Thursday, December 27, 2012

What Will Be Different About 2013?

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent Van Gogh 

With the New Year in sight, Van Gogh’s quote opens the door to possibility. What would be a breakthrough for you in 2013? In other words, what would you like to accomplish, such that, once it’s done, your future will be changed forever.

Sounds impossible?  I say no. When the Wright Brothers had their first successful flight, the future of transportation was altered forever. The event that changes in your life does

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Letter To the President

As a result of the continued violence in the US, I am taking a stand for the safety of every man, woman and child. In a nation where we may have taken certain liberties for granted, there is one right that has not been considered. That is the right to feel emotionally protected. The person who could make this liberty a reality is the President of the United States. Below is a letter I have written to encourage him to join me in my stand.

Dear Mr. President,

In the US, we have a constitution that protects our freedom of speech, religion, press, etc. Furthermore, we have a military that is unmatched and protects us from outside threats. Yet, the greatest threat reoccurs from inside this great nation. And a critical step to end this disaster is to

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do We Need a New Understanding of Human Rights?

In a nation where some people put greater value on the lives of pets than that of humans, it is time to rethink what it means to be humane to another human being. While I agree, it is inhumane to abuse animals. Our society, however, has become a travesty because of the insensitive attitude towards one another. Some of us seem to be less concerned about abuse to humans. And this is a violation of our human right to be emotionally safe.

We the people believe we are protected because we have a military, police force and a prison system. Yet, there is no code of ethics when it comes to the

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Dilemma of Managing Top Talent

In Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, he underlines the importance of having the right people on the bus. With the wrong people in your organization, the best strategy can fail. At the same time, when the right people are high performers, they can present a dilemma.

As a rule, top performers are full of ideas, energy and the willingness to implement their ideas. While this sounds great, sometimes they can

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Do You Recognize and Maximize Talent?

When we think of Albert Einstein, we think of genius. If he were alive today, would he be perceived as a genius? Or would he be seen as a nuisance?

During the space race of the 1950s & 60s, tremendous talent was developed in math, science and computers in the US. Perhaps much of that talent was influenced by Einstein’s achievements of the ‘30s & ‘40s. Furthermore, after we won the space race, that same talent was effectively utilized in companies like AT&T, IBM and Ford. Those same brilliantly talented people were allowed to experiment with a wide range of technology like laser, wireless and automobile design.

However, in today’s environment, the mantra is

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who Is In Charge Of Your Life?

Too often we believe that a title gives us permission to be a leader. Those of us without the title wait for instructions from the anointed one. And then we wait for his or her blessings to be bestowed upon us for doing a good job.

From another perspective, is there a reason each of us does not wake up in the morning knowing we are the leaders of our lives and reputations. To do that, requires a vision. Without a vision, we go through life

Friday, November 23, 2012

Do You Know How to Break Free From Your Limitations?

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

The only way we learn the limits of what’s possible is through education. Our first education occurs at home. There we receive our first lessons on what can and cannot be done. We are even taught what makes us happy and sad. We are not, however, taught to openly explore. We explore within the confines of what we are given as the facts of life.

As we get older, we go to school and learn to

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Organized Are Your Efforts?

When most people think of organized efforts, they think clean desks and clear minds combined with adequate amounts of knowledge. Once in place, the person creates a plan and proceeds with sequential steps until they arrive at the final objective. While there is merit to this approach, there is no guarantee of success. More importantly, pursuing the goal alone may require more effort than is necessary. 

A clean desk only means there is no clutter on the desk. A clear mind does not promise successful action, even though it may be in a great state to receive valuable information. Furthermore, the idea of knowledge being

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another Executive Casualty

On November 9th, Christopher Kubasik was asked to resign by the CEO and board of directors. Before that, he was the president and COO of Lockheed Martin and soon to be CEO. However, he was investigated for an alleged affair with a subordinate. When the accusation was proven to be true, his hopes of becoming CEO in January 2013 disappeared.

Kubasik joins a list of top executives from Fortune 500 corporations who have lost their jobs because of inappropriate relationships with subordinates or vendors. On one hand, this debacle seems to be a growing trend. At the same time, if you dig deeper, you may find that this behavior

Friday, November 9, 2012

Can You Command the Attention of the World?

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” – George Washington Carver 

While many of us desire to create the next Google or Apple, there are many possibilities for extraordinary right in front of us. Those possibilities exist in the common everyday way of doing things. Through imagination, we can create a more effective way to do the ordinary.

