Education

Education
How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall? Practice

How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall? Practice

Improvement
It's an old joke. It takes practice to get to Carnegie Hall. To excel in music, painting, sports, etc. you must practice. The same goes for success in business. One key tenet of coaching professional sports is preparing people in the most realistic contexts possible. For example, a coach might pour water on practice balls to prepare a team for wet gameday weather. You can apply similar thinking to business situations. For example, you might work on rehearsing your pitch to potential VCs in front of colleagues you’ve asked to pepper you with difficult questions. You might create situations where a VC is late to the meeting — or is rushing you to finish your pitch. You might do the session in a setting that mimics what you’ll likely encounter in the real…
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Silence Equals Agreement

Silence Equals Agreement

Communication
Many people assume that when they ask for feedback, people will offer their thoughts candidly and directly. But that often doesn’t happen, especially in public settings and high-stakes situations. To force people to open up, no matter how reluctant (or passive-aggressive) they may be feeling, set one key ground rule: “Silence denotes agreement.” Explain that silence doesn’t mean “I’m not voting” or “I reserve the right to weigh in later.” It means “I’m completely on board with what’s being discussed.” You must then commit to enforcing the rule. If someone — even a powerful team member or friend — buttonholes you after a meeting to express reservations about what was said, tell them, “You should have spoken up at the meeting. Now everyone is on board and the ship has sailed. Next time, say something.”
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Boost Your Productivity by Protecting Your Time

Boost Your Productivity by Protecting Your Time

Process
If you want to get more done, take ownership of your time. Our most satisfying work comes about when we’re playing offense, working on projects that we ourselves initiate. Look for ways to automate or delegate activities that are not a good use of your time. Say no to projects that aren’t a priority and maintain a relentless focus on self-directed goals that only you can achieve. Program your phone to only ring for select people, and resist emails first thing in the morning until you’ve achieved at least one important task. Recognize and honor your physical limitations by getting plenty of exercise and sleep, cycling between 90-minute bursts of focused work and short restorative breaks. And use your vacation time. Top performers view time off not as stalled productivity but as…
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Make Learning a Habit

Make Learning a Habit

Improvement
If you want to keep growing, you need to make learning a habit. To get started, be specific about what you’re asking yourself to do. Resolutions like “read more” or “learn new things” are too vague. Your goals need to be concrete and measurable: “Spend two hours every Thursday afternoon reading all the articles I saved during the week.” Schedule the time on your calendar, and resist the temptation to do other work during that window. Monitor your behavior closely to push yourself in the right direction. If you know that some of your coworkers make on-the-job learning a habit, go out of your way to spend time with them. Studies show that we tend to pick up habits from the people around us. And the most important thing to…
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Change Bad Habits by Being Aware of Them

Attitude and Mindset
Changing a habit doesn’t have to take long, but it’s hard. Really hard. But when it comes to counterproductive habits like arguing, self-criticism, or blaming others, turning our knee-jerk reactions into something healthier and more productive is essential. As the Harvard Business School points out, the first step is to be aware of your reactions. You can’t change something if you don’t realize you’re doing it. Think about what kinds of things set you off, then consider the series of warnings signs that precede them. Next, think about where you can recognize and cut off the warning signs, stopping the series from continuing forward. The earlier you can stop yourself, the better — and the more you do it, the easier it will become. Try simply taking a breath to give…
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The Case For Persistence

Attitude and Mindset
While anyone who has ever tried anything new wants to succeed on the first try, it doesn't happen all that often. Even successes may not look good at first. Use in point: A man invented a new product and launched a company to market it. In the first year the company sold 25 units for gross sales of $1.25. You read that right. In all fairness, the company was formed in 1886 so five cents a unit was worth more than it is now, but it still only sold 25 units. They could have concluded that the operation was a failure and closed up shop. Had they done so, the world would never have known Coca Cola. In order to become the company it is now, Coca Cola started with…
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Turn Conference Introductions into Ongoing Connections

Communication
After your next conference or networking event, social media tools can help you follow up with the people you really want to make a part of your professional network. Harvard Business Review recommends you try these strategies: Install a business-card-processing app on your smartphone that can scan cards with a camera and convert them to contact information. If you meet someone and hit it off, connect right away. Send your pal a tweet from your smartphone right then and there. At the end of each trip, make a “keeper” pile of business cards for people you want to stay in touch with, then use your business card app to capture them. Use your business card app’s social networking function to send each person a LinkedIn connection invitation. Send your “keepers” a personal e-mail…
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The Myth Of Work-Life Balance

Attitude and Mindset
People talk about the importance of work-life balance. Trying to "have it all" is a goal of so many people, and it's more common in millennials. The reason most people never achieve work-life balance is that it doesn't exist. Think about the phrase. For work and life to be in balance they have to be two different things. They aren't. They are integral parts of each other. Your work is the fuel for your life. Your life is the underlying reason for your work. When there is a problem at home, very few people can turn off their feelings during work. When work goes wrong and keeps you up at night, it affects the entirety of your life, not just work. To achieve what we are really looking for when…
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Improve Your Success By Losing Resources

Improvement
For centuries stories have circulated of blind people with incredible hearing and smell. Japanese legends are filled with tales of blind ninja and it is a common myth that when you lose one sense the others grow to compensate. This is not true, but it can appear to be. The truth is that people with five senses split their attention between all five senses. When that attention is split between four senses you notice things from them that you missed before. The information is always there, but you are unaware of it. You can use this same technique to improve your skills by getting rid of a resource that you depend on. If you have a task that you do on a regular basis, try doing it without the main…
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It’s Time For A Spring Cleaning

Attitude and Mindset
It's that time of year again. Time for a spring cleaning. Instead of just cleaning the house, use the opportunity to freshen up your business and your life. Here are some suggestions: Literally clean: Give your office a good cleaning. Go through your files and see which of them can be archived and relegated to a back cabinet or offsite archive. Are the items you use on a regular basis close by? Reorganize your desk and office to make better use of the space. Examine your procedures: How many processes are you following just because that’s the way you’ve al;ways done it? Take a good look at what you’re doing and determine if there is waste. Clean your computer: Check for viruses and malware, make sure your backup is working (if…
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