The Latest from our Blog

Reach Out With Your Thanks

Reach Out With Your Thanks

Ten years ago, I was at my annual physical.  My family doctor was chatting with me while leaning in to listen to my heart.  She placed the stethoscope, stopped talking, looked completely startled, looked up at me, and said, “They can fix it!”

Learning Is the Journey

Learning Is the Journey

I am delighted that Elizabeth Teliz-McQuarrie invited me to speak at the “X-Factor Leadership Summit” on November 17th.

Consider the More Cosmic View of the Problem

Consider the More Cosmic View of the Problem

My client was struggling with a significant decision. The key question was a choice between A and B. Should we keep adding new features and fixing the base system that has significant technical debt or invest in a new design and build a clean system?

Are You The Pinball Or The Flippers?

Are You The Pinball Or The Flippers?

Take this self assessment to discover how well you are using your time and find out ways you can improve. Reach out to get a copy of my 1-page “Own Your Time process.”

A New River Every Day

A New River Every Day

The secret ingredient of creating great projects is not looking to the the past you saw before. Instead, focus on creating the future you want to see.

Little Things Make A Big Difference

Little Things Make A Big Difference

John Wooden had many of the best high school players in the country join his program at UCLA. The first thing he did was teach them how to put on their socks and shoes.

Time is a Predator

Time is a Predator

The team I was coaching was behind schedule. The good news was that this was an exceptional team, and as such, they knew exactly why.

Find Renewed Energy in the Pause

Find Renewed Energy in the Pause

This time of year can be a natural time for my clients to take a pause and look ahead. The following are three of the steps my best clients are taking with me…

That Moneyball Moment

That Moneyball Moment

“When used correctly, data is not the enemy of Intuitive Creative Thinkers; it is a powerful friend.” ― Leena Patel

Really Busy? Pause and Have Fun!

Really Busy? Pause and Have Fun!

Last week was one of those weeks. One of those weeks where there were lots of work things demanding my attention, and well, COVID-19 world-wide stress.

How to Avoid Planning Traps and “Plan Paralysis”

How to Avoid Planning Traps and “Plan Paralysis”

Some people I have been working with lately have found themselves in planning traps. The symptom these traps have in common is often “plan paralysis”. In spite of the fact that they are unable to make plans, they are often still starting to work on things.

Lead from Your Sweet Spot

Lead from Your Sweet Spot

On a tennis racquet, there is a miraculous zone known as the sweet spot. If you connect with a ball on the sweet spot of the racquet, you are almost unaware of the impact and effort involved.

Ideas are Like Seeds

Ideas are Like Seeds

I learned a lot from farming and I still do. In fact, business, in general, learns a lot from farming as the words permeate much of the business language.

Drive Up Courage

Drive Up Courage

In my coaching of all levels of leadership and of individual contributors, I find a common trait. Everyone seems to have some fear about speaking out in public.

Secrets to Attracting and Growing Evergreen Talent

Secrets to Attracting and Growing Evergreen Talent

I was on another adventure hike with my son, and I noticed that on one side of the gorge, the trees were almost exclusively evergreens while the other side there were predominantly broad-leafed deciduous trees.

Remember to Walk the Virtual Hallways

Remember to Walk the Virtual Hallways

Many leaders are noting to me that they are missing the hallway conversations, the encounters at the snack counter, the discussions over an informal cup of coffee.

Keys to Running Through the Mud

Keys to Running Through the Mud

Talking to many of my clients, I find that they share similar stories. They feel blessed that we have careers that have enabled us to keep our jobs even in the midst of a pandemic.

The 100-Year View

The 100-Year View

"A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives a chance, an opportunity, to choose well or to choose badly."— Desmond Tutu While going through some of my storage shelves, I re-discovered a bin of newspaper clippings I had received from my mother...

Amp Up Your Remote Meetings

Amp Up Your Remote Meetings

I have written before about drummers and how crucial they are in setting the pace for band performances.Meetings are the drumline of an organization. They set the beat.

Preparation Is Key for Speed to Value

Preparation Is Key for Speed to Value

There are phrases I have heard from leaders quite often in recent years. Leaders ask teams to “be more agile” or “to take more risks”.

