The Real Reason You Don’t Focus on What’s Important

Bruce Lee said, “The successful warrior is the average man, but with laser-like focus.” What he should have added is, laser-like focus on what’s important. Because, it’s not enough to just know what actions are most important. We need discipline and systems to not get caught up in things that are urgent and demanding immediate attention, but aren’t important in the long term. Like one of my CEO clients who ran a real estate development firm and was having conversations […]

How I’m Breaking My Emotional Addiction

Standing at the crowded coffee bar, I waited patiently to catch the attention of the server frantically busy filling orders. A tall German woman strode up next to me and, with no hesitation, called out her order for two cappuccinos. I looked at her, incredulous, feeling the urge to slap her arm and say: “Are you serious?! Do you not see the rest of us waiting here?” The thing is, I wasn’t in New York, where a moment of indignant […]

Are You Working Hard Enough?

Hard work: it’s the secret to success, we’re told from an early age — by our parents, society and pretty much every person who achieves notable success.   But what exactly is “working hard” and how do we know if we’re working hard enough?    Good question. We’re not really taught any nuance around what constitutes “hard work.” And because work in today’s world isn’t linear and we don’t get immediate feedback after each task letting us know that we’re on the path to success — “you just took three steps toward getting that new client/industry recognition/championship win!” — we use proxies like time (working […]

The Real Secret to Work-Life Balance

“I’m home!” When I was growing up in Iowa, my dad, an engineer at John Deere, came home every night, like clockwork, at 5:00 pm. We’d all sit down as a family to (a home-cooked) meal and talk about what we did that day. In the summer time, we’d go to the park after dinner and play tennis until dark. There was no sitting down to the computer after dinner to do a little more work or checking email on […]

What Makes A Great Manager: Productivity Not Politics [Work Reimagined]

If you’ve ever worked at a company, this will come as no surprise: bad managers abound. In fact, a 2012 Gallup poll determined that only one in ten managers possess the traits necessary to be great. So what does it take? In the fourth installment of a five-part series for Life Reimagined, I explain how great managers focus on productivity, not politics. Mary, a millennial at the beginning of her career, was the antithesis of a high performer, delivering work that was careless and inaccurate, […]

Escape the Do-Everything-Yourself Trap [Work Reimagined]

So much to do and never enough time. You’re already juggling multiple roles and there’s no way you can get more done. Well, actually there is: delegate. If you didn’t consider that, it’s not surprising: Despite being one of the best ways to create a team and organization, delegation remains one of the most underutilized and underdeveloped management skills. A 2007 time management study conducted by the Institute of Corporate Productivity showed that 46% of 332 polled companies—nearly half–have a […]

Juggling Lessons for Entrepreneurs [Work Reimagined]

Covering multiple jobs is the most difficult aspect of owning a business said 53% of those polled in a recent eVoice survey; nearly half said they juggle three or four roles. Unlike corporate employees, who often specialize in a particular skill set, a business owner needs the versatility to toggle among a wide range of tasks every day — from head of sales to bookkeeper, from chief marketing officer to receptionist. Wearing different hats doesn’t have to be stressful and […]

Five Strategies for Staying Mindful on “Social”

Ever noticed how dogs behave when they’re taken for a walk — easily distracted, stopping to sniff and/or chase everything along the way, the smellier the better? That’s our minds on social media. As I mentioned in my previous post, Are You Missing Out?, there’s no question that social media has created exciting opportunities for us to connect, stay informed and build community. At the same time, it’s being integrated into our lives so insidiously seamlessly that most of us haven’t […]

Yes or Yes: How to Make Fewer Decisions

A married couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age. The husband responded, “When we were first married we came to an agreement – I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. And now, after 60 years of marriage, I can truthfully say that we have never needed to make a MAJOR decision. […]

10 Tough-Love Rules For Writing Compelling Email

Crazy, isn’t it, how much of our work revolves around email these days. As the sheer volume has increased, the cumulative effect of unnecessary back-and-forth is keeping us chained to our inboxes. Time to step up your email game Not only is tightening up your email communications a surefire way to increase your productivity, becoming known as someone who writes clear and concise email is a quick way to stand out from the crowd which means people will be more […]