The “Honorable No” & My Challenge to You

“A ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”  ~~Mahatma Gandhi  

I love this quote.  I call it the “Honorable No.”  Do you have certain people in your life — a boss, colleague, or loved one perhaps — that you have a hard time saying “no” to?  Are there certain situations that you find easier to just say “yes” because you don’t want to deal with the hassle of what a “no” will produce?  Be careful.  Saying “yes” when you really mean “no” is a dreadful decision.

Decision Fatigue — A Few Secrets You Need to Know

Did you eat that bowl of ice-cream before going to bed last night that you’re now regretting?  Or send a text to that certain someone late at night that, oh well, you really should NOT have sent?  What about firing off a scathing email to a business associate, friend, or family member that you wish you could “un-send”?

I’ve done all of these.  And regretted every single one.  (Except the ice-cream…)  Why does it seem that as the day wears on, we make worse and worse decisions?  Because its true!  This phenomena is called “decision fatigue”, and if you don’t do something about it, you, your team, and your business will suffer.

Blame the Millennials for (insert gripe here)!

Ohhhh those pesky Millennials.  Sales down?  Blame the Millennials.  Can’t find someone to work late?  Millennials.  Increased wait time for your drink at Starbucks?  Millennials again.  (Well, this one is probably true and is my main gripe…)

Every generation likes to blame the other for their woes.  And it seems that you can’t blink without coming across another article blaming Millennials for something.  Most of the gripes are nonsense, however...

Are You Caught in a “Success Trap”? Then Answer These 4 Questions.

Early in my sales career, I landed a huge deal and hit 230% of quota.  And got a nice 5-figure commission to go with it.  And then something interesting happened:  My sales manager raised my quota.  Now I was expected to hit 230% of quota EVERY month.  Uh oh….

Has this ever happened to you where you achieve a goal then become “successfully miserable” because you’re caught in your own “success trap”?   As a type-A high-achiever, I’ve fought to get out of my own success trap many times.  Now as a business transformation keynote speaker and leadership coach, I often speak to audiences and coach high-performing executives on how to make better decisions to ensure they do not become successfully miserable.

What Big Decisions Are You Putting Off Making? (And What To Do About It.)

  1. Do I leave my current job?
  2. What should I do about my finances?
  3. Do we hire this new outside VP candidate or do we promote internally?
  4. I want to move.
  5. Do I start a new business or sell my current one — or both?
  6. Do I end my miserable personal relationship?

Decisions.  Decisions.  Decisions.  We all have important decisions to make in business and life.  And we all put off making important decisions for one reason or another.  (I once put off making a decision to move for FIVE years because I really did not like the beautiful home I had just purchased.)

Make a GREAT New Year’s Decision: Discover Your Missing 1%

So there I was holding a live hand grenade.  And I could NOT remember if it was “thumb clip, pull pin” or “pull pin, thumb clip”.  I was 18-years old going through Marine Corps bootcamp and was frozen with fear.  Somehow I managed to rip the safety pin out, and the only thing preventing the grenade from exploding and killing me and my fellow Marines was my clammy grip on it. 

As a business transformation keynote speaker, I often share this story with audiences to illustrate the point that decisions in business and life are like that hand grenade:  You’re either going to hold it, drop it, or throw it.  In other words, you’re either going to make a good decision, bad decision, or no decision. 

What the N.F.L.’s Best Punter Can Teach Us About Making Great Decisions

A recent NYT article on Los Angeles Ram’s punter, Johnny Hekker, explains how he embraces the Zen concept of mushin to achieve a level of precision and performance previously unheard of in the N.F.L. 

Mushin is a Japanese word that means “no mind”.  I like to define it as “no distractions” or “clarity”.  Clarity that leads to better leadership decisions — especially when the pace is fast, the stakes are high, and the outcome unclear.  Just like on any given Sunday when 350 pound men are trying to crush and dominate other 350 pound men in a mere seconds.  Or when your boss is breathing down your neck to hit 150% of quota, or to ensure you don’t go over budget, or to have that super important memo done by tomorrow morning.

