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professional development

professional development

In this article, Brittany Blackamore shares a few professional tips on how to land your dream job and move your career forward. It’s recruiting season. This is the busiest time of year for me, when hundreds of students reach out and want to know how to get in. How can they break into a top management consulting firm? How did I pivot from a back-end role for an engineering company to a coveted leadership development program, promotion to a director,…
Marja Fox shares a blog post on the strengths-based approach to enhancing performance and fostering diversity. In a previous post, I laid out the case for a strengths-based approach to developing others: how it enhances performance and fosters diversity, what it is (and is not), what it requires of practitioners and what employee, coach and company get out of it. As strengths-based coaching has gained popularity, so too has it accumulated naysayers. While researching, I encountered a frequently-referenced source staking…
Caroline Taich shares an evergreen post on how to become a confident leader. Dave was one of my first clients as a management consultant. He was in a rotational leadership program at the regional utility. He became the leader of procurement for the construction services category overnight – without any training or preparation. My job was to guide him through the procurement process to identify cost savings. Dave was taking a risk. In this new role, he was going to…
Susan Hamilton Meier shares an evergreen article that identifies the benefits of making mistakes. We love a perfect score, a best in class, a success story. But reality is messy. That entrepreneur with the “overnight success” has been at it for 20 years. That best-selling author was first a failed musician. That “perfect marriage” has weathered a few serious rough patches. Messing up is, in fact, an essential component of success. Innovative companies invest in risky ideas, understanding that many…
Paul Millerd shares a thought-provoking article on the current culture that drives a myopic view of life, work, and the all-encompassing career path. Modern work critics blame Frederick Taylor for the hyper-optimization of the modern workplace. The accepted narrative is that Taylor kicked off a movement that looked at work as something that could be optimized and managed and that his efforts kick-started a 100+ year movement of steadily increasing optimization. Sounds good but it’s not true. Today’s hyper-optimized workplace…
Priyanka Ghosh shares an article that identifies eight essential qualities in an effective leader and how what shapes them makes them.  The stories you tell are the stories that define you.  As you travel through you career to create the well-paved road from individual contribution to team leader and finally to the leadership role that you covet, you learn to tell stories through your actions.  Actions those are synonymous with leading by example.  But largely, it is these stories that…
Susan Drumm tackles the problem of CEO imposter syndrome and provides valuable tips to help overcome the problem.  Is there such a thing as CEO Impostor Syndrome?  When most of us hear Impostor Syndrome we picture 20-somethings who are new to their fields and feeling out of their depth. We might imagine fresh-faced new hires, struggling through client interactions and meetings, worrying that they’ll be “found out.” What if I told you that 90% of CEOs have had Impostor Syndrome-type…
Jessica Lackey shares an article designed to help you find and leverage your talents and strengths. “I never truly considered what I was good at and how those experiences fit together. I just did the next job that I was asked to do.” There are personality tests and strengths assessments galore. And they can be very helpful to put language around our gifts, our strengths, our geniuses. But what they lack? How to use our gifts in context. How to…
Amanda Setili shares a podcast from her series Fearless Growth where she interviews Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley,  the authors of the new book, Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust, on leadership. The world is in desperate need for a new model of leadership, say Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. We have seen the results of self-centered leadership, the kind that loves power and status. They make the case that it’s just…
David A. Fields provides a useful article developed specifically to win your firm more consulting projects. If you travel any major highway (a.k.a. motorway) you have passed numerous tractor-trailers hauling freight from one destination to another. Tractor-trailers provide a helpful metaphor that you can employ to improve your consulting firm’s business development process. The tractor is where the power resides, and the trailer holds the valuable goods. (Cookies in the cab for you; cookies in the back for others.) Hang…
