Entrepreneurs, investors, and executives have all fallen in love with the “fail fast” motif. It’s a simple concept: Make your mistakes early in the game whilst it is easy to make changes to avoid digging out of a big hole. Sounds very logical. I am calling this a myth because the logic works if two other components are also sequentially included. Failing fast only works if (1) there’s an acceptance to the failure (2) a subsequent process to learn, and change quickly. Continue reading
Many years ago, I was asked to work with a veteran executive at a company he had been with for over 15 years. In the previous year, his behavior had changed. He had gone from being an effective leader with all the right attributes to being highly disliked exhibiting an autocratic and impatient style. “He needs to revisit his leadership style” I was told. Once I started working with him, it became quickly apparent that his personal life was a mess and his 25+ marriage was at an impasse. His issue was not lack of leaderships skills, but that those skills where hijacked by a personal trauma whose impact he had failed to recognize. Continue reading
When driving your car, you look at your speedometer to get a measurement of how fast or slow you are driving. It’s a necessary gauge and every car has it as the primary gauge in plain sight for the driver to see easily. If the gauge were not there, you would be guessing at your car’s speed and not know when you were going above or below the speed limit. The speedometer helps you to perform within the established road speed limit. Similarly, I want you to consider adopting an EQ Speedometer – a gauge to help you monitor your emotional temperature. I’ve blogged about this before sharing the Red, Yellow and Green levels in the Emotional Speedometer where GREEN is a calm state, RED is a very agitated state and YELLOW is somewhere between the two where most of us operate. Continue reading
F.Scott Fitzgerald wrote: Show me a hero and I’ll write you a story of tragedy. Indeed, most over-achieving people, whether in business or athletics, find their drive in some form of inequity – either personal or one in their environment. Can a logical argument then be made that tragedy can be a source motivation? Could it also be argued that since tragedy is random (not orchestrated) in nature, then either avoiding it by not taking risks or not willing to use it when it does occur are both ways to rob yourself of a drive to live better and perform better? Continue reading
I had the great privilege of having lunch recently with a retired and aging former college professor of mine. He was in good spirits sharing the many adventures he had taken since retiring about 18 years ago often quoting some great philosophers and thinkers in his stories. I loved the way he weaved in his youth, his family life, his academic life into all the experiences creating stories where I hung on to every word. His stories were rich in content and pure in spirit. I only had about 90 minutes with him and it made me wonder how many more stories I could have heard had we had more time and subsequently, what would happen to these stories, so full of amazing and timeless lessons for any generation or person, once he passed? Afterwards, I wondered if his knowledge would be used to its optimal potential or simply be taken to his grave. Continue reading
According to Yves Morieux of the BCG Institute, annual productivity increase peaked in the business sector in the 1980s at 3%. In the 1990s, it dropped to 2%, to 1% last decade and continuing to decline this decade. It is worth noting that this steady decline is occurring during the most revolutionary changes in the workplace both in terms of technology and maturity of management principles. How is this possible and what role are you playing in it? Continue reading
The term currency is used to describe a purchasing power. Money, the most commonly understood currency, is used to acquire all kinds of stuff, for example. But is it the only purchasing power, currency, you have? What about imagination? Could imagination be used to acquire stuff? Why not? You could be creative with an idea and provide a solution that then enables you to acquire another’s confidence, love, respect or freedom to pursue other endeavors. So imagination does have purchasing power and in certain roles and certain times, is the most powerful purchasing power. If there is a problem that needs to be resolved, a solution that needs to be acquired, then it more likely that creative thinkers will have a higher purchasing power than actual money. I am not devaluing the role of money, merely making the case that there are other currencies at your disposal that need to be valued just has highly as money.
It is rare to see a 3-minute video on any subject and understand everything about that subject. So here is Colin Powell simplifying Leadership in the most simple and powerful way in 3 minutes ….
Steve Jobs said that ‘more was accomplished by moving ahead with incomplete plans than by waiting for perfect plans before moving forward.’ Others have argued to “not let perfection get in the way of progress.” Entrepreneurs will tell you that they make many mistakes with their initial “brilliant” idea before they land on the one that is a hit with the market. “Fail fast” is an operating mantra for many successful businesses that have disrupted their industries. So why then is it still not acceptable, both personally and institutionally, to try new things at work where the probability of failure exists?
I often ask people to share their most salient experiences of the past year. In most cases, they were experiences that resulted in meaningful dialogue with someone else. In some cases, it was actually just that – catching up with an old friend or relative who knows you really well and reminiscing on pleasant memories, some being silly or embarrassing ones that you can laugh at now but perhaps not at the time. Great conversations really are spices that make the meal of your bigger life taste so much better. But you probably already knew this. So what about having those same type of conversations … with yourself? Continue reading
You must subscribe to the argument that you learn and subsequently grow by finding out what you do not already know. Seems logical. After all you already know what you know. The pursuit of the unknown is therefore the real key to learning and growing. But how do you go about finding the unknown when it is … unknown? Is it possible that what you think you do not know, is in fact based on what you know, and not a true account of what is really the realm of the unknown? I think yes. Given this, substantive learning is then limited by what we know and can only be pursued by exploring sources of the unknown which in large part are from people and experiences not just slightly different than your norm, but substantially different.
I’ve been counseling/coaching kids since college. So when I had kids of my own, I started volunteer coaching them in a myriad of sports and happy to say I am coming to the end of my time with both as I pass them onto to more seasoned coaches. I am currently coaching my son, Hunter, in basketball at the Y where kids of all levels are welcomed. The picture is our current team and you will note we have only one female. She has never played basketball and is on a team where most of the boys are quite good. In all my years coaching, I cannot recall falling in love with a team the way I have with this one. Why? Continue reading
As we approach the end of the calendar year, it is the usual time to reflect on this year and think about next year. Here are a simple set of questions to ask yourself.
2015: (1) What are my regrets (2) What were my happiest moments (3) What advice would I give myself.
2016: (1) What do I not want my regrets to be (2) What will be my happiest moments (3) Who are 3 new people I want in my life.
Over the next few weeks, take serious time to answer these questions. Write the responses as though you were going to share them with your confidant, and then share it. The future will always be unpredictable but answering these simple questions could eliminate a good bit of that unpredictability.
Recently, I took a swim lesson from a new coach. It is the off-season for me as a triathlete and a good time to focus on technique. She watched me swim for several minutes after which I asked her what needed to be fixed. She paused and then uttered magical words to me:”There are a million ways to tell you but I am trying to figure out what will work for you.” I have held a long-standing belief that little knowledge understood is much more powerful than perfect knowledge not understood. And herein lies a powerful communication tip for anyone in the business of knowledge transfer – speak to be understood, not to be heard.