Learn, Rinse, Repeat

Learn, Rinse, Repeat

This February 2nd was Groundhog Day. The day always reminds me of the movie of the same name which is one of my favorites.

Create Inspiring Road Trips

Create Inspiring Road Trips

Have you ever seen a sign that says “Buffalo Crossing” and then actually seen buffalo crossing the road?

Create Feedback Loops that Lead to Improved Results

Create Feedback Loops that Lead to Improved Results

For fun, my wife and I had signed up for a month-long exercise challenge series. In general, it was well set up. The exercises came with accommodations for different ages and levels of fitness. However, this challenge of the day showed a complete lack of perspective.

Improve Your Intake Engine

Vroom Into the New Year

Now is the time to get started in the world of work again, and you want to get started fast!

Thanksgiving to Those That Came Before Us

Thanksgiving to Those That Came Before Us

I grew up on a farm that has been in the family for nearly 200 years. Having been in the family for so long, the farmhouse is a treasure trove of pictures and documents.

A Lesson, When In Doubt, Seek Input

A Lesson, When In Doubt, Seek Input

I’m going to be partnering with one of the leading nonprofit organizations in project management in a new initiative to develop online course offerings. The opportunity is exciting. But the question is, what should I build first? To answer this, I am seeking your input.

The Big Ideas Summit

The Big Ideas Summit

I had the extraordinary experience last week of finding myself on “higher ground.” I had a better view of the value-based consulting I have been doing. More importantly, from this higher vantage point, I was able to visualize better how I can make more positive impacts in the years to come.

Details Make the Big Picture Real

Details Make the Big Picture Real

I recently lead a three-day workshop where the key purpose was to define a new direction for a large organization. The energy level was high, yet there was something missing.

BOLD

BOLD

I really enjoyed Alex Goldfayn’s book about growing “confidence, happiness, and sales”. The focus is on sales, but the lessons are great for any leader.

Rest Fuels Speed

Rest Fuels Speed

We sat on a Cape Cod beach for hours last Friday night. I found myself completely relaxed enjoying a marvelous sunset.

Four Starting Points for Thought Leadership

Learn to Cherish the Tough Spots

There are times of the year when our walks inevitably encounter deep, unavoidable mud. That mud used to ruin the mood of my walk.

The Best Time to Plant a Tree is 20 Years Ago

The Best Time to Plant a Tree is 20 Years Ago

"When a seed is sown into the ground, you cannot immediately see the plant."— Mamata BanerjeeI was startled on our walk this evening. I was taken aback by how tall the trees on our playground have grown. They are well over 60 feet tall. When they were planted there...

Reading the Weather While Leading

Reading the Weather While Leading

It is always fascinating to find wisdom in places that are unexpected. I opened this unexpected find right to the quote that begins this weeks letter.

Overcoming Overwhelm: Choose Inches Or Miles

Overcoming Overwhelm: Choose Inches Or Miles

In the past few weeks, I have spoken with several different leaders who are feeling overwhelmed. It’s easy to get to a place where you start work on one item only to feel a bit (or a lot) stressed about the other dozen things you are not doing.

How to Create Valuable Measures

How to Create Valuable Measures

The waterfall was spectacular. The sound of the water was powerful as it rushed its way over multiple barriers to its destination in the lake.

Under Pressure?

Under Pressure?

I have a folder on my computer labeled “engineering disasters”.
I add to it anytime I see articles about problems that resulted from engineering failures.

Fear Not the Deadline

Fear Not the Deadline

There is a certain level of anxiety that bubbles up for people when they set deadlines for a project. For a number of clients, I see their anxiety turn into fear…

To Pursue Personal Excellence, Start with a Focus on Value

Clearly Visible Goals Ensure No One Gets Lost

I was running in a city I had not been in before. There was a complex maze of neighborhood streets. However, I found that no matter how many turns I took, I wasn’t disoriented. I could quickly get my bearings, thanks to a singular tree.

Commitment Requires Collaboration

Commitment Requires Collaboration

I have seen senior leaders wishing that teams had more commitment to the senior leaders’ objectives. I have seen senior leaders wishing that teams had more commitment to the senior leaders’ objectives and…

It Takes Focused Time To Move Things A Mile

Speed Happens Before the Starting Line

It seems obvious when someone wins an elite level road race that substantial preparation happened before the athlete stepped to the start line. There was preparation by the athlete and also by the race directors.