In the current environment of information saturation, Rahul Bhargava highlights the importance of critical thinking skills and how to improve them.  Now and then, every individual comes face to face with some challenge or a problem, which requires them to make a decision. For an entrepreneur, it could be something as simple as deciding a name for their venture or something as crucial as choosing a location for the office. If you’re an employee working for an organization, you could…
Brittany Blackamore shares an always relevant post on how to ace an interview.  Ready or not, recruiting season is here. For many candidates, this means they face the dreaded case interview. I remember the first time I attempted a case interview. I was in a case workshop at UCLA Anderson, and we were told to work in teams on a practice case. My classmate read my first prompt. I was already intimidated, and when the answer wasn’t immediately evident to…
Zaheera Soomar shares a post that explains why you should take a proactive approach to examining the culture before you buy into the organization. I came across a few Linked in posts about candidate experiences and organizations requests in recruitment. I read through the comments to see how others felt and it didn’t leave me feeling comfortable. I tried to reflect and dig deep about why I’m feeling uncomfortable. I reflected on my past experiences in both joining organizations but…
Tobias Baer explores a question many may have on their mind right now. This morning I found myself in disbelief and incredible sadness that once again, there is a war on European soil. What will it take to end it? In my psychology studies, I found a voice of authority that can give us a perspective in these dark hours. In her monumental, raging book “The Body in Pain,” Elaine Scarry, a distinguished writer frequently cited even by leading psychologists…
Jared Simmons shares an evergreen post on team management and managing stress.  There are a lot of individual motivations on a team, and they don’t always align with what that team has been tasked to do. Because of these variants, you may find yourself caring when others don’t about the project tasks at hand. A big part of managing projects is not convincing people to get on board, but rather finding ways to make the team’s priorities serve their personal…
Alistair Hodgett shares a post that asks how you end the work week and offers tips on how to make the pre-weekend break productive. The end of the work week can be many things: The end of a period of work, consisting of achievements and difficulties A transition to leisure time, activities or time with family and friends A preparation for the next working week, making plans, lists or priorities Each of these is worth observing to discover how you…
Sherif El-Henaoui explains why judgment inhibits growth. … they will never know. When they try, they will always learn. I watch people dislike Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Uber, Twitter, alibaba, etc.. No problem disliking something in life except when one doesn’t have any clue about it… In recent times I have been facing people, who discredit things they don’t understand even worse they don’t want to understand. If one never has taken an Uber ride, never bought or sold through Ebay, never…
As we head into a new year and the new normal is old news, we may be thinking about who we are and how we are going to move forward. Mirko Jens Luebke’s article on reputation management provides a few signposts.  Companies invest a significant amount of time and resources in creating and marketing brands that they hope will become household names. What are you willing to invest to do the same for your “Personal Brand”? As Tom Peters once…
Paul Millerd recently self-published a book, and in this article, he shares the process and the practical details that will be useful for anyone considering self-publishing. “#1 There is a big gap between publishing blog posts and “writing a book” I decided to write a book with the mindset of I will throw together some blog posts, edit them, smooth the rough edges and hit publish. I estimated this would take me about three months. I was wrong. Quickly, I…
A six-minute read from Kaihan Krippendorff on how to be more influential at work.  Whether you’re trying to get your dream job, convince your boss to give you more responsibility, get your colleagues excited about your idea, get neighbors to vote for your proposal, or simply persuade family members to consider somewhere new for vacation, your influencing skills are key. We all know this. And yet, few of us do it well because we fail to exercise the full breadth…
Rahul Bhargava shares key tips on how to improve your notetaking and increase the efficacy of your notes. Want to make notes that do not get lost with million others. Start to make smart notes. What is that? Learn all about note-taking for professionals. Opt for a strategy that works and builds a strong knowledge store. Whether we are reading a book, an informational article, or having a client conversation, making notes is vital. It helps in breaking down our…
