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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Want to be a better Leader?

Want to be a better leader? Try improving your vocabulary.

No, I’m not talking adding the latest management and leadership buzzwords or jargon to your repertoire. If that’s what you’re looking for, try the Wall Street Journal’s Business Buzzwords Generator. You’ll be able to walk around uttering leadership gibberish such as “Moving forward, it’s time to act with strategic vector and transform our team bandwidth” and “Looking forward to 2015, ideation will be key to our ability to impact the solutions holistically.”
I’m talking about adding some powerful phrases to your vocabulary that will engage and motivate, encourage people to come up with ideas, and inspire commitment.
It’s not an exhaustive list – just a collection I've picked up over the years – so please feel free to add your own in the comments section.
“How can I be a better leader?” Credit goes to Marshall Goldsmith for this one. Variations of the question include “How can I be a better parent?” “How can I be a better spouse?” and “How can I be a better child?” Just make sure to listen and say …
“Thank-you.” Use these two powerful words as a response to constructive feedback (which should be seen as a gift), positive feedback, as a way to express gratitude for going the extra mile or a job well done, or when someone brings bad news or a problem to your attention.
“Nice job.” Variations include “good work” and “way to go.” Giving positive reinforcement becomes even more powerful if when it’s specific, timely, and you can explain why (positive impact), but let’s not over-complicate it too much for now.
“What do you think?” Credit goes to Tom Peters for this one. Asking someone for their opinion or ideas is the ultimate demonstration of respect. And when you get those ideas, don’t forget to go back to #2.
“How can I help?” Often used as a way to express support during a development discussion, in problem solving, when someone is going through personal difficulties, or when problems or ideas are brought to your attention.
“What’s possible?” Credit goes to Jack and Carol Weber for teaching me the importance of “possibility thinking.” Instead of coming up with reasons why something won’t work, ask yourself and others “what’s possible”. And if they do come up with examples of how similar ideas have been tried in the past and have not worked, use the phrase “Up until now.”
“I don’t know.” Use this when you truly don’t know the answer to a question or solution to a problem – it demonstrates humility and authenticity. It goes well with “what do you think” as a follow-up.
“Why is that important to you?” This question demonstrates that you care, and you’ll learn a lot about the person’s motivation and values.
“Help me understand.” A much better way to understand someone’s logic, reasoning, feelings, etc… than “really?!” or “seriously?!” or “what the heck are you smoking?!”
“I believe in you.” I may have saved the best for last. What a way to express confidence in someone’s ability or potential!
What would you add to the list?

By Dan McCarthy

Things You Thought Were True About Time Management


                                by Amy Gallo   July, 2014

I don’t know anyone who doesn't struggle with how to make the most of their time at work. How do you stay on top of an overflowing inbox? How do you get work done when your day is taken up by meetings? How can you get through a continually expanding to-do list? How do you even find time to make a list in the first place?

To make matters worse, there are lots of misconceptions about what time management really comes down to and how to achieve it. Let’s look at some of the most common suggestions and assess whether they’re actually true.

It’s about managing your time. False.

Time management is a misnomer, says Jordan Cohen, a productivity expert and author of “Make Time for the Work That Matters.” He says that it’s really about productivity: “We have to get away from labeling it ‘time management’. It’s not about time per se, but about how productive you can be.” He likens it to the difference between dieting and being healthy. “You can diet all you want,” he says, “but you won’t necessarily be healthier.” In the same way, you can pay close attention to how you spend your time, manage your email, etc., but you won’t necessarily be more productive.

Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of The Progress Principle, whose expertise in this area comes from reading thousands of work diaries of workers who documented their struggles to get work done, says it’s more about managing your overall workload. Many managers simply take on too much. “If you don’t keep an eye on the commitments you've made or are making, there is no time management technique that’s going to solve that,” she says. Sure, this might be an organization-level problem — many managers overload their team members ­— but she says that most professionals have more control over their workload than they might admit. “It is possible to say no. It is possible to negotiate,” she says. Cohen agrees: “While your schedule may not be yours per se, you can be judicious about what you go to and how you manage it.”

You just need to find the right system or approach. False.

