18+ years of experience in global management consulting, project management, and business process efficiency (40+ teams and 400+ developers) across multiple industries (ISO 13485, ISO 9001 & ISO 17025), from software development to biopharmaceutical and automotive. 🏆 I'm also a certified trainer in multinational companies (100+ people trained) in Lean Six Sigma and the Theory of Constraints. Certified SAFe 5 Scrum Master and Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. MSc Electrical and Computer Engineering.

My Mentoring Topics

  • Career growth plan
  • Leadership in different teams and situations
  • Creating high-performance teams
  • Getting failing projects back on track
  • Stakeholder and expectation management

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Atomic Habits
James Clear

Key Facts and Insights The power of small, everyday habits and their cumulative impact on our lives. The concept of habit stacking, where you layer a new habit onto an existing one to make it easier to adopt. The idea of making good habits obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. The importance of focusing on systems rather than goals. The role of environment and context in shaping our habits. The difference between outcome-based habits and identity-based habits. The concept of the two-minute rule for establishing new habits. How habits can lead to compound growth in personal and professional development. The significance of the feedback loop in habit formation and breaking bad habits. Understanding the role of dopamine and reward in developing and maintaining habits. The importance of tracking and accountability in habit formation. An In-depth Analysis of Atomic Habits In the book, James Clear posits on the power of small daily habits and their cumulative impact. It underlines the idea that success is not a matter of grand actions or drastic changes, but rather the product of small, incremental habits applied consistently over time. This concept aligns with the theory of marginal gains, a concept often applied in business and sports, which emphasizes on making small, 1% improvements in everything you do. The author introduces the concept of "habit stacking", where a new habit is layered onto an existing one to ensure its adoption. For example, if you already have a habit of brushing your teeth every morning, you could stack a new habit of flossing right after. This is based on the psychological principle of classical conditioning, where a response to a stimulus becomes associated with another stimulus. Clear asserts that for habits to stick, they need to be obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. This principle resonates with B.F. Skinner's operant conditioning theory in psychology, which stipulates that behavior is more likely to recur if it is followed by a reward. Making a habit satisfying or rewarding is crucial for its reinforcement and repetition. Interestingly, Clear argues for focusing on systems rather than goals. Goals, he asserts, are about the results you want to achieve, while systems are about the processes that lead to those results. This perspective aligns with Deming's System of Profound Knowledge which stresses on understanding and improving systems, rather than solely focusing on outcomes. The role of environment and context in shaping our habits is another noteworthy insight. Clear suggests that by altering our physical environment, we can make the desired habits more convenient and the undesirable habits more inconvenient. This approach aligns with the field of environmental psychology, which studies the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. Clear also distinguishes between outcome-based habits and identity-based habits. While the former focuses on what you want to achieve, the latter emphasizes on who you wish to become. This insight is pivotal in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), where changing one's self-identity is often a key step towards changing behavior. The two-minute rule is a practical tool offered by Clear to establish new habits. The rule suggests that when starting a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. This concept is rooted in the principle of shaping in behavior modification, where a complex behavior is broken down into manageable steps and then gradually built up. The book also explores the phenomenon of compound growth in personal and professional development as a result of consistent habits. This principle mirrors the financial concept of compound interest, where small, regular investments can lead to significant growth over time due to the power of exponential growth. The significance of the feedback loop in habit formation is also explored. Clear discusses the importance of immediate feedback in reinforcing or eliminating a habit. This concept is a cornerstone in cybernetics and systems theory, where feedback loops are used to adjust and control system behavior. Clear also discusses the role of dopamine and reward in habit formation. The release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, reinforces the habit loop. This is a fundamental principle in neuroscience and has been extensively studied in addiction research. Finally, Clear underscores the importance of tracking and accountability in habit formation. Logging your progress and having someone to answer to can be powerful motivators for maintaining good habits. This idea is supported by research in the field of behavior analysis, which has shown that monitoring and accountability can significantly impact behavior change. In conclusion, Atomic Habits goes beyond the usual advice on habit formation and offers a comprehensive framework grounded in scientific research. Its principles and strategies, if applied consistently, can lead to significant personal and professional growth. It's a testament to the power of small, everyday habits in shaping our lives.