Jeremy Greenberg shares an article published on Entrepreneur.com that offers three ways we can improve our performance through self-monitoring.  Tens of millions of us — two thirds of all American full-time workers — are now working from home. This often means we’ve had little direct supervision or oversight in months, away from our colleagues’ (and our boss’s) watchful eye. That may feel nice… but data shows that we perform better when we know we’re being observed. For example, in a…
Guillermo Herbozo shares a few key tips to ensure a positive outcome when conversing with a customer.  Most conversations, whether you’re in sales, customer service, retention or any other customer facing position, start with a greeting. Then they move along until close and follow up. Now, how often do you review the customer conversation practices in your organization to see how they can be improved? This post is an invitation to do precisely that. Its focus will be reviewing best…
Priyanka Ghosh shares a case study from her company blog on preparing for professional readiness.  SITUATION A leading business school in Dubai approached ProMelior to run a series of workshops and 1:1 sessions to prepare students for job interviews as they approached the end of their MBA program. Many of the students aspired to careers in management consulting, investment banking, investment management and other professional/ financial services. However, many of the students lacked a thorough understanding of what each type…
Darryl Stickel shares a few best practices for parents who want to improve the bond of trust with their children.  When it comes to trust, kids are a special case.  They tend to trust us more than they should when they are young and less than they should as they mature.  Unfortunately, our kids tend to trust us least when they could use our guidance the most.  As they mature they are making life changing decisions and at risk for…
Bernie Heine offers advice on balancing analytical and emotional intelligence. Our Neural Networks Don’t Have to be Rivals. In times like these, we are all stressed, fearful, and worried for ourselves and others. Our people are concerned about their jobs and providing for their families. More globally, we are all concerned about the nation’s health and well-being. As a manager, you must persevere in managing budgets, sales targets, and the thousands of other decisions that keep your organization alive. All…
Kathryn Valentine shares an article published in Fast Company that offers an original approach to preventing burnout and includes tips on how to do it.  As the working mom of a 2- and 4-year old, I have felt it.  This pandemic is exhausting and seems to just. Keep. Dragging. On.  I’m not the only one. A report released by McKinsey and LeanIn.org shows that one in three women are considering leaving the workforce or significantly downshifting. Research by the National…
Andy Sheppard shares an older but always relevant post that asks whether professional insights can lead to spiritual insights. In my work, I often help leaders to dismantle silos in their organisations. It’s so rewarding to see people thrive and gain new insights as they come together. Somewhat similarly, I have also found that new insights can be unlocked through making connections across different compartments in life. Lateral thinking across parts of life that are typically separate – like our…
Barry Horwitz shares an article that extolls the benefits of reading and reading some more.  Students in my strategy classes at Boston University often ask: What applicant characteristics matter most when applying for positions with strategy consulting firms? Of course, there are some obvious ones — sharp analytical skills and strong communication capabilities among them. But one that is often overlooked — and yet quite valuable — is possession of a healthy curiosity. As I wrote in an earlier newsletter,…
Xavier Lederer provides key steps on prioritization and action. ‘The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.’– Michael Porter “I don’t have enough time in a day to work on the most important things!” I regularly hear CEOs complain. We all have a tendency to jump on the most urgent problems – because they are urgent and also because, let’s face it: we are addicted to fixing problems. Why priorities matter – pebbles vs. rocks The issue is:…
Anubhav Raina shares a series that presents a model for understanding how influencing works and how you can train yourself to excel at it. It combines his personal observations with the latest research in influencing. Note this is a three-part series: Intro (this article) CIF — Core Influence Framework Building Trust Convincing people Appendices Using effective questioning Expanding the size of the pie Negotiation: sweetening the deal Using biases to your advantage Negotiation: When to walk away Being able to…
If you feel guilty for reading fiction, Amanda Setili’s article on how fiction books can improve leadership skills will remove guilt. Put your feet up and enjoy. I’m deep into The Expanse book series, and it never ceases to amaze me how many insights and inspirations I get from reading fiction, especially science fiction. Fiction makes it easier to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to understand different perspectives: how others feel, and how they solve problems that might…
