Author Archives: Peter Stas

What are your Top-3 Priorities?

If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any. Determining your top-3 priorities and how they’re going to be measured is arguably the most important job of a leader because most of the work that everybody does will flow from those goals. Those priorities have to be lined up as carefully for each quarter or you’re certainly going off-course over time. You want to succeed finishing your top-3 priority selection for each quarter.

And it may sound simple, but it is often one of the greatest challenges that teams and companies face. Typically leaders start listing five or seven or 11 priorities.


The trick is to prioritise the ‘important’ and select what the top-3 actions are for the quarter. How you are going to measure progress along the way. Tomorrow, we will have our Annual Session with Patrick Thean. We will be deriving our plan for 2018 and top-priorities for Q1.

Once you have your top-3, you have to keep reminding your team of the priorities, even if it can feel repetitive. People often have to hear something a few times before they truly remember it. “You say something seven times and they haven’t heard you,” he said. “Until they start making jokes about how often you repeat it, they haven’t internalized it.”

Then, hold everyone on your team accountable for their work and role on the team. In effect, it’s a simple bargain that leaders can offer their employees: “I’ll treat you well, but we’re also going to be clear about the work you’re expected to contribute.”

You need a culture where we value the people who do what they say — they have a high ‘do-to-say ratio.  You just need people who follow through, and it’s a lot more fun when the people you work with do that. You can count on them and communication flows faster.

What Innovators Do

Successful innovators don’t delegate creative work. They do it themselves!


The ability to innovate is key to business success. It all starts with research, or “discovery activities” as HBR calls it : associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking. They claim that successful innovators spend more than 50% of their time on discovery activities during which they engage both sides of the brain. It is more than the cognitive skill of being right-brained. You need to leverage both right AND left side of the brain.


Associating is the ability to successfully connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas from different fields. New ideas blossom at the intersections of diverse fields. Fresh inputs trigger new associations. As Steve Jobs has frequently observed, “Creativity is connecting things.” Associating is like a mental muscle that can grow stronger by using the other discovery skills. As innovators engage in those behaviors, they build their ability to generate ideas that can be recombined in new ways. The more frequently people attempt to understand, categorize, and store new knowledge, the more easily their brains will naturally and consistently make, store, and recombine associations.


Innovators constantly ask questions that challenge common wisdom. “The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right question”.

Ask “Why?” and “Why not?” and “What if?”

Innovative entrepreneurs are likely to challenge assumptions. Innovative entrepreneurs like to play devil’s advocate. “My learning process has always been about disagreeing with what I’m being told and taking the opposite position, and pushing others to really justify themselves,” Pierre Omidyar said. “I remember it was very frustrating for the other kids when I would do this.” Asking oneself, or others, to imagine a completely different alternative can lead to truly original insights.


Discovery-driven executives produce uncommon business ideas by scrutinizing common phenomena, particularly the behavior of potential customers. In observing others, they act like anthropologists and social scientists. “Often the surprises that lead to new business ideas come from watching other people work and live their normal lives”. Innovators carefully, intentionally, and consistently look out for small behavioral details—in the activities of customers, suppliers, and other companies—in order to gain insights about new ways of doing things.


Unlike observers, who intensely watch the world, experimenters construct interactive experiences and try to provoke unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge. Innovative entrepreneurs engaged in active experimentation, whether it is intellectual exploration, physical tinkering, or engagement in new surroundings. As executives of innovative enterprises, they make experimentation central to everything they do. One of the most powerful experiments innovators can engage in is living and working overseas. HBR research revealed that the more countries a person has lived in, the more likely he or she is to leverage that experience to deliver innovative products, processes, or businesses.


Devoting time and energy to finding and testing ideas through a network of diverse individuals gives innovators a radically different perspective. Unlike most executives—who network to access resources, to sell themselves or their companies, or to boost their careers—innovative entrepreneurs go out of their way to meet people with different kinds of ideas and perspectives to extend their own knowledge domains.



S/Y Alpina Win Maxi Cup

Not only passion for watches: Congratulations on the podium finish for Alpina in the Maxi Rolex Cup.  It has been great to see Alpina competing in this event, a perfect opportunity to show off the new improvements and reconfirm her excellent performance.

