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7 Leadership Lessons from Winston Churchill

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Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was a soldier, writer and statesman who led England and the Allies to victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. His life spanned from the Victorian Age to the Space Age. He authored 37 books, producing more words than Shakespeare and Dickens combined. When Western Civilization was threatened by the ominous expansion of totalitarianism, Churchill defended liberty against tyranny, exuded a confidence in victory and provided something freedom-loving people across...

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...

5 Tips for Better Decision Making from a Professional Poker Player

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Every decision we make is a bet. A bet is essentially an investment in a future outcome that is uncertain. That investment could be money, time, attention or some other resource. When we think of decisions as bets, we are more likely to think probabilistically, adopt an open-mind, consider diverse options and learn from our mistakes. If every decision is a bet, then we can learn to become better decision makers by studying the ultimate betting game: poker. People often compare life to chess...

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...

When Your Wave Comes, Ride It

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Laird Hamilton surfing Teahupoo on August 17, 2000.  Photo: Tim McKenna   On August 17, 2000, Laird Hamilton was surfing a famous break off Tahiti called Teahupoo. The break at Teahupoo already had a fierce reputation, but on this day, Laird and his friend Darrick Doerner saw a wave approaching unlike anything they had ever seen before or since.  Doerner was on a jet ski, towing Laird into the wave when the magnitude of the wave hit him: “I towed him onto this wave and it was to the...

How My First Boss Saved Me From Failing

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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 reached for the phone to make each call. I experienced a wave of rejection the likes of which I had never before seen. I was demoralized. My boss could see I was floundering and ready to quit. After a few days, he...

What We Can Learn from Jeff Bezos about Decision Making

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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 categorizes all decisions into two types. Type 1 decisions are big, strategic and consequential. These decisions must be made very carefully and methodically. They are irreversible...

7 Leadership Lessons from a CEO

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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 learned along her career journey, and here are seven she shared with the next generation of leadership at the Red Cross: 1. Pick the best people. Attract, retain and...

Zuckerberg, EQ, Chopra and Benjamin Franklin

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How Mark Zuckerberg has grown into his role as CEO of Facebook.
Emotional Intelligence as a predictor of success.
Video of my friend Jit Chopra addressing a group of executives on the creative process.  If you like my post on “start with the bad ideas first“, then you’ll love to hear Jit tell the story about Edward Land and the Poloroid camera.
Benjamin Franklin’s 14 timeless tips on Getting Things Done. – and this man was very productive.

5 Steps to Business Impact

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  I will be speaking at the 2011 ASTD International Conference in Orlando (May 22nd – 25th) on how to achieve business results from training. The following is a description of the presentation and learning outcomes for the event. Those of us who have been in and around the learning  industry a long time know that the quality of instructional design, materials, delivery, and facilitation of training has steadily increased through the years and continues to improve.  In addition, technology...

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