CategoryLeadership Development

Updating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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Maslow’s theory of human motivation had a huge impact on me when I first learned about it from my father, who was well versed in it as he had a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. I vividly remember, as a teenager, sitting across from my father at our kitchen table, while he sketched out “Maslow’s Pyramid” on a napkin. At the bottom of the pyramid were the physiological needs of food, water, shelter and safety. Without access to these essentials we operate in extreme emergency mode since the lack...

Steve Jobs on the Creative Process

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It’s been ten years since Steve Jobs died and to commemorate his death, Jony Ive, Jobs’ longtime friend and collaborator at Apple, wrote a short piece in the WSJ.  It’s a beautiful reflection on their friendship – it’s obvious the two men had a deep respect for one another – but it also describes how Jobs approached the creative process and reveals insights we can apply to our own creative endeavors. Creativity begins with curiosity.  To imagine something new and bring it into the...

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...

A Crisis has the Power to Transform

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“Instead of social distancing, how about physical distancing?  Words matter.”  It was a message that came across my Twitter feed from Brad Stulberg – a recent guest on The Good Life Podcast – and it hit me hard.  He continued the tweet: “Now, more than ever, we need to be socially CONNECTED. The only way we get through this—both biologically and psychologically—is together. Action. Attitude. Support. Kindness. It’s all contagious.”– Brad Stulberg Aristotle famously...

The Good Life Podcast

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About ten years ago I started listening to podcasts while traveling on airplanes.  Suddenly, the time I previously spent battling the airplane wi-fi and trying to win the arm-rest battle while in the middle seat (I got very little work done), was replaced with learning.  Those early podcasts motivated me to read more.  Soon I was listening to podcasts while running, which in turn, inspired me to start writing more.  And that, inevitably led to this...

Steve Jobs’ Most Important Decision Making Tip

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Our lives are defined by our decisions.  Try this thought experiment: consider your life as separate from the decisions you have made.  You can’t.  They are one in the same. Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and the author of the book Principles, put it eloquently: “The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our decisions.” If Dalio is right, and I believe he is, then the study of decision making should take up a much larger percentage of our education and...

What you are Willing to Tolerate becomes the Standard

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Jeff Bezos refers to Amazon’s customers as “divinely discontent.” Ten years ago Amazon customers were satisfied with 3-5 days shipping. At some point expectations shifted to 2-day shipping. Now many demand Same Day delivery. How long before Same Hour delivery is the norm? In his 2017 Letter to Shareholders Bezos had this to say about Amazon customers: “Their expectations are never static – they go up. It’s human nature.” One of the ways great leaders stay ahead of ever-rising...

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...

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