Blog

Musings – Part 22

Getting Advice.  Who among us hasn’t asked for advice from an expert and then looked for another when we didn’t like the answer we got? Who do you tend to search out when you don’t know what to do? Someone who generally gives you the counsel you want to hear – who confirms the correctness […]

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Overthinking

Although many leaders I’ve known have used this word to describe ineffective employees, I’ve never quite understood the concept. We’d actually be better off if more people spent more time thinking about what they should be doing or how. Yet about two-thirds of adults today claim that overthinking or overanalyzing is a real problem for […]

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Finding Purpose

Having clarity of purpose and leading with it top of mind is crucial to being a smart leader. Knowing who you are, what you can and cannot do, which battles are worth fighting and which ones should be avoided is the sine qua non of leadership. Purpose comes from within – a calling to which […]

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Musings – Part 21

Reading.  I’ve conducted anecdotal surveys of the reading habits of about 250 C-suite executives over the course of five years. The primary question posed was this: “what books have you read during the past nine months that have significantly influenced your thinking?” Consistently, year after year, fewer than 20% had read such a book. While […]

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Doing What Others Expect of Us

We are social animals – we have an innate desire to be connected and aligned with others. In order to cultivate this feeling of belonging, we too often go along to get along, stay silent about what we genuinely believe or lie about our private thoughts. In simple terms, our behavior changes when we’re in […]

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The Exponential Advance of Technology

Foundational technologies that transform the human experience, from the printing press to telephones and computers and everything in between, follow one immutable law – they get better, faster, cheaper and easier to use. Every remarkable tool in our lives came from our unique, deep and endlessly complex capacity for curiosity and invention. And now we […]

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The Rebirth of Workplace Safety

What fascinates me most about the evolution of management theory is how much of what’s old becomes new again under different circumstances. The notion of encouraging employees to feel safe in the workplace, and therefore willing to say what’s on their minds, was discussed by Edgar Schein of MIT almost 70 years ago. He noted […]

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Musings – Part 20

Despite an ongoing workload, summer is a good time for reflection and rejuvenation. The following are among the musings traveling along my neural pathways as I toiled in my gardens and plantations these past few months (others to be shared in due course): Disinformation.  Misinformation is getting the facts wrong. Disinformation is deliberately misstating them. […]

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Where Personality Fits

Where does an understanding of personality fit in a manager’s toolbox of skills in the post-pandemic era? I will debut two new offerings later this year that explain how “where” and “when” we were born influences workplace behaviours. Although both, to varying degrees, determine the manner in which we act under changing circumstances, neither deals […]

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The Loss of Humility

Every epoch is influenced by advances in technology that impact and accentuate different aspects of our character. The year 2009 is generally regarded as the time when a huge influx of bloggers, YouTubers and Twitter fanatics kickstarted the social media phenomenon. In 2010, there were 50 million tweets per day; now there are over 500 […]

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When Stuff Happens

In life, and therefore in business, mistakes and unexpected events inevitably occur. How we respond to them as individuals defines who we are. How an organization deals with them determines its culture, for better or for worse. Blaming or finger-pointing leads to distrust, disengagement, resentment and unproductive behaviors. Because employees feel a loss of connection […]

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Musings – Part 19

Reading.  Harry Truman once said “Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers.” They read for knowledge more so than pleasure. They read to learn how things work so they can figure out how to do them better. Or how not to do them. They read to acquire new databases and better lenses […]

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Musings – Part 18

Problem solving.  Without problems, we can’t learn, find happiness or acquire wisdom. The very process of solving our problems gives life its meaning. Yet far too many prefer to live a problem-free existence by pretending they don’t exist or hoping they’ll eventually disappear. Some do but most get bigger. And some aren’t really ours to […]

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The Purpose of Self-knowledge

Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “There are three things extremely hard: steel, diamonds and the ability to know one’s self.” We have a pathological need to think highly of ourselves. Yet we’re not as clever, skilled or self-assured as we might imagine or hope. This neurological glitch in our self-concept – what some call their identity […]

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Resolutions vs. Rules to Live By

It’s about that time when some contemplate their resolutions for the coming year. Typically, these include promises to lose weight, eat healthier, enjoy life more, get fit, manage one’s finances better, travel more or take up a new hobby. All good ideas. And that’s the problem – they’re little more than intentions or vague goals […]