“Having a system can be useful, but it takes more than that,” says Amabile. “And what works for each person, like spending an hour and a half on focused work at the beginning of the day, will not necessarily work for another person.” The key is to continually experiment with techniques. “Some things may or may not work in a particular context or situation,” says Cohen. Try lots of different approaches — really try them. Don’t change the way you check email for a week and declare it a failure. Set metrics for measuring success, give the approach time, and consider involving someone else — your boss or a coworker — to help you evaluate whether it really worked.

You need to devote time to change. Somewhat true.

One person I spoke to said her biggest challenge was finding time to put time management systems into place. She didn’t have the day or two she felt she needed to set aside. Amabile says this may not be necessary: “Small tweaks can make a big difference. The best approach is to start out with a few small things. Progress in this context might mean that you find yourself with some additional time each day when you can reflect and think. Even if it’s just an additional 20 or 30 minutes each day, that’s progress.” But it depends on how bad your situation is and how desperate you feel. Amabile mentioned one person who decided to use her vacation week for a major overhaul to achieve less stress. She looked at how she was using her time, her level of commitments, and experimented with a few techniques that people had suggested. “She felt things had gotten so out of control that she wanted to give herself this gift. But that was an extreme measure that was necessitated by the extreme situation,” says Amabile.

It’s up to you — and only you — to get it right. Somewhat true.

This may be partly true. “There is no one who’s responsible for how productive you are,” says Cohen. In that sense, this rests on your shoulders. He is clear: “You’re expected to be productive, so you better take this puppy on yourself.” But Cohen and Amabile both say you can’t do it alone. “If you’re in an organization where there are pressures for immediate responses or turnarounds on all requests or there is no room for any kind of slack, it’s very tough to do time management on your own,” says Amabile. She points to Leslie Perlow’s research about small tweaks you can make in any work environment. Still, it may be tough. “Organizations unknowingly put a lot of barriers in front of you to get your work done — unclear strategy and clumsy processes, to name just a few,” Cohen says.

If this sounds like your company, Amabile suggests you make attempts to change the culture. “I would urge people to push back in ways that they believe will be effective,” she says. Raise questions like, “How can we be more productive around here?” This can often be more effective than focusing on getting out of your own bind. “You have a responsibility to push back on the organization,” she says. Cohen also thinks it’s worth talking with senior management, because it’s often bigger than any single manager. “It requires a redesign of how work gets done, where decisions get made, how they get made. There’s only so much that a system can take,” he says.

For the lone professional, getting control over your workload and schedule is daunting. But knowing the difference between what people say will work and what actually does may be the first step in the right direction.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to Get All Your Work Done in Half the Time!

How to Get All Your Work Done in Half the Time

By Jessica Stillman, July, 2014

What if I told you there’s a way to get exactly the same amount of work you’re now accomplishing done in less than half the time? You’d probably respond that you have some amazing magic beans you’d like to sell me or ask for directions to the unicorn stable.

The idea that some miraculous wrinkle in the time-space continuum exists that can instantly compress your work week into a more humane duration seems too fabulous to be believed, but entrepreneur Chris Winfield insists that the idea is fact, not fantasy. In a recent post on his site, he relates how he’s developed a system for cramming 40 hours of work into just under 20 hours (a startlingly precise 16.7 hours, to be exact) using nothing fancier than a kitchen timer and his phone’s airplane mode.

He laid out the whole system in detail in a recent post that also explains the genesis of his new approach. If you’re seriously considering giving the system a try, it’s well worth a read in full to get all the finer points, but here’s a basic rundown.

Employ the Pomodoro Technique

There’s nothing radical to Winfield’s first suggestion—the Pomodoro technique, which is simply a fancy term for setting a timer to work in 25-minute sprints of single-minded focus (no Facebook, no popping over to your inbox quickly, etc.) followed by five minutes of rest. It has been around (and much recommended) for ages. After every four intervals, called Pomodoros, you’re supposed to take a longer 15-minute break.

It sounds incredibly basic, but Winfield insists that after much monkeying around to find the perfect number of Pomodoros to shoot for in a week, the simple technique radically increased his productivity and his sanity.

“My goal was eight Pomodoros each weekday, for a total of 40 per week. This worked, sort of, but as they say, life happens. Some days I had so many meetings to attend, or my daughter had a recital at school that I didn’t want to miss, and I just couldn’t find fit in eight Pomodoros. It became clear that 40 was my magic weekly number, but I needed to be less rigid with how I approached my work week,” he says (which also explains the oddly exact time he allots for work in this system: “40 Pomodoros = 1,000 minutes of work (plus 350 minutes of breaks) each week. This averages out to about 16.7 hours of work each week.”

