Book Excerpts from The Elephant and The Flea by Charles Handy

I have been a Charles Handy fan for many years and find that his work only becomes more prescient and meaningful with time.  It’s amazing how he could envision the world we would be doing business in before it happened.  His thoughts on life, business, and leadership are timeless.  I had my son revisit his […]

Daily Leadership Thought #139 – When You Commit – Fully Commit!

I am regularly flabbergasted by the number of professional people I interact with who think it is okay to just miss meetings and/or deadlines as it suits them. This is especially true when it come to philanthropic or voluntary responsibilities. I do my best to give people the benefit of the doubt and understand that they can be stretched way too thin, but after awhile, why should this be anyone’s problem but their own. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? We are all busy. We are all striving to find work-life balance. Life is about making choices and establishing priorities.

Leadership Thought #487 – Business is Much Harder If You Don’t Have Passion

In business (and life), patience may be a virtue but passion becomes a prerequisite.  Being a small business owner is hard work especially for founders and growth oriented leaders. You truly must believe in what you are doing to overcome the many obstacles that inevitably appear on your path along the way.  Most people wouldn’t […]

Leadership Thought #209 – 15 Things Employers and Employees Can Do To Make Work More Enjoyable

As we approach another Labor Day it’s actually depressing how many people dread going to work. I’ve ready many different statistics some saying as much as 90% of people are unhappy with their job. Since we spend a significant part of our adult life working, this means that most people will spend a good deal of time unhappy or uninspired in their career. I have a hard time getting my head wrapped around this issue. Why would either party to the relationship accept this reality? I guess that is why individuals change jobs so frequently these days. They are searching for something the data says they have little chance of ever finding.

Leadership Thought #470 – Leave The Excuses For Non-Performance to Others

We have become an excuse making culture. I have been a bit frustrated lately with the quality of service provided by various contractors and service providers.  It’s seems as if there is minimal connection between what people promise and what they do. Excuses abound as work doesn’t get done and/or quality issues emerge.  There is […]

Leadership Thought #417 – Monday Mornings Shouldn’t Bum You Out

I know quite a few people who actually start feeling depressed on Sunday night because work is the next day. Sadly, for many of them, this has been a feeling that has existed for years. I honestly cannot comprehend this state of mind at this point in my life. Sure when I was fresh out of college and new to my professional work life I didn’t always get thrilled about Monday mornings, but as I have progressed in my career and thinking, that is a long distant memory. If what you are doing makes you that unhappy either change how you think about it or choose to do something else. Life is too short for habitual Sunday night misery.

Leadership Thought #397 – Vacations Matter

I’ve always felt that vacations should mandatory. Everyone needs some time away from their work to recharge and reflect. There should be moments where it is just about having fun and enjoying life without the constraints of the work week. You never just want to narrowly define yourself by what you do for a living. We are all so much more than that.

Leadership Thought #369 – Finding Meaning In Your Work

Every survey you read about work/career satisfaction is depressing. I can’t believe that so many people go to a job every day that they don’t like and/or are doing work they find uninspiring. Why would someone choose to live that way? I’ve never quite understood the whole idea of simply working until you retire. As people have to work for longer periods of time due to lack of pensions and/or other financial resources this means that individuals will be unhappier for longer periods of time with their chosen profession.

Leadership Thought #339 – Use Your Time Well

Time is limited. We all know this fact, yet how many of us manage our time poorly. Two of the biggest complaints I hear from people is that they are too busy or that there isn’t enough time. I can certainly empathize with this mindset and various times in my life have struggled with these challenges myself. However, I’ve learned that you manage your time or it manages you.

Leadership Thought #336 – What’s Important In Life?

I’ve always thought that the whole concept or work life balance is a bit of an illusion. It’s difficult for me to imagine someone who has a life that is always completely in balance. Things don’t always work out this way. It’s like the idea of a 50/50 partnership or marriage. Rarely do both partners put in the same amount of effort all the time. What you hope is that in the end it all balances out properly. I view my life in the same way. There will be periods when some things take precedence over others and that’s okay as long as it doesn’t become a lifelong habit. However, there are certain aspects of our existence we should be paying attention to all the time (to varying degrees as needed). We ultimately ignore any of these items long-term to our own detriment.

