2014

The Purpose of Purpose

In business, career, and life plans, one common factor exists that determines whether such a plan is strategic or not. What is this X factor? It is PURPOSE. Most plans of any type lack purpose. Purpose is the end game you are trying to achieve. It is the “WHY” behind any plan — at least [...]

When Life Kicks You to the Curb

There have been times in my life when I felt completely beat up by life. I’d close myself in a room, curl up in the fetal position, feel sorry for myself, and hope life would stop kicking my *ss. I learned the hard way that hope is not a strategy, but taking action is. The [...]

Actual vs. Perceived Market Differentiation

To succeed in business and your career, it helps for two things to be true: To be differentiated from the competition To be perceived to be differentiated from the competition Differentiation helps because it reduces the scope and intensity of direct competition. This is true when a business competes for customers, and in careers amongst [...]

How to Overcome Extreme Adversity

One of my favorite questions to ask my teachers and mentors is “Who are your teachers and mentors?” Today I wanted to introduce you to one of my teachers and mentors. His name is Ryan Holiday. Ryan’s very unusual. He’s one of the most well read people I know. He has a voracious appetite for [...]

How to Develop Unshakeable Self Confidence

I’m often asked how one can project self confidence in a case interview or with senior level clients. I’m also asked how one can develop a sense of confidence after an enormous setback of some sort — “failing” at a case interview, messing up a meeting with a partner or a client, and so forth. [...]

Deconstructing Entrepreneurship

I’ve received numerous requests from readers to deconstruct entrepreneurship much like I have done for case interviews. Unlike case interviews where there’s a narrow range of “correct” approaches, entrepreneurship is infinitely vast in how one can succeed. That being said, in my work with small business ranging from solo entrepreneurs to Inc 500 companies, I’ve [...]

Do you Play to Win or to Not Lose?

I find strategy concepts that I would typically use in the business realm are often surprisingly useful when moved to determine strategy for one’s life and vice versa. One idea in particular I’ve been thinking about over the years is developing a strategy to “win” as opposed to one designed to avoid loss. The two [...]

The Emergent Career Strategy - Practical Considerations

I recently wrote an article about the difference between the Planned vs. Emergent Career Strategies. The career plan is one you create at the beginning of your career when you have the least amount of information. The emergent strategy sometimes reveals itself in the process of pursuing the original career plan. New information emerges that [...]

The Deep Flaw in MBB Strategic Planning

When I first started recruiting for consulting jobs, an interviewer at Bain shared a story (arguably a legend at this point) about how Bain (or it might have been McKinsey) was asked to advise Motorola on whether or not they should enter the mobile phone market. As you might know, Motorola eventually dominated the pre-smart [...]

The #1 Rule for How to Write Effectively

From time to time, I’m asked about how to write effectively in the workplace. This large topic can’t be covered entirely in a single article, but I will start by explaining the #1 rule: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Whether you are communicating using the written word or giving a speech, the most important thing is to [...]

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