mentorship

Prepared for Luck

Over the years, I’ve noticed the role that luck plays in success for myself and others. I won’t lie. Getting lucky on an opportunity is great. The problem is that you can’t control when or if you get lucky. However, what you can control is whether you are prepared enough so that, when luck presents [...]

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, [...]

I Can't Do That

Let’s take a look at the following two sentences: I can’t do that. I can’t do that… yet. Only one word separates these two sentences. But, they have profoundly different meanings.  The first sentence, “I can’t do that,” implies a permanent state that can’t be altered. By adding the word “yet,” as in “I can’t [...]

Making Mistakes

A wise person once told me, “Making mistakes is how we human beings learn.” I spent most of my life trying to avoid mistakes and then beating myself up when I inevitably made them.  In hindsight, this was terribly arrogant of me, counterproductive, and a difficult way to live. It was arrogant because to never [...]

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 [...]

Unforced Errors

The sports of baseball and tennis include references to a concept called an “unforced error.” This means a player makes a mistake of his or her own doing (as opposed to being “forced” into the error by an opposing player’s efforts). When I hold office hours for members of my mentorship program, I often get [...]

Why It's Difficult to "Find" Your Passion

Last week, I held office hours for members of my Inner Circle mentorship program. One of my members asked me for a process she could use to “find” her passion. She was having difficulty figuring it out and was looking for help. Some people are fortunate to figure out their passions early in life. My [...]

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 [...]

Secret to Achieving New Year's Resolutions

At the start of every new year, many people create resolutions or goals for the New Year. At the same time, most people also give up on these goals well before the end of the year. Having worked in industries whose sales are driven by New Year’s Resolutions, I can tell you exactly when people [...]

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 [...]

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