Career Success

Several years ago, I took a class on how to write movie scripts. The world-renown instructor’s students included many famous Hollywood actors (who wanted to learn to write or recognize great scripts), 50 Oscar winners, and 250 Emmy winners. One of the big takeaways from the class was how to create drama. And the easiest [...]

When you’re trying to explain a complex idea to someone, it’s extremely helpful to explain your new idea using terms, concepts, or ideas that the other person already understands. For example, if you’re talking to a seasoned finance professional, you can use terms like “EBITDA” and “valuation multiples” and they’ll understand them. However, if you’re [...]

When most people think of power, they think of the person in the conference room with the most authority. Formal authority comes from decision-making power and control over resources. If you’re a member of the board, you have power because you must approve my operating budget for the fiscal year. If you are my boss, [...]

In life and work, there are two ways to approach a problem. You can talk about a problem, or you can solve the problem. The problem talker spends all of his time complaining about the problem. “Boss, this budgeting process is so inefficient and a waste of time.” “The way we orient new employees to [...]

Over the years, I’ve noticed the role that luck plays in success for myself and others. I won’t lie. Getting lucky on an opportunity is great. The problem is that you can’t control when or if you get lucky. However, what you can control is whether you are prepared enough so that, when luck presents [...]

When you’re CEO, you’re in this paradoxical situation in which your direct reports often know a lot more than you do in their functional areas. This causes many first-time CEOs to stumble. After all, how do you manage someone who knows more than you do? While this is a subject worthy of an entire class, [...]

I’ve only been in a Fortune 500 boardroom once. I will never forget it. The conference room had an incredible view of Manhattan. The boardroom table itself was a gorgeous mahogany table that seated 60 people. I’ve never seen a conference room table so large before. The table was so large that every seating position [...]

Sometimes, your decisions do not have the positive outcome you wished for. It’s tempting to think that a bad outcome = a bad decision. This is an inaccurate over-simplification. It’s true that some decisions are outright mistakes. Other times, a decision is merely a judgment call. Being rude and disrespectful to your clients is always [...]

One of the things I tell my kids (that they hate) is that life isn’t always fair… deal with it. Sure, life should be fair. But, it often is not. Some people die well before their time. That’s not fair. Some people win the DNA lottery whereas others don’t. That’s not fair. Some people get [...]

In some sports, they track a statistic known as an “unforced error.” I’ve always found this concept intriguing. When a competitor does something exceptional and beats you, that’s a “forced” error. It’s when your opponent hits a nearly impossible cross-court groundstroke to win the set. It’s when you throw the batter your absolute best pitch [...]

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