Producing Results

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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How to Make Your Team Members Feel Like Crap

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Here’s the scene: You’re at a party, or a conference, or a meeting—somewhere with a lot of people around. You see someone whom you’d like to talk to, so you walk over and start a conversation. And after a few seconds, they begin The Scan. You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s the moment when they break eye contact and start surveying the room, looking for someone better to talk to.

Feels pretty crappy, doesn’t it?

So why are you doing ...

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One Simple Equation That Will Help You Achieve Remarkable Results

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Like many of you, I hold a planning retreat for my business at the beginning of each year. (I also do a smaller one at the beginning of each month, which is a practice that I strongly recommend.) My annual retreat was this past weekend, and in looking over what I accomplished last year, something that I already knew about myself was strongly reinforced:

When I have a clear goal, set my mind to it, and combine these two things ...

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The One Thing Better Than Good Intentions

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I was talking to a colleague earlier this week. Like me, she runs her own business. She told me that one of her “beginning-of-the-year” practices is to sit down in a quiet place, with a cup of coffee and a pad of paper, and write down her intentions for the new year. She sets intentions in several areas of her business: income, number of clients, marketing strategies, and others.

Sounds good, right? Making intentions, and setting them down on ...

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How to Become a Master of Your Work

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you either are, or you want to be, good at what you do. I’m going to take that even further and assume that you either are, or want to be, great at what you do.

But are you committed to becoming an absolute master? Possibly one of the greatest of all time? And, if so, how do you get there?

My brother-in-law Steve has a Ph.D. in musicology. He’s ...

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3 Sure Fire Ways to Get the Best From Your Team

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Eddie was a screw-up.

Everyone at the burger place where I had my first job knew it. Eddie just couldn’t seem to do anything right. And because he always screwed up, the rest of us expected him to screw up.

Or might it have been the other way around?

Might it have been that Eddie screwed up because we expected him to screw up?

And might you be inadvertently creating an Eddie on your team?

The truth is that people tend to rise—or ...

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What You Call “Practice” Might Be Hurting You

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I used to play a lot of tennis. I was never terribly good at it. For example, some serves are referred to as a “weapon.” Mine was referred to as a “gift.” But what I lacked in quality, I made up for in quantity. I played a lot of tennis.

I suppose I got incrementally better over time, but I never improved substantially. Why?

Because I wasn’t intentional about improvement.

You’ve probably heard the phrase practice makes perfect. This isn’t quite ...

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Don’t Be Just a “Good News” Leader

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I never liked firing people.

That may sound like a normal, human response to an unpleasant task, but I’ve known people who actually enjoy it. (One particular TV news director comes to mind.) Ogres like that aside, though, most of us don’t like this uncomfortable, but necessary, part of leadership.

The fact is that leadership is, to a large degree, about doing the uncomfortable things. In fact, if you’re comfortable in your leadership, you’re probably not leading.

Many times, though, leaders try to ...

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What Lorne Michaels and I — and You — Have in Common

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There is a phrase that Lorne Michaels, the creator and Executive Producer of Saturday Night Live, and I both share. I didn’t know we shared it—I thought it was original with me—until, several years ago, a friend told me that it was Lorne’s quotation. Well, it was mine too, before I knew that it was also Lorne’s, but let’s not quibble. The phrase is:

“We don’t go on the air because we’re ready. We go on the air because it’s 11:30.”

Like ...

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