What did you fail at this week?

November 27, 2017

By Melanie Curtin via inc.com   Article

Billionaire CEO Sara Blakely Says These 7 Words Are the Best Career Advice She Ever Got

“Sara Blakely founded Spanx in her late 20s. The company made $4 million in sales in its first year and $10 million in its second year. In 2012, Forbes named Blakely the youngest self-made woman billionaire in the world.

She is clearly massively successful. Yet when asked what the best advice she ever received was, she doesn’t talk about success. Instead, she talks about how, as a child, her father would sit her down at the dining room table and ask her the same question: ‘What did you fail at this week?’

He didn’t want to know how many As she’d gotten. He wasn’t interested in how many girl scout cookies she’d sold, how many goals she’d scored on her soccer team, or whether she’d gotten a perfect score on her math test.

No, he wanted to know what she had failed at. And when she told him, do you know what his reaction was? He high-fived her. Think about that for a minute: Every week growing up, her father made her reflect on something she’d failed at, then showed her that not only was she still loved after failing, but she was celebrated for it.

In an interview for Fortune, Blakely said, ‘I didn’t realize at the time how much this advice would define not only my future, but my definition of failure. I have realized as an entrepreneur that so many people don’t pursue their idea because they were scared or afraid of what could happen. My dad taught me that failing simply just leads you to the next great thing.’ …

Those who’ve made it big repeat that one of the main reasons they got to where they are is by taking risks. Over and over, they talk about the importance of taking leaps, which sometimes means falling down:

  • ‘Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.’ —Robert F. Kennedy
  • “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
  • ‘Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.’ —Oprah
  • ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ —Thomas Edison

Yet, for as many times as we are told that taking risks is good and failing is OK, we tend to shy away from it in our own lives. Why? Probably because we grew up in schools that tended to only reward ‘success’ (getting the answer right). We were trained to become perfectionists. …

So: What have you failed at this week? If you can’t think of anything, go find something to suck at. If you can, give yourself a high-five.”

A great leader

November 27, 2017



Note: Thanks to Brendan Perry for bringing this to my attention

Deloitte thinks diversity groups are passé

November 27, 2017

By Jeff Green via bloomberg.com   Article

“Megan Schumann doesn’t seem like a woman who’d be cheerleading the end of the female advocacy group at auditing and consulting firm Deloitte LLP. The San Francisco-based consultant attended an all-girls high school at her own request and founded a women’s business group when she went to Georgetown University. But 30-year-old Schumann, who’s worked at Deloitte since graduating eight years ago, says it’s time workplace affinity groups for women and minorities were replaced by so-called inclusion councils where white men hold important seats at the table. …

With diversity progress stalling in parts of corporate America, Deloitte is beginning to shift away from traditional approaches built around gender, race, or sexual orientation and instead working to get a broader buy-in, particularly from white males. After 24 years, WIN, the women’s initiative at Deloitte, will end. Over the next 18 months the company will also phase out Globe, which supports gay employees, and groups focused solely on veterans or minority employees. In their place will be so-called inclusion councils that bring together a variety of viewpoints to work on diversity issues. …

‘We are turning it on its head for our people,’ says Deepa Purushothaman, who’s led the WIN group since 2015 and is also the company’s managing principal for inclusion. Deloitte will still focus on gender parity and underrepresented groups, she says, but not in the same way it has for the past quarter-­century, in part because millennial employees—who make up 57 percent of Deloitte’s workforce—don’t like demographic pigeonholes.

 ‘By having everyone in the room, you get more allies, advocates, and sponsors,” Purushothaman says. “A lot of our leaders are still older white men, and they need to be part of the conversation and advocate for women. But they’re not going to do that as much if they don’t hear the stories and understand what that means. …

No company in recent memory has been as vocal as Deloitte about the need to turn the page, surprising some diversity advocates. ‘I have to say that is really unusual,’ says Jennifer Brown, a consultant who helps companies create employee programs focused on racial or gender identity. ‘I have not heard of a single company doing that.’

Brown says older workers in Generation X and baby boomers are more comfortable with diversity approaches centered on individual groups of like employees. “We need these groups until such time as people of like identity don’t need to close the door and seek a safe space,” she says. ‘We’re not there yet.'”

Perform worse and try less

November 27, 2017

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog   Article

How Contingency Plans Cause People To Perform Worse And Try Less

“Jihae Shin and Katherine Milkman, from Wharton School research found that merely thinking about a backup plan caused people to perform worse and try less.

The road not taken:

The road not taken is delightfully seductive. But the path you chose has the disappointments of the real world. Your real spouse is messier than an imagined partner. Real decisions are soiled with reality. The path you didn’t choose is a fantasy without disappointments.

Develop and explore three or four options before choosing plan A. Make a decision. Nuke alternatives. Move forward wholeheartedly. Once you’ve made a decision, options dilute commitment.

5 dangers of plan B:

  1. Distraction. 2. Uncertainty. Second guessing. Drained energy. Paralyzed progress.

Perhaps the worst danger in decision-making is using fantasies – the road not taken – to judge realities.

What about contingency plans:

The question isn’t ‘Will something unexpected happen, it’s when.’ Mike Tyson said, ‘Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.’

