and administrative tasks to attend to, it’s easy to get trapped. Spend too much time in the office and you may lose track of what is happening in the “front of house.”  So make it a practice to spend a little time each day walking around the hotel, helping the front desk, directing and motivating employees, inspecting rooms, interacting with a guest or two. This will help you understand your employees, guests and hotel better and also leads us into our next point:

3. Lead by example

People truly follow only those they trust.  If you want to gain the trust and confidence of your employees (and believe us, that’s something you definitely want to do), you must set an example for them. This may sound easy, but few leaders are consistent with this one.  Successful leaders practice what they preach and are attentive of their actions.

4. Surround yourself with the right people

This is easier said than done as high employee turnover continue to plague the hospitality industry – wreaking havoc on productivity, morale and the hotel’s bottom line.  Reports show that 54% of organizations see greater new hire productivity and 50% higher retention rates for new hires when they have a well-planned onboarding process in place.  You already know that first impressions are so important when it comes to hotel guests, well the same goes for new recruits: Give them an exceptional first experience; so you can both know you made the right choice. Claim your free copy of our Ebook: Five Steps to a Successful Onboarding Process.

5. Motivate your employees

The ball is in your court.  According to a recent study by Dale Carnegie Training, less than 20% of non-management employees are fully engaged (aka, fully motivated and productive) and the single most important factor influencing engagement is an employee’s relationship with his or her direct manager. For ten easy ways to motivate your hotel staff, download a copy of our infographic: 10 Ways to Help Your Team Perform Better.

6. Delegate

Don’t try to do everything yourself and don’t micromanage! Communicate the hotel’s mission, vision, values, and goals, etc., then step back and let your staff take it from there. Setting this example will encourage your department heads and managers to do the same.

7. Measure and reward performance

Studies show that a lack of praise and recognition is a top reason that employees are unhappy at their jobs. Successful managers (hotel GMs included) are active in recognizing and acknowledging hard work and are mindful of rewarding top performers. These employees and their efforts should not be taken for granted – they are the ones who will help you achieve your company goals and, potentially, motivate others to become more engaged.  They are also the examples other employees look to when trying to improve themselves professionally.

8. Implement  the right  technologies

Technology is the key to running a hotel in this modern day and age, from managing a guest’s experience, to property management, to employee training. While rolling out new technologies can be daunting, the benefits are worthwhile and often necessary to remain competitive.  Also read:  Is Your PMS Actually Harming Your Hotel’s Profitability?

9. Take Responsibility

Great leaders know when to accept that mistakes have been made and take it upon themselves to fix them. It doesn’t help to point a finger or place blame, if you are the leader, you need to take responsibility, attend to the matter, learn from the situation and then move on.

10Love your job

Successful hoteliers love being leaders, after all, making a difference in other people’s lives is why you chose the hospitality industry in the first place. Being a successful hotel General Manger is all about your ability to serve others and this can’t be accomplished unless you genuinely enjoy what you do.


How your training program can turn skeptics into your number one evangelists

Let’s call it what it is, employee on-boarding is just another fancy schmancy name for new hire orientation.

Though the term has been re-coined and spun to sound like it’s something new, it’s the same old process through which new employees are recruited, processed and trained. A typical on boarding program should include inviting an applicant for interview, and end with an offer letter and confirmation of start date. However, once new employees start their first week, this process changes drastically by organization.

The biggest question to answer when planning an on-boarding program: Who is responsible for the new people? Is it HR? Their manager? Their Trainer?

The answer is simple: All of the above.

HR, Managers and Trainers must each be held equally as accountable for the development of new employees. However, while it is the responsibility of HR and Managers to determine the correct processes and systems important to the success of each employee, it is the Trainer’s responsibility to ensure they are developed and taught to each employee.

So even though, new hire orientation is not a new concept, the definition of on-boarding should be expanded to:

The acts through which employees gain knowledge, and the necessary skills and behaviors to develop into successful and productive employees

With this in mind, a successful on-boarding process should be at least 6- 12 months long.

Before an official on-boarding program is created, employers (HR, Managers, Trainers, and Organization Leaders) should take the time to answer these questions:

Studies show that more than 80% of the highest performing organizations have an on-boarding process that starts before the first day on the job. Are you apart of that statistic? If not, here are some ways to welcome your new hires with style and class-

  • Create a new hire portal and share it with your new employee once the ink has dried on the offer letter. Examples of what each employee should find in the portal:
  • Other things to include in portal:
    • Letter/Video from their new manager welcoming them to the team
    • Content designed to engage prepare them for the first day
    • Pictures, videos of the team and team activities
    • Glossary of most frequent terms used by employees

A tip on creating content:

Video is always better.

