Category: The Weekly Roundup

What’s Missing?

The ultra-quiet, high speed fan that’s missing an on/off switch. The gorgeous print ad in a national magazine that’s missing a website address. The sales pitch that dumps facts yet never inspires action. What’s missing? Much of modern business work involves either creating something new (writing a news story, preparing a legal brief, designing a […]

Read More

The Long Shot (ASAE Edition)

Yesterday, the annual meeting & expo for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) kicked off with much anticipation and fanfare.  While you may not be familiar with this organization, they represent 21,000 members in over 9,000 organizations in 50+ countries.  These are the folks that hold those big conventions, bringing millions of dollars of business to […]

Read More

How Bureaucracy Can Kill

Last week, 154 people came within minutes of losing their lives. The cause of this near-death experience? Bureaucracy. On July 23, Allegiant Airlines Flight 426 radioed to air traffic control in Fargo, N.D., upon approach. The pilot told the tower he was critically low on fuel and needed clearance to land within the next five […]

Read More

You’re FIRED!

Your boss walks into your office and quietly shuts the door behind her. She sits down at your desk in a most somber manner. After taking a deep breath, she coldly releases the words you dreaded all your life: “You’re fired.” Think of the emotional tornado now racing through your mind. Fear. Regret. Sadness. Shame. […]

Read More

The Nine Questions of Breakthrough Achievement

From discovering new drug therapies to winning triathlons, the capacity for human achievement is humbling. NASA scientists reached Pluto this week, beaming back stunning imagery of the distant planet. Brian Acton and Jam Koum, who founded WhatsApp in 2009, sold their startup to Google for $19 billion just five years later. Easton LaChapelle built a […]

Read More

The Wizard’s Downfall

“Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.” Twenty-eight minutes later, an apathetic, poorly trained call center drone clarified through her actions what her company actually meant: “Your call is really not important to us at all. If it were, we’d staff more customer service specialists, […]

Read More

Easy

As someone who has played guitar for more than 30 years, I can tell you that the secret to regular practice isn’t teeth-grinding discipline. It isn’t external rewards or penalties. It isn’t even the dream of rocking a stadium for adoring fans. The truth is, the regularity of practice — and the progress than ensues […]

Read More

The Frequency Factor

If you ask an advertising guru what it takes to inform consumers and ultimately move them to action, they’ll instantly spout out their golden formula: Reach + Frequency. This marketing truism has been captivating customers since the days of Henry Ford, and has carried its weight through every technology advance, product launch and celebrity endorsement […]

Read More

Play Up

Imagine you step onto a tennis court, facing a partner that’s at least 50% better than you. As you volley back-and-forth, you notice the precision of your shots, the power of your serve, and the intensity of your game. Your stronger opponent has raised your level of play, helping you push to new heights of […]

Read More

Who’s (or What’s) Your Enemy?

Darth Vader was intent on using his natural abilities to destroy humanity and lure good people to the “dark side.” Produce manufacturers are haunted not only by their direct competitors, but also by the giant salty snack conglomerates that are purveyors of instant gratification but lack nutritional value. Kids in troubled urban areas with failing […]

Read More

Harness Your Peak Activity Window

Imagine an early morning visit to the zoo.  You’re all excited to see animals leaping around with enthusiasm, demonstrating their swift command over nature.  You first stop by the owl exhibit, only to find these majestic creatures engulfed in deep slumber.  Next, you wander over to cringe at the creepy bat display, only to find […]

Read More

Aftershock

The forceful and deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake that ripped through Nepal on April 25 ravaged the country, leaving more than 8,000 people dead. Unfortunately, the tragedy continued weeks later when, on May 12, an aftershock earthquake struck the region for a second time. Only slightly less intense, the aftershock was measured as a 7.3. The experts […]

Read More

Your First Day

Remember that first day at your new job? You spoke to friends and family the night before; you were brimming with excitement. You could hardly sleep, and when the morning alarm rang, you jumped out of bed with enthusiasm. It felt like a sunny day, even though the clouds were out, and you practically skipped […]

Read More

What Was. What Is. What’s Next?