Believe it whether you want to or not, exercise can improve your performance as a leader. Jeffery Perry explains how in this article. John F. Kennedy once said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” There is arguably no greater dynamic and creative intellectual activity than personal leadership. Leaders have significant daily demands as they manage teams and engage with internal and…
Paul Millerd offers a new view on Maslow’s Pyramid and offers a different and more interesting lens on life. ‘The biggest losers, we suggest, have been management students’ This was the takeaway of three researchers who dug into the history of the invention of Maslow’s pyramid. We’ll get to that story but first let’s take a look at what has become one of the most sacred ideas in the management world, Maslow’s pyramid:  The conventional way of thinking about the…
Self-doubt can stop the best talent from moving forward, but for all those who struggle with a negative voice, Rahul Bhargava provides practical steps that can be taken to deal with doubt. We all have experienced self-doubts, especially when it came to undertaking significant life decisions. Whether it is the selection of a career or prospects of a current job, we all have been there. There is that voice ringing in your head that constantly says that you cannot do…
In this post, Peter Costa offers one man’s perspective on gender and leadership. There are mountains of research on the importance of diversity in building high-performing organizations. There is at least as much insight on the nature of leadership, including that there is no one “right” leadership style. The most effective leaders are true to themselves, their strengths, and their values. At the same time, different situations call for different leadership styles. Are these conflicting ideas? Perhaps, but if the…
Paul Millerd shares an evergreen post on the challenges and benefits of following a self-employed path. Over the past two and half years I’ve been navigating unknown territory, grappling with the deep philosophical questions of how to live life and wondering how my parents’ generation, the boomers, lived life as if they had a map. For most of my life, I pretended I had a map. It seemed that was what you were supposed to do as an adult. In…
Robyn M. Bolton shares an evergreen post on the benefits of thinking visually for business, and how to do it.  Last week, I wrote about Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a process of using art to teach visual literacy, thinking, and communication skills. Typically, used in primary school classrooms, VTS has made its way into the corporate setting, helping individuals and teams to build and strengthen their problem solving and critical thinking skills, ability to communicate and collaborate, and effectiveness in…
  Susan Meier shares a behind-the-design post from Workspace Studio. This week, in an interview with Amanda Hindlian, she discusses the form, function, and favorite aspects of her home office.  What do you do for work? I’m the Global Head of Capital Markets at the New York Stock Exchange, which means that any time a private company is thinking about ways to tap into the public capital markets, I’m there with my team to help them through that process.  It’s…
  Paul Millerd shares his understanding of hamsternomics: printing money, the future of work, and what we want or need in life. Right now, as citizens of the United States we may become that hamster.  Near term, we don’t really have a choice.  Long term, we might have a choice. A lot of people have asked us what printing money means. Like, what actually happens and why should we care? That simple question turned into a long investigation.  The result…
  If you’re running low on motivation, Rahul Bhargava provides a post that explains how high achievers stay motivated, and it may just help you get back into work mode. Few years back, I was part of a ‘merger/acquisition management’ project. These projects are unusually stressful. As a professional, you are not sure of your next role for weeks or months. It’s like the phase after an exam and before the results. One just waits, and waits. The numerous failed…
  Nils Boeffel shares a post that identifies how to ask the right questions to get the information you need.  Many managers are confronted with complex decisions to make, and not enough time in which to make them. One way to help make better decisions more quickly is knowing how to ask questions that get to the core of the subject, and not just tiptoe around the edges. Let’s look at an example. If you ask what your marketing budget…
  Paul Millerd shares an article that comments on a capitalist system that has revived Calvinist attitudes towards those who may be less financially fortunate. One thing I absorbed from the culture I grew up in was that someone who didn’t make a lot of money or that spent their time at something deemed a “low-skill” job was of questionable character. There were always carve outs for people you might become acquainted with, but generally people that had more money…
