All Posts by Coaching & Mentoring Category

Coaching & Mentoring

View: >
View: >

How to Get Smarter

"You're Telling Me I Can Develop My Intelligence?  Like a Muscle?  I Don't Believe It."  

Learning jointI'd have thought by now that most people would understand that you can grow your intelligence.  But no, the notion is still a shock to the system.  As one acquaintance put it succinctly:  "That can't possibly be true." He got riled up about it, but I suspect that's merely a bit stronger than what 99% of the adult population believes.  In fact, check it out (or check yourself out).  Most people still believe that a person is born smart, average or dumb--and stays that way for life.

Research over the past twenty years has shown beyond a doubt that the brain is more like a muscle.  It gets stronger, a lot stronger, when you learn--and keep learning.  Use it or lose it. 

David Brooks pulled all this together in a fascinating column on human nature in which he summarizes the developmental issues, pushing back on over-zealous evolutionary psychology and innate beliefs.  I quote the article:

The first problem is that far from being preprogrammed with a series of hardwired mental modules, as the E.P. types assert, our brains are fluid and plastic. We’re learning that evolution can be a ...


Gap between Millennial Employee Viewpoints and Employer Expectations


For any organization to operate efficiently, there must be complete coordination between all layers of staff and management. Only when there is complete communication can you expect an organization to operate smoothly. All gaps must be bridged, and all terms must be understood well by all. When running an organization, terms, definitions as well as all targets and expectations must be crystal clear to employers and employees. However, in recent years, employers and employees seem to have drastically different views on crucial areas, which lead to much distress and turmoil for companies.

Millennials are known for having opinions that are quite different to those of their employers. Indeed, the differences are so vast that you might wonder how they could ever be reconciled. For example, 86% of Millennials see themselves as hardworking indivdiauals, while only 11% of their employers agree with this. Also, 82% of Millennials believe that they are loyal to their employers, but only 1% of employers believe that this is true.

What Can Be Done to Narrow the Perception Gap between Employers and Millennials?



Two Magic Words – Thank You!

Thanking works because it expresses one of our most basic emotions: gratitude. Not an abstraction, gratitude is a genuine emotion. It cannot be exacted or forced. You either feel it or you don’t. Yet, when someone does something nice for you, they expect gratitude and they think less of you for withholding it. Think about the last time you gave someone a gift. If they didn’t say thank you, how did you feel about them? Great person? Or ungrateful S.O.B.?

When someone gives you a gift, you wouldn’t say, “Stinky gift!” “Bad gift!” or “I already have this stupid gift!” (Unless you are a real jerk.) You would say, “Thank you.” If you can use the gift, use it. If you don’t want to use it, put it in the closet and “let it go.”

Watch the video blog and read the accompanying written blog below.

When Service Is Two Chairs and a Napkin Short

A few weeks ago, we attended a gala event, and a series of service bobbles reminded me again that even when service people are perfectly nice, the service itself might still be inadequate.

How much does a customer’s response to service results from the communication between humans? And how much of it is caused by the service person’s lack of judgment, discretion, training, procedure, or supervision?


Understanding The Value Of Charisma In Leadership


Last week, I had the pleasure of giving the keynote speech at the 2014 NAED LEAD Conference held in Chicago. Given how the focus of my speech was examining the role of charisma in leadership and how we can develop this trait to inspire and engage our employees, it would seem almost natural that the locale for this keynote was this elegant, almost regal ballroom located in one of the illustrious hotels found along Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile”.


6 Steps for Women Who Deserve a Raise

Pay raiseOne of the continuing inequities in the American workforce is the paygap between women and men.  Even though women, on average, tend to be better educated than men, those women who work full time only earn about 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. I suppose it's good news that the figure has gone up 2 cents since 2010.

FYI: To my amusement I've learned that a few women get frustrated by a man writing about this, but I have plenty of reasons, not least three daughters, who are professionals, as was my now deceased wife. At different times in their marriage all four made more than their husbands.  (Furthermore, it's important to take truth wherever you can get it.)  Although I've consulted to numerous female execs over the years, a dozen or so years ago, one client from among the top paid executives in America was especially instructive about the issue of male consultants working for female execs.  I asked her why she wanted to work with a man.  Her response?  "The image of me working with a male consultant has much more cachet than working with a woman."  Of course, she tossed me a bone: "Besides, you're more knowledgable than any women I know in the consulting business. ...


Monday Motivation – Do what you can

Something to think about

Sometimes in the pursuit of perfection, we wish for more time, more resources, or a different situation. Instead of focusing on perfection (even through a change in constraint), embrace progress.

When I discussed this concept with a renowned sculptor, he simply pointed out that ours is to the do the best we can with the time we have. His life experience matched the sage words of Roosevelt.

Today, choose progress over perfection. Be present in the moment and embrace whatever opportunity arrives.

2014-07-21-mm-Do what you can


Great Work Provocation

What has this inspired for you today?


How Does Who You Know Affect What You Know?

Decision makingBad decisions are a big drain on personal time--and they often waste precious resources. But why do these failures happen? Early on researchers focused especially on problems inherent to small groups, including bad chemistry, ineffective leadership and groupthink. Then there was a strong suggestion that bad decisions were the result of "cognitive biases." That included overconfidence and the tendency to overlook or ignore alternative viewpoints.

Although all of the above are definitely a part of the problem, Cross, Thomas and Light seem to have a better resolution of the issue. In an intriguing piece of research reported in the Sloan Management Review, they focused on how informal networks affect the decisioning of leaders. They've found the most significant answer to the question of bad decisions: network bias.  

Two conclusions are very significant:

--Leaders often try to rectify inefficient and ineffective decision making by increasing collaboration.  Cross found that engineers and scientists looking for information were more than five times as likely to turn to friends or colleagues than to a different network or research.

--Leaders are often blind to the way their ...


Counter-Intuitive Must-Dos To Manage Time And Reduce Stress

Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale completely. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale completely. Repeat a couple more times and then notice how much quieter your mind is and how much more relaxed your body is.

This tried and true stress buster works! I have found myself a bit disconcerted and overwhelmed this week – continuing our travel well into the summer after coming off our “normal” spring busy, squeezing a vacation in there over the 4th of July holiday, or all or none of the above. However, when I noticed it (and one of those moments was when I realized it was my turn to write our blog this week and it wasn’t on my work-to-do list!), I stopped and thought about what I needed to do to gain some clarity and energy around my priorities so I could get and remain productive.

The first thing I thought of was “breathe.” That is always the best place to start and a technique we teach to reduce pressure in our lives and as a centering technique to help you manage your time. And, since many of our CPA friends seem to always be managing key deadlines ...