The Power of the Narrative

People remember stories. One of the best ways for people to relate to you is to tell a story. My favorite stories tend to be of situations where everything goes wrong, but it all comes out right in the end because of the team. Yes, business is about facts and figures, but people get bored with presentations of data and information. But what does bring them together is the narrative. [Read more…]

Managing Someone Difficult

I got a question as to how to handle the following situation: you will now start managing a former peer that you haven’t been impressed with.  Managing difficult people is the hardest job there is, bar none. As a manager, you want to be respected, effective, and liked. But sometimes you get a person who is either 1) threatened by you, 2) wanting to sabotage you, or 3) just plain doesn’t like you. What to do?

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Being the Deputy

There is an interesting article in the WSJ called “How to be the Best Deputy – When Second is Best”. Having been a chief of staff, chief operating officer many times in my career, being number two is something I’ve really enjoyed.  In the article, they talk about the do’s and don’ts: “take satisfaction in behind the scene wins”, “protect the boss from unnecessary surprises” as dos….don’ts include competing with the boss, expecting glory.  What have I learned?

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Lesson Learned Number 1

It’s been interesting reading about the Wells Fargo situation…which made me think about my lesson learned: Be maniacal about doing the right thing.   So obvious right? But clearly, very smart, very dedicated people still take a wrong turn. How does it happen? My observations…. [Read more…]

What You Tell Yourself

I once went to this amazing leadership course where we did this one exercise where we were told to shout negative things to a person standing with their arms out: “You’re dumb!”, “You can’t do anything right!”, “You can’t win!”  The instructor went over to him and pushed his arms down easily.

We then shouted positive things to the person: “You’re great!”, “You’re the best!”, “You can do anything!”, and when the instructor tried to push his arms down, he couldn’t. The person was able to resist. Seriously.

So here are some things to say to yourself depending on the circumstance: [Read more…]

Warning Signs

When people are in the process of vetting a new role, sometimes it gets worse, not better as the process goes on. Yes, it’s great when you only get more and more excited about the new job. But sometimes, you start getting warning signals….which conflict with the appeal of a higher salary, promises, and the “new shiny” thing high. Here are some warning signs you should pay attention to: [Read more…]

Getting Promoted

Lots of people ask me about this…sometimes it seems like there’s a rule book that everyone knows about but you. I’ve talked about the 3 Ps: Performance, Platform, and Perception as being key for promotion, but here’s some lessons learned about how to navigate this tricky space.

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