On a daily basis, each of us does one common thing in a way that would solve problems for masses of people. Our uncommon way of doing everyday tasks can make a world of difference to others.

However, we take

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Are You Hiring War Heroes?

The CEO of the NYSE invited me to attend an event on hiring veterans of the military. The event exceeded my expectations. I left with a new perspective on why people who serve in the military make great employees.

Duncan Niedererauer, CEO of the NYSE, empowered his organization to create an initiative that assertively seeks veterans to join the NYSE as interns and employees. Thus far, their efforts have been successful.

Duncan’s commitment now reaches beyond the NYSE. On November 5th, they

Friday, November 2, 2012

If You Had the Power of a Cyclone, What Would Be Possible?

"The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person." Norman Vincent Peale

A cyclone creates chaos and so does life. When most people are in chaos, they try to fix what is out of control. It is that learned behavior that drives us to attempt to control our environment. However, control is a myth.

Like the cyclone, the power we possess cannot be found by fixing what is out of order. The power can be found by centering ourselves. We do that by getting

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Citigroup Coup?

From reports in the media, Citigroup’s CEO was ousted by the Chairman. From statements like “unnamed sources” at Citigroup to inferences about the Chairman’s relations with the incoming CEO, the situation has been made to sound like conspiracy.

Until October 15th, Vikram Pandit was the CEO of Citigroup. It is said that Michael O’Neill, Chairman at Citigroup, called Mr. Pandit into his office. O’Neill is said to have given Pandit three options:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jonathan Winters Says Don't Wait For the Right Moment to Be Successful

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it!” – Jonathan Winters 

There is always opportunity. It may, however, require more effort than you anticipated. Think of the times you had an incredible drive to accomplish something. During those times, when your desire was strong, it never mattered what others thought of your process to obtain it. You did what it took and fulfilled your goals.

When you have clear, organized thoughts about what you want to achieve combined with a powerful intention, it is very difficult for you to

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When Once Is Not Enough

One mantra of many highly committed people is: once is not enough. In fact, when they have produced an extraordinary result, they are already planning the next accomplishment before the first is completed. They are driven by successful outcomes.

They are people who are often looking for a better way to do things. They sometimes solve a problem that no one ever thought was a problem. However, this is not to be confused with more, better or different. Nor should you mistake them for perfectionists.

The perfectionist is

Friday, October 19, 2012

Andrew Carnegie's eye opening quotes on becoming successful

“The men who have succeeded are men who have chosen one line and stuck to it.” – Andrew Carnegie

How often have you been told: don’t put all your eggs in one basket? Most of us have been taught this philosophy since childhood. As a result, we pursue investments, career and romantic relationships with the belief that we should always have a backup plan. Unknowingly, this results in valuable time focused on

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Power of Partnership

We’ve all heard the saying: no man is an island. Yet, a select few, including myself, persist with the contrasting philosophy of being an island. Napoleon Hill, on the other hand, speaks explicitly about the power of 2 or more minds committed to a definite purpose. Hill called this coming together of people a mastermind.

Hill says that to accomplish anything great, 2 or more people must put their minds together. He compares it to the natural elements. When you mix hydrogen and oxygen in the correct proportion, you get water. While both elements are important, neither can create water on it’s own. He said the ideal number in a mastermind is 6-7 people. Depending on the size of the goal, 12-13 can be perfect.

He further explains that when a man and woman come together for a definite purpose,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wallace Stevens quotes on what the world depends on

“After the final no there comes a yes.  It is on that yes that the future of the world depends.” Wallace Stevens 

Getting beyond the final no is what drives successful endeavors. Whether it is a negotiation, invention, sale or marriage proposal.

The word or indications of no can only mean your approach was not a match for the outcome. You either asked the wrong way, which means there is another way to ask, or your approach was missing something. You will have to intelligently pursue until your request matches what the other parties need to hear. If it is a process, you may have to

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Only Way Out Is In

One of the elements in our human paradigm is the desire to be right about our point of view. Although being right feels good, it is not innate. We inherited the desire from our parents. They rewarded us for giving right answers. When we reached school, our teachers reinforced that same philosophy; we were rewarded with A’s for giving right answers and coloring between the lines.