Choose Your Tasks Wisely

The second half of Winfield’s approach, as the quote above suggests, is all about flexibility. To manage to get to his goal of 40 Pomodoros, he found he had to choose his tasks wisely each day, taking into account his mood, physical energy levels, and degree of mental focus.

“The reality is that I’m a human being, living in a world full of other humans. I have emotions I don’t control, and I often get tired. Some tasks I simply don’t feel like doing, even though I know they’re important, and possibly urgent. To make this work long-term, I had to face these things and learn to accept them, working with rather than against them,” he writes. In order to stop fighting his moods, he learned to survey his mental state and find jobs to do that would reverse whatever was ailing him—on low energy days, he’d find tasks that made him feel healthier; if he was sad, he looked for work that would cheer him up.

Truly Forget the 9-to-5

The last step for Winfield was jettisoning old ideas of when he should work and when he should unwind, so he could better utilize all the hours of the day, not just the ones falling within “normal” work hours.

“The final piece to my puzzle was moving from a five-day work week, where I had to stop by 5 PM, to a seven-day work week, where I could work when it suited me. This took me from 40 to 45 hours available to get my 40 Pomodoros in, to having 168 hours each week. Since I only need 16.7 hours net, that means I only work 10% of my time. What a difference,” he says.

A Note for the Skeptics

Taken together, these three simple changes meant that Winfield went from working a frazzled 40-plus hour week to getting just as much done in half the time, he claims. Though there is a pretty hefty caveat: He doesn’t count meetings and calls within those 16.7 hours of work.

His bottom line: “I ‘work’ 35 to 40 hours a week, but I spend at least 20 to 25 of those hours on calls, meetings, networking online and offline, and other less-focused tasks. These are important, but I don’t count them as work time. I truly work 16.7 hours each week, and I get about five times more done in those few hours than in the other 25 hours.”

So that incredible 16.7 hour number does take a little word-choice wizardry to make a reality, but whether the final tally of hours worked is a little tarted up or not, Winfield insists he’s a far saner man for his system—having whittled an overwhelming 60-hour work week down to a healthier and more manageable schedule.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rescue Your Cover Letter!

Cover letters don’t get a lot of love. And considering how tough it is to write a good one, it’s kind of understandable that people tend to throw them together at the last minute (or update one they wrote last month), attach it to their resume, and call it good.

But this, my friends, is the biggest cover letter mistake you could make. In fact, this document is the best chance you have to give the hiring manager a glimpse of who you are, what you bring to the table, and why you—above all those other candidates—are the one for the job.

Don’t give up your chance to share your best qualifications in a fresh, unique way. And while you’re at it, don’t make these seven other common cover letter mistakes I see all the time.

1. Starting With Your Name

How do you start a cover letter? Let me set the record straight now and say it’s not with, “My name is John Smith.” Unless you’re already famous, your name just isn’t the most relevant piece of information to start with. Not to mention that your name should be listed on your resume, the sign-off in your cover letter, and in other parts of your application.


Start with a relevant qualification as a way to introduce yourself. If you’re a recent grad with a passion for environmental activism, go with that. Or, maybe you’re a marketing professional with 10+ years of healthcare industry experience—introduce yourself as such, and connect it to the position you are applying to. (Here’s a bit more about kicking off your cover letter with an awesome opener.)

2. Rehashing Your Resume

If your cover letter is basically your resume in paragraph form, you’re probably going to need to start over. Your resume likely the first thing a recruiter looks at, so you’re wasting your time (and the recruiter’s) if your cover letter is a harder-to-read version of something he or she has already seen.


Focus on one or two (OK three, max) examples of your work that highlight what you can bring to the position, and try to help your reader picture you doing the work by really diving deep and detailing your impact. You want the hiring manger to be able to imagine plucking you out of the work you’re describing on the page and placing you into his or her team seamlessly.

3. Not Being Flexible With the Format

Remember those three paragraph essays you wrote in middle school? Your cover letter is not the place for you to be recalling those skills. Rather than fitting your message into a particular format, your format should be moulded to your message.


