How do middle class people of the developed world keep the edge, work ethic, and values their immigrant ancestors had? How do we develop mental toughness?
This barber, he had to be seventy, was telling me once while trimming me up how he just had a whole bunch of cancer surgically removed about a week earlier. Tough old dog, I thought. "I can't believe you're back to work already." "You ever been in a fight before?" he asked. I nodded. "Then you know … Continue reading Gut Check – Getting Back Up
Chapter One "Nick!" Tony whispered. Nick moaned. "Wake up. And keep quiet. We gotta go now if we're gonna go," said Tony. "Get lost." Tony was Nick's older brother. His real name was Frank, but everyone called him by his middle name - Tony. "Wake up goddammit! We're goin' now," Tony insisted. Nick thought Tony … Continue reading Short Story: The Pineapple Kid
Warren Buffett says he was born lucky. Being born in America, in the 1930s, without having to overcome barriers of race or gender, combined with the power of compound interest, allowed Buffett to amass one of the greatest personal fortunes in the history of mankind (which will be almost entirely given to philanthropy). As Buffett … Continue reading Born Lucky: Playing Warren Buffett’s Ovarian Lottery
Her eyes blinked open and she saw the brilliant white light bursting from behind the white curtains. She smiled every morning when she awoke, but today she smiled brighter. She didn't remember why, but she knew today was going to be special. Mommy came in a while later, picked her up, squeezed her, and gave … Continue reading A Tribute
Kids are generally thought of as little career killers for their parents. I can understand why. Kids take up a lot of a parent's time with their need for attention and supervision, and time is a manager's most valuable and scarcest resource. Kids can also be unpredictable and cause their mom or dad to miss … Continue reading Having Kids Won’t Kill Your Career, But Seeking Work/Life Balance Might
I used to read a lot self help books. I figured I could learn how to manage myself and my direct reports better by reading, so I read books like Think and Grow Rich and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Win Friends and Influence People. I also read popular business books like Good … Continue reading Stop Reading Books, Start Reading Literature
Has your boss ever tried to hide criticism in a compliment? "You're doing great, but..." What about the old positive feedback, negative feedback, positive feedback sandwich? "Hey, Mark. Great job with the Morgan account. Next time, could you pay a little more attention to formatting? But again, you did a good job." Why can't bosses just … Continue reading Management Skills: Be Candid
I go through these development cycles at work. I get to a point where I am quite sure I have mastered the field of management. I begin to imagine myself as a gift to the fortunate few, those who are privileged enough to follow my lead. My imagination runs wild and I think of myself … Continue reading I Know Nothing
I've had a bad week. Before this week, I was on a hot streak. Sales results were moving in the right direction, and I recently had some valuable exposure to top executives. I was subsequently appointed to chair a new employee retention committee. Everything was going my way, until Trouble tracked me down this past … Continue reading Trouble
It's August hot and our street shrieks with the sounds of insects yelling in the summer heat. The high-pitched noise is distorted by the humidity, and the summer sounds wave through the air like I'm under water. A jetliner roars over head and baby Jack stares at me with a curious and puzzled look. We … Continue reading Summer Stroll
You are the manager and your employee, Bill, was due into work twenty minutes ago. "What's wrong with this guy," you wonder. Bill has been late before. "I don't know what to do with Bill. He is lazy, coming in late all the time. Maybe he is just plain stupid. He is certainly unreliable." A … Continue reading The Inmates Are Running The Asylum
One of my favorite moments in sports is when a baseball runner gets caught in a pickle. Trapped between two bases with fielders chasing him down from both sides, the runner's athletic talents along with his decisiveness are put to the test. Sadly, it usually doesn't work out well for the runner. Over the next … Continue reading Ethics Series Part 1: Empire Building
The Days Before I now realize how clueless I was in the days leading up to Jack's birth. I had nine months to talk myself through the process and develop expectations about what our lives would be like once the baby was here. Boy, I wasn't even close. One thought I had remains true –– … Continue reading On Becoming A Father
I have been thinking about values a lot lately. What is most important to me? What am I willing to go to the mat for? And what are values anyway? Maybe values are like the stone we carve the statue of our character into. Our behaviors, like the sculpture's tools, shape how others will come … Continue reading Values: What’s Our Core Made Of?