Blog Archives

State of Your Personal Union

This year’s State of the Union address holds many lessons for all leaders.  Here are three, and the actions I suggest for you. Know your Strengths and Weaknesses Know your Strategy Negotiate Dispassionately Know your Strengths and Weaknesses Peter Drucker

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How to Simplify Your Life

January needn’t be a time to make well intentioned promises to yourself that you soon break. (And most do get broken. According to a University of Scranton study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1/4 of resolutions only last a

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Three Ways to be Nicer to your Future Self

Have you noticed how different your future self is, from yourself today? My future self, apparently, has lots of free time.  He has money. He’s very decisive. He goes to the gym with the regularity of a metronome. His self-control

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More on Acing your Personal Improvement Plan

Dear Matt – Thanks for writing and asking for help with succeeding in your Personal Improvement Plan (PIP), also called a Personal Development Plan or a Performance Improvement Plan.  You’ve already read the Basic Guidance.  Here are some advanced tips. Clarify

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How to Use your New Virtual Assistant

CEO Kathy had just decided to hire a virtual assistant, Sissy.  (I’m coaching Kathy.) “I’m trying to get ready for my first meeting with her, and I’ve got so much she could help me with,” Kathy said. “What does ‘so

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How to Ace your Personal Improvement Plan

Uh oh. You just got put on probation at work — your boss and HR gave you a “Performance Improvement Plan” or “Personal Development Plan”. The bad news is, you’re now half-way to being fired. The good news is, you

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Executive Jump-Start

Dear CEO: Thanks for enrolling in executive coaching. This will jump-start you to a higher level of effectiveness.  Here’s what we’ll be working on in the next four weeks. First, you have to know and control your time. Your assignment

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Why the Boss is Always Wrong

“Are you ready to be a transference object?” Fred hesitated.  The coffee shop seemed to become dead silent. One week earlier, Fred had been offered a dream job, as part time CEO of a startup, working for a proven star

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Keep a Thin Skin

Leaders shouldn’t be “thick skinned” — not if that means shrugging off negative feedback that might actually be correct. Leaders need to be emotionally resilient, unattached to outcomes, and assume positive intent. Our tool here is “The Ladder of Inference.”

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Creating a CEO Calendar

Create and measure success, month by month, with a CEO (or Executive) Calendar. Being a CEO (or manager or front line worker) typically means having more things to handle than you can actually pay attention to.  Most humans can track

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How and Why to Benchmark

Part of your end-of-year routine should be to take stock. What did you learn in 2012? How will you make 2013 better? This is a form of benchmarking. Comparing yourself to yourself, and to others, and looking for ways to

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Leader’s Bookshelf

Effective leaders are constantly learning. To help you keep learning, here are five of my favorite books, old and new, for growing a CEO’s or a manager’s capabilities. Pick one up to read over the holidays, or on your bus

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How to Master a Sense of Overwhelm

My client Jean was overwhelmed. The big meeting was tomorrow, the stakes were high, and there was so much she didn’t know.  “My mind is racing, and I’m paralyzed,” she told me. “I can’t eat. I can’t prepare.  I don’t

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How to Rise Above Circumstances

Dave was in a bind. His top architects were all idle because his drafters were behind on their work.  Clients were going to get their plans late. Dave explained that his drafting department was a little short handed, and he

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How to Participate in a Meeting

I always hear how much meetings suck.  (If you lead meetings, you’ll find detailed guidance on making your meetings better here, here, and here.) But what if you’re not leading the meeting — what if you’re just suffering through it?

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