Consider what message you’re trying to get across. If you’re going to be spending the majority of the letter describing one particular relevant experience—maybe that three-paragraph format makes sense. However, if you’re thinking about transferable skills or want to explain how your career has taken you from teaching to business development, a more creative approach could be appropriate. I’ve seen cover letters use bullet points, tell stories, or showcase videos to (successfully) get their point across.

4. Going Over a Page

There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, for resumes and cover letters alike, don’t go over a page. Unless you’re applying for a managerial or executive position, it’s unlikely a recruiter would look beyond your first page of materials anyway.


Keep it concise and, ideally, wrap up around three quarters of the way down the page. Remember that you’re not trying to get everything on one page—you’re trying to entice the hiring manager enough to bring you in for an interview. Think of your cover letter as the highlights reel of your career.

5. Over Explaining

Are you a career changer or doing a long distance job search? No matter how complicated your reasons for applying to a job are, it would be a mistake to spend an entire paragraph explaining why you’re moving to San Francisco from New York.


If your reasons for applying to a position would be made clearer with some added explanation, add them in, but keep them short. Limit yourself to a sentence either in the first paragraph or the last paragraph for a location change, and no more than a paragraph to describe a career change.

6. Focusing Too Much on Training

Maybe you just finished your master’s degree or finally got the hang of coding. Great! But even if your most relevant qualification is related to your education or training, you don’t want to spend the majority of your time on coursework. At the end of the day, what hiring managers care about most is your work experience—what you can walk through the door and deliver on Day 1.


Certainly mention your educational qualifications if they are relevant, but focus the bulk of your cover letter on experiences. Even if your most relevant experience is education, present it more in the form of projects you worked on and job-related skills you gained, rather than actually explaining course content.

7. Sharing Irrelevant Information

Cultural fit is one of those big buzzwords in the recruiting world now, and there’s no question that it’s important to tailor your cover letter to each company to show your compatibility. But it starts getting a little weird when you start writing about your bowling league or active social life. (And don’t try to tell me this doesn’t happen—I’ve seen it.)


A better way to show that you’re a good cultural fit for the job is to focus on values—not activities. Mine company websites for the way they describe their company culture, then use that intel to show how your own values align. (Here’s some more on how to show you get the company culture in a cover letter.)

For the companies that have moved away from a cover letter requirement, an additional opportunity to show off what you have to offer is lost. But, for those that require cover letters or at least make them optional, you should absolutely make the most of them—and, of course, avoid these all-too-common mistakes.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Scary Trait All Successful People Have in Common

By Minda Zetlin

Sometimes scientific research teaches us things we might not want to know. That happened when organizational psychologists studied West Point cadets to learn what personal qualities were most likely to predict success. The number one answer? Narcissism.

“It was kind of amazing,” says Seth Spain, assistant professor of organizational behavior, Binghamton University School of Management. The cadets were measured on many different aspects of leadership by both their superior officers and those who reported to them, he explains. “Narcissism benefited almost all of them,” he says. “It was the only characteristic that had a uniformly positive effect.”

Intrigued (and perhaps a little horrified), researchers decided to learn more about how unpleasant personality traits lead to professional success. So a team led by Spain conducted an exhaustive review of more than 140 studies and published their findings in a new report, The Dark Side of Personality at Work. The report identifies three personality traits—“The Dark Triad”—that can help rocket their possessors to heights of success.

At least for a while. From Julius Caesar to Bernie Madoff to Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards (we all know he’ll come crashing down before the series concludes), those with too much of the Dark Triad will eventually come to grief. “For the most part, these traits are associated with career derailment at some point,” Spain says. “Unless you have exceptional skill, you will eventually alienate your co-workers, employees, and customers.”

Meanwhile, those of us without these traits can benefit from knowing about them. We can observe how the Dark Triad helps people operate, and take on a little of these qualities—just enough, at just the right moments—to make a difference:

Narcissists Inspire Enthusiasm

Think Napoleon and Steve Jobs. Narcissists achieve amazing things, usually by putting their needs and desires ahead of everything and everyone else. They’ll also go to great lengths to achieve their goals. Most important, they can be great at getting others on board as well.

“Narcissists are great at presenting themselves and their ideas, and they’re incredibly enthusiastic about stuff that’s important to them. People come away from their pitches thinking ‘This is so exciting! It sounds like a great opportunity,’” Spain says.

