career success

Gravitas & Power Questions

Gravitas is the elusive quality of being taken seriously. In a meeting, when you speak, do people spontaneously quiet down, listen to you, and take notes? If so, you have gravitas. If not, you have an opportunity to increase your executive presence so your ideas get taken more seriously. In every meeting, there are two [...]

Disagreements vs. Arguments

Respectful disagreements are extremely helpful and productive. Arguments are a complete waste of time. But wait… aren’t they the same thing? Nowhere close. When two people have a respectful disagreement, they both share their differing points of view and both are interested in hearing and understanding the other person’s point of view. In an argument, each [...]

Feedback = Breakfast of Champions

The single best way to improve your skills in any endeavor is to get feedback on your performance. Two kinds of feedback exist: 1) objective 2) subjective If you want to sprint faster, you need a stopwatch that clocks how fast you are running. If you ran 100 meters twice, the first time in 12 [...]

Context Alters Perspective

Your boss walks into the conference room and is unusually harsh towards you and your colleagues. Your boss is clearly in a bad mood. At first, you might think, “Geez… he’s being such a jerk.” …and that might be true. However, let’s say you find out later that he had a family member killed in [...]

Too Good to be Ignored

Many people manage their careers by figuring out how to get ahead without actually earning it. This confuses me. While there are legitimate shortcuts to getting ahead (such as learning from a mentor, building a network of collaborative contacts), ultimately it really helps if you’re really good at what you do. To be more specific, [...]

How to Be Taken Seriously

In a meeting, two people can express the exact same idea, and one will be overlooked while the other will be taken seriously. If you’re like me, you’ve witnessed this phenomenon your entire career. You may have even been the person whose ideas were overlooked. Why does this happen? Clearly, the reaction you receive is [...]

Aligning Goals with Resources

In a corporate strategic plan, it’s often easy to come up with big goals of what the company could or should do. The far more difficult part is allocating resources (people, finances, attention span) because there are never enough resources to do everything you could do. The same is true in your personal life and [...]

Winning vs. Resolving Conflicts

When you’re in a conflict with someone else, you want to define your goal clearly. Are you trying to “win” the conflict, or to “resolve” it? Although the words seem similar enough to be interchangeable, they couldn’t be more different. When you “win” a conflict, you get the outcome that you want without regard to [...]

Leaders vs. Leading

One of my favorite television shows is Inside the Actors Studio. It is a long-form interview show, where a famous actor or actress is interviewed for about an hour. The show is filmed before a live audience consisting of students at a well-known film school. What I like about the show is that it gets [...]

Mental Energy Units

When you’re an individual contributor, you focus mainly on time management. There are 24 hours in a day. You allocate them according to what’s most important to you. As you progress in your professional career (and as your personal life gets more complex, such as raising multiple children or caring for aging parents), it makes [...]

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