career strategy

Life Isn't Always Fair

One of the things I tell my kids (that they hate) is that life isn’t always fair… deal with it. Sure, life should be fair. But, it often is not. Some people die well before their time. That’s not fair. Some people win the DNA lottery whereas others don’t. That’s not fair. Some people get [...]

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 [...]

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 a 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Emergent Career Strategy - Practical Considerations

I recently wrote an article about the difference between 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 was [...]

Conflicts of Interest

In a world of competing agendas, it’s inevitable that you will have a conflict of interest with a client, colleague, or boss. This is particularly true in consulting firms, law firms, and investment banks. Conflicts of interest come from having more than one role or relationship in a particular situation. Here are some examples: A) [...]

The Critical Path

In the world of project management, there exists a useful concept knows as the “critical path” for a project. A critical path is that part of the project which has the fewest available resources that also has the most downstream dependencies. In other words, it’s the step in the project that prevents many other later [...]

Managing Career Risk

Ever since working at McKinsey, I’ve been fascinated by the financial services industry. In every other industry, you know what your costs and revenues were this year, and at the end of the year you can calculate your profit. However, in a sense, this is not the case with many financial institutions.  When your homeowner’s [...]

Managing your Weaknesses

When it comes to managing your career, you need to be aware of your own weaknesses. A weakness that’s known can be worked around. A weakness that you’re not even aware of will sink your career. If you aren’t sure of your weaknesses, simply ask your boss, colleagues, and staff for feedback on what you [...]

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