Now it’s time for the first day. Going into this as an employer, there are a few things you should know and commit to memory as an unchangeable truth.

Your new hire is not 100% sure they want to stay at your company long term. Your new employee is not even 50% sure at this time. It is your duty to make sure that by the end of the on-boarding process, your new employee has been converted. What you do on the first day of the on-boarding process goes a long way to ensure your new employee’s loyalty.

The purpose of Day 1 is twofold. HR needs to align new employees with the objectives of their new position, trainers need both set and communicate expectations and managers need to reinforce both objectives and expectations. This is the only day you will have to impress and leave a lasting impression on your new employee, by Day 2, it’s already too late.


If your employee goes home unsure about the people or the organization, that feeling may become subdued, but it does not go away.

Social interaction is also crucial on Day 1. New employees need to be able to mingle and build rapport with their team, as well as, the leaders of the organization. This sends the message he/she is important and that company leaders care about each employee. Allowing opportunities for social interaction among other employees, also gives them a chance to start orienting themselves to the culture of the organization.

Humans want to belong, we seek opportunities to become a part of a greater whole, it is a survival mechanism, and one of the reasons why groves of people move major metropolitan areas each year. New employees need the opportunity to socially negotiate their status within an organization’s culture and giving them the chance to interact socially, does just that.

A few things need to happen at the one month mark:

  1. HR needs to step in as well as managers to ensure that the employee is comfortable, happy and well-adjusted. HR must determine if all their needs are met and discuss any feedback the new employee may have thus far.
  2. Managers must also take the time to meet with each new employee at the end of the first month to realign he/she to company objectives and the expectations established on Day 1.

At the 3 – 6 month mark, HR should make an effort to check back in with the new employee. At this point, the employee should be fully acclimated to the organization and this meeting helps to get any additional necessary paperwork completed. Benefits should be reviewed at this meeting, as well as, a temperature gauge taken to determine if the employee has any issues with fitting in to the organization culture. The purpose here is to show the employee that he/she is not just a warm seat, and that his/her happiness is important to the organization.

The success of your new employee can be causally related to how he/she feels about the job and whether or not he/she feels they are just a number or an integral part of the organization.

During this time frame, the trainer should be phased out and the manager should be working more closely with the new employee to further coaching and development.

At the one year mark, barring any gross and unacceptable behaviors of the new employee, you should be able to determine whether or not the employee will be a success in the position. It’s important to note that most organizations rarely extend the on-boarding process this long, but depending on the position this should be more necessary than not.

How can you tell? Well ask yourself, how multifaceted are the duties of the position? Is it as simple as moving the robot, or does the employee need to understand several moving parts as well as perform them in order to be successful? The more complex the position is, the longer the on-boarding process should be.

At the end of the first year, the on-boarding process should transition to an employee retention and satisfaction program and as you will see in my next post, even that should have its own coaching and development program. Instead of start to finish, to turn skeptic employees to evangelists, your on-boarding process must be seamless from “start to continuous development.”

So how SHOULD you end the conversation after the first year? Simple.

Start with…

“So, let’s talk about compensation…”aaeaaqaaaaaaaadkaaaajdkwodq3n2fjlta4ymutngi5my05ztk1lwfizdkzzmflntiwza

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers and Challengers- Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur (Book Review)

A business model is defined in this book as the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value. This, ‘business model’ has to be a simple and relevant document that details how your business plan to create value.

The business canvas is a design tool (sometimes even a drawing) that represents the shared language used to describe, assess and even change an existing business model. According to this book, there are 9 building blocks that essentially build the business model canvas. These 9 blocks are;

1.) Customer Segments – who is your target market? – do you understand the different needs of the segments that exist within your market and the different channels available to reach out to them, or, is there a specific segment you are targeting?

2.) Value Proposition- what value are you providing to your customers? Are you offering your customers, design value, customization value, ‘getting the job done’ value, brand value, performance value, price value (lower pricing points), risk reduction value, or accessibility?

3.) Channels- what channels do you need to use to reach out to your customers?- how will you market your product/service/platform?

4.) Customer Relationships- the method of communication between you and your customer will depend on the stage your business is in. You need to ask yourself whether you are in the customer acquisition stage, the customer retention stage or the up-sell stage.

5.) Revenue Streams- how will you make money?- Are you selling a physical product, are you offering a service for a subscription, are you offering something for free (freemium) and offering additional features /premium features for a fee (or are you solely relying on advertising revenues- if you have a web-based business this will depend largely on the amount of traffic you have, the engagement rate of your user base and how much time they spend on your site), brokerage fees, leasing fees, or licensing fees?

6.) Key Resources- these are important things that you will need for your business to work.

7.) Key Activities- these are the important things that must be one to make your business to work.

