career growth

Pre-Existing Knowledge

When you’re trying to explain a complex idea to someone, it’s extremely helpful to explain your new idea using terms, concepts, or ideas that the other person already understands. For example, if you’re talking to a seasoned finance professional, you can use terms like “EBITDA” and “valuation multiples” and they’ll understand them. However, if you’re [...]

Problem Talker vs. Problem Solver

In life and work, there are two ways to approach a problem. You can talk about a problem, or you can solve the problem. The problem talker spends all of his time complaining about the problem. “Boss, this budgeting process is so inefficient and a waste of time.” “The way we orient new employees to [...]

Understanding the Rationale

When you’re CEO, you’re in this paradoxical situation in which your direct reports often know a lot more than you do in their functional areas. This causes many first-time CEOs to stumble. After all, how do you manage someone who knows more than you do? While this is a subject worthy of an entire class, [...]

Mistake vs. Judgment Call

Sometimes, your decisions do not have the positive outcome you wished for. It’s tempting to think that a bad outcome = a bad decision. This is an inaccurate over-simplification. It’s true that some decisions are outright mistakes. Other times, a decision is merely a judgment call. Being rude and disrespectful to your clients is always [...]

The Unforced Error

In some sports, they track a statistic known as an “unforced error.” I’ve always found this concept intriguing. When a competitor does something exceptional and beats you, that’s a “forced” error. It’s when your opponent hits a nearly impossible cross-court groundstroke to win the set. It’s when you throw the batter your absolute best pitch [...]

Scaffolding

Over the years, I’ve homeschooled my kids in math. In the process of learning teaching methods for math, I came across the term “scaffolding.” In construction, “scaffold” refers to the temporary metal frame with large wood planks that surrounds a construction site. The scaffold gives construction workers a place to stand while working on the [...]

Signaling Effectively

I’ve always been fascinated by turn signals on cars. It’s such a simple thing. You make the left light blink on the rear of your car to signal to others that you intend to change lanes or make a left turn. I’m fascinated by the dynamics around what happens when signals aren’t sent or when [...]

The Blame-Oriented Corporate Culture

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 [...]

Career Growth = Perpetual Discomfort

In a recent article, I wrote about How to Tell Someone They’re Totally Wrong. It was in response to my comments about music and learning how to write songs. That discussion and the flood of emails I’ve received (with very polar points of view) has probably been one of the most controversial topics I’ve written about [...]

Succeeding at the Edge of Discomfort

When you look at the top performers in every domain, all of them share one thing in common. They live their lives at the edge — at the edge of discomfort. All growth comes from this edge. It’s a thin line between success and failing. This is especially apparent in the weight room. I’ve been [...]

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