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10 Lessons from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

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 1. “All you had to do was figure that America was going to do well overtime.” – Buffett Buffett kicked off the meeting by providing the audience with “a perspective on how you might think about investing.” The entire audience leaned in. Isn’t this why we all traveled to Omaha? On March 11, 1942, young Warren Buffett made his first stock purchase. He was eleven years old. Warren held up a copy of the front page of the New York Times that day.  It was filled with bad news...

How Bucky the Bean Counter Created a World-Class Culture at Nike

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From a very young age, Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, went by the nickname “Buck.” His father had always referred to him as such, and the name stuck. Even when he ran track for the University of Oregon his track coach, the legendary Bill Bowerman (and Nike’s other co-founder), called him Buck. As Nike grew more successful so did Phil’s stature in the business community, and Phil was increasingly referred to as “Mr. Knight.” But there was one group of early Nike employees who never got the...

The Ancient Wisdom of Teams

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For a team to be successful, team members must put the interests of the team above their own. It’s necessary for team members, at times, to sacrifice their ego, play a supporting role, and in some deep sense, care more for the success of the team than for individual achievement and glory. These are timeless truths with roots extending far back to the very dawn of human culture. Cooperation has been reinforced, generation after generation, through the evolution of human culture. Agriculture...

It’s Not Who’s On Your Team, It’s How You Work Together

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If your boss came up to you today and asked you to form a team for a high-profile strategic project, what would be your first task? If you’re like most people, your thoughts would immediately turn toward whom to select to join your team. After all, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the most important factor for any team is the quality of the players. If you want a super team, fill it with superstars. Just look at the Golden State Warriors. Now suppose your boss gave you a further...

Leadership and EQ

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In the past, it might have been true that leaders could succeed simply because they were smart. But that’s no longer all it takes. While technical skills remain important, our emotional intelligence (referred to as EQ or EI) is just as important as our IQ. In fact, research shows that a leader’s emotional intelligence has a direct impact on the success of an organization. Daniel Goleman, a thought-leader on the topic of EI, says this about emotional intelligence: “If your emotional abilities...

Slow Down to Speed Up

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Your cell phone rings. Your laptop alerts you that you have a new email just as you login to participate in an online meeting, while eating a sandwich you purchased from the shop down the street about three hours ago. Does this sound like a typical day during your week? If so, you’re not alone. According to Tony Schwartz, 25 to 50% of people report that they feel burned out at work. Read this post, The Magic of Doing One Thing, to learn more about the consequences of splitting your attention...

When Brainstorming, Start with the Bad Ideas

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 At one time or another we’ve all been invited to attend a brainstorming session, where the leader stands up in front of a whiteboard, pen in hand, and says something like, “Innovation is critical. We need to come up with some good ideas to stay innovative.  So who wants to start?” As any survivor of one of these sessions will tell you, what transpires over the next few hours is often generously referred to as “brainstorming,” while others might call it a waste of time.  The reason these...

Something to be Thankful for: Your People

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As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow with our families, now is an appropriate time to take account of the many things to be thankful for at work.  As a leader, what comes to mind for me is the debt and gratitude I have for the people I have the honor to work with everyday.  So how do I, as a leader thank the many people around me who not only contribute to my success, but more importantly to the success of the organization?  One way is to simply say “thank you.”  But another more...

Turning Employees into “Owners”

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The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is a joint venture between Gallup and the health management company Healthways.  The Index is designed to measure the overall well-being of the United States and its various regions by randomly administering a comprehensive survey measuring the overall mental, physical and emotional health of individuals across the country (Hawaii and Utah top the list). Healthways being a client of RealTime Performance, I have been following the index carefully and I was...

Using Soccer to Teach Leadership

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Soccer is by far the world’s most popular sport.  In many ways, soccer, or football as it is known outside of America, transcends the sports world and is deeply embedded in the culture of most countries.  The hype and media saturation of soccer is going to increase steadily as we approach World Cup 2010 in South Africa.  The Confederation Cup Final, June 28th featuring the United States versus Brazil, was an exciting prelude to what we can expect next summer.                                   ...

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