What Was: “That’s the way we’ve always done things.” What Is: “Don’t rock the apple cart; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” What’s Next: “I wonder what would happen if we took an entirely different route…” When you think about your own organization, what percentage of energy, focus, and brainpower do you spend in […]

Read More

The Cobra Effect

During the time of British rule of colonial India, the government became concerned that too many deadly cobras roamed the streets.  The leaders came up with what appeared to be a clever solution – pay a bounty to any citizen who brought forward a dead cobra.  The “cash for snakes” program worked like a charm for a […]

Read More

Look Up

One day while living in Nairobi, Kenya, Kenton Lee found himself walking to church next to a young girl. He noticed that, despite their lengthy walk, her shoes were far too small for her little, but growing, feet. He felt sorry for her and wondered why such injustice existed. To him, shoes seemed like such […]

Read More

White Space

“It ain’t about the notes you play,” legendary trumpeter Miles Davis once proclaimed. “It’s about the notes you don’t play.” In the art world, the unused space around a painted object is known as white space and is considered equally important to the image itself. The open space frames the work, providing the necessary contrast to allow […]

Read More

Learning and Unlearning

When you study the best-of-the-best, they share a common trait across industries, age, geography, gender, and skill set. Top performers are lifetime learners. Instead of hanging up their studies upon completion of formal education, they embrace a love of learning for the long run. They devour books, lectures, and workshops to improve their game. This […]

Read More

Compasses Over Maps

A map is certainly a handy tool to help you reach your destination. When the map is accurate, you can sit back and follow your course, no thinking required. Your brain can really take a vacation if you’re using the GPS guidance in your car or from Google Maps. When the system tells you exactly […]

Read More

The Six-Month Rule

While studying jazz composition and performance at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, a weathered professor taught me a valuable lesson. With the wisdom of a Tibetan Monk, this sage jazz cat whispered to me with understated confidence, “What you learn today, you’ll play in six months.” He was referring to an idea gestation […]

Read More

Irresistible

In just 60 seconds, Taylor Swift sold out all 18,200 seats at Madison Square Garden. Her music, and the experience she creates for fans, is irresistible. Fistfights have broken out as eager customers battle it out to get a pair of Nike limited editions kicks. In contrast, think about the cover band in the lobby […]

Read More

A Surprisingly Simple Competitive Advantage

My flight landed in Norfolk, Va., 45 minutes late. On that bright and sunny day, I’m told by the airline it was “Due to a delay from the inbound aircraft.” Oh thanks, that made me feel much better. Anyway, I had a car service scheduled to meet me at baggage claim. They knew I was […]

Read More

Your Partner In Crime

Batman and Robin. Ernie and Bert. Han Solo and Chewbacca. Powerful duos have been a success formula throughout history. Lennon and McCartney. The Wright Brothers. Sergey and Larry (Google founders). Progress often comes in pairs. Today many of us are our own islands. We build our personal brands, focus on self-improvement, and remain staunchly loyal to our own goals. The challenge […]

Read More

Rising From Rejection

Jack Ma is China’s richest man. He’s also the 12th-wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $29.7 billion, according to Forbes. Ma is the founder of Alibaba, an e-commerce company that’s the equivalent of Amazon.com in China. He launched a multibillion-dollar company and became one of the most financially successful people alive, […]

Read More

Herds Are For Animals

“Our company offers great service and affordable pricing.”  “We really care about our customers.” “One call does it all!” Perhaps platitudes that lack specificity and depth worked 20 years ago.  But in our fist-fighting competitive arena, these flimsy claims say nothing at all.  Your customers and prospects want to know, need to know: What truly […]

Read More

15 Powerful Ideas

“You cannot look in a new direction by looking harder in the same direction.” ~ Edward deBono “Out there is an entrepreneur who’s forging a bullet with your company’s name on it. You’ve got only one option – to shoot first.” ~ Gary Hamel “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, […]

Read More

Think Like a Beginner

Imagine taking up a new hobby such as playing the guitar or learning tennis. You’d begin this process lacking any previous knowledge, so you’d be completely open to learn. With no preconceived notions, you are bound by no tradition and thus fully able to embrace the possibilities. In contrast, getting an “expert” to take a […]

Read More

The Secret to Beat the ‘Big Decision Trap’

Making decisions can be downright scary. What if you make the wrong call? What if the new initiative turns out to hurt more than help (remember the launch of New Coke?) “I’d better be careful not to screw things up,” you tell yourself. “Don’t push the envelope. Just keep it safe.” Think how much effort […]

Read More

Tough + Love = Great Leadership

Teachings of the Far East explain the concept of yin/yang. In order to achieve balance, and ultimately success, we need to have oppositional forces present and equal. This is obvious in our relationships, as oftentimes opposites attract – personalities, talent areas, skill sets, hobbies, etc. This differentiation between partners is what keeps things interesting and […]

Read More

Avoiding Almost

He almost closed the deal.  She almost got that big promotion.  They almost won the championship.  Almost. Near misses can be especially frustrating, since you did almost enough work to make it happen.  When a pro football team carries the ball 90 yards down the field, that progress was the sum of great strategy, precision, agility, and powerful execution.  But when they fumble […]

Read More