CategoryDriving Results

What’s Your Personal Vision?

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A Path in Oregon. Source: Sean P. Murray Richard Hamming makes a stunning observation in his book Learning to Learn: “The main difference between those who go far and those who do not is some people have a vision and others do not and therefore can only react to the current events as they happen.” – Richard Hamming in Learning to Learn It’s easier than ever to spend our time reacting to current events – just browse Facebook, scroll Twitter or bounce among your favorite news sites on your...

Leadership Lessons from “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

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The Charge of the Light Brigade on October 25, 1854 was a disastrous mistake, the result of misinformation and miscommunication. “Forward, the Light Brigade! Was there a man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew Someone had blundered.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, immortalizes an ill-fated British cavalry charge during the Crimean War. The poem mostly celebrates the bravery and glory of the officers who participated in the charge, but in a famous...

Action This Day

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Original “Action This Day” label used by Winston Churchill during WWII. Churchill’s life provides so many stories and examples of grand leadership (See: 7 Leadership Lessons from Winston Churchill), that it’s easy to overlook some of the simple yet powerful productivity practices he utilized to successfully administer the War effort for Britain during World War II. One of my favorites is what he called: “Action This Day.” Upon becoming Prime Minster in 1941, the situation in England...

Trillion Dollar Coach

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In 1979, after six straight losing seasons as the head football coach at Columbia University, Bill Campbell resigned.  During his tenure the team won 12 games and lost 41.  He didn’t blame the failure on his players, rather he put it squarely on himself.  To succeed as a football coach, he believed, one needed a quality he called “dispassionate toughness,” and he didn’t have it.  By his own admission, he had too much damn compassion for his players.  “I tried to make...

Vision is Fixed, Strategy is Flexible

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The movie “Lincoln” (2012) focuses on a critical period during the Civil War – January 1865 – when President Lincoln makes a high-stakes attempt to pass the Thirteenth Amendment through the House of Representatives. It was clear by this time in the war that the Union would prevail. Lincoln thought it imperative that the U.S. Constitution abolish slavery once and for all, so that as southern states were readmitted to the Union, there was no question about the status of African...

Use this Richard Feynman Technique to Increase Your Team’s Productivity

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As World War II broke out, the physicist Richard Feynman was recruited to Los Alamos to assist in the development of the first atomic bomb. He was tasked with calculating the energy released by the nuclear explosion. Machines were brought in from IBM to assist in the task. Although state of art in their day, they were crude mechanical calculators that used punch cards to execute complicated calculations. The Army dispatched a group called the Special Engineering Detachment to operate the...

If You Want to Succeed, First Define Success

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In 1934, an English teacher in South Bend, IN was discouraged by parents who complained when their son or daughter received a “C.”  It seems “C” was perfectly fine for their neighbor’s children, because it was average and the neighbor’s children were, of course, average. However, for their own children, a “C” was disappointing, and the parents would try to make the teacher and student feel like they had failed. The teacher didn’t feel this was right. He could see that...

10 Lessons from Benjamin Franklin on Wisdom

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The investor Mohnish Pabrai was having lunch with Warren Buffett, and he asked him, “if you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?” Buffett replied with a smile, “I’d love to have lunch with Sophia Loren.” But then he got serious and he said, “scratch that answer. I’d really like to have lunch with Isaac Newton.” Mohnish probed Buffett further and asked him “why Isaac Newton?” Buffett replied, “Isaac newton is probably the smartest guy who ever walked this earth. It...

Ulysses S. Grant: 12 Leadership Lessons

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1. Find a Profession Where Your Passion Meets Your Purpose. The same man who decisively and strategically lead over a million soldiers through a brutal Civil War, was unable to manage his brother’s leather goods store in Galena, IL in civilian life. Context matters. Grant was not just twice as successful or three times as successful as a military leader compared to a business leader, he was a thousand times more successful. Finding the profession most suitable to your talents and most...

Setting A Goal this Year? Make it a Process Goal

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Source: Reference-Dependent Preferences: Evidence from Marathon Runners It is the distribution of marathon finishing times collected from over 9 million runners. You might expect to see a smooth bell curve centered around the average time, but that is not what is depicted here. The general outline of the bell curve is evident, but it is punctuated with discrete spikes. At each major time interval, there is a peak of finishers followed by a lull. Anyone who has ever run a road race knows exactly...

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