Do You Trust Your Team When It’s Crunch Time?

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I still remember the first time it happened.

The first time I went home on a Friday night thinking, “We don’t have a show.”

You see, for roughly 15 years, Saturday was show day for me and my team. Together, we created Seattle’s legendary comedy TV show Almost Live! I was the Executive Producer. Every Saturday, we’d fill the studio with 175 audience members and tape an all-new show that would be broadcast, just an hour or so later, to about a ...

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This Is What Leadership Really Is

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Leadership is, at times, an honor, a burden, a privilege, a headache, a riddle, a mirror, a crisis, and a joy. Sometimes it’s two or more of these at the same time.

But leadership is first, foremost, and always, a responsibility.

A responsibility to whom? Ask any good leader, and they’ll tell you that they have, broadly speaking, three constituencies:

1. Their team

When a leader is responsible to the team, that leader:

  • communicates a clear and compelling direction for the team;
  • shares the credit with ...
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Try This Technique To Be Your Best Under Pressure

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Do you have a Power Phrase?

[You: “I ate a Power Bar for breakfast. Is that the same thing?” Me: “No.”]

A Power Phrase is a concise phrase — one to five words — that encapsulates your highest self, the outcome you want to achieve, and/or who you want to be when you’re at your best in moments of pressure.

Think of it as a focal point, or a mantra if you like. Here’s why you should have one (or more than one; ...

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Are You Missing This Opportunity To Engage Your Customers?

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What’s your story?

Why are you in business? How did you start? What drove you to do what you do? If you work in a larger corporation, what’s their story? Do you know?

Your story, and that of your company is a great way to attract and engage customers (as well as employees) — and yet most of us never take advantage of this incredibly powerful tool.

I once worked for a 92-year-old woman with a voice that sounded like 50-grit ...

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Will You Fail This Ultimate Leadership Test?

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What is it that defines a truly great leader? Why is it that names like Joan of Arc, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Mother Teresa resonate throughout history, while countless others are forgotten—or footnotes at best? How do you know when someone is a truly great leader?

How do you know if you are a truly great leader?

Here’s the test, and it may be a harsh one if you’re being honest with yourself:

Would your followers (your employees, your team ...

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Why You Choke Under Pressure, And What To Do About It

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Last night, I played keyboards in a band for a holiday party. I was playing songs that, for the most part, I hadn’t played in a year or more. There were several songs that I’d never played before. In fact, for some of these songs, I’d never even seen the sheet music until I pulled up a chart on my iPhone seconds before playing the song live.

Was I nervous? Nope.

Did I feel pressure? Nope.

Did I choke? Nope.

Okay, so how is ...

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How To Produce Under Pressure Like A Concert Pianist

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Last night I attended a performance by the Seattle Symphony of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto. If you’ve ever seen the movie Shine, you know how daunting this piece is to a concert pianist. It’s a 40-plus minute workout, consisting of 30,000 individual notes, all of which have to be performed—often at lightning speed—in a particular order; with nuance, dynamics, and passion; live; from memory; in front of a discerning audience of several thousand people, and an even more discerning orchestra ...

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How The Pressure Of The Holidays Can Make You Better Under Pressure

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As I’m writing this, the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend is just ending, and we’re all well into the throes of the holiday season.

There’s nothing quite like the pressure of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for roughly 30 people. It’s an exercise in cooking, kitchen resource allocation, family dynamics, political diplomacy, alcohol distribution, and traffic flow, just to name a few.

And there’s only one chance to get it right.

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, this probably sounds familiar. If you’re a leader, you’ve ...

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Why Talking To Experts Will Make You A Better Leader

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In a few hours, I’m going to be delivering a keynote for about 800 college and university professors. These professors come from a wide variety of disciplines. I arrived at the conference just yesterday, and already I’ve had fascinating conversations about the effect of driverless vehicles on supply chain delivery, big data’s impact on healthcare, and Chinese political history.

As I said, it’s been fascinating.

Now here’s the thing. I’m not an expert on any of these topics. But the people I ...

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What To Do When You Feel Like A Fraud

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Do you feel like an impostor?

It’s okay. Really. Most high-achievers do, at least occasionally. (My research indicates that the percentage may be as high as 80%!) There’s even an official name for it: Impostor Syndrome.

Impostor Syndrome. It’s that feeling that maybe you’re not quite as good at your job as others think you are. The feeling of being in a little over your head. And the feeling that, at some point (probably on the same day), everyone is going to ...

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