Confidence/Self-Esteem

  Is the CEO the best engineer in a company? Usually not. Is she the best salesperson in the company? The best marketer? The best in finance? Usually not. If you look at the CEO and her top direct reports, she’s usually less technically competent in sales, marketing, finance, and engineering than the executives that [...]

Being a CEO is not complicated. A good CEO decides what needs to be done and who needs to do it. Being a CEO is about deciding strategy and then leading people to execute the strategy. While being a CEO is simple (conceptually), it is not easy (to do). The easiest way to stand out [...]

Consulting firms prize people who are logical, analytical, and rational. However, smart people routinely make “stupid” decisions. Here’s why. Smart people are like Superman. They have superhuman abilities (in this case, intellectual). BUT, also like Superman, they have an Achilles’ heel — a vulnerability and weakness that can bring even the most superhuman of us [...]

When I was at McKinsey, one of the biggest reasons clients cited for repeatedly hiring McKinsey was: “perspective.” Clients would say that the firm helped them see their own businesses in a new way. At the time, this seemed like a somewhat amorphous reason for spending a few million dollars in consulting fees. However, as [...]

Both Kim Kardashian and Steve Jobs have personal brands. They are both well known. However, there’s a major difference between the two. Kardashian is famous for being famous. Jobs is famous for creating technology breakthroughs. Having a personal brand is useful. It helps to be known by others. It opens doors, facilitates introductions, and gets [...]

You want executives in your company to see you as a peer. This perception gives you enormous clout and credibility and is especially useful if you’re not yet an executive. To develop this kind of relationship with others, you must develop executive presence or gravitas. When you develop this ability, the room quiets down when [...]

Today I’d like to discuss something profoundly important regarding decision making. Ninety-nine percent of people do not grasp these concepts, as they are subtle and nuanced. My question is this: What makes a decision a good one? It’s a simple question. Most people say a good decision is one where there is a good outcome. [...]

When I was in my first year at McKinsey, one of my Engagement Managers gave me some feedback. He said, “You’re smart, you’ve got the analytics, but you come across like you’re young and inexperienced.” My response was, “Well… that’s because I AM young and inexperienced!” He said, “That’s irrelevant.” “Rather than think of yourself [...]

I came across the following television interview the other day. The person being interviewed is a leader of a group of college students demanding that all student loans in the U.S. be forgiven, and that college tuition be free. She was not prepared, and ended up humiliating herself on live national television. Specifically, she was [...]

Something just went wrong; really wrong. What’s the first instinct you and others have? In many company cultures (and in many family, marriage or parent/child relationship cultures), the first order of business is to decide whom to blame. Much of corporate politics (not to mention governmental politics) is based on this principle. “I don’t want [...]

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