Articles

The word "Mentor" written in different colored chalk on a chalk board

Mentors are everywhere, if we but know where to look.

June 8, 2020

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

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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Silhouettes of a man dancing in eight different poses

So, you think you can dance? The choreography of networking.

April 28, 2020

Think back to the last time you were at a wedding — or any event with a dance floor. There was no shortage of well-meaning people encouraging the wallflowers, “Come on … get out on the dance floor … it’ll be fun … you’ll have a good time.”1Imagine this line the way Bruce Willis says “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs” in Die Hard. In many ways, networking is like…

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Photo of a large crowd of people

Strong Organizations: A Plea

February 18, 2020

"The only way to change the world is through strong organizations. No visionary leader, no charismatic leader can change the world unless they know how to build an organization and a team around them."
— Sally Blount, Dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

We all need a livelihood. For most of us, that means going to work at companies and in organizations. Unfortunately, too many of those organizations manage to suck the life out of us. It doesn't have to be this way.

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Extraverted Man

Debunking the myth that extraverts make better networkers

November 25, 2019

The world is awash in myths and bad advice about networking. The most frustrating of all might be the myths that involve the notion of extraversion, often prodding those of us of the introvert persuasion to “just be more extraverted.” While it’s absolutely true that you must be visible to be successful, building professional relationships in a meaningful way is infinitely more nuanced than simply being more extraverted.

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How to Craft a Great Résumé / LinkedIn Profile

November 6, 2019

Hiring managers don’t really care what you’ve done. They may ask about it, but it’s not what they’re trying to figure out. What they care about is what you’ve learned and what you’re ready for. Here’s how spell those out in your work history.

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New Job starting day or date circled on a calendar with a red marker

Got a Job Offer? Your Start Date May Be Earlier Than You Think

July 29, 2019

Whether it’s with a new company or a new role within your existing organization, new positions are tremendous opportunities to leap forward in your career. However, beware that you and the hiring manager may have very different ideas as to your actual start date.

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Man in a suit, palm up, gesturing stop.

Good Boss / Bad Boss

July 27, 2019

Good bosses matter. The context you create for your top talent can mark the difference between a mediocre and a top performer. At one point in my career I went from being ranked a mediocre performer by the worst boss I ever had to being in the top 10% by the best boss I ever had. I was working just as hard for both bosses. The only thing that changed was my boss.

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Pictogram of two rowers

Engaged Employees: Rowing? Or Drilling Holes?

July 23, 2019

Disengaged employees outnumber engaged employes by more than 2:1. To put this in perspective, imagine you have ten people rowing in a boat:

  • Three would be rowing in the right direction.
  • Five would not be rowing at all.
  • Two would be drilling holes in the boat!

This is crazy. There is no need for the modern workplace to be so dysfunctional.

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Group Of Business People With Their Hands Together

Diversity in Counsel … Unity in Command

July 21, 2019

Alfred Sloan, when he ran General Motors in the 1920s and 1930s, would refuse to make a decision at a meeting if no one could argue a strong case against what was being proposed. He felt that if no one had any objections to what was being decided, it was because they had not thought long and hard enough about the question under consideration.

Alfred Sloan understood that the best ideas — along with the best decisions — are forged in the crucibles of healthy conflict. If there are no objections leading up to a decision, then either people just aren’t trying hard enough or your team isn’t working on hard enough problems. Clear thinking, innovation, and good decisions depend on diverse perspectives and opposing points of view. 

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Black dominoes falling against a blue background

Influencing Change: I Can’t Hear You

July 19, 2019

Change is hard. Influencing change is even harder. Sometimes — when we are trying to lead, or influence, or help someone grow — it can be baffling to see people stuck, unclear on what to do or unwilling to move ahead.

We may explain every way from Sunday and still they don’t get it.

The reality is, something is clear to us because we understand it. For someone who doesn’t understand, they can’t even hear what we are saying. The german writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, a person only hears what they understand. He was right.

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