How to Change - The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
Katy Milkman

Key Facts or Insights from the Book: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be employs a behavioral science approach to change. Change is often impeded by obstacles, the biggest of which are often internal, such as procrastination or forgetfulness. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding the root cause of these obstacles to implement effective change strategies. Milkman introduces the concept of 'temptation bundling' and 'commitment devices' as effective techniques for achieving personal and professional goals. The book covers seven science-backed strategies: Fresh Start, Temptation Bundling, Commitment Devices, Implementation Intentions, Reminders, Social Influence, and Goal Setting. Milkman utilizes numerous real-world examples and research studies to explain these strategies. The book highlights the role of behavioral science in fostering societal change, including public health and policy changes. Milkman's writing is accessible, making complex scientific concepts digestible for a general audience. The book provides practical tools and strategies, not just theoretical concepts. It emphasizes the importance of persistence and resilience in change. Understanding and applying these strategies can be beneficial for individuals, organizations, and society at large. In-Depth Summary and Analysis: "How to Change - The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be" is a compelling exploration of the science of change. It takes a deep dive into why we often fail to make changes and how we can overcome these barriers. As a professor who has spent years studying and teaching these concepts, I found Milkman's approach refreshing, insightful, and practical. Obstacles to Change The first part of the book focuses on the obstacles to change. Milkman argues that the biggest obstacles are often internal, such as procrastination or forgetfulness. This aligns with my own research on the topic, where I've found that internal barriers are often more challenging to overcome than external ones. Strategies for Change Milkman then dives into the strategies for change, backed by behavioral science. These include Fresh Start, Temptation Bundling, Commitment Devices, Implementation Intentions, Reminders, Social Influence, and Goal Setting. The strategy of 'Fresh Start' is based on the concept of temporal landmarks - significant times that stand out from the ordinary, like the start of a new year or a birthday. These moments can motivate us to pursue our goals with renewed vigor. 'Temptation Bundling' involves pairing a task you should do, but avoid, with a task you love, but isn't necessarily productive. For example, listening to a favorite podcast while exercising. 'Commitment devices' are tools that help us stick to our plans by making it costly to deviate. An example could be a financial penalty for failing to achieve a specific goal. 'Implementation Intentions' involve making specific plans about when, where, and how you will take the actions needed to achieve your goal. 'Reminders' are self-explanatory, but Milkman emphasizes their importance in combating forgetfulness, one of the significant internal obstacles to change. 'Social Influence' discusses how our behavior is influenced by those around us, an idea that has been well-established in social psychology. Finally, 'Goal Setting' is about setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. Practical Application What I appreciate most about this book is its practical application. Milkman not only provides the science behind these strategies but also offers numerous real-world examples and practical tools for implementing them. For example, she discusses how organizations can use these strategies to foster change at a broader level, such as in public health or policy changes. Conclusion Overall, "How to Change - The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be" is a must-read for anyone interested in the science of change. It offers a comprehensive, research-backed guide to overcoming obstacles and implementing effective change strategies. It emphasizes that change is not only possible but achievable for everyone. As a professor who has spent years studying these concepts, I can confidently say that Milkman's book is a valuable addition to the literature on behavioral science and change.

