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I have a confession. I talk to pigs… specifically my daughter’s guinea pigs. More specifically, they talk to me. (No, I don’t hear voices; they don’t speak English). They chirp, squeak, and squeal to communicate their wants and needs to me. Their needs almost always revolve around wanting more food or water (when my girls [...]

I teach the people I mentor that leadership means accepting responsibility for things that aren’t your fault. The individual contributor that stays in that role for an entire career does what is asked, but no more. If something goes wrong, she says, “I didn’t make a mistake. You can’t blame me for that one. That’s [...]

The other day, a friend was praising me for my accomplishments. I felt the praise was not justified. Contrary to my friend’s perception, I attribute my success to two things: 1) the ability to learn from my mistakes; 2) a high pain tolerance (that’s needed to tolerate making a great many mistakes). Step back and [...]

The other day, my teenage daughter asked me to buy her false eyelashes. When I asked her why she wanted them, she said, “It’s for my school camping trip with my classmates.” Of course, I said, “Why in the world do you need fake eyelashes to go camping?!?” I don’t remember her answer. What I [...]

Most of my work involves either a corporate strategic plan or a personal strategic plan. The core of strategic planning centers around deciding on priorities and allocating resources to those priorities. A good strategic planning process is quite painful. It’s painful because resources are always constrained. This has been true in every strategic plan with which [...]

Most people who get an Ivy League MBA do so to get a coveted job at a consulting firm, investment bank, or in industry. They aspire to be a McKinsey partner, a Goldman Sachs partner, a startup CEO or a leader in industry. Many get an MBA to avoid the most “blue collar” of professional [...]

You can approach life in one of two ways. You can focus on surviving, or you can focus on thriving. There’s a time and place for both approaches. Like most things in life, neither is inherently good or bad. These approaches are merely tools — to be applied in the appropriate situation. More than approaches [...]

When I started my career, I was under the impression that in the workplace you always get what you deserve. I was naive and wrong. There are plenty of deserving people who never get the credit, promotion, or raises they deserve. Perhaps you can relate. Many years later, I realized the following truth: You don’t [...]

When my oldest daughter was four years old, she would constantly blurt out all her problems. “I am hungry.” “I want my doll.” “I am cold.” She got very good at talking about the problems. She kept expecting me and her mother to solve all her problems for her. I finally got tired of this [...]

In school, success is simple. Do your homework. Study hard. Get good grades. The better your grades, the greater your success. The path to success is simple and clear. In the working world, the parameters of success are quite different. In school, the more you do, the more you succeed. In the business world, the [...]

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