While the feeling of being right is euphoric for some, there are others who gain attention and recognition by being a rebel. That can take the form of being the class clown to being the delinquent. In either case, each person takes the position that their way is right – funny, smart, delinquent, etc.

However, at some point, being right

Friday, October 5, 2012

Woody Allen Quotes On Why You Should Not Be Afraid To Fail

“If you are not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re playing it safe.”
Woody Allen 

For most of us, failure is something to avoid. Why? It makes us look bad. In some cases, we believe it makes us look incompetent.

Yet, when we go to the gym and lift weights, it is common to

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Managing Up: When You Need Buy-In From the Boss

I was invited to speak about innovation by an organization called Execunet. The webinar took place last Tuesday and it was called Transforming Chaos Into Innovation. Many of the callers asked questions about creating alignment as a way to eliminate or reduce chaos.

What I found interesting was there were an equal amount of questions about gaining alignment from

Friday, September 28, 2012

What's the Problem With Problems?

The problem is not there are problems.  The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.  Theodore Rubin

A problem is not a problem until you call it a problem. Before that, it is an occurrence or simply something that happened. Expecting all occurrences to be void of breakdowns/problems is a formula for disappointment.

From another perspective, think of the times you felt you were

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Never Waste a Good Crisis

When we think of crisis, it conjures up thoughts of instability, danger and abruptness. We are trained to avoid those kinds of situations. Furthermore, when they occur, we seek the scapegoat in order to blame them for our discomfort.

Yet, in retrospect, a crisis can bring out the best in us when there is a clear goal to be achieved. And it often serves to develop us for the better both personally and professionally. In some cases, it brings us closer to the people around us.

If a crisis can serve our best interest, why does the word have such a negative connotation? I am going to ask you to consider crisis from an empowering perspective. 

When we become complacent, a crisis can be

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Search of Predictability

If you listen to the emerging trends in Corporate America, you will hear conversations about the importance of reading enormous amounts of data. The current belief is that there is so much data that more people in the organization will need to develop skills to analyze it. Currently, those skills have belonged to people in the IT department. However, there are individuals in other business units that may be able to combine their knowledge of customers with the ability to assess data.

On the surface, this seems like a logical step. In the age of knowledge workers, businesses should better utilize the intellectual capital of human capital. This would seem to help leadership better understand and predict customer behavior. As a result, strategy becomes much more clear and predictable.

From another perspective, if companies stop at developing skills to analyze data, it will be the catalyst for

Friday, September 14, 2012

Voltaire Quotes On Why You Can't Get Lucky

"Chance is a word that does not make sense. Nothing happens without a cause." Voltaire

Whether you call it chance, luck or being in the right place at the right time, you are simply talking about myths. Not one of those words is ever a factor in high performance. Too often, people attribute luck to extraordinary success.  

In fact, the Monday morning quarterback can give you rational explanations for how things happen in sports, business or life in general. However, they never give you

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What’s More Important Than Shareholder Value?

For decades, CEOs and boards have had an incessant focus on maximizing shareholder value. However, in a number of recent articles, many pundits have articulated the undermining effect of increasing shareholder value. They now say that it sacrifices long-term value creation for customers. While there are an exhausting number of eloquent discussions about the disasters of focusing on shareholders, no one has clearly stated what CEOs’ primary focus should be. 

As the Chairman of an organization that brings together former CEOs of Fortunes 1000s with current CEOs of midsize companies, I am in a position to engage both sides of the table – the younger and more mature. One of the consistent comments I hear from former CEOs is that the number one job of a CEO is to

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What Do You Learn From Your Mistakes?

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” – John C. Maxwell

The mistakes we make can be a great way to learn. However, if we blame others for our mistakes, we are more likely to repeat them over and over.

Admitting our mistakes is a powerful way of taking responsibility for our lives. Reflecting on what we learned is a great way to develop ourselves and to become better contributors to society.  When we can correct and clean up those mistakes, we not only

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jack Nichols quote on listening long enough

“Every person I work with knows something better than me.  My job is to listen long enough to find it and use it.” – Jack Nichols

Listening is the gift to speaking. One of the greatest sensations is being heard and understood by another human being. It provides us with a sense of value and freedom to express ourselves. On the other hand, when someone pigeon holes us, we feel impeded and minimized.

You may know more than the person speaking to you. Regardless, you don’t

Monday, August 20, 2012

When Does Happiness Happen?

