success in industry

Learning from My Mentors

My favorite question to ask my teachers and mentors is “who are your teachers and mentors?” I thought I’d introduce you to one of my teachers. I first met him when he was 24 years old and possessed an incredible amount of knowledge, wisdom, and experience — far surpassing his biological age. He dropped out [...]

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 [...]

Clear Thinking = Clear Writing

Clear thinking leads to clear writing. Fuzzy writing often reflects fuzzy thinking. One of the best ways to improve your thinking is to articulate your thoughts in writing. When you write out your thoughts, you have something to analyze, revise, and improve. Editing = Clarifying Your Thinking The more your write and edit, the clearer [...]

What Exactly Does a CEO Do Anyway?

An engineer engineers. A marketer markets. A salesperson sells. A finance professional finances. A CEO… “CEOs”??? Unlike all other roles in a company, the word “CEO” is not a function. There is no CEO department. The engineer thinks about how to engineer a solution to a problem. A marketer thinks about how to market a [...]

The Importance of Situational Awareness

A friend of mine flies airplanes as a hobby. As a smart person, he doesn’t like taking unnecessary risks. Every month he reads a monthly publication that includes the forensic analysis of every plane crash that has happened in the United States. Unlike car crashes that aren’t always investigated, the Federal government investigates every plane [...]

The McKinsey Kiss of Death

The #1 reason new McKinsey consultants get fired is what I call the firm’s “kiss of death.” What offense could be so egregious to warrant being fired? It occurs when it’s been determined that you’re… “Uncoachable.” Huh? The McKinsey culture involves others giving you a lot of feedback on how to improve your performance. It [...]

Ex-Consultants vs. Industry Professionals

I just finished writing my monthly newsletter for my Inner Circle mentorship members. This month’s focus was on identifying and developing the skills that ex-consultants possess that industry professionals often lack. One of the recurring themes is that ex-consultants think and make decisions in a logical and quantitative way. Most industry professionals make decisions based [...]

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 [...]

How Smart People Destroy Their Careers

The #1 way professionals with high IQs destroy their careers is by having low emotional intelligence (or “EQ” for short). The workplace is a place where both logical and emotional interactions take place between you and others. High IQ people tend to overvalue the importance of IQ and undervalue EQ. If you have ever wondered [...]

What Makes a CEO a CEO?

  Is the CEO the best engineer in a company? Usually not. Is she the best salesperson in the company? The best marketer? The best in finance? Usually not. If you look at the CEO and her top direct reports, she’s usually less technically competent in sales, marketing, finance, and engineering than the executives that [...]

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