CategoryLeadership Development

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...

When Technology Meets Community

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A co-op grocery chain in Seattle began dismantling their self-checkout kiosks this month. After considerable investment in the technology over the past few years, the PCC Community Market, made the decision to remove the automated stations.  Here is how the store describes the reasoning behind the decision: “A kiosk doesn’t create community or connections. So we wanted to take those out so that when someone comes into our stores, they have a human connection with someone and an interaction...

The Power of We versus Me

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At the age of twenty, Art Unruh flew 50 missions into enemy territory in the European theater of World War II. The first six missions he served as a tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. Protecting the B-17 from all threats behind the plane was a dangerous assignment, but it wasn’t the most dangerous – that belonged to the waist gunners. The waist gunner had to stand, which exposed them to more enemy fire. For the next 46 missions, Army Staff Sgt. Art Unruh served as a waste gunner, and...

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...

Leadership & Solitude: Scheduling Time to Think

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On August 11, 1984, the USA Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team faced off against Brazil for a gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics. The coach of the U.S. Team, Doug Beal, arrived at the arena hours before the match. Joining him was his assistant coach and best friend, Bill Neville. The players would arrive later, closer to game time. They walked into a mostly empty arena. In a few hours it would be a madhouse, but at the moment it was quiet. The two men sat in the empty stands. They reflected on...

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...

Richard III, Prince Harry, Nassim Taleb, Warren Buffett and Skin-in-the-Game

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Battle of Bosworth, as depicted by Philip James de Loutherbourg (1740–1812) On August 22, 1485, King Richard III led his troops into the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire, England. Things didn’t go well for Richard III that day. In the heat of battle, he found himself unhorsed and in desperate need of help. Shakespeare immortalized the moment with the famous line; “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” A horse was not forthcoming and Richard III was eventually slain on the...

5 Lessons from Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”

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In 1945, within months of his liberation from a concentration camp in Nazi Germany, Viktor Frankl sat down to write a book. He was forty years old. Before the war he worked as a successful psychologist in Vienna. He wrote the manuscript in nine successive days. Although the book tells the story of the unfathomable horrors and suffering he endured as a prisoner at Auschwitz, Dachau and other camps, the primary purpose of the text is to explore the source of his will to survive. The book...

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