Posts Tagged 'change'

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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Somebody’s Gonna Win…Why Not You?

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Every college or university has its share of freshman-level courses. You know, the huge “intro” courses that start out with 300 or so students—and end with maybe 100? Most of the students who drop these courses do so for one of two reasons:

  1. they find the course material stultifyingly dull, or
  2. they find the course material inordinately difficult.

That’s the way it should be. These courses are designed to “weed out” the serious students (in that field, at least) from the dabblers, the ...

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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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Making Music vs. Playing the Notes

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I enjoy playing the piano. People may not enjoy listening to me play the piano, but I still enjoy it. This morning I was playing through a jazz version of the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever. I started working on it this past weekend, and I’m pretty close to having it under my fingers now. In a couple of days, I should have the notes down. But it will still be far from “audience ready.” See, there’s a difference between “playing ...

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When Plans Go Awry

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Boy, was yesterday going to be a great day! So many fun plans, and perfect weather for them, too! (You: “What were these fun plans, Bill?” Me: “None of your business. But trust me, they were going to be fun!”) I hop out of bed, eager to get started. But first, a quick e-mail check. Yes, this is a blatant violation of the rule Julie Morgenstern talks about in her book Never Check E-Mail In the Morning, but I’m a ...

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Are You a Crank or a Visionary?

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So I was reading through a book of Mark Twain quotes last night (did the guy ever say anything that wasn’t pure gold?), and I came upon one that was particularly relevant to my last post:

“The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

Bill Gates was an idiot whose idea of “a computer on every desk” was patently absurd. Those wacky Wright kids, Orville and Wilbur, with their crazy “flying machine” idea—what were they thinking? And ...

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Have You Missed the Boat?

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Do you ever feel like you missed the boat? Do you ever feel like opportunity has, once again, passed you by? Do you ever find yourself saying, “If only I had…

…invented the Pet Rock;
…bought into Microsoft when it first went public;
…come up with the idea for Facebook?”

Somehow the innovations always seem to go to the other guy. It’s not that you’re not smart; it’s just that your timing is off, right?

Bull crap.

Charles Duell, the Commissioner of ...

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Ringo, Innovation, and Challenging Times

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So I was out to dinner last night, and two guys at a nearby table were discussing Sunday’s Grammy awards—specifically Paul McCartney’s performance of I Saw Her Standing There with Foo Fighter (and former Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl on drums. This led one of the two to say “Well, Ringo never really was much of a drummer. But I guess he was an okay timekeeper, and that’s really all the Beatles needed.” The other one agreed. At that point, I’m ...

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