  If your home office is a little lacking in motivational and inspirational energy, Susan Meier’s new project may help you redesign a creative space. The project she co-founded with photographer Hallie Burton showcases the inspiring home workspaces and the stories of those who work there. This post profiles the home office and insights of art director Marcus Hay.  What do you do? I’m an art director or creative director, and my main focus is creating imagery for photoshoots. I…
  Barry Horwitz shares an article with a few key pointers on communication best practices that gain better results from research. If you hope to develop an effective strategy, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the external forces that impact your organization. Much of this, of course, can be learned through the inevitable Google searches — finding news items in mainstream press, public reports from organizations, or trade journals. But to really gain a clear perspective, you’ll want…
  With Mother’s Day comes memories of small moments that had a big impact. Robyn Bolton shares a wholly amusing, moving, and inspirational story on innovation found in unlikely places. My Mom was a nursery-school teacher. It was more than her profession, it was her gift. Long after my sister and I were grown and out of the house, my mom chose to spend her days with 4-year olds, teaching them everything from the ABCs to how to use the…
  Rahul Bhargava provides a post designed to help you think critically and develop better problem-solving skills, a skill that is crucially important in today’s daily deluge of news from a diverse range of sources.  Now and then, every individual comes face to face with some challenge or a problem, which requires them to make a decision. For an entrepreneur, it could be something as simple as deciding a name for their venture or something as crucial as choosing a…
David A. Fields shares a post on key steps to take to grow your business. Clients hire your consulting firm in part because you know more than they do. You’re an expert. Wise in the ways of management, marketing or the musk beetle (or whatever your area of expertise happens to be). How expert are you, though, and what are you doing to continuously upgrade your knowledge? Domain knowledge is one of the three ingredients you mix together to whip…
  Priyanka Ghosh shares an always valuable reminder on the importance of minding your assumptions and making sure others are reminded of your value. Early in my career at a top Management Consulting Firm in New York my Senior Manager had asked me a question…”what is your brand, Priyanka”….that question had left me stumped! a) I had no idea what he was talking about; b) I always thought that when you do good work you get noticed for your work. …
                       Kaihan Krippendorff shares an article that identifies how to take better control of your subconscious to become aware of valuable information.  We have heard the adages like “work on your business, not in it” and “come up to see the forest for the trees.” At McKinsey they urged us to continually take the “top management perspective” by zooming up to look at the business overall before jumping into the details. But we know Bill Gates used to lock himself…
  If you are stuck in a rut, at a career crossroads, or just not moving forward as fast as you want to, Christy Johnson shares a blog from her website on the difference between a mentor and a champion and how each one can help you.  ‘Where are your champions? You’ve probably heard the hackneyed advice for career advancement: “It’s who you know, not what you know.” But how do you know who you should get to know? Figuring…
  Shelli Baltman reflects on creativity, and how you don’t have to be ‘creative’ to bring it in to your day-to-day working life. ‘But I’m not creative!’ Even today, it’s hard for me to write that.  After almost 20 years as an Innovation Expert, a role where clients hire me for my creativity and fresh ideas, and a long track record of commercial success, there’s still a small, childlike part of me that wonders if I’m creative enough. My journey…
  Susan Meier asks us simply to think about love and how it works when we want to bring positive and productive energy into play.   “Think about love. In the early days of running my own company, I was feeling nervous about a pitch meeting with a potential new client. My friend suggested matter-of-factly, “Just think about love.” I laughed at first, because love seemed like an odd thing to be thinking about while discussing digital media strategies in…
  Aneta Key shares a concise post that explains the purpose and benefits of her company’s GrowthKey programs. One way to increase the leadership capacity of your organization is to invest in the development of your people and build organizational capabilities. The GrowthKey Programs help you do just that. GrowthKey blended learning approach The GrowthKey professional development programs develop critical strategic, problem-solving, and interpersonal capabilities to elevate the confidence and performance of leaders, high performers groomed for cross-functional assignments, up-and-comers,…