Changing the Game Attracts Attention

Changing the Game Attracts Attention

I am working with three different clients on three different initiatives. They are all unique and yet they have one big thing in common. They are all challenging the status quo of how things are done in a fundamental way. They are reaching for a higher bar of excellence.

It Looks Fine from Here

It Looks Fine from Here

Many of the companies I have worked with are pushing constantly for fast turn-around. Sometimes the engineers make comprises to the design and subsequent quality of the product to get it turned around quickly.

Focus and Creativity

Focus and Creativity

Respect the stop sign when you see it on my office door. I taught that to my kids at a young age. Why do I find it so important?
When it comes to creative work, there is a high need for interrupt-free time. The ability to shut out the outside world allows one to get into the flow.

Fast Sometimes Looks Slow. Look Closer.

Fast Sometimes Looks Slow. Look Closer.

The way in which this improvement was accomplished was also the best for the people and cars. Instead of an install over months that would have been a tremendous inconvenience for everyone traveling that way, there was just one afternoon of detours.

The Power and Problem of Achieving Your Biggest Goals

The Power and Problem of Achieving Your Biggest Goals

Three different clients of mine achieved their most powerful goals this past week. For two of them, the big achievement was followed by a big emotional letdown. It was not at all how they had expected to feel.

It Takes Focused Time To Move Things A Mile

Sweat Faster!

It is not the amount of sweat as much as it is “sweating the right way” – in the way to pick up speed.

Keys to Getting Trusted Critics

Keys to Getting Trusted Critics

When creating something new, whether it be a book, a new marketing campaign, or a new software system, many people have a tendency to want to do it “all by themselves”.

Define the Finish Line

Define the Finish Line

Have you noticed that in running races, sometimes people look quite exhausted and then when they see the finish line they go faster?

It Takes Focused Time To Move Things A Mile

2019 is Hereby Deemed the Year of Speed

Once a quarter, I publish a special quarterly edition which as you’ll see is a little longer and has different content than the weekly newsletters. This quarter’s edition announces The Year of Speed!

Within the Rush, Find the Joy

Within the Rush, Find the Joy

I am always amazed about how busy this time of year is!

There is a rush to finish the business year well. At the same time, there is an emphasis on family togetherness and taking stock of personal achievements.

It can be difficult to find time to focus on joy.

Correlation

Correlation

It is a bit embarrassing for me to admit, but I really did think it would be easy. It turns out running races actually does take training.

The 2019 Starting Line

The 2019 Starting Line

My family and I are looking forward to a very busy month of December. There is much work to be done and much fun to be had. It seems that the calendar year always ends with a dash towards a virtual finish line.

Is It Time To Add Another Point?

Is It Time To Add Another Point?

I was using a phone app to measure an awkward shape. The app chided me to add a point. It needed new data to be able to better understand the task it was being asked to do.

Thankful

Thankful

This time of year can be an intensely busy time. We feel our attention pulled in many directions. Taking time to refresh our perspectives can be a useful tool in accomplishing what is important.

Exceptional Leaders Build Consensus To Get

Exceptional Leaders Build Consensus To Get

When I vote today, I know that I am voting for people. I am seeking to vote for people that will work to build each level of our government towards a common goal and a common good.

The Art of Getting Lost

The Art of Getting Lost

On your trip down new roads, embrace the sensation of feeling a bit lost. You will return home with new perspectives and new ideas.

Giving a Concise Gift

Giving a Concise Gift

Attending a recent painfully meandering meeting brought to mind the need to revisit the beauty of brevity.

Make Shiny New Tools USEFUL!

Make Shiny New Tools USEFUL!

“Ahhhhh,” I happily sighed. New running shoes are such a delight for me and these fit just right. They are light and felt fast in my test run in the store.

Fleeting Delights

Fleeting Delights

It was startling, unexpected, and… great. I was rushing from one place to another thinking of the far too many things I had to accomplish.
I heard a “wooossshh.”

Making the Leap

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

The Reader’s Edge

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

Do You Need a Win?

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

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