How My First Boss Saved Me From Failing

I was 23 years old, in my first professional job and I was failing big-time. My boss had recently handed me a list of five-hundred names and phone numbers and instructed me to cold call them. I picked up the phone and started dialing. I felt a palpable sense of fear and anxiety as I[…]

What We Can Learn from Jeff Bezos about Decision Making

For the past few years Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has shared his approach to decision making in his annual letter to shareholders. Given Amazon’s ability to innovate, and its meteoric rise to retail dominance, there is much we can learn from Bezos and his tips for better decision making. Type 1 vs. Type 2 Decisions Bezos[…]

Innovation, Risk & Failure at Pixar

In a recent interview, Ed Catmull, the cofounder of Pixar, shares his views on risk, failure and culture. The entire interview is worthwhile, but I found Ed’s perspective on these three issues to be especially insightful and applicable to all industries. Taking Risks The nature of innovation requires risk taking. This creates a fundamental tension[…]

Good Leaders Promote Emotional Well-Being

Things don’t make you happy, but experiences and relationships do. Highly productive people understand this and apply it in their own lives to maintain spiritual and emotional well-being. Great leaders also leverage this truth to create a positive culture and get the most out of their people. If you survey the happiness literature, one theme[…]

To Make Better Decisions, Think Independently

Photo by Rachele Caretti, Licensed under CC by 2.0 One of the qualities shared by great decision makers is the rare ability to disregard the opinions of others and think for themselves. There is a strong gravitational pull to conform to the conventional wisdom. If you’re looking to avoid accountability or even regret (which is[…]

Lessons from a 630-Year-Old Family Business

The Cantina at the Antinori Winery. The Antinori family of Italy traces the founding of its family-owned wine business to 1385.  That’s 630 years and 26 generations of business continuity. Consider the risks that a business faces over a span of that period, including war, plague, economic crisis, political turmoil, family health, and sibling rivalries just to name[…]

7 Leadership Lessons from a CEO

I recently had an opportunity to hear Gail McGovern speak to a group of high-potential leaders at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, DC. She shared her personal history from her early career at AT&T where she started as a computer programmer and rose to Executive Vice President. There were a lot of lessons[…]

Einstein & Creativity

In 2015 we celebrated the one-hundred-year anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. What Einstein was able to achieve was so astounding and so creative, it is worth reflecting on how he did it. Thought Experiments. Einstein’s intellectual journey toward the General Theory of Relativity did not begin with complex equations and high[…]

3 Tips for Improving Decision Making

You walk into the conference room for your fourth meeting of the day. It’s a cross-functional committee and you’ve been tasked with making a big decision. You’re pretty sure the committee made a decision during last week’s meeting, and you’re hopeful today’s topic is focused on execution. After all, a solution was discussed thoroughly and[…]