One definition of leadership is the ability to articulate a goal or idea clearly and get others to follow along, he points out—and just a little bit of narcissism can help you do that. So if you’re pitching, he suggests, “Have the attitude a narcissist might: ‘I am awesome and this is the best idea you are ever going to hear.’”

Manipulators Know How to Influence Others

Master manipulators know all the buttons to push to get what they want from the people around them, Spain says. There are many ways to influence others, including ingratiation by praise or flattery, forming political alliances with others, horse trading, and even threats.

The rest of us usually use only one or two of these influence tactics, he adds—most often clumsy attempts at ingratiation. We may feel funny about the rest, but the fact is manipulating people toward a goal that will benefit them as well as you is the essence of good leadership. So we should be willing—in moderation—to try the full range of tactics for influencing others if the end results are worth it.

Psychopaths Don’t Look Back

Wait a second. Our most successful leaders are psychopaths? “No, no, no!” Spain says. He explains that what many people think of as a “psychopath”—Jeffrey Dahmer for instance—is not what an organizational psychologist has in mind. The sub-clinical psychopaths studied here simply have a willingness to put themselves ahead of other people, coupled with very little shame or remorse when they’ve done wrong. They’re the darkest of the Dark Triad, Spain says. But, he notes, “they bounce back pretty quickly from failure.” As a result, they’re very willing to make mistakes and take risks.

Those are qualities every leader can use. “We can learn a lot about resilience from psychopaths,” he says. Their lack of shame and guilt tends to be bad for social relationships, so we shouldn’t emulate that. On the other hand, “Everyone can benefit from learning to say, ‘I made a mistake,’ accept it, and move on.”

Monday, July 14, 2014

8 Books Every Consultant Should Read at Least Once

8 Books Every Consultant Should Read at Least OnceBy Alexandra Nuth, July 09, 2014You probably already know that being well-read is a must in the consulting world. Consultants are expected to have a broad knowledge of management, as well as good understanding of finance, strategy, and communications—among other things.But if you’re looking to up your consulting game, it’s hard to know where to start among the wealth of resources out there. So this week, I rounded up the eight books that have helped me along my consultant journey and career. Whether you’re applying for a job, trying to develop new skills, or just trying to kill some time, these books will help you learn tons more about the field.
1. The McKinsey WayWhile this book is focused on a specific firm, the insights and recommendations from it are applicable across the entire industry. The book doesn’t go very deep into specific frameworks or methods and instead focuses on how to survive at “The Firm” and some of the cultural considerations of working and succeeding in consulting. It’s a good read for those just getting into the industry who want to understand more about the mindset and day-to-day work of consultants.

2. HBR'S 10 Must Reads: The EssentialsIt’s important to have at least a basic understanding of major theories and academic thought within the business field, and for this, HBR’s 10 Must Reads is a great place to start. This book compiles the top 10 articles on management and covers topics such as innovation, strategy, analytics, and managing change. Once you finish the essentials, HBR also offers Top 10 reads on specific topics, like strategy or change management, to deepen your knowledge. 
3. Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of CompaniesThis tome is an essential read from a technical standpoint and also aids in understanding the underlying drivers of major corporations. If you are new to how organizations are valued, it will walk you through tactics on how to approach it. If you just want an overview on how financial statements tie to the share price and the decision making process of organizations, you’ll get a great overview. And if you’ve been asked to value a company or to gain a deeper financial understanding of organizations, this book is the ultimate reference.
4. Key Management Models: The 60+ Models Every Manager Needs to KnowBecause consulting is all about structured problem-solving, it’s important to become familiar with tools that you can use to help solve your clients’ problems. The book covers a range of models, from strategic to operational, and provides information on how and when to use each of them. I use it as a quick reference guide when faced with a new client problem or question.
5. Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and ThinkingI’ve talked about the Pyramid Principle before, as it is one of the most quoted and widely used frameworks for structuring communications in consulting. It essentially explains that, in any communication, you should start with your recommendation, arrange supporting ideas into groups, and then provide detailed evidence in order to effectively support your story. If you have read the Cole’s notes on the framework and want to go deeper into how to apply it, then I would recommend diving into the full book.
6. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with PicturesIn the day-to-day work of a consultant, you will participate in a number of meetings, planning sessions, and workshops that require you to explain complex ideas or processes simply. This book gives you tools to do that with the help of of graphics and pictures. I love it as a reference guide when planning a meeting or presentation. 
7. Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in ConsultingIf you haven’t heard of Victor Chang yet, he’s a case interview guru who has helped many people secure prime consulting offers. In his book, he outlines how to approach case interviews and provides tips and tricks on what interviewers look for—as well as common mistakes that candidates make. It’s a must-read for anyone going through the interview process.
8. The Consultant With Pink HairThis story about the management of a struggling consulting practice provides an entertaining look at the lives of consultants—working late nights, struggling with client management, and managing competition. While it’s technically fictional, it’s very based in truth, and there is a lot of real learning you can get out of it. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