Caroline Taich shares a  post on change and the skills you need to drive it forward.  In this blog, we have been exploring the McKinsey model for change. Last week I wrote about conviction as a driver of change.  This week I’m thinking about the skills you need for change.  Here is a big one – the ability to see your unique strengths. This came up during the wonderful opportunity I had to learn from Councilman Matt Zone.  Councilman Zone…
  With the pandemic slowing the pace in how we live and work, many of us may feel stuck. Luckily, Mike Ross shares a quick tip to help set movement in motion.  I’m lucky to spend a lot of my time working with highly intelligent, motivated people; helping them think through decisions for themselves and their organizations. Some big decisions, some small ones, but these conversations often share a striking similarity – the people I’m speaking with usually already know…
  Robbie Baxter shares valuable advice on how to build and manage a network in a comfortable and authentic way. A few years ago, my sister asked me to co lead a workshop to help a group of her fellow psychologists build their professional network. Here’s how she opened the event: “I know most of us really don’t like networking, and I’m glad you’re here anyway. For most of us networking is worse than a sharp stick in the eye”…
  Christy Johnson shares a post from her company blog on how to make virtual learning a better experience for students. In this panel, experts from Stanford and from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco discussed:  Experimenting with synchronous and asynchronous classroom environments, flipped classrooms, and different online tools Helping students meet, network, collaborate, complete meaningful activities, and learn from one another Thinking creatively about using technology and designing online learning specifically for an online setting Staying positive and…
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Hung Nguyen with OUTLAST Consulting. Hung recently joined OUTLAST Consulting, a purpose-driven professional development + strategy firm focused on fueling innovation and empowering diverse talent. Prior to OUTLAST, Hung headed the Digital Center of Expertise at BP, where she piloted user-centric ways to recruit, develop, and deploy talent. At McKinsey, she focused on organizational effectiveness and cultural transformations. She has a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from Stanford…
  Paul Millerd shares insights from multiple sources on the future of work in these five conversations.  The future of work can mean anything.  I’ve had many conversations and discussions around the idea of “future of work” where people talk past each other, often focused on different fundamental issues.  In an effort to make sense of this complexity and create some common ground for the many people having these conversations, I propose differentiating between five future of work conversations: Conversation…
  Nora Ghaoui shares the top three ways she built her business as a solo consultant during the difficult year of 2020.   Building a consulting pipeline is tough in any year. In 2020, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic made companies cautious, so it was harder to get projects agreed and started.  I tried out different actions to build my project pipeline, and some worked better than others. Here are the top 3 things that made a difference to building…
  Zaheera Soomar shares a post that explores the problem of prospective employees following an organizations’ assessment of their ‘cultural fit’.  I came across a few LinkedIn posts about candidate experiences and organizations requests in recruitment. I read through the comments to see how others felt and it didn’t leave me feeling comfortable. I tried to reflect and dig deep about why I’m feeling uncomfortable. I reflected on my past experiences in both joining organizations but also in hiring individuals…
  Dan Markovitz shares a free workbook to accompany his latest book.  Response to my latest book, The Conclusion Trap, has been strong, but I’ve heard from some readers that they’d like a workbook to accompany it.  Done.  You can download the Conclusion Trap Workbook here. For free. Gratis. No charge. $0.00 dollars.  In it, you’ll find a recap of each of the four steps, along with questions, and recommendations you can use to experiment with the approach in your…
  Tobias Baer draws attention to the danger of selective perception becoming the norm as the use of AI in online information and marketing limits the amount of information delivered.  There is a famous psychological experiment where participants intently watch a basketball game – but when asked afterwards about the gorilla that had danced around amidst the players, nobody has seen it. It’s the literal textbook example of selective perception – in this experiment, participants were tasked with counting the…
  Susan Hamilton shares a thoughtful post on creative thinking and the pursuit of possibility. September has always been my favorite month. The smell of new notebooks, the crispness in the still-warm air. A season full of unknowns, full of possibility. This year, the back-to-school season presents a different riff on unknowns to be sure, but I am still filled with a sense of excitement at the possibility that awaits. People who are open to seeing possibility have a powerful…