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S/Y Alpina performing well after recent refit

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S/Y Alpina Hull 007 at the Maxi Cup 2016


MMT Update

Tuesday September 6th, we had a press event to announce the completion of the spin-out of Manufacture Modules Technologies Sàrl. from the Frederique Constant Group. The MMT team moved to new offices and workshops in Skylab, one of Geneva’s main high-tech hubs.


New offices and ateliers MMT

MMT is independent and has an Inclusive Philosophy. We realize that most watch brands are too small to invest individually in a comprehensive Technology Platform. However, when we work together with a number of brands, we have the critical mass to expand the current platform long-term. Brands can create unique products with modules and individual technology components.


MMT_Press_Conference_Sept2016_2 - Cópia

At the press event, we had 80 participants in Geneva and 30 on Live Stream


Introduction by me


New CEO MMT Philippe Fraboulet


The company delivers its modules to various watch brands


The app portfolio is in process to be expanded to five apps

Check out more information:

Perspective Acquisition

This journalists gets it:

Ultimately, it should be about people. No one individual builds a brand, a brand is built by a group of people working together towards a common goal. And this came up in my conversation with Yasmina. Peter and Aletta Stas wanted to be certain that in selling the company, they would not simply be leaving their team high and dry. There is no shortage of people with money out there who want to own a watch brand, so the challenge really became finding a buyer who valued the same things that they did. And in Citizen, they found the right fit. So to be clear, no redundancies, no terminations – things stay as they are. The agreement is that the Stas team will stay on for five (5) years to ensure continuity and continue the projects that are already in motion. In addition, the people behind the scenes will be staying on as well. Now I am fairly certain that the number I heard was five (5) but in fairness I was making an espresso just at that moment (it was early here at Tempus Fugit HQ), but I am fairly certain that was the figure.

The shock waves are that the days of the mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful Swiss group might be over.  At a time where brands are laying off staff then spending millions on America’s Cup sponsorships and the inevitable wining, dining and gifting that go along with it to keep the retailers and press members purring, this is a completely different approach.  This is a brand that put its PEOPLE above its own vanity.

News travels fast, you may have heard already, we hope to inform you personally about the acquisition of our company.

We have been approached in past to be taken over. Until last year, we never engaged in such discussions as we had idea that our children may take over in future. By now, we know that both our children do not want to work in the company, we started to have discussions with the two groups that approached us last year.

After a year of deep discussions, we felt best with one group in terms of expectations and strategy. This group required, specifically, to keep both us and the current management team in place for at least 5 years. Within this group, we will be the largest Swiss entity and we will continue to operate independently.

The group that will take over is Citizen Watch, a strategic watch industry buyer that has over 125 subsidiaries. Citizen has a reputation for innovation and letting its subsidiaries manage themselves independently. Coincidentally, this completes a circle for our company as Frederique Constant started with an order from a Japanese customer. The company has always had strong relationships with Japan and we feel good about long-term collaboration and continuity within the Citizen Group.

Today we are doing the official announcement and attached is our letter for our employees and stakeholders.

We are exited about this next chapter of our company. Thank you for your continued support and sharing this journey with us.

Best regards,

Aletta and Peter Stas

Wearables Halo Effect

Recent research confirms that popularity of wrist- worn wearables provide a halo effect for traditional watches. Morgan Stanley announced the findings of its latest research survey that show positive news for the Swiss watch industry. The survey, the latest in the Firm’s AlphaWise Evidence Series, is taken across US consumers.

The number of respondents who already own a wearable are significantly more likely to purchase/wear a traditional watch.

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When looking at the purchasing/wearing intent of traditional watches by respondents who do not currently own a wearable device: 20% of respondents who fall in that category are significantly more likely to purchase/wear traditional watches, further supporting that the popularity of wrist-worn wearables adds to general interest in the watch category.

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Caveat is that the survey is taken only across US consumers, a relatively small market (~10%) of total Swiss watch exports. Key will be to monitor coming months, to learn appetite for wearables and purchase behaviour towards the category from the larger markets (Europe, Asia).

Credit: Morgan Stanley AphaWise