One of the best ways to work smarter is by running better team meetings. As a leader, this is one of your most important jobs.

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Walt Disney quoteHi, I’m Tom Catalini, author of Career Leap Year and other books on professional development.

I’ve struggled and succeeded as I worked my way up from the front lines to the executive suite, across a dozen different industries.

Along the way, I’ve hired, managed, and mentored professionals at all levels. I’ve consulted with the largest organizations and the smallest startups.

Now, I’d like to help YOU.

Whether you want to find a new job, grow your skills, find greater happiness at work, increase your earnings—or all of the above, I’m here to help.

Soon you too can start enjoying work more while you reach new heights in your career.

Here are the latest ideas from the blog…

Use these to shift your mindset, hone your communication skills, build your leadership skills, and more.

Give and Take, by Adam Grant

There are givers and there are takers. There are winners and there are losers. There are the selfish and there are the selfless. We have stereotypes for all of these, and we’ve all encountered someone who has personified each. But things aren’t quite that simple. In Give and Take, Adam Grant walks us through a thoughtful analysis of reciprocity styles and their relation to success. Do you need to be selfish to be successful? Is being generous a bad strategy?…

How to write a great cover letter

A great cover letter is highly customized and personalized. Which is hard to create, but worth it. This is the first test you must pass in many job applications. If you don’t cross this hurdle successfully, not much else matters. So why not roll up your sleeves and get to work? Whether you’re just entering the market or already employed and looking for your next opportunity, cover letters matter. Cover letters matter even if (and perhaps especially if) you’re senior…

Decisive, by Chip and Dan Heath

We make decisions every day. Big ones, little ones. Ones for work, ones for personal life. Some for both. We always want to make good decisions, and we ususally think that we do. Sometimes we get stuck. That’s when decisions preoccupy our thoughts and create stress – even though they often represent an exciting opportunity of some sort. After all, decisions come at the crossroads. The point where we elect one thing over alternatives, make a commitment, and move on….

Assume Positive Intent

To be good problem solvers, we need to listen. To listen well, we need to listen carefully. Listening carefully requires us to really try to hear and understand what others are saying. And that takes effort. Not just effort to pay attention, but also in forming opinions and passing judgement, which can happen very rapidly. It can be instinctive to jump to conclusions rather than push ourselves to analyze further. Such is the case when we feel the person speaking…

Competence Is Not Enough

Having the skills to deliver on time and on budget is not enough. Meeting spec is not enough. Doing it right is not enough. These are the minimum requirements. And minimum is not enough. We spend a lot of time and energy worrying about what might go wrong, about how to stay on track, about how to meet expectations. We tend to not spend enough time contemplating the up-side. How can we be early, exceed expectations, deliver delight? The minimums…

How To Write Short, By Roy Peter Clark

There’s a lot to say about saying things concisely. More than I would have guessed. How To Write Short by Roy Peter Clark explores the art of short writing in a wide variety of forms, many of which have been around for a long, long time (tombstones, for instance). So, while sharpening one’s writing skill for today’s abbreviated attention spans and new digital formats is worthy, it is also interesting to consider the many other applications for good short writing….

A Better Response

We can see more, if we’re patient. Resisting the urge to react and respond immediately to everything often leads to better results. A little patience can draw in more information. A little patience can allow for greater reflection. A little patience can help to formulate a better plan. The term “knee-jerk reaction” has a negative connotation. Yet, we’re often aspiring to just that at nearly every turn. To react without much thought. To engage without much reflection. To dismiss an…

Preparing to lead

Frequently, we think of leadership as a heat of the moment endeavor. A situation has developed to a point where decisiveness is needed. A clear need for action exists. It may be a crisis, or it may be an opportunity. Leadership is called for, and great leaders rise to the challenge. These moments crystalize the story of leadership. And while they are authentic, they are incomplete. The moments are built upon a foundation established gradually over time. Good leaders understand…

Conferring at the conference

Don’t go to listen. Go to engage. Sure, you’re interested to hear great speakers who cover interesting topics. A well-honed talk delivered by a charismatic speaker can imbue you with knowledge and inspiration. And if it’s that good, it’s probably also entertaining. Many speakers won’t hit that high water mark, but even so you’ll likely get something from what they have to say. Something you can take back home with you and use in some way. Something that makes you…

Make your job bigger

The key to getting ahead is doing more. More than is expected. More than you think you can do. More than you think you should do. Pushing at boundaries to make your job bigger, and yourself bigger as you grow into the expanding role. Waiting to be asked or simply working only to the letter of your job description is wasting your time. You can make bigger contributions, starting today. And you should. For selfish reasons, if none other. Help…