A Major Shift

The “D” Word: Reluctantly, cautiously, Ray Dalio admitted that he believed that, among other things, personal distancing and shutting down non-essential businesses had put the U.S. economy into a depression. He thinks it will be years before we reach the pre-pandemic economic levels. Further, he predicts that unless we fundamentally adjust our capitalistic system, we will lose it in some …

Going Wrong All at Once

Pandemic Panic: When things seem to be falling apart, and I am lamenting my bad luck or unfortunate circumstances, I often remember this passage from Anne Lamott’s book, Traveling Mercies. Lamott had started “whining” to a seatmate on the train. She found out later that he worked for the Dalai Lama. He had this remark. “And he said—gently—that they believe …

Bleach Not Beach

Confined Like many of you, I am negotiating a new home environment. My wife is working from home now. I’ve worked out of my home since 2002, but still, I had the freedom to up and leave whenever I wanted to go to meetings or run errands. But now, we have to coordinate when we run errands to minimize contact …

The Story Counts

History: I’m not big on history, usually. However, for reasons I do not now remember, I found myself reading two books about the history around the founding of our country, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. I started reading before all the present political drama. And I’m glad that happened since it gave me a way to put context …

Moving Up the Food Chain!

Equal Opportunity Destroyer: Rani Molla, a Visual Journalist at The Wall Street Journal, recently published an article in Vox that caught my eye. In that article, she made the statement that “‘Knowledge workers’ could be the most impacted by future automation.” Conventional wisdom has been suggesting that only the “blue-collar workers” were going to be affected in any significant way …

Consensus = Mediocrity

Surprised: Often, when I’m asked, I might suggest that a decision made by the team was a “reasonable compromise.” I made a similar statement recently but found myself modifying it to be “unfortunately, we reached a compromise.” I was surprised by what I said. It just slipped out that way. The person asking the question nodded her head and moved …

Strategy Team

Who’s On The Team? Recently, I was having a conversation with a colleague about hiring a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). We were discussing the attributes of such a hire. After my usual statement that what was critical was to hire a person who shared the corporate values, I added that they needed to be a strategic thinker. I managed not …

An Envelope of Trust

Being Heard: For many of us, the employees we hire are often referred to as “knowledge workers.” The most common definition of that term I’ve come across is, “Knowledge workers are workers whose main capital is knowledge.” In other words, we hire knowledge workers and pay them to think. We hope that they are smarter than we are in whatever …

Mentor and Coach

Coach Only the Coachable

Smartest Person in the Room: Carol Dweck discusses “Fixed Mindset” versus “Growth Mindset” in her book Mindset: the new psychology of success. I find her definitions and description of the people who have one or the other mindset to be very useful in my professional and personal life. As usual, things with human beings are complicated. Most of us have …

No Gap

Radical Truthfulness: Allowing employees to speak openly about what they are thinking about the performance of managers, colleagues and employees, ideas, projects, and policies is both scary and challenging. It is also critical to making sure that the best ideas win rather than a compromise or consensus idea. We hire people, especially knowledge-workers, to think, not just be an extra …