Workplace Wisdom

16 Jan 2018

Here Are the 3 Unexpected Things I Learned from Surviving a TEDx Talk

When a dear colleague emailed me last July to ask if I’d consider speaking at TEDxBaylorSchool, I was terrified. Not of speaking, per se, but of the combination of requirements that characterize a TEDx: the big-enough idea; the delivery of a memorized talk while standing inside a red dot; and, maybe the scariest thing of all, the permanent capture on video. The Gifts of the Struggle The gist of the story is that I said yes, and I survived the […]

02 Jan 2018

When a Good Thing Triggers a Surprisingly Bad Response

This holiday season I gave a small gift to a local supplier as a token thank you. It was clear from her immediate reaction that she’s not used to receiving client gifts. She started out by protesting, “Oh you shouldn’t have done that!” Then she turned excessively grateful: “It was so wonderful of you to do this!” But suddenly she shifted into a negative mode about everything that was wrong with people and the way holidays are celebrated today: “No […]

11 Jul 2017

This Is How to be a Leader in Name Only

Aspiring, self-aware leaders think of leadership as a practice and a way of life. They’re always looking for growth opportunities and greater self-mastery, whatever their rank or title. And yet a surprising number of executives operate as leaders in name only, neither understanding nor caring about what inspires employees to be creative, diligent, or do their best work. If you’d like to lead in name only, here are some tips you can follow. On the other hand, if you’d prefer […]

22 Nov 2016

The Benefits and Limits of Gratitude

One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving is how American it is, in the best sense of the word. Americans of every stripe and background can celebrate the opportunity to express gratitude. And they can enjoy accompanying that gratitude with feasting — whether it’s the classic spread of turkey, stuffing, gravy, root vegetables, and pie, or a blend of the traditional menu with the foods of their country of origin, creating an innovative, tasty fusion of old and new cultures. […]

09 Feb 2016

How Much Clutter Is Okay?

Earlier this month, I had a funny correspondence with a favorite client. He claimed to have returned from vacation “to a clean desk with a relatively clear mind.” I gave him full credit for his clear mind, but I teased him about the clean desk because he’s often in the middle of several projects at once, and his desk is usually piled with documents and publications. In reply, he sent me a photo of what really was a pretty bare […]

04 Aug 2015

When to Stop Trying So Hard

Some executives are too hard on themselves. They anticipate failure or disaster when all they’re really facing is the relentless, ongoing effort that’s necessary for leadership and management success. They let fear and anxiety take up headspace and sap their energies, when what they really need to do is apply their intensity to thoughtful decision-making and focused thinking. Instead of Getting Down on Yourself Here’s an illustration: Recently I had an extensive back-and-forth via phone and email with a nonprofit […]

21 Jul 2015

How to Keep From Drowning in Your Own Thoughts

Are you stuck somewhere inside your head, talking to yourself about things you want to change? Are you stressing over how stalled you feel, or fixating on why the situation is so awful? No wonder you can’t sleep at night and feel fretful all day! Why not get some benefit out of your worries and doubts? Move them out of your head, where they’re scrambling like countless little hamsters on a squeaky hamster wheel. Externalize them so you can use […]

03 Mar 2015

8 Ways to Be a Better Leader, Part 1

A number of readers wrote in about my recent post, 20 Questions for Leadership Success. They agreed that the questions for assessing their leadership were valid and useful. But they were concerned about how to make real progress in those areas where they didn’t feel strong enough, particularly if they didn’t have personal access to a consultant, coach, or even a dedicated buddy who could help them in concrete ways. Of course their specific questions and needs were all different. […]

01 Jul 2014

What’s the Business Equivalent of Making the Bed?

The right ritual can get your day off to a productive start. For me, the best mornings begin in a quiet house, making and drinking my coffee just the way I like it. Everybody’s got their own way to meet the day. Some people believe in heading outside immediately to stand for a moment in natural light, no matter the season or weather. Others like to make the bed the minute they’re out of it. Neither of these options ever […]

04 Mar 2014

Don’t Threaten Me With the Truth

On a recent trip through yet another airport, I passed a man whining into his phone: “I cannot take any more bad news! I cannot!” It’s possible that he was having a terrible conversation about a personal tragedy. But it seemed much more likely that he had just hit his quota of annoyances and frustrations for the day. This particular call probably put him right over his limit, and he couldn’t think of a more creative response than kvetching. Some […]

 

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