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Fixing Meeting Management

Time is money. And most of the money squandered in organizations today is a consequence of too many unproductive and unnecessary meetings. Of the 23 hours, on average, that executives spend in meetings each week, minimally a third they suggest deserve that criticism. Attendees agree – not surprisingly, 90% of them say they daydream in […]

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Musings – Part 17

Conspiracies.  Why do some believe in conspiracies and how do you deal with them if you desire the relationship? We all have a need to know the truth, feel safe and seek a degree of certainty and control in our lives. And we have a profound desire to maintain our self-esteem and feel positive about […]

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The Pros and Cons of Compromise

There’s no such thing as a “win-win” compromise. Trading something you really want just to reach an amicable agreement often ends up over time with regret or remorse, particularly when you reflect on what you had initially hoped to accomplish. My definition of an optimal outcome is getting all that you had wanted and more. […]

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Unleashing Genius

About fifty years ago, I designed my first professional development offering called The Creative Genius Within. Its premise, simply stated, was that we are born with the potential for genius and that capability remains in us throughout our lives. For some, it’s still waiting to be liberated from the early constraints foisted upon our impressionable […]

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Musings – Part 16

Hiring.  Most employers either believe or hope their recruiters can accurately predict a candidate’s future job performance from an interview. While that conversation may help them figure out whether they like the person (which has some value), it can’t definitively tell them how effective she will be as an employee. We have a inbred but […]

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Predicting vs. Forecasting the Future

What is yet to happen cannot be predicted with accuracy but it can be forecast in varying degrees of probability. Prediction is a subjective judgment of what someone believes will or might happen. It’s either optimistic or fatalistic in nature depending largely on their prevailing knowledge and the human proclivity to predispose unknown events. Since […]

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Thoughts on the Post-Pandemic Workplace

I’ve been asked by some clients, as well as others who seek my perspective on such things, what Covid has wrought in today’s workplace and how we can adapt to “the new normal.” While my counsel is invariably a response to specific problems arising from largely unforeseen circumstances, what follows is my current thinking on […]

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Understanding the Executive Mindset

This is about executives not leaders, at least as I define them. Executives occupy elevated positions in organizations and hold impressive titles that signify their level of responsibility. One might hope or assume executives are leaders. Many are but a surprising number are not. How do I know this? Among other callings, I’m an executive […]

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Defining Corporate Purpose

We are witnessing a generational realignment of the employer-employee relationship and one of the critical leadership decisions in this seismic shift is defining the organization’s purpose. Although fundamentally different, the idea of purpose seems to have replaced (or, in some cases, combined) two longstanding words in the strategic playbook: vision and mission. It’s a confusing […]

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How to Keep the Indispensables

The objective of every smart leader is to surround herself with a team of really bright, energetic and talented people. These men and women are the most valuable assets your organization will ever possess. They’re capable of accomplishing great things if and when they’re encouraged and enabled to realize their full potential. The relationship is […]

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Musings – Part 15

Persuasion.  Many believe persuasion is the art of convincing others to see things their way. They’re partially correct. But what if we rethink it as a process of learning rather than influencing? This counter-intuitive notion requires us to listen rather than preach and to seek different conclusions rather than proselytize. In this paradigm, persuasion has […]

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Analytical vs. Creative Thinking

How we think is who we are. It shapes our identity – our distinctive way of discerning among competing claims and contradictory evidence to deal with the problems we face. And that is what determines our destiny. How we think triggers our emotional and rational responses to perceived threats or opportunities. It enables us to […]

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How to Build a Network

Who you associate with is crucial to what you become. Those who ascend to positions of power and influence build and maintain reliable and robust networks which they count on for timely advice, insights and support as needed. They understand that no one has all the answers, can be completely objective or could ever know […]

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How to Control Self-talk

We converse with ourselves all the time. This self-talk enables us to make sense of our experiences, activate our responses to them and run different simulations on options for the future. This silent internal monologue has a powerful impact on who we believe we are and on how we choose to live our lives. Allowing […]

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Humility: The Crucible of Growth

2021 will soon be in the rearview mirror and I’m thinking the world would be a better place with a little more humility. Especially among our leaders. This quality of mind recognizes that we can’t know everything we think we do, that we’re often wrong and rarely better than most. While it’s a fairly simple […]

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When to Say No

Fifteen months ago, I posted a blog entitled How to Say No. Feedback from a few valued subscribers posed the subsequent question: When should I be saying no? Here’s my response. For some, saying no isn’t easy. Especially to those we sense an obligation of some kind. It’s also difficult after we’ve already said yes. […]

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