thoughts on life

The Red Line

In every system, there’s a point where the system can not do more. In a car, this limit is denoted by the gauge that measures the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM). When you step on the accelerator, the RPMs zoom up. However, you’ll notice the top end of the gauge is marked in red. This [...]

The Perceived Detour

Sometimes, life throws us an obstacle. In the moment, most people’s reaction (mine included) is to get irritated at the obstacle and at the detours needed to overcome it. To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, all the “detours” (my word choice, not his) make sense in hindsight, even if they don’t in the moment. Through [...]

Ad Hominem Attacks on Greta Thunberg

Over the last week or so, I’ve been watching people’s reactions to 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. A year ago, she led a protest of one person (herself) against the lack of action world leaders have made versus climate change. She recently led a protest involving upwards of 4 million people around the world for [...]

The Culture of Elitism

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the cult/culture of elitism. The entire premise of elitism is hierarchy. Those who are “elite” are presumed to be better than those that are not. Those who aren’t “elite” often feel “less than” their counterparts. An Ivy League degree makes you more elite. A larger bank account makes [...]

Behavior is Communication

A friend of mine called me the other day to ask for career advice. In a recent reorganization, he was assigned to a new boss. The two did not get along well. The new boss kept send him emails about his failures to perform. When he would ask his boss in person for specific feedback [...]

Drawing a Line

A question came up the other day during the office hours I held for members of my Inner Circle mentorship program. The question was, “Do you take on a well-paying client engagement when you disagree partly with the scope of the project?” The ensuing conversation reminded me of McKinsey’s unofficial policy of turning down multi-million [...]

See, Think, Do

Several years ago, one of my clients taught me a great framework to describe how to be influential with others in the workplace. It’s a communication approach you can use to manage direct reports, manage colleagues, and even to manage your boss. The framework involves three steps: See Think Do If you can alter how [...]

Career & Life Game Changer

One of the biggest revelations I’ve learned about relationships (professional and personal), I picked up years ago from McKinsey. It was such a simple yet transformative concept. Here’s the story. At McKinsey, when I worked with a new client, I would conduct a round of initial introductory meetings with each member of the executive team. [...]

Elite University Scandal

A few days ago, the FBI charged dozens of high profile celebrity and wealthy families with attempting to use bribes to get their children admitted into elite universities, including Stanford and Yale. There’s been a lot of discussion around this topic, and I thought I’d add in my comments as well. My first (tongue-in-cheek) reaction [...]

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 [...]

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