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Measuring Progress

People buy invisible things all the time. To prove this, one has only to note the billions of dollars spent each year on education and legal advice. Still, the buyers of intangibles don’t make those purchasing decisions quickly or lightly, and rightfully so. The merits of a car can be judged almost immediately, but the value of an opinion or knowledge may take months or years to be known, and by then, the person who sold it may be long gone. The ... Read more

Blood, Bile, and Phlegm?: Understanding Our Personalities

Some History… If you were a talkative person with a sunny disposition living in Greece around the year 300 BC, your friends would have described you as “sanguine,” meaning that you have “extra blood.” Blood was one of four different bodily fluids—or, humors as they called them—that the ancients believed influenced an individual’s personality. The other three were yellow bile (choleric), phlegm (phlegmatic), and black bile (melancholic). An excess of black bile would make you melancholy. A deficiency of yellow bile explained ... Read more

Changing Our Ways

Change isn’t easy, and science sheds some light on why that is. When we repeatedly think or behave in a certain way, permanent connections in our brains begin to form. Over time these connections become deeply engrained neural pathways. By having these connections “hardcoded” into your brain, you avoid having to form new connections every time you repeat a thought or action. The connection is already there waiting to transmit a signal. Most of the time, that’s a good thing because those ... Read more

You are More than a Machine

Could you craft an incentive structure for your employees that was so perfect you would never need to lead or manage them again? Some experts would have us believe that it is possible. They claim that a system of monetary incentives and disincentives can motivate and guide the decision-making process of an entire team, thus making leadership and management unnecessary. A successful organization, in this theory, is just a matter of choosing the right “carrots” and “sticks.” Apart from being depressing, this theory overlooks something ... Read more

Surviving the Desert of Doubt

If you’re a leader, then there’s a good chance you’ll spend some time in the Desert of Doubt – a vast lonely place with few landmarks or signs of hope. You’ll know that you are there when you begin asking yourself: Am I on the right track? Am I cut out for this? Will I fail? Can I trust my team? Although there are no shortcuts, doubts and fears can be managed just like anything else. Here are a few of the survival principles I have gleaned ... Read more

Why Corporations Spent Over a Billion Dollars Last Year on Executive Coaches

This is a post for skeptics and doubters – those who suspect that executive coaching is at best a passing fad, or at worst, nothing but quackery peddled by a pack of charlatans. This is a post for those who suspect that executive coaches might have their own circle in hell, probably near the infamous “management consultants.” But before grabbing our pitchforks and torches, let’s first investigate this issue by considering the decisions of a few entities renowned for their zero-bullshit policies, hardheaded scrutiny, ... Read more

Why I’m an Executive Coach

If there are so many books about leadership on the shelves of small business owners and in the offices of corporate executives the world over, then why do so many of these same people struggle to lead effectively? Strangely enough, we can largely answer this question by looking to a book written in Spain over 400 years ago. Generation after generation has found Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote to be relevant to their lives, but few have sought in it inspiration or ... Read more
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