Leadership Thought #332 – Lighten Up

When was the last time you had fun at work and truly enjoyed yourself? Are you able to laugh at the absurd or ridiculous or do you take it all too seriously? Can you let your guard down? Do you enjoy the company of your colleagues or prefer to keep them at a distance? Are people naturally drawn to you or do you feel isolated? When you show up in the morning do you feel optimistic and relatively happy or tired and downtrodden? Are you able to keep your work in a proper perspective? Can you take most things in stride or are you easily frustrated? Do you make an effort to enjoy what you are doing or just consider it a job? Can you lighten up the mood in a room or are you always ratcheting up the level of intensity?

Leadership Thought #292 – Set A Positive and Proactive Tone on Mondays

I’ve been fortunate for many years that I don’t dread Monday mornings or get bummed out on Sunday nights because of work. Sadly, I know alot of people who do feel this way. I can’t imagine starting my week in a bad mood for no other reason than it is the beginning of another work week. Sure, I look forward to the weekends, but I don’t work just for them. I’ve always believed that how you start your week on Monday sets the tone for the entire week.

Leadership Thought #284 – How Do You End Your Day?

Ideally a person would want to use their time well and be highly productive and effective. They wouldn’t get easily distracted or lose focus. Instead of procrastinating on things they need to get done, they’d be disciplined about accomplishing what’s most important when it should get done with minimal stress. The days would flow smoothly rather than bounce around between shifting priorities and putting our fires. Time should be spent doing your own job not making up for the shortcomings of others. We also need to be smart enough to ask for help when we are in over our heads. If we are being honest with ourselves, we’d own up to the fact that most of the stress in our careers is self-created.

Leadership Thought #283 – The Importance of Time Off

Today is a national holiday in the U.S.A.celebrating the life and work of a great man – Martin Luther King (MLK). For many of us that means a three day weekend and this is a good thing. While I hope you spend some time today contemplating the words and importance of MLK, I also encourage you do embrace the time off. Instead of worrying about work or the lost time, allow yourself to enjoy some family time and/or moments of fun, rest, and relaxation. No one should work all the time even if you love your work.

Leadership Thought #250 – The Importance of Personal Discipline

There are way too many things competing for our time as adults. It’s easy to get lost in the fog of responsibility and fall behind. If we are honest with ourself, we end up using our time very inefficiently and often make it up as we go along. As a result, there is usually some level of imbalance in our life as we prioritize what is most pressing or convenient. The problem is that gaps unattended only grow with time and at some point the chasm becomes too difficult to navigate. The very thing we value most, our own independence and freedom, becomes victim to the personal stress created by not being disciplined about our decisions, time and activities. Paradoxically, we end up with the outcomes we most wanted to avoid.

Leadership Thought #248 – Don’t Talk Yourself Out of Success

More often than not, the biggest barrier to our success is ourself. I’ve noticed that people can talk themselves out of just about anything. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes it is not. When it comes to limiting your perspective on what’s possible for you in terms of your work life I find this to usually be a bad thing. Happiness and self-fulfillment in your career shouldn’t be viewed as optional. The history of the business landscape is full of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things.

Leadership Thought #216 – 12 Keys To A Successful Life

Very few of us ever attain, what would be termed, sustained and lasting success. Instead, we bounce up and down (sometimes sideways) in search of the seemingly elusive goals of career success and personal happiness. In my experience, these two objectives are not mutually exclusive, but intertwined and critical to an individual’s sense of self worth and meaningfulness.

Daily Leadership Thought #195 – Take Responsibility For Your Own Success

Unless you win the lottery or are born into it, wealth doesn’t just land in your lap. Passively pursuing success never works. Far too many people are waiting for their ship to come in and they haven’t even chartered a boat yet. You have to create the conditions for success for it to happen. And, it all starts with YOU and your willingness to believe in and bet on yourself.

Daily Leadership Thought #192 – You Should Enjoy Your Work

Far too many people don’t like their work. I’ve heard estimates as high as 90%. Anecdotally, I’ve certainly had more conversations over the years that are negative rather than positive about what my friends, colleagues and acquaintances do for a living. I always find this sad. We spend so much time at work and how we feel about it can make a big difference on how we view ourselves and life in general.