Schedule Time for Your Most Important Work

Schedule Time for Your Most Important Work

Featured, Process
No one likes getting to the end of the day and feeling that, even though you’ve been frantically working for eight hours, you haven’t accomplished anything important. To avoid spending all your time answering emails and texts, try scheduling important tasks in your calendar. Block out an hour or two so that the task doesn’t get lost in the blur of the day. For something really important, block out most of the day (even if you won’t need that long). And if you habitually set goals so lofty that you end up putting them off, try this: When you consider a goal, also consider a half-size version. Mentally compare the two versions and ask yourself which is more realistic. If your task still feels intimidating, shrink it further until it…
Read More
The Problem With Academic Business Research

The Problem With Academic Business Research

Featured, Improvement
Business schools have released research papers about business trends since they opened their doors. Once upon time, when business classes were taught by business people, they may have been useful and relevant. Unfortunately those days are long gone. Why? It comes down to an old saying, "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they aren't." As an example, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote a book called, "Lean In." In it, she states that to overcome the wage gap between genders women need to negotiate their salaries the same way men do. Sandberg is a respected businesswomen who based her findings on the actions of herself and other successful businesswomen. Harvard University published a study disagreeing with there. They stated that in their experiments, negotiations did not work…
Read More
Your Success Is Up To You

Your Success Is Up To You

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
There are a ton of excuses. The economy is bad, I live in a terrible area, I wan't given the chance, the list goes on and on.While certainly outside circumstances  have an effect, ultimately your success is up to you. In a recent story about bad schools, a student stated that now he knows it isn't his fault he can't read, it's the school's fault. While the school bears some responsibility, the child and his family knew he couldn't read. Did he try to get help? Did he get a tutor? Did he even watch Sesame Street? No. He did nothing to change his situation and now it's the school's fault. Sheryl Sandberg wrote the book "Lean In" to give women advice on how to get ahead in business. The…
Read More
The Worst Recipe Ever

The Worst Recipe Ever

Featured, Process
A while back I watched an online video claiming to show the ultimate grilled cheese recipe. As I watched I was amazed at how bad the recipe was. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with the sandwich you get from the recipe. The problem is the recipe itself. At several points in the recipe, it is stated “if you can’t find this ingredient use whatever you want.” This is terrible for a recipe because you have just given up any idea of what the final product will be like because you have told the cook the ingredients don’t matter. I bring this up because a recipe is at its most basic an operations plan. It is the step by step instructions on how to create a specific outcome. Imagine if…
Read More
Create An Executive Presence

Create An Executive Presence

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
Executive presence is not an innate quality; it is a set of behaviors that you can learn over time. Whether you are a natural wallflower or a social butterfly, you can enhance your presence by doing the following: Focus and relax. Calm is the foundation of presence. Use your breathing as an anchor that you return to when you get stressed or start to lose focus. Gain awareness. To change your behavior, you need to know how you are perceived. Pay attention to how people react to you and ask for candid feedback from those you trust. Practice with support. Telling a colleague or mentor you’re working on presence can boost your skills and confidence. The feedback you receive can also reinforce momentum.
Read More
Understand Your Business Model

Understand Your Business Model

Featured, Process
A business model is the difference between a business and a hobby. It defines how your business activities will bring in money.  Having a clear understanding of your business model helps you focus on the direction your business takes. When you have that understanding you can make informed decisions about what to do and not to do. Sticking to this helps you create a concrete brand, makes decisions about where to take your business simpler, and helps you avoid chasing shiny objects. In order to get that clear vision of your model, here are some tips to follow: Define who you work with and how you help them. Map out your long-term plans. Where are you planning to take the company? Analyze how these things generate income. Define your brand.…
Read More
Keep Experimenting with Different Leadership Styles

Keep Experimenting with Different Leadership Styles

Featured, Leadership
To grow as a leader you must dive into projects and activities, interact with different kinds of people, experiment with new ways of getting things done – and try out various leadership styles. Most learning involves some form of imitation (and understanding that nothing is “original”). So stop viewing authenticity as an intrinsic state. It’s really an ability to take elements you have learned from others’ styles and behaviors and make them your own. But don’t copy just one person’s leadership style; tap many diverse role models. There is a big difference between totally imitating someone and borrowing selectively from various people to create, modify, and improve your own leadership style. It’s OK to be inconsistent from one day to the next. That’s not being a fake: it’s how you…
Read More
Stop Trying to Hide Your Failures

Stop Trying to Hide Your Failures

Featured, Improvement
Despite the movement to consider failure a learning experience, it’s still considered taboo in many workplaces. But the truth is that we need to experience failure in order to learn and grow. So how do we leverage a setback to succeed next time? First, we have to speak openly and honestly about our failures, so they are put into their proper context. Recognize that innovation requires failure. If you have a 100% success rate, you’re not doing anything new. Instead of hiding your mistakes, own your narrative. In some ways, it’s a reframing: it’s not so much that you’re creating something (such as a product or service) that failed; it’s that you’re steadily improving a series of drafts. And remember, failure is ongoing. After all, stretch goals are things outside…
Read More
When You Give Feedback, Do You Listen, Too?

When You Give Feedback, Do You Listen, Too?

Communication, Featured
Very often it falls on us to offer feedback to a co-worker, partner, or subordinate. If you want people to really hear what you’re saying, you need to listen, too. Research suggests a manager’s attentive, nonjudgmental listening makes an employee more relaxed, more self-aware, and less defensive. The next time you’re coaching someone, listen carefully and thoughtfully to everything they say. Don’t jump to conclusions or interrupt. Give the person space to express themselves, and ask good questions to encourage them to keep talking. When people sense that others are truly hearing them, they’re much more likely to open up. Use eye contact and body language to signal that you’re focused on your employee and want to hear their thoughts. And refrain from suggesting solutions to problems. Even with feedback,…
Read More
Keep a Difficult Conversation on Track

Keep a Difficult Conversation on Track

Communication, Featured
Sometimes, despite your best intentions, a difficult conversation veers off course. Maybe your counterpart’s emotions are making progress hard, or the conversation keeps drifting away from the topic at hand. Assess the situation by taking a deep breath, mentally popping out of the conversation — as if you’re a fly on the wall — and objectively looking at what’s happening. You might even describe it to yourself (in your head): “Every time I bring up the sales numbers, he raises his voice.” Next, state what you’re observing in a calm tone: “It seems as though whenever the sales numbers come up, you raise your voice. Can you help me understand why?” Then suggest a new approach: “If we put our heads together, we could probably come up with a way…
Read More