5 Career Mistakes You Will Regret In 10 Years

Too many of us navigate our careers like we’re paddling across a lake, not sailing across an ocean. We are short-sighted when making decisions. We focus on completing the task at hand, fighting for the next promotion, outperforming a colleague. But there are many seemingly minor actions that can have a major impact on your career’s trajectory. Ignore them and you risk arriving on a shore you didn’t choose, or worse, capsizing on an unexpected reef! Here are 5 career mistakes that can negatively impact your career down the road:

1.    Network only within your company. Most people are aware of the value of networking. Not traditional “gladhanding”, attending events just to pass out your business card, but real relationship building. Expanding your horizon with other people’s perspectives. Opening yourself up to new ideas. Building relationships that will make your day-to-day work easier and more successful. But too many people limit their networking activities to within their own company. Cultures can be quite different, as those who have worked in several companies know. Exposing yourself to truly new ideas and perspectives requires getting outside of your culture and the circle of colleagues you find most convenient to interact with. Sail more than one sea! Many of the most influential professional relationships you will have will be with those outside of your company – especially when times get tough. It may not be easy, but investing in these external relationships will pay off.

2.    Make decisions based on money. Statistics will say that no matter how much money we have, we always wish we had at least 20% more. Changing course on the promise of an incremental increase in earnings is tempting. We all find it tough to ignore a promotion, raise or even a change in company that will feed our hungry bank accounts. But over time in a career, you are paid for the impact you have had, not your title . Choose the path that provides you the most valuable experiences, develops the most significant relationships, and allows you to learn at the fastest rate, regardless of income. Prioritizing experience over income will lead to dramatically higher earnings over the long run.

The Forbes eBook: Find And Keep Your Dream Job
The Definitive Careers Guide From Forbes encompasses every aspect of the job hunt, from interview to promotion. Written by some of Forbes’ best careers and leadership writers, it is available now for download.
3.    Avoid Failure. Over the course of a career, you will often be faced with two alternative paths – one with seemingly much higher risk. Many high performers are often frustrated by always being put into very uncertain roles, where others have failed before and success may not even seem likely. But executives manage their high potential employees like this for a reason. Difficult situations lead to accelerated growth—not just in learning about business and leadership, but in learning about yourself. Long-term success is based on gaining a combination of experiences, but also on navigating toward roles that leverage your unique strengths and passions, and steering away from those that don’t. The most difficult circumstances often precipitate to the greatest personal growth.

4.    Buy a House. That’s right, buying a house can hurt your career, particularly early on. Organizations value mobility. They want their high-potential employees to gain broad experiences. Even at the CEO level, boards look for candidates who have experience across multiple functions, multiple divisions within the company, and global exposure. It’s hard to collect those assets when you are anchored in one harbour. Buying a house locks you into a location. Sure, you think that if a great opportunity presented itself, you can always sell it. But companies today are much less likely to pay significant moving expenses. And the effort and expense involved in selling a house and relocating can be a significant headwind, causing you to pass up what may have been game-changing opportunities.

5.    Miss opportunities to help others. When you do something that creates real value for organizations or others, you will almost always be paid for it, and almost never immediately. This is a fact of life in a professional career, but not one that is widely known. In my first book, The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, our research found that the most successful professionals were over four times more likely to focus on the success of those around them than even their own success! Winning the long game in a career requires a broad base of support from peers and colleagues at every stage in your career. If you see an opportunity where your actions can truly benefit another, take the time to make it happen, without any expectation of return benefit.  Call it positive Karma or whatever you like, but over time the good will you build up will create a groundswell of support when you least expect it, but need it most.

