career strategy

The Delta of the Deltas

In mathematics, there’s a concept and symbol known as delta. It is represented by the following greek letter Δ that looks like a triangle. In this context, delta = change. If sales were $100 million last year, and $110 million this year, we would say the delta is $10 million. Management consultants will use the [...]

Value Creation vs. Value Capture

Whether you’re the CEO of a company or the CEO of your career, it’s your job to create value for others and to capture some of the value you create. In the case of running a company, you create a product that customers value. Customers are so excited to receive the value your product provides [...]

T-Shaped Skills

In industry, a person’s skill set can be described using one of two metaphors: the letter “I” and the letter “T.” A person with “I-shaped” skills has very deep skills in a single domain. This vertical line in the letter “I” represents this depth in a single area. In contrast, the person with “T-shaped” skills [...]

Control the Control-ables

There are two types of jobs in this world — task-oriented jobs and outcome-oriented jobs. A task-oriented sales position might require you to do the following in a single day: Make 120 sales phone calls Deliver 12 phone presentations Write 2 proposals Get 1 contract signed If you reliably do these proven tasks, you will [...]

How to Impress your Boss’s Boss

The market of a rising star career path involves getting jobs with increasingly greater responsibility in a relatively short period of time. The average professional expects (incorrectly) that if they simply do a good job, that’s the basis for getting promoted. This thinking leads to… S L O W career progress. Here’s why. Employers like [...]

Why Brilliant Ideas Aren't Enough

Two people are in the same meeting. Both express the same idea. One gets ignored, while the other is acknowledged as being insightful. Why does this happen? The short answer is the person who got seen, heard, and acknowledged possessed gravitas — an executive presence where others take your ideas seriously merely because the words [...]

Being Slightly Famous

Traditional career planning strategy involves going to a good school, getting a job from a big brand name company, and getting promoted. This is the premise of all academic schooling through college. But… the world has changed quite profoundly in the last 15 years. The world is more hyperconnected than ever before. This has several implications [...]

Halo Effect

In psychology, the “halo effect” refers to a psychological tendency where the impression of a person in one area carries over to another area. The tendency was first identified and named by psychologist Edward Thorndike in 1920. In his research, he observed that people seen positively in one light tend to be assumed to have [...]

Actual vs. Perceived Competence

In the Olympics and many other sporting events, you don’t need to worry about perceptions. Your performance is measured down to the hundredths of a second. It is objective. After the race ends, your actual competence and perceived competence are one and the same. However, business is different. Ideas and perception of ideas are subjective. [...]

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 [...]

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