Happiness is that unrelenting joy, the undeniable Duchenne smile or an incredible peace of mind. Except, what is it that really makes us happy? Chocolate can raise endocrine levels and the idea of vacation time offers relaxation. However, they cannot define the intangible idea that we call happiness. In fact, if you’re asked to show someone happiness, you cannot. Why? It doesn’t exist. At least, it does not exist because of what we find inside or outside of ourselves.

From day one, we’ve carried around

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Michael Pritchard's quote on fear

"Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed." Michael Pritchard

In the dark corners of our minds, we create lasting pieces of fear, impeding success. Oftentimes, we fear what we know about ourselves. We make presuppositions about what could happen and when we want to accomplish something new, we predetermine our limits.

Our past assesses what we do well and what we can’t do. We make assumptions without

Monday, August 13, 2012

Has Facebook Lost Face?

What happened? Since the advent of Facebook’s $38-per-share price, the stock has done nothing but drop. Was it the investment bankers overwhelming the company, NASDAQ computers malfunctioning and not postponing, overvaluation of Facebook’s claim to an IPO, or simply arrogance and inexperience?

While all of the factors listed contributed to Facebook’s underperforming stock price, Mark Zuckerberg held the final decision. In the world of IPOs, his tech savvy was

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mandela's quote on hidden greatness

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who

Monday, August 6, 2012

Is It Possible To Shed Your Deepest Fears?

Look carefully into the future, and you will clearly see what’s there: Nothing! Even if you look at tomorrow, the future is empty waiting to be filled. Oftentimes though, you and I immerse the future with our past. Tomorrow therefore, appears no different than yesterday. Hence, the sayings like: same thing different day. 

If you cleaned up your past to give you the freedom to enter tomorrow with nothing, what would you be able to

Monday, July 30, 2012

Should You Hire an Executive Coach?

While not everyone is interested in becoming CEO, career growth is important. In fact, many large organizations have their own training and development curriculums. These programs enable people to become better problem solvers, managers, and project managers.

Oftentimes however, company training lacks crucial

Friday, July 27, 2012

Quote: Rudyard Kipling Says Great Leaders Are Like Alpha Wolves

“For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” – Rudyard Kipling

Titans throughout understand this concept. Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates. Each of them surrounded himself with effective and powerful people. Without their companions, they would be nothing.

Rockefeller once hired

Monday, July 23, 2012

Do You Have It All Backwards?

As people, we strive for success, whether it be through career, lifestyle, relationships, etc. We claim that once we have the right job, spouse, car, clothes, etc., we will be able to do the things we really want, and eventually become the person we’ve always wanted to be. This strategy however, is not only backwards looking: it will require more years than most will ever live to accomplish it.

Instead, consider the phrase “Be, Do, Have.” Before anything, decide whom you want to be known as: Successful? Trustworthy? Responsible? Kind? Only then will you be able to focus your

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quote: How Do You Gain Wisdom?

A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether. – Roy Williams

What a concept. It’s great when the wise seek advice from the intelligent. Unfortunately, most of us today believe we have nothing in common with the past generation.

Back in the day, youths gathered around the elders to gain insight and knowledge. Now however, many younger people pontificate

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Quote from Andrew Carnegie on: Devoting 100% of your capabilities


The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%. – Andrew Carnegie

To be 100% devoted requires more than finishing everything on a to do list. True, these lists can be loaded. For some though, it may be nothing more than “busy work”. Without 100% of your effort, it could build nothing more than a reputation for looking good.

Those truly devoted will do whatever it takes to fulfill their goal. Before action is taken however, it must be preceded by

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is Microsoft a Death Waiting To Happen?

Has Microsoft Become a Dinosaur?

In the August edition of a Vanity Fair article, it describes how Microsoft has implemented a poisonous management strategy. The author of the article, Kurt Eichenwald, interviewed many current and former employees of Microsoft. Everyone he interviewed commented on a management system called “stack ranking” being destructive to Microsoft’s ability to innovate.

Stack ranking requires every business unit to

Friday, June 29, 2012

What Kind of Determination Do You Have?

“An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”
 Dr. Thomas Fuller  (1608-1661); Clergyman, Writer

Determination is the dedication to purpose, will, or intention. Thomas Edison made 10,000 attempts to make a functional light bulb. Though many considered his persistence ludicrous, if he had quit after the 10,000th endeavor, we would be living in a different world today. 

