How to Be a Great Little-Known Leader

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John Wooden. Nelson Mandela. Richard Branson. Abraham Lincoln.

Great leaders, all of them. Their words and actions inspired and motivated thousands upon thousands of people.

But probably not you. At least, not directly.

You never met Abraham Lincoln. (And, if you did, you need to contact the Guiness Book of World Records people immediately.) And, although I may not know you personally, I’m guessing that you’ve never had any of the other three on your speed dial either.

Sure, you’ve read their words and ...

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Breakthrough Ideas Are Not Created In a Vacuum

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Your next great idea will not come to you out of thin air.

I can say this with near 100% certainty because that’s not how ideas work. That breakthrough idea—the one that will make you rich and famous by Thursday—will not be created in a vacuum. More likely, it’ll be the result of a collision. A collision of dots.

Huh?

Let me explain. Creativity (which is simply the process of coming up with ideas) is all about connecting dots. These dots can be ...

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Are You Missing Out On the Most Important Business Tool?

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Quick Quiz: What do the following have in common?

  • The iPhone
  • The Tesla Model S
  • Spanx
  • The self-cleaning litter box
  • The Sputnik 1 satellite

Answer: They were all the product of a creative idea. As was every single other breakthrough that made a million dollars, cured a disease, or changed the world.

They all came from a creative idea.

Every company that exists—or that ever existed—originated with a creative idea.

Every billionaire on the Forbes 400 list is there because of a creative idea. (Sometimes that creative ...

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How a Different Perspective Can Make You a Better Leader

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I spent several hours yesterday helping a colleague (whom I’ll call Poppy, because it’s fun) rewrite her website. She was concerned—rightly so—that her site was too wordy, didn’t really capture who she was, and just plain didn’t pop. (This is especially important when you’re named Poppy. Which she is not. But, for the purposes of this article, she is. So there.) So we spent several hours rewriting, revamping, and revising—after which we had a delightful Italian dinner.

Now, I’m not a ...

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How Bruce Springsteen Can Make You a Better Boss

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There’s nothing quite like seeing a world-class team operating at the highest level, is there? For example, let’s take Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The video below shows Bruce (“The Boss”) and his team working out an audience-requested song—not one of Bruce’s—live, in front of 45,000 people. Watch the entire video (it’s about 8 minutes—and turn it up as loud as you can!), and then read on for my thoughts on how what “The Boss” does with his ...

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TED Talk Secrets That Will Make You a Superior Leader

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A little over a week ago, I was on a stage in Vancouver, BC, giving a TEDx talk about creativity to 2,700 people. The video will soon be available online, where it could be seen by (fingers crossed!) millions.

The road to a TEDx talk—whether it’s seen by millions or just dozens—is a long one. At this point, of course, I don’t know whether my talk will hit millions of views, dozens, or somewhere in between. But I do know two ...

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Where to Find the Idea That Will Make You Rich

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I can’t tell you what your next million-dollar idea will be—but I can tell you, with near 100% certainty, where you’re going to find it. And it probably won’t be where you think.

In order to understand this, you have to understand what creativity is—and what it isn’t. Because your next million-dollar idea will be, by definition, a creative idea. And creativity, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t come from nowhere.

Creativity is not the “lightning bolt” that comes out of the blue. ...

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How To Be a Terrible Leader

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You’ve probably watched a TED Talk video or two (or ten) at some point over the past several years. But have you ever been to a TED/TEDx event in person? It turns out there’s a huge—and important—difference between watching one or two TED videos and being immersed in a dozen or so TED Talks over the course of a single day.

In just under two weeks, I’ll be standing on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver BC as the ...

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The #1 Skill to Improve for Better Leadership Results

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I recently sent out a survey to over 600 leaders, asking them one question:

In thinking about your leadership, what would you most like to change/improve this year?

As you can imagine, the responses ranged widely, from “organize myself to be more productive” to “I’m retiring and want to leave my company in better shape than it was when I took over.” These are, of course, valid and important concerns. But one area of leadership garnered the biggest response. In fact, a ...

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How to Tell If Your Leader Is a Risky Pilot

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This morning I discovered that the hard drive on my Mac was completely full. Zero empty space. I discovered this when I tried to check my email, and I couldn’t even download one message. I had about 50 gigabytes free a week ago, and haven’t downloaded anything. I have no idea why the drive is filling up.

This is not a good situation.

So I deleted several gigabytes worth of stuff and called a guy, who is currently booked through the end ...

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