Marcus Aurelius, George Long

Key Facts and Insights from "Meditations" The insignificance of worldly possessions: Marcus Aurelius emphasizes the transient nature of physical wealth and possessions. The importance of virtue: Virtue is presented as the highest good and the ultimate goal of human life. The role of reason: The human capacity for reason is stressed as a means of achieving virtue and tranquility. Recognition of mortality: Frequent contemplation of our mortality is suggested as a way of maintaining perspective and focusing on what truly matters. The interconnectedness of all things: The Stoic concept of the Logos, a rational principle governing the universe, is used to illustrate the interconnectedness and unity of all things. Endurance and acceptance: Aurelius encourages accepting and enduring life's hardships as part of the natural order of things. Emphasis on self-improvement: Continuous self-improvement and personal growth are central themes throughout the book. The impermanence of life: Life's fleeting nature is a recurring theme designed to encourage focus on the present moment. The pursuit of justice: Justice is considered an essential virtue and the cornerstone of a well-ordered society. Self-reflection and introspection: Regular practice of self-reflection is suggested as a tool for personal growth and self-awareness. Emotional resilience: The reader is encouraged to build emotional resilience by controlling reactions to external events and focusing only on what is within personal control. In-depth Analysis and Summary "Meditations" is a deeply introspective work that provides a window into the mind of one of the most respected Roman Emperors, Marcus Aurelius. Aurelius, a practitioner of Stoic philosophy, uses this work to outline his understanding of the universe, human nature, virtues, and the importance of rational thought. The insignificance of worldly possessions is a recurring theme in the book. Aurelius underscores the transient nature of physical wealth and possessions, insisting they should not be the focus of our lives. This perspective is consistent with Stoic philosophy's central tenets, which emphasize the pursuit of virtue over material wealth. Instead of pursuing transient, external things, Aurelius advises readers to seek inner peace and tranquility. On virtue, Aurelius posits that it is the highest good, the ultimate goal of human life. Virtue, as described by Aurelius, is a combination of wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation. Virtue is attained through the rigorous application of reason, a distinct human capacity that distinguishes us from other creatures. The role of reason, according to Aurelius, is to guide our actions towards virtue and away from vice. Reason also allows us to accept and endure life’s hardships, another theme in the book. By using reason, we can understand that adversity is a natural part of life and not something to be feared or avoided. The recognition of our mortality, Aurelius argues, is crucial to maintaining perspective and focusing on what truly matters. By contemplating our mortality, we are reminded of life's fleeting nature and the importance of living virtuously and meaningfully in the present moment. The interconnectedness of all things is another central theme in the book, drawn from the Stoic concept of the Logos. The Logos is a rational principle that governs the universe, and Aurelius uses it to illustrate that everything in the universe is interconnected and interdependent. This belief leads to the emphasis on justice, as a well-ordered society depends on every individual acting justly. The emphasis on self-improvement and personal growth is central to the philosophy of Aurelius. He encourages the reader to continually strive for betterment and to use reflection as a tool for self-awareness and growth. Lastly, Aurelius emphasizes emotional resilience by encouraging readers to control their reactions to external events and focus only on what is under their control. This Stoic principle of focusing on what is within our control can lead to a greater sense of tranquility and resilience in the face of adversity. In conclusion, "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius is a profound and timeless exploration of Stoic philosophy. It provides valuable insights on virtue, reason, self-improvement, and resilience that remain relevant and applicable to our lives today.

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman

Key Insights from 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' Cognitive Ease: The human brain tends to choose the path of least resistance when processing information. System 1 and System 2: Two distinct systems govern our thought processes. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional, while System 2 is slow, deliberate, and logical. Heuristics and Biases: Our brains use mental shortcuts or 'heuristics' to make quick decisions, which can often lead to biases in our thinking. Prospect Theory: People tend to make decisions based on potential losses and gains, not final outcomes. Anchoring Effect: The first piece of information we receive about a subject heavily influences our perception of subsequent information. Availability Heuristic: We tend to judge the probability of events by how easily examples come to mind. Endowment Effect: We value things more when we own them. Hindsight Bias: Our tendency to see events as more predictable than they really are after they have happened. Framing Effect: The way information is presented can drastically affect how we perceive it and make decisions. The Halo Effect: Our overall impression of a person influences how we feel and think about their character. Deeper Analysis of the Book's Concepts 'Thinking, Fast and Slow', a seminal work by Daniel Kahneman, delves into the two systems that drive the way we think—System 1, which is fast and intuitive, and System 2, slow and deliberate. This dual-process theory of cognition is not new, but Kahneman's exploration of how these systems interact, often leading to cognitive biases, is groundbreaking. System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control. It's the part of our brain that responds to a surprising sound in the darkness or decides to swerve to avoid an accident. This system is heavily influenced by our past experiences and emotions, making its responses feel intuitive and automatic. In contrast, System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations and conscious decision-making. This system is slower and more deliberate, often stepping in to verify and modify the impressions and intuitions from System 1. However, System 2 is lazy and often defaults to the easier, automatic responses of System 1. This is where cognitive biases come in. Heuristics and biases are mental shortcuts that System 1 uses to make quick decisions. While these shortcuts can often be useful, they can also lead to systematic errors in our thinking. For example, the availability heuristic might lead us to overestimate the likelihood of dramatic events (like plane crashes) because they are more memorable and thus more easily available to our minds. Prospect theory, introduced by Kahneman and his colleague Amos Tversky, challenges traditional economic theory, which assumes that humans are rational actors. Instead, prospect theory suggests that people make decisions based on potential gains and losses, not the final outcome. This can lead to seemingly irrational decisions, such as refusing to take a small loss to potentially gain more in the long run. The anchoring effect describes our tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information we receive (the "anchor") when making decisions. Even when the anchor is arbitrary or irrelevant, it can dramatically influence our judgments and estimates. Similarly, the framing effect reveals that the way information is presented can drastically affect our decisions. For example, people are more likely to opt for a surgical procedure if it’s presented with a 90% survival rate than a 10% mortality rate, even though both statistics convey the same information. In conclusion, 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' highlights how our thought processes—though powerful—are not always as rational, objective, or logical as we might believe. By understanding these biases, we can take steps to mitigate them and make better, more informed decisions.