8.) Key partnerships- there are the alliances you need to make for your business to work (suppliers, competitors, joint ventures or strategic alliances).

9.) Cost Structure- these are the important costs you will incur in order to make your business work.


This book lists 5 examples of traditional and, ‘new economy’ business model canvas patterns followed by businesses;

  • Unbundling Model- According to this model, there are 3 types of businesses; customer relations businesses (businesses focused on the acquisition of customers and building customer relations- for example, Ebay), product innovative businesses (businesses focused on developing new and attractive products- for example, Apple) and Infrastructure businesses (businesses focused on building and managing platforms for high volume repetitive tasks- for example, General Motor). These 3 can exist within one organization, but it is advisable that such companies separate them into 3 entities.
  • Long Tail- Under this model, the business offers a large number of niche products that do not sell much on their own, but collectively amount to a large amount of sales. Examples of this model include and Youtube.
  • Multi-sided Platform- Under this model, the business has 2 distinct, but interdependent groups of customers. The business grows in value through what is known as the, ‘network effect’- the more users the platform gains, the more valuable it becomes (examples include; Amazon, Google, Wii, Playstation and Xbox).
  • Freemium- Under the freemium model, the business offers its services free of charge. Nonpaying customers are financed either by another part of the business model (upselling certain services), by advertising revenues, or by another, paying customer segment (examples include Flickr, Twitter and Facebook).
  • Open Business Model- Under this model, the business collaborates with outside partners by opening up its platform (examples include Tor and RedHat).


Under this section, the book delves into the techniques available to design a business canvas. According to this book, there are six techniques, these are;

  • Customer Insights- businesses need to understand that customer insight goes beyond asking customers what they want. Apple had a deep understanding of its customer’s behavior and understood that people where not interested in digital media players per se, Apple believed people wanted a seamless way to search, find, download and listen to music (this was against the prevailing trend- illegal downloading), this is how Apple came up with the Ipod.
  • Ideation- It is difficult for established businesses to innovate because the systems designed to make an established business more effective (financial projections, job descriptions and anything promoting predictability) work against the innovative process (that requires systematic chaos). According to the ideation process there must be a brainstorming of business ideas (with people from all sectors of the business), the best ideas must then be isolated, elaborated and developed further.
  • Visual Thinking- according to this process pictures deliver messages more effectively than words and pictures often need to be used to communicate ideas and concept (post it notes, power-point presentations and anything that is visually stimulating).
  • Prototyping- According to this process you have to avoid falling in love with any one idea you have, the idea must be prototyped, tested and there has to be an exploration of different directions in which the business model could go.
  • Storytelling- You must be able to use real life stories that people can relate to, describe your business model and your value proposition. This storytelling will help you communicate your business to possible investors, your customers and your employees. You have to ask yourself what your business narrative is.
  • Scenario- Scenario planning helps businesses better understand that the business model might have to evolve under certain, future conditions. Imagining future scenarios helps develop business models in more innovative ways by understanding future conditions that may exist within your market you will better understand how to draft your business model in a manner that allows it to be more adaptive.



Business model strategy involves understanding the environment the business operates within (the key trends- regulatory, technological, societal and socio-economic, the industry forces, the market forces and the macro-economic forces- global market conditions and economic infrastructure), the design drivers underlying the business model and the constraints the business is likely to face.

You have to understand that today’s market conditions may very well be outdated tomorrow and you must be able to improve on your business model to suit changing conditions (ask yourself what measures you have in place to ensure your business model remains competitive). Amazon for example, retains its competitive edge by keeping its profit margins very low ensuring that no competitor could price its products lower. Jeff Bezos also understood that these low margins (at one point Amazon posted a 4.2% net margin) where Amazon’s financial weakness, to address this issue Jeff Bezos broadened Amazon’s business model by offering other web services.

One strategy that deserves a little extra attention mentioned in this book is the Blue Ocean Strategy. According to this strategy businesses must focus on creating new, uncontested market spaces. An example of a business that pursued the, ‘blue ocean strategy’ would be Wii, instead of focusing on developing a console with state of the art performance (which was what Playstation and Xbox brought to the market), Nintendo choose to develop a more, ‘social’ game console designed for the casual gamer.


There are 5 stages in the business process stage; mobilization, understanding, design, implementation and managing. The mobilization step involves preparing the business model for success, this includes setting up all the elements that are needed to ensure the business model is successful and describing the motivation and value proposition underlying a business. The understanding phase is a stage where research and analysis is carried out. This involves immersing yourself in industry relevant knowledge. The designing phase is where the business model is generated and tested (by questioning the validity of the business models and the underlying axioms). The Implementation phase is where the business prototypes are tested in real life situations and the Management phase is where the business model is adapted and modified to suit current and future, foreseeable market conditions.