Andy Sheppard explores the connection between business and spirituality and how one can feed the other.  In my work, I often help leaders to dismantle silos in their organisations. It’s so rewarding to see people thrive and gain new insights as they come together. Somewhat similarly, I have also found that new insights can be unlocked through making connections across different compartments in life. Lateral thinking across parts of life that are typically separate – like our professional life and…
  Paul Millerd shares the latest edition from his blog that explores the connections between the revolutionary and evolutionary writers in history with today’s dissemination of information on social media. He also shares a resource of links to today’s influential  inter-intellect sites.  The meta-scenius and the future Would Thoreau have convinced more people to move to Walden pond if he had Twitter? That was the question I was thinking about as I read American Bloomsbury, a book about a “scenius”…
  Amy Giddon takes a look back at the past year to provide friendly insight and advice on how to make life better in five easy ways.  2020 has been a year like no other. As we’ve grown weary, depleted, and drained, the power of kindness to transform a moment, a day, a life has only grown. When people are asked to recall a kindness they received, they often recall a time when they were at their most fragile and…
  Susan Meier Hamilton identifies the need for solitude and how to find it in a noisy world. Once upon a time, I spent 8 hours a day completely alone, working from home. I am an introvert who needs solitude to recharge my batteries and focus, and I enjoyed that. These days, the vast majority of my time is spent in the company of 4 other people who are, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, also now working from home. It’s…
  Jesse Jacoby shares a post that illustrates the importance of story, and why the corporate story is the key to engaging employees. We all love a good story, whether our preference is for fiction or nonfiction. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to the news, expanding your mind watching a TEDx talk or listening to a podcast. All these media use stories to communicate their messages. Why? One reason is because it…
  In this article, Robyn M. Bolton illuminates how our personal bias comes into play with the co-creator syndrome and how it can affect innovation.    When I was a senior in college, I took a pottery class.  One of our assignments, before learning to throw on the wheel, was to create a functional piece using slabs of clay.  I designed an Alice in Wonderland-inspired vase and built something that somewhat resembled the design. Obviously impressed by my innate talent, the…
  Caroline Taich shares a concise post and one key tip on how to improve your client services.  Are you getting ready to start a planning process? I help my clients bring new ideas to life. To do this work well, I believe that it helps to know what it’s like to walk in client shoes. So when the arts organization where I am Board President was ready to write a strategic plan, I jumped at the chance to be…
  Tommy Kim provides an article that explains how rethinking your brand can help you grow.  The picture of a Lockheed Martin F35 at the opening of this article sends a very clear message. It demonstrates power, pride, quality, stealth, and dominance. Similarly, throughout your life, you will craft a very clear, personal brand for yourself. A brand identity that you want people to identify you with and to remember you by. As you grow and thrive, you will deepen…
  Jonathan Paisner shares a video from his #be150 series on conducting an in-person work session.     Key points include: Planning Appreciating the novelty Working those interstitial moments   Catch the full video, Running a workshop in the time of COVID, on BrandExperienced.com.  …
  Robyn M. Bolton provides key tips that you can take to motivate corporate executives into action.  Things we know we should do because they’re good for us: Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day Floss twice a day Get 10,000 steps a day Buy insurance Consistently invest in innovation Let’s be honest, the above list could also be titled, “Things we know we should do but don’t.” Why?  Why do we choose not to do things that…
  Maintaining productivity for you and your team is not always easy, but despair not; David A. Fields provides a list of productivity questions designed to make you assess, address, and activate a productivity system. Puff your chest out and strike a superhero pose. You’re Super Productivity Person! Sigh, that’s not very catchy is it? Also, to be fair, probably neither you nor your consulting firm are achieving legendary productivity day in and day out. You could, though, using the…
