career success

The Fastest Way to a Promotion

The easiest way to get promoted is to do the following: 1) Choose an employer that’s growing and in constant demand for new people. 2) Master your own job. 3) Develop preliminary competence in the job above you. 4) Volunteer to do the least enjoyable parts of the job above you (before you’re promoted). Let me [...]

The Solution to All of Your Problems

Most people want to buy a magic pill that will solve all of your problems while you kick back on your sofa and do nothing. Lose 10 lbs over night (uh…yeah, okay.) Become a gazillionaire in 90 days. (Hmmm… I don’t think so.) “Magic pills” do not exist and never will. Most problems require at [...]

How to Lie with Averages

I hate averages. I just hate them. There… I said it. Here’s why. Averages often lie. Let me illustrate my point with an example. Ten people live on the street. One person on the street earns $10 million a year. The other nine people on the street earn $0. On average (did I mention I [...]

Why Your Boss has a Lower IQ than You

When you’re in school, students with the highest grades are seen as the high performers. However, something interesting happens when you get out into the workforce for a few years. You start to realize that high achievers quite often are not the smartest people in the room. For many people used to an academic environment, [...]

The Objective of Your Objective

The foundation of strategic planning involves developing the most effective and efficient way to achieve an objective. A clear objective forms the foundation of every strategy. However, most people and companies set objectives poorly. They define objectives in an overly narrow way. I’ve had many clients come to me with a strategic objective to grow [...]

How to Avoid Career Self-Sabotage

In this week’s news, there’s a story of someone with fame, fortune, and power, sabotaging his own career. You see a story like this every week. This behavior happens around you every day (even if you aren’t always aware of it). It may even be something you do yourself on a smaller basis. Why does [...]

Leadership vs. Salesmanship

Most of the elite business schools see themselves as training the leaders of tomorrow how to be better leaders. Many business school grads seek out careers in consulting, investment banking, or technology. The goal of the first two career paths is to become a partner or managing director. The goal of the latter is often [...]

Halo Effect

In psychology, the “halo effect” refers to a psychological tendency where the impression of a person in one area carries over to another area. The tendency was first identified and named by psychologist Edward Thorndike in 1920. In his research, he observed that people seen positively in one light tend to be assumed to have [...]

Actual vs. Perceived Competence

In the Olympics and many other sporting events, you don’t need to worry about perceptions. Your performance is measured down to the hundredths of a second. It is objective. After the race ends, your actual competence and perceived competence are one and the same. However, business is different. Ideas and perception of ideas are subjective. [...]

If it Walks, Talks, and Acts like a CEO...

Being a CEO is not complicated. A good CEO decides what needs to be done and who needs to do it. Being a CEO is about deciding strategy and then leading people to execute the strategy. While being a CEO is simple (conceptually), it is not easy (to do). The easiest way to stand out [...]

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