How “Soft Skills” Can Save Your Company

I just spent the last 30 minutes on the phone with my cable-telecom provider’s customer (dis) service center.  The experience was awful.  I had a simple question about my bill that went unanswered, unresolved and left me unsettled.  

As a communication expert and business transformation keynote speaker, I pride myself on the ability to hold a polite, patient, and productive conversation.  And as it turns out, this “soft skill” — the ability to communicate clearly in a productive way — can make the difference between your company succeeding or failing:  A recent LinkedIn survey of 291 hiring managers found the lack of soft skills is limiting their company’s productivity. 

How to Listen with the Goal of Learning

Well Thanksgiving is over.  How’d it go — pants fitting a little tighter and wallet a little lighter?  What about all that time eating and talking with family, friends, and strangers?  Did you “tune out” everyone so you could dive into the turkey, or, find yourself constantly trying to get the attention of your favorite cousin because she was too busy doing the same to you?

I’ve seen this happen time and time again over the holiday season when family and friends get together.  And as a business transformation keynote speaker and executive coach, I’ve seen it happen repetitively in businesses across all industries and sizes — customers, clients, and colleagues don’t feel “heard” by their leadership.  And leadership can’t understand why their customers, clients, and colleagues are unhappy and unproductive.

Business Lessons Learned from Marine Corps Gas Chamber Training

During Marine Corps basic training, every recruit has to go through gas chamber training.  When I went through bootcamp, this is how it happened:  40 recruits lined up wearing gas masks and shuffled into a big bland building filled with thick yellow CS gas.  Once inside, we did a series of calisthenics to show that, thank goodness, the gas mask worked!  Then the Drill Instructors commanded us to remove our gas masks.  While still inside the gas chamber.  What happened next, is seared in my mind forever….

3-Steps to Make Better Choices Faster

I once put off making a very important decision about selling my house and moving for five years.  I bought a beautiful row house in a very trendy part of Washington, DC, moved in, and immediately hated the place.  The house was fine.  However, I didn’t have anything in common with my neighbors, I didn’t really care much for the nice yet boring neighborhood, and to be honest the house was just too big. 

Have you ever put off making a decision for a couple days, couple weeks, or like me, a couple years even?  We all do it.  As a matter of fact, think right now, what is one business or life decision you are putting off making?  What is keeping you up at night?  What tough conversation with a business associate or loved one are you avoiding?

How to Conquer The Fatal “Pike Syndrome” Decision-Making Trap

As a keynote speaker, I teach successful professionals how to make better decisions to leap their career, company, and community forward with balance — not burnout.  I often share the results of a fascinating experiment called “The Pike Syndrome”, to my audiences as an analogy for a fatal decision-making trap business leaders fall into:  one of historical bias and/or assumptions.

Most of You Hate Your Job (and here’s what to do about it)

Have you ever been at work uninspired, disengaged, and bored?  Time creeps by one agonizing second at a time.  Many years ago before I was a keynote speaker, I was in my cubicle at work and started to yawn.  Thinking it was almost lunch and lacking any motivation, I glanced at my watch.  9:17 AM.  What?!  It felt like I had been sitting in my little felt box for at least five hours.  Ugh.

How to Attract and Retain Top Talent

I recently delivered a keynote speech to a very successful high-tech company.  Their senior leadership was meeting for a two-day planning session which allowed them to also spend time together bonding and building deeper team relationships.

One reoccurring challenge I often hear from elite organizations is their never-ending struggle to make the right decision to help them attract and retain top talent.  And this business was no different.

A Spooky Halloween Decision to NOT Buy Google for $750K in 1999

In 1999, the number two search engine behind Yahoo! was a company called Excite.  (Other throwback search engines at the time were Lycos, Web Crawler, and Alta Vista.)  Excite had the opportunity to purchase a little start up called “Google” in 1999 for $750,000 and about 1% of Excite.  Turns out the founder of Google, Larry Paige, wanted to sell it so he could go back to Stanford and finish his PhD.