Never Split the Difference - Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Chris Voss, Tahl Raz

Key Insights from the Book: The principle of tactical empathy: Understand and recognize the emotions of your counterpart and respond to them in a thoughtful manner. The power of mirroring: Imitate the language and behavior of your counterpart to build rapport and trust. The effectiveness of calibrated questions: Ask questions that allow your counterpart to have control, but steer the conversation towards your desired outcome. The significance of active listening: Listen carefully to what your counterpart is saying and respond accordingly. The role of patience: Give your counterpart time to respond and don’t rush them into making a decision. The importance of a "no": Getting a 'no' is not a failure, but rather an opportunity to understand your counterpart's fears and concerns. The “Ackerman Model”: A strategic bargaining method developed in the FBI, which involves setting a target price, then using a series of calculated offers and conciliatory gestures to reach it. The concept of "Black Swans": Unforeseen events or pieces of information that can dramatically impact the outcome of a negotiation. The value of loss aversion: People are more motivated to avoid losses than to achieve equivalent gains. The utility of "that's right": Getting your counterpart to say "That's right" instead of "You're right," ensures they feel understood and agree with your viewpoint. The "7-38-55 Percent Rule": In communication, 7% of a message is derived from the words, 38% from the tone of voice, and 55% from body language and facial expressions. An In-Depth Analysis of the Book "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz is a compelling exploration into the art of negotiation. Drawing from his experience as a former FBI hostage negotiator, Voss provides readers with practical techniques to improve their negotiation skills. Understanding and Using Tactical Empathy Tactical empathy is at the heart of successful negotiation. It revolves around understanding and acknowledging the feelings and mindset of your counterpart. By doing so, you can navigate the negotiation process more effectively and achieve favourable outcomes. As a negotiator, it's not enough to understand what the other party wants; you must also comprehend how they feel. This emotional intelligence enables you to build a connection and establish mutual trust, increasing the likelihood of a successful negotiation. Mirroring, Calibrated Questions and Active Listening Voss also highlights the importance of mirroring, calibrated questions, and active listening. Mirroring, which involves imitating your counterpart's language and behaviour, can foster a sense of familiarity and rapport. Calibrated questions, on the other hand, allow you to steer the conversation without appearing aggressive or domineering. These questions typically start with "what" or "how," prompting your counterpart to think deeply and contribute valuable information to the discussion. Active listening is equally crucial. By paying close attention to your counterpart's words, you can identify underlying concerns or interests that may be key to the negotiation. This also signals respect and sincerity, strengthening your relationship with the counterpart. The Value of Patience and the Power of 'No' Patience is a virtue in negotiation. Voss emphasizes the importance of allowing your counterpart sufficient time to respond. A hurried negotiation is unlikely to yield optimal results. Moreover, contrary to common belief, receiving a 'no' from your counterpart is not necessarily a setback. Instead, it can serve as a stepping stone to understanding their fears and concerns better. It gives you the opportunity to address those issues and make a more persuasive case. The Ackerman Model and the Concept of Black Swans The Ackerman model is a bargaining method that involves setting a target price, then using a series of calculated offers and conciliatory gestures to reach it. This method, which requires patience and strategic thinking, can be highly effective in achieving your desired outcome. Voss also introduces the concept of 'Black Swans' – unexpected events or pieces of information that can dramatically alter the negotiation landscape. Identifying potential Black Swans and preparing for them can give you a significant advantage. Loss Aversion, 'That's Right' and the 7-38-55 Percent Rule The book also delves into the psychology of negotiation, discussing concepts like loss aversion and the power of the words 'That's right'. People are typically more motivated to avoid losses than to achieve equivalent gains, and this can be leveraged in negotiation. Getting your counterpart to say 'That's right' instead of 'You're right' ensures they feel understood and agree with your viewpoint. The former indicates genuine agreement, while the latter often signals appeasement. Lastly, Voss presents the "7-38-55 Percent Rule," a principle that underscores the importance of non-verbal communication. It posits that only 7% of a message is derived from words, while 38% comes from the tone of voice, and 55% from body language and facial expressions. In conclusion, "Never Split the Difference" offers a wealth of practical strategies and psychological insights for effective negotiation. It challenges traditional notions, encouraging readers to perceive negotiation through a different lens. Whether it's in a professional context or everyday life, these techniques can undoubtedly enhance your ability to negotiate successfully.