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Winning Support for Your Project

Winning support for your project means becoming a change agent. Success comes from engaging people along the entire journey from idea to approval to implementation. Their interests and contributions need to be seen and incorporated into your plans, otherwise they will almost certainly derail your progress at some point. Get them on board early instead and you are well on your way to getting the green light.  What’s more, your proposal becomes stronger as you work this way. As questions, concerns, and ideas are raised, you can modify your approach to become more comprehensive and thoughtful. Along the way, people … Read more

Networking During a Pandemic

Networking During a Pandemic

The time has come for you to figure out how you are going to enhance your online presence. Maybe you have dabbled here and there—sharing an article, liking a tweet, or posting some thoughts on LinkedIn. But now it’s time to get serious. With in-person networking curtailed by the coronavirus, your online presence is more important than ever. Maybe you have been reluctant to build an online presence because you don’t like the idea of selling yourself or feeling fake. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. Building your online presence is an opportunity to learn, to help … Read more

Two Paths to Better Meetings: The Subject and The People

I had a bunch of fantastic meetings today, said nobody, ever. Instead, people lament meetings for all their inefficiency, annoyingness, and, particularly in this virtual era—exhaustion. Wouldn’t your time be better spent doing work? Probably. But also, meetings help fill a fundamental human need—to belong to a group. The identity of a team is defined by who is at the meeting. The shared understanding of the situation is established and maintained in that group. And the focus and intent of the group’s work can only be managed by getting and keeping everyone on the same page. The problem is that … Read more

A Quick Thinking Checklist

Thinking is a messy process. But, if you were to create a checklist to make it more organized and thorough, what would that look like? A good place to start would be to make sure your basic analytical thinking is in order. That’s the part where you gather information and data and then examine it carefully to make sure that you understand the component parts of something and how all the pieces fit together into the bigger picture. This would help ensure that you can answer basic questions accurately, and that always makes a good foundation for further thought.  That … Read more

I Am Unqualified

Everything worthwhile that I have done started at a place of ignorance and inexperience. I have to remind myself of this each time I am faced with learning something new. It’s uncomfortable to confront the unknown and the unfamiliar, but it is always worth it—even if the payoff comes from hard lessons. I’ve always enjoyed riding bikes. Two-wheeled freedom was something I cherished in my youth and also rediscovered later in life. I enjoyed cycling so much that I joined bike clubs. That somehow led to racing, where one of the lessons came from my ribcage being slammed against a … Read more

The Tremendous Value of The Long Form

the value of the long form

Consider the difference between Edward Norton appearing on a late night talk show for 6 minutes to his podcast interview with Tim Ferriss that went on for 2 hours. One gives you a flavor about some snippet of his work and personality. The other gives you a deep dive into one of his most ambitious projects, a sense of the wide range of his accomplishments, and a clearer picture of his creativity and business savvy. In the full story of his most recent project we learn how Norton met a young writer named Jonathan Lethem who gave Norton a draft … Read more

Time Alone is Essential to Great Teamwork

Strong Individuals Make Strong Teams

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were a great songwriting team. Their time together produced magic—but only because of the important work each did alone. One of them would create an idea or even an entire song before bringing it to the other, allowing the best of individuality and togetherness to shine through in the final product. I saw how time alone can make time together work better when I was teaching a marketing class at Bentley University. The same few students would always participate in class discussions. If I called on anyone else at random, they would struggle to respond. … Read more

The Two Sides of Professionalism

The Two Sides of Professionalism

If you were following the pallet industry news back in 2014, you would know that it was one wild ride. Wood costs and availability fluctuated dramatically. To offset the rising cost of pine, a manufacturer would switch to hardwood. But as the housing market rebounded from the Great Recession, hardwood prices soard. Innovative solutions were needed. Innovation is not so easy when the product is part of a complex supply chain made up of loggers, sawmills, remanufacturing operations, pallet manufacturers, sales, and brokers. Customers don’t see this and don’t think about it, so the volatile prices would make them feel … Read more

How to Easily Build Powerful Time Management Habits for Your Team

How to Easily Build Powerful Time Management Habits for Your Team

It took me a while to learn that good time management isn’t about cramming tasks into my day–it’s about applying high quality time to my most important work. And that the best way to make this happen is with small habits. Habits make it easy to tackle routine work consistently. They also enhance the quality of my non-routine work. And they help me make the best use of a team’s time. Habits are powerful, but also a little tricky. Good habits are hard to build and bad habits are hard to break. The secret is to keep things simple and … Read more