life as a consultant

Choose Your Words Carefully

Over the last decade, I have continually found myself intrigued by a field I never thought would interest me: linguistics. In particular, I’m fascinated by how linguistics intersects with psychology. The words you use profoundly impact how you think and behave. Here are a few examples. I often encounter clients who tell me there is [...]

How to Deal with Irrational People (aka everyone)

When I was at Stanford, I did my undergrad degree in Economics. For a brief time, I considered majoring in Psychology and took a number of classes in that field. During this time, I was always puzzled by an inherent conflict between the fields of economics and psychology. Economics presumes “man” (and woman) is rational. [...]

The Burden of Leadership

Many people I speak to, from little kids to professionals in their 50s, want to be “in charge.” They want what they perceive to be the perks of being in a position of authority. What most don’t recognize is the BURDEN that comes with leadership. When there’s an uncertain environment, it is the leader that [...]

How to Overcome Extreme Adversity

One of my favorite questions to ask my teachers and mentors is “Who are your teachers and mentors?” Today I wanted to introduce you to one of my teachers and mentors. His name is Ryan Holiday. Ryan’s very unusual. He’s one of the most well read people I know. He has a voracious appetite for [...]

The #1 Rule for How to Write Effectively

From time to time, I’m asked about how to write effectively in the workplace. This large topic can’t be covered entirely in a single article, but I will start by explaining the #1 rule: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Whether you are communicating using the written word or giving a speech, the most important thing is to [...]

The Mental Role Model

I spend the bulk of my time in my career either learning, teaching, or troubleshooting. I just got off the phone with a new client and had a small epiphany. During the call, I essentially gave away one of my secrets to one of my new clients. We were discussing the concept of idea transplantation. [...]

Why Not You?

My favorite quote from the 2014 Superbowl was, “Why Not You?” It was a saying attributed to the father of Russell Wilson, quarterback of the 2014 champion Seattle Seahawks. The quote was referenced by the sports commentators and again by Wilson in a post-game interview. It was something Wilson’s father said to him many years ago when [...]

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 [...]

The 80/20 Rule - An Unusual Example

One of my favorite interests is to apply the 80/20 rule to everyday life. In consulting work, we’re constantly trying to do the most critical 20% of the possible work to yield 80% of the results or insights. I’ve found it quite surprising that MBB consultants who are great at applying the 80/20 rule at [...]

The RIGHT Way to Set Annual Goals

Once you know the annual cycles of the people and organizations around you, and have made the most of those insights, you want to set goals for the new year. (If you missed my post with the first two Tips, you can read it here.) Tip #3: Set Annual Goals that are Consistent with 3 [...]

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