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Bring Out the Stories That Are Hiding in Your Resume

February 22, 2017

Every resume tells a story. Actually, if you do it right, every resume tells four to seven stories, but I’m getting ahead of my self.

Getting hired is first and foremost, a sales job. Selling anything is hard, and selling yourself is the hardest. This is what makes polishing your resume such an art, and interviewing so difficult. Somewhere, somehow you have to convince a handful of people that you are the perfect person for the job. What do you say? How much detail do you include?

The answer is to turn each of your career experiences into a story — complete with a story-teller’s arc.

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Leadership and Diversity: Making the Most of the Mix

April 24, 2015

Most people know that diversity in their organizations is important. That is, most people have a vague sense that more diversity on their teams would lead to more innovation, higher creativity, stronger engagement, etc. But did you also know that more diversity leads to increased revenue, EBITA, Return on Equity, and a host of other standard business performance metrics? Diversity is good. Our challenge is not in the knowing. Our challenge is in the knowing…

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It takes a team…

February 14, 2015

North Carolina loves basketball. Last week Dean Smith — one of University of North Carolina’s coaching legends — passed away. There are many reasons why his legend lives on beyond his coaching days of the 60’s and 70’s but the following tidbit caught my eye. Coach Smith had a rule that when you scored a basket you pointed to the person who passed you the ball. Think about this for a moment. In the glory…

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Leveraging talent

January 19, 2015

Those organizations that will be winners in the marketplace will be the ones that leverage all of the talent of all of their employees, all of the time. — Herb Johnson, Chief Diversity Officer, Michelin North America

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Relatively speaking, the world is changing really, really, fast!

September 12, 2014

Take a moment to think about all of the change that has taken place since you were born. Not just the technological change (from computers the size of small cars to exponentially more powerful devices weighing mere ounces), but also the social, scientific, and cultural progress that has occurred in the last several decades.

Now consider the Acheulean hand axe. The always-excellent podcast, 99% Invisible, released an insightful show this week looking at this primitive stone tool. 

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Announcing the Thinking, Fast and Slow Book Club

August 15, 2014

Beginning the week September 01, a number of smart, curious, and ambitious subscribers to the email list are digging in to read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. You can join too!

Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist and behavioral economist who studies the psychology of decision making. He shared the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

Thinking, Fast and Slow first came to my attention last fall when Tom Peters tweeted,

I believe unequivocally that Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow is the most important book of the last 25 years for EVERY professional.

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Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance

May 30, 2014

Knowledge is an important element of productivity. If follows that the acquisition of knowledge is equally important to your long-term success. But how do you learn? And how do you find time?

A new research paper called Learning By Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance offers some keen insights. Basically, there are two types of learning: learn by doing (‘experience’), and learn by thinking (‘reflection’). Based on the UNC and Harvard professor’s research, it turns out that the most powerful way to learn is a combination of both.

The authors define ‘reflection’ as an intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience. Reflecting on what has been learned makes experience more productive.

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Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. Simple rules for great meetings and teams

March 7, 2014

Working together is hard. Running an effective meeting can be even harder. One of the challenges is that everyone wants to be heard. To make it even more challenging, not everyone speaks up.

Setting a few ground rules is one of the surest ways to get everyone engaged while producing amazing results. Let it be known that you expect full engagement and everyone to be pulling in the same direction. My favorite set of ground rules comes out of the “New Games” movement from the 70’s. Their motto was Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. I can’t think of a better set of guiding principles for great meetings and vibrant teams.

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Mentors are everywhere, you just need to know what to look for

February 28, 2014

Success can be finicky. For those who have made it big, the real reasons for their success are rarely the things they remember and write about. The building blocks of success are always much more subtle and nuanced.

This is where mentors come in.

In our quest for growth, progress, and success, we have this latent desire for someone who will take us under their wing and co-pilot our journey from the mailroom to the corner office. Or, more realistically, we imagine a relationship with a mentor who meets with us once or twice a month over a long period of time and imparts wisdom like a college professor working through a syllabus.

It doesn't work that way.

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Pictogram of two rowers

Build the Team First

February 19, 2014

In typical entrepreneurial circles — business schools, incubators, venture capital firms — nascent company leaders are relentlessly challenged with two questions:

  1. What is your idea or product?
  2. Who is your market?

While these questions are important, they fail to paint the whole picture. No product makes it to market as originally conceived. Further, no company survives for very long with one product. This means that, even during the earliest days of a company’s existence, there is something more fundamental to a startup’s success than the product idea.

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