Writing—and thinking—partner for executives and innovators
One morning last week, I made myself a bowl of oatmeal, poured an iced tea, and headed towards my home office. But I was already preoccupied with work and not really paying attention. My toe caught the edge of the second step. Wham! Oatmeal and tea splattered everywhere.
It's a simple question, and you've probably answered it hundreds of times. "What do you do?" If you're like most people, you probably get the answer dead wrong.
Last month, I was pretty stressed out, thanks mostly to a seemingly endless stream of minor, but irritating, problems. It got so that I was reacting negatively almost immediately to each new development. Some people spend entire years in this state.
How - and why - a former NHL general manager took the time to send my son 5,500 words of his very best advice.
You've heard this old saying before: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. You may even be nodding your head in agreement right now. Sorry— this saying is all wrong.
Pretty much every job in the world has its bad moments. Super Bowl-winning quarterback? By the end of the season your ribs, shoulders, knees and arm are so sore you probably have trouble turning over in bed.
Gimme one second… wait… I know I should be opening this article, but my son just texted me and… let me see… why is this so complicated?… I just want to check the movie times… no, I don’t want Bridgeport, I want Norwalk – why doesn’t this website know my preferences by now?… Okay… Okay… Got it. Now, where were we?
Rule #1 in finding a job is People Hire People They Like.
Rule #2 is: Re-read Rule #1.
Your first job is to help other people. Your second is your actual job. The better you are at #1, the easier #2 becomes. When you think about your career in this manner, nearly everything changes.
Every time you encounter another person, think: help this person. It's not altruistic. Nothing else can so quickly supercharge your career and improve the quality of your life.
1.) Careers do not come with instructions. There are no "hard and fast" rules, no simple formulas for success. This is because you will work for - and with - other human beings, and people are complex and confusing creatures.
I once worked for a company that was designed around six reports. By using these six reports, the owner of the firm could manage his $300 million business, and avoid most unpleasant surprises.
Nothing limits your ability to achieve great things more than your desire to take credit for what you have achieved. This paradox is at the center of most problems that companies face.
"I'm powerless, too." It's tempting to think your boss - or his boss, or her boss - has all the power. That's not how it feels to them. Everyone feels stuck in the middle. Even your CEO must contend with the board, investors, regulators, and the media.
I like simple principles that people can remember. Too often, we receive advice that is so hopelessly complicated and convoluted that you can't even understand it, never mind live by it. (How many times have you walked out of a meeting confused by what, if anything, was decided?)
Our time is a gift. I worry that we take it for granted. Roughly 73,500 years ago, humans were migrating from Africa towards other parts of our planet. The Sumatera volcano exploded, changing Earth’s climate. All but a few thousand humans perished. Our race nearly ended, due to natural causes. Our time is a gift.