These mistakes are relatively easy to navigate around, once you are aware that they exist. Network broadly; chart your course by experiences, not pay checks; embrace challenging situations; stay mobile and lead with generosity. By setting your sights on the distant horizon of your career, rather than the water at your prow, you won’t have to pay for these 5 career mistakes in 10 years—or ever.

Einstein - The Life Coach

Einstein was also somewhat of a philosopher and moral leader.  Here are his 10 life lessons condensed::

1. Follow Your Curiosity: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

Curiosity helps to fuel our imagination.  When we ask questions of others, we can find out important information to help us solve problems, open new doors and form connections.  When we ask questions of ourselves, we can shake up our beliefs, reveal our innermost desires and make positive change.  What unanswered question is swimming around in your head?

2. Perseverance is Priceless: “It’s not that I'm so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

If you have a dream, you’ll be faced with obstacles but by staying with problems longer, as Einstein says, can mean the difference between failure and success. Some ways to begin practising perseverance is by committing to your dream, keeping a positive attitude, staying focused on what you want every day and bouncing back from adversity.

3. Focus on the Present: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

What a great example Einstein uses to illustrate the importance of focusing on the present.  We can miss the pleasures of the present by becoming too preoccupied with the past and/or future.  Reminding ourselves daily to be present will bring us more peace and joy as well as provide us with a greater appreciation for life.

4. Imagination is Powerful: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

With one idea, an empire can be built.  Take for example, Walt Disney, a true master at imagination.  He got the inspiration for Mickey Mouse from an old pet mouse he used to have on his farm.  That black and white mouse became an animated legend.  Imagination opens the door to a Kingdom of possibilities!

5. Make Mistakes: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Mistakes are inevitable especially when pursuing something worthwhile.  They can be disappointing and tough on the confidence but often necessary to test our true commitment to the end goal.  What great things are ever accomplished without failing in some way first?  The real failure is in the not starting or completing.

6. Live in the Moment: “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”

As they say, the moment is all we really have, a tough concept to grasp. Eckhart Tolle in his book the Power of Now, said that a person’s success in truly being in the present moment can be measured by the degree of peace he or she feels within.  By becoming more aware of the moment, we can ground ourselves in what matters most.

7. Create Value: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

How would you define success?  What will make your life a success?  These questions can be great ones to ask yourself.  It can be raising healthy and happy children, having meaningful and fulfilling relationships, being authentic in conversations, writing a book, loving a career, feeling good everyday—whatever it is for you, that’s where to place or continue to place your focus.  What we focus on truly expands.

8. Don’t Be Repetitive: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

If you have been unhappy in certain areas of your life such as finances or relationships, opt to do one thing different tomorrow.  The idea is to shake up the routine.  If you have a job that is unfulfilled or that is frustrating on some level, think about what you can do to change the situation.  Sometimes a new perspective on the same situation is all it takes to open one’s eyes to what’s possible. The first step is to recognize the dissatisfaction and then take a single action towards satisfaction.

9. Knowledge Comes From Experience: “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Actual experience creates knowledge that is respected and valued by others. We can read books, listen to tapes, and take courses, but the experiences we have in life can provide the best lessons for others.  Your life story is rich in knowledge and people are ready to listen because it’s the most compelling and authentic way to make a difference with someone.

10. Learn the Rules and Then Play Better: “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

To become an expert at something, learn all you can about that subject, study other’s successes and then aim to do it better than them.  The stronger your commitment and passion is to your endeavour, the greater your resolve will be to succeed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rewire Your Brain

How to Rewire Your Brain to Become More Successful

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Strategic Management

Strategic Management

We are very proud to deliver the only short course on strategic management available in Ireland. This course has been designed to be delivered in house and is specifically tailored for the Irish multi national IDA high value manufacturing and services sector. The programme is delivered over 20 hours as an integrated format over modules decided by the client. Strategy only works when everyone is on the same page and for this reason we offer this programme for each management forum to take advantage of this unique opportunity. It is fundamental knowledge that companies that have a strong foundation and understanding of strategy and how it shapes future sustainable success are the business units that achieve prolonged success within the greater company structure. Simply put, the business unit that talks the language of the CEO attracts the greatest interest and capital input. Success is always built on strategy. See a sample of our strategic training work.
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