#1. A leader’s contingency plan is to adapt as you go, not before you begin. Prepare to adapt. Give yourselves permission to address shortfalls and disappointments quickly and openly. ‘If we fall 5% below our goal, the team will reconvene immediately.’

#2. … The search for certainty is a catastrophic waste of time. Find enough confidence for the next step and take it. Repeat.”

A 97 percent employee approval rating

November 20, 2017

By Justin Bariso via inc.com   Article

It Took LinkedIn’s CEO Exactly 2 Sentences to Give the Best Career Advice You’ll Hear Today

“With a 97 percent employee approval rating on Glassdoor, LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner has developed a reputation as one of the most beloved CEOs in the world. Weiner recently shared his advice on what it takes to reach employees on a deeper level: ‘Inspire, empower, listen & appreciate. Practicing any one of these can improve employee engagement; mastering all four can change the game’ …


There are many ways to empower your employees, including providing them with:

  • the flexibility to work remotely, wherever and whenever they can produce
  • the tools they need to do their best work
  • the freedom and psychological safety required to explore new ideas, to experiment, and to express dissenting opinions …


Effective leaders know that good listening is an art. To do so, you must give complete attention to the other person. (That’s right, put the phone and other distractions away.) Resist the urge to interrupt. Also, avoid trying to solve the problem, or think in terms of right and wrong. …


Appreciating your people is about more than giving credit where it’s due, or telling someone: ‘Job well done.’ Nor is it about flattery or praise for the sake of praising. True appreciation is looking for the good in others, getting sincere and specific about what you appreciate, and why. It means seeing their potential. It also means commending right away when you see something good. …


… If you truly want to inspire, forget about trying to impress others with what school you went to or what you’ve already accomplished. None of that matters to the people you’re leading right now.

Instead, be willing to:

  • take time out of your busy schedule to help them with a problem
  • remain open-minded, happy to try out new ideas
  • get down in the trenches and join in the dirty work
  • show your people you’ve got their backs by staying by them even when they make mistakes
  • do more than tell people where they should go–set the example and show them the way

1 habit all successful people live by

November 20, 2017

By Nicolas Cole via inc.com   Article

This Is the 1 Habit All Successful People Live By

“On the outside, successful people tend to look like they don’t have a care in the world. Everything is going according to plan. They have what they need, when they need it. They have who they need, where they need them. They have their priorities set, their goals envisioned, and all parties involved are aligned.

It appears to be a perfectly synchronized dance.

But the truth is, successful people are only out in the open when they want to be. They show up when it makes sense. They attend when it’s required–or of their own volition. They put themselves in positions strategically and with purpose, because the other 99% of the time, they’re working.

Successful people, especially the ones in the thick of the journey (and not yet coasting on the wake of their accomplishments) don’t have time for much else.

So when you see them, they appear to have it all under control.

But when you don’t see them, they’re working furiously to keep things moving full speed ahead. …

As a young entrepreneur and ambitious writer, I take it upon myself to surround myself with as many successful individuals as possible. … in taking it upon myself to talk to and learn from so many successful individuals–everyone from solopreneurs who have carved out a nice niche for themselves, all the way up to billionaires several times over–what I have learned is they all live by a very fundamental rule of thumb.

It’s actually quite simple.

Here’s the rule:

Do what you need to do, before you do what you want to do.

What does that mean? That means even though life hands you endless obligations, invitations, responsibilities, and people to appease, it’s important that you do the things you need to do–the things that will move the needle and get you to where it is you want to be–before you do all the things that you want to do. And that’s not always easy. Which is why so few people end up achieving the level of success they envision for themselves.”


November 20, 2017

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/   Article

“There’s a school of thought that argues that markets are the solution to everything. That money is the best indication of value created. That generating maximum value for shareholders is the only job. That the invisible hand of the market is the best scorekeeper and allocator. “How much money can you make?” is the dominant question.

And frequently, this money-first mindset is being matched with one that says that any interference in the market is unnecessary and inefficient. That we shouldn’t have the FDA, that businesses should be free to discriminate on any axis , that a worker’s rights disappear at the door of the factory or the customer’s at the lunch counter–if you don’t like it, find a new job, a new business to patronize, the market will adjust.

Taken together, this financial ratchet creates a harsh daily reality. The race to the bottom kicks in, and even those that would ordinarily want to do more, contribute more and care more find themselves unable to compete, because the ratchet continues to turn.

The problem with a race to the bottom is that you might win. Worse, you could come in second.

There are no capitalist utopias. No country and no market where unfettered capitalism creates the best possible outcome. Not one. They suffer from smog, from a declining state of education and health, and most of all, from too little humanity. Every time that the powerful tool of capitalism makes things better it succeeds because it works within boundaries.

It’s worth noting that no unbridled horse has ever won an important race.

The best way for capitalism to do its job is for its proponents to insist on clear rules, fairly enforced. To insist that organizations not only enjoy the benefits of what they create, but bear the costs as well. To fight against cronyism and special interests, and on behalf of workers, of communities and education. That’s a ratchet that moves in the right direction.

Civilization doesn’t exist to maximize capitalism. Capitalism exists to maximize civilization.”