While Edison possessed invincible determination, he did not

Monday, June 25, 2012

Are You Really a Great Listener?

What Makes Great Listeners?

In a Harvard Business Review article, Ram Charan wrote a piece called The Discipline of Listening. In the article, he provided effective techniques to ensure good listening and emphasized the cost of being unaware. What he left out though, was the source of poor listening.

We are taught to make eye contact with the person speaking to us. We are even taught to lean towards the speaker to assure them we are listening. Nonetheless, when there are two people in a conversation, there are at least

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quote From the Budda On How We Create the World

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world." – Buddha

If who we are reflects what we think, what influences our thoughts? If our environment shapes what we think and what we call reality, we are a product of our thoughts that were shaped by that environment. Therefore, if we were raised in a different environment, we would not be the same people today.

If that’s true, people have very little to do with how they think and who they are. Thus, the limitations in each person’s life are directly related to the environment in which he/she developed.

Nonetheless, these restrictions are not

Monday, June 18, 2012

What Separates Great Decision Makers From Poor Ones?

How To Become a More Effective Decision Maker

In today’s competitive job market, you need to distinguish yourself from others. When you add the information overload from the Internet, effective decision-making becomes a huge asset to your list of competencies.

Whether you are a corporate executive, an entrepreneur, or an employee, the ability to make great decisions will make you stand out as a valuable resource. When many businesses have the option to outsource, it becomes important to realize that you are always competing for your job with people around the world. Outsourcing however, cannot replace leaders, innovators, and effective decision makers.

There are many ways to make better decisions, this article will focus on four. The first is to become an

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quote: Thomas Fuller, M.D. on Wisdom

“Wisdom rises upon the ruins of folly.” – Thomas Fuller, M.D.

Folly is defined as thoughtlessness, recklessness, thoughtless, or reckless behavior. It is also synonymous with foolishness. Wisdom, however, is less about recklessness and more about clarity of what we really want from life.

Without understanding that, there are no

Monday, June 11, 2012

What The World Needs Now...

Dionne Warwick said “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” For sure, we could never have enough of that. Perhaps that is what we need first. However, without responsibility, we could have the 1960s again. In that era, there was lots of loving without responsibility. Thus, what the world needs now is a new relationship to responsibility.

To help people better understand responsibility, I have outlined possibilities for a world from my perspective. It is a perspective that is neither right nor wrong. It is a world where we are responsible for what we think, say, and how we engage one another.

What the world needs now is a

Friday, June 8, 2012

What We Learn Can Create Disorder


"When we stop learning and merely act from the knowledge we have accumulated, disorder comes." -- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Since we never stop learning, we can choose to learn from the new or the old. We often draw from past experience to ascertain occurrences in the present. In no way is it wrong. At the same time, it has limits and we should not be restricted to using the past to understand the future. If we do, it is a sure way to repeat the past.

From the quote, the disorder that ensues is a result of doing

Monday, June 4, 2012

Make It Up From Nothing

When I say make it up from nothing, I do not mean to do things in a willy-nilly sort of way. To what I am referring is a state of mind or a place to think from. In fact, I am asserting that there is a good chance that most inventions that have had a profound impact on civilization have been created from nothing. The thought is that if you have nothing, you can create anything. If you have something, you will use what you have as a starting point. You will then be constrained by what you have. The challenge is getting to nothing. 

To get to nothing, I am suggesting that you have to think nothing. That means

Friday, June 1, 2012

Margaret Wheatley On Creativity

“The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary source of creativity.” — Margaret J. Wheatley

From her quote, Margaret Wheatley understood abstract thinking. For the fluctuations, disturbances and imbalances induce ingenuity.

According to Wheatley, creativity will come from the very challenges

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Innovator's Dilemma

When most people think of abstract conversations, they categorize it as mental masturbation. This is unfortunate because abstract conversations are the source of innovation.

You may say that I am making a bold statement. Or you may be saying to yourself that there are many ways to innovate. Innovation is not maintaining. While it includes improvement, most of us think of innovative people and companies as those that create something that did not exist before. So what do abstract conversations have to do with inventing?

If you think about every invention, the primary source of the invention first existed as

Friday, May 25, 2012

What Hidden Treasure Do You Possess?

“I was a hidden treasure, and I longed to be known.” – Unknown

This is clearly one of the paradoxes of being human. We all have untapped potential. However, we also have an unspoken fear. We fear that one day we may perform