Communication

How To Lead A More Effective Team By Disagreeing

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It’s great when people agree with you, isn’t it? It’s a wonderful validation — of your thoughts, your ideas…of you. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Yes, it’s great when people agree with you.

Except it doesn’t move the needle. Especially when the agreement comes too early.

There’s a great scene in the old TV series The West Wing. Leo McGarry is the Chief of Staff to liberal Democratic president Jed Bartlet. In this scene, Leo is offering a ...

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How To Win At The Game Of Employee Engagement

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Engagement drives results.

That makes sense, doesn’t it? When your team is more engaged, you get better results. But it turns out the reverse is just as true, if not more so.

Results drive engagement.

When I was producing my hit comedy TV show in Seattle, my team and I would look at the ratings every week. It was a point of pride for us that we were number one in our time slot for ten straight years. Seeing the numbers there in ...

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Are You Missing Out On The Moose In Your Business?

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I saw a moose yesterday.

He wasn’t easy to see. He was standing among some aspen trees and was camouflaged by shadow. But I saw him.

I’ve spent the past week driving and hiking through the Grand Tetons and parts of Yellowstone. Wildlife here is abundant — and elusive. While you can occasionally see a moose or bear leisurely crossing the road, more often than not, you have to look for them. This means you have to do two things if you ...

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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 imposter?

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: Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter 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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