Change

Competitiveness: Friend or Foe?

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Competitiveness. It can be one of your greatest assets—or it can kill you. (Yes, there’s probably a middle ground in there, but I like to start these things off with a bang.) Like fire, it depends on how you use it. So how do you know if you’re on the right track? How do you know if you’re using competitiveness for good or evil? Like many business insights, the answer hit me this morning at the gym.

My gym is festooned ...

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How Are You Using Your Time?

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I waste way too much time. When you work for yourself, that’s real easy to do. Although, come to think of it, when I worked for other people I wasted way too much time as well. I’m trying to get better, which is why I’m writing this now. I’m sitting in a lounge in Dulles airport and I’ve got 20 minutes before I need to board my flight to Seattle. My choice—and the choice we all have virtually every waking ...

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A Proven Formula for Failure

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When I was back in high school, a friend of mine started a rock and roll band which lasted all of a week. When I asked him why they broke up, he said, “Well, we had one practice, and it was pretty clear that we’d never be as good as the Beatles, so we quit.” Leaving aside the question of whether one practice session is really enough to determine, with certainty, that you’ll never be as good as the Beatles ...

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What Are Your Customers Really Telling You?

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At a conference I was speaking at, one of the other presenters was talking about customer service. He showed a photo of a storefront he had once seen; it was a small, mom and pop candy store. Taped to the front window was a hand-made sign on which was printed, in large, angry letters:

NO, WE DO NOT SELL ICE CREAM!!!

This conference happened several years ago, and although I don’t recall the name of the other presenter ...

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The Most Important Skill for the Future

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I saw a billboard the other day that said something to the effect of: “The top 15 careers of 2025 don’t even exist today.” Whether those numbers are accurate or not, they’re almost certainly in the ballpark. The point is, we can’t predict with any certainty what the challenges and opportunities will be even a few years down the pike. After all, in the 60s nobody was predicting anything remotely like the computer industry or the Internet, not to mention ...

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Do What You Hate

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I just got back from the gym. Perhaps not the earth-shattering news you’ve come to expect from this blog, but to get the full impact you have to know two things:

  1. I hate going to the gym (even though I go virtually every day); and,
  2. I really hate going to the gym in the morning!

But, because of some scheduling conflicts, it turns out that 7:30 this morning was the only time today I could go. Yes, I could have opted to simply ...

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A Lesson in Attitude from Austin

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Yesterday I was the opening keynoter for a conference in Austin, TX. The audience comprised 300 financial aid professionals—the people who make it possible for other people to go to college. Because of a number of factors, their status is completely up in the air; they literally don’t know if their organization will exist one year from now. So what was the mood like at the conference? Upbeat, enthusiastic, and fun! We had an absolute blast together, and it was ...

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The Dangers of Business Bowling

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My mother was raised on a plantation in Haiti. Interesting upbringing, to be sure, and there are many stories—some involving voodoo. This isn’t one of them. This is a story about bowling. (You: “Why, Bill, if you have freakin’ voodoo stories, would you choose to tell one about bowling?” Me: “Because this one has a point…and besides, the voodoo stories are too weird.”) So here, as a lesson for business leaders, is the story of my mother’s bowling catastrophe.

It was ...

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3 Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know

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The Beatles recorded over 200 original songs during their career as a band. While virtually all of them are great songs (yes, I’m biased), there are a few whose titles alone could serve as a “mini-MBA” for business leaders. Today we’re going to look at three of them:

The Word (from the Rubber Soul album, 1965): For the Beatles, the word was “love.” Not a bad word to be associated with. But what’s your word (or combination of two ...

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Leadership and Change

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When people who are looking for a professional keynote speaker call me, one of the questions they frequently ask is, “Can you speak about leadership and change?” Well, yes—that’s pretty much what I do (my primary focuses are on leadership, change, goal setting, and team building), using the Beatles as my model.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about leadership and change—specifically, how to lead a team through change. Because of the economy and other factors, we’re currently living and working ...

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