  Robyn M. Bolton shares why a business should always engage in customer research when innovating and explains why she doesn’t always follow her own advice.  If you’re innovating without involving your customers, you’re wasting time and money. I believe this so deeply that I require all of my clients to spend time talking with and listening to their customers at least once during our work together.  Investing in customer research, I explain, is the single smartest and best investment…
  In this post, Robyn M. Bolton explores how working remotely can improve company culture and accelerate innovation.  The seasons may be changing but, for most, there is no end in sight for our new Work From Home (WFH) existence. The prospect of more months of working from the kitchen table, searching for a quiet spot for a Zoom call, and juggling personal and professional responsibilities on a minute-by-minute basis is frustrating and overwhelming for most. It’s also raising questions…
  Caroline Taich shares how to make the mindset shift from uncertain operator to confident corporate leader. Dave was one of my first clients as a management consultant. He was in a rotational leadership program at the regional utility. He became the leader of procurement for the construction services category overnight – without any training or preparation. My job was to guide him through the procurement process to identify cost savings. Dave was taking a risk. In this new role,…
  Przemek Czerklewicz has been invited by the Hong Kong University chapter of ShARE (a global organization that connects students with international clients for pro bono, socially responsible consulting projects) to speak during their series of online training sessions.  The training will take place on October 12th between 7 and 8.30 PM Hong Kong time and will be titled:”Breaking into Innovation Consulting: What to Expect and Where to Look”. He will speak to young, aspiring consultants about how innovation consulting…
  Sara Conte shares an article from the company archives that identified the increase in the use of expert networks with projections reaching into 2022. Investors and others are increasingly utilizing expert networks like Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) and AlphaSites to instantly get answers to key questions. It’s like calling a friend in the business, but these calls are highly regulated to ensure compliance with confidentiality requirements. The results are quick and actionable – particularly when paired with analysis on…
  Paul Millerd helps make sense of things in crazy times with newsletters that deliver sage advice for the self-employed. This week, he discusses building a journey you want to be on, the traps of uncertainty, and the productivity trap.  My conception of the self-employment ‘game’ has evolved to be defined as creating a life that I want to keep living. This means that work is downstream from life decisions. Compared to how I was living until I left my…
  Barry Horwitz explains how confirmation bias hurts business and provides key tips on how to identify and avoid falling into the confirmation bias trap. I’m often reminded of a line from Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, in which a character is asked how he went bankrupt. His answer: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” When dealing with change (bankruptcy-related or otherwise), there are often warning signs along the way — gradual shifts that are easy to dismiss as…
  If you struggle to stay motivated when working from home, this post is for you. Jeremy Greenberg shares an article that explores the cons of working at home, and what you can do to improve your performance all by yourself.  Tens of millions of us — two thirds of all American full-time workers — are now working from home. This often means we’ve had little direct supervision or oversight in months, away from our colleagues’ (and our boss’s) watchful…
  Susan Drumm provides an article that explains how knowing your Enneagram can help you grow as an individual and as a leader. ‘Okay, I know I’m a 3 and that’s been really helpful,’ my friend says over a plate of roasted vegetables. She stabs a sweet potato with her fork and points it at me. “But then what? What do I do with that information? How does knowing my Enneagram type help ? How do I use that to…
  In the third post in a series on off-site leadership, Aneta Key addresses the substance dimension of event design. I strongly believe that any event design has 3 important dimensions to consider:  Substance — This is the most important dimension of the 3. It is the “hardcore” look at the event and is what executives truly care about: What outcomes are we creating? What content are we discussing? What work are we advancing? Structure — The second most important…
  Robyn M. Bolton explains why it’s important to cultivate emotional intelligence and move out of a ‘bad neighborhood.’ ‘If you spend a lot of time in your own head, you’re spending time in a bad neighborhood.’ I was deep in a bit of worry and self-doubt when my friend uttered that sentence. Immediately, my mind conjured an image of falling down building, boarded up doors and windows, overgrown yards, and empty streets (basically downtown Cleveland in the 1980s). ‘Man,…