Above Header Navigation

Best Advice I Ever Got Library

The 4 Do-or-Die Principles of a Leakproof Productivity System

When you look at this image, do you see your Personal Productivity system at work?

You can fix this leaky bucket. It’s not that hard if you faithfully and relentlessly apply these basic principles.


Over the last several years working with Bay Area CEOs and with members of the Exkalibur Leadership Forum, I’ve learned that personal productivity improvements are one of the most important ways in which every CEO and business executive can Become a More Effective Leader.


Two Major Reasons … but many more.

First, it allows you to devote more time to the things only you can uniquely do … whether as a business leader, CEO, mother/father or spouse.

That’s why they’re paying you the big bucks – to do the things only you can uniquely do. If you don’t what only you can do, why do they need you?

Keep reading for the 4 Do-or-Die Principles of a Leakproof Productivity system


Does Mom think you should be a snitch?

For most of our life, we’ve heard, “Don’t be a snitch”. In most of the movies we’ve seen, the “snitchers’ don’t fare so well when their comrades discover their double-dealing.

Does this same approach work in organizations?


Some of you may be familiar with the famed but controversial West Point Cadet Honor Code:

“A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.”

But Didn’t Somebody Say: “Don’t be a tattletale?”

Few of us would doubt the wisdom of “will not lie, cheat or steal”, the core of many of the values we learned as children.

One of the other things we learned as children, though, was, “don’t be a tattletale.”

Be loyal to your friends … don’t snitch on them … and don’t go running to mommy when you observe a small infraction of the rules.

It doesn’t help we’ve seen countless movies since then where a snitch ends up on the wrong side of the grass.

Keep reading to see if you can apply a high standard that rejects a double standard …


The First Rule of a Mistake? Not So Obvious To Most.

Everyone makes mistakes. That much we know for a fact, don’t we?

So, why do so many persist in their insistence that they did no wrong?


Why are we are so unwilling to admit our mistakes?

Despite the lessons that cover the waterfront — from Watergate to the Catholic Church — the cover-up is always worse than the crime.

What appeared to be minor tributaries turned into a rushing river of a failed presidency and international scandal, yet the stream of lies and denial from those who fail to heed these lessons continues unabated in both our public and private lives.

The truth will never come out … will it?

For some reason, we persist in believing that the truth will never come out.

Keep reading to find the simple road to recovery


5 Signs You’re Ignoring the Tough Decisions | The “UN” Factor

One of the most pervasive challenges that arises in my coaching sessions with CEOs and other business executives is the struggle to make the tough decisions.

It’s a deadly disease that cripples personal productivity.


It’s usually a decision that’s already been resolved — silently, often deep in the psyche — but we don’t announce it, we don’t execute it and no one really knows the decision has been made at all.

What’s the impact of indecisiveness?

This is a high stress point for executives. These delayed decisions constantly beg for attention, but as we drop these pebbles of indecision in our backpack, it gets heavier with each step.

Carrying around the burden of these unexecuted decisions is a malignant tumor that can be fatal to both executive effectiveness, productivity and health.

Jack Welch said it best: “you gain nothing by showing uncertainty and indecision”.

You’re squandering valuable time

These agonizing delays also hijack valuable time from the organization.

Keep reading to Learn How to Overcome Decision-Making Paralysis


How Close is Your Business to a Colossal Screwup?

Have you established a written Code of Conduct in your organization?

Our prescriptions for acceptable behavior are too vague. Get started now to spell it out more clearly to avoid that potentially colossal screwup.


Have you heard this phrase before?

“Conduct unbecoming”

You may have heard this phrase before, perhaps from the clenched teeth of a military JAG officer about the same time you learned that “Crystal” is a perfectly apt response to “Are we clear?”

What is the Standard of Conduct in Your Office?

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain

Throughout my service as a U.S. Army officer, this phrase was constantly refreshed as the highest standard to apply to the official actions of military officers.

How Do Organizations Define Acceptable Behavior?

Keep reading to learn more about how to define acceptable behavior


Fun Friday | Why don’t people return phone calls?

It’s remarkable that so few people return their phone calls on a timely basis. Why is that?

Are we just lazy? Too busy? Did I mention lazy? Don’t give a rip? “If it’s important, they’ll call back?”


fri blog one ringy dingy

Are you eyeballin’ me? Of course not … not you. You return all your calls. Right?

Wanna think about all the time we invest in phone tag? Nah, me neither.


Ok, let’s do it anyway. Talk about a time sink … keeping track of all those who …

  • don’t return the call,
  • are out of the office,
  • traveling,
  • on vacation,
  • sick,
  • already on the phone …

… what a bother, huh?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably got dozens of these floating around at any one time.

What if they don’t return phone calls at all?

Keep reading if you need a few more reasons to NOT return phone calls


The 7 Key Attributes of Successful New Leaders

Consider these 7 Key Attributes of Successful New Leaders to give yourself a running start.

Existing leaders will also benefit from reading along and making course corrections where necessary.


A number of my clients and colleagues have recently ascended to greater positions of leadership at the top ranks of their companies. There’s suddenly even more to do, but have you paused long enough to consider how you should start?

Do you need to do anything differently?

1. Credibility is Foremost

Without it, you’ll look over your shoulder and find no one there. You need to do it by being committed to learning, being humble about what you don’t know and proving to your team that you’re building a transparent and collaborative organization — and they are a critical part of it.

Roll up your sleeves and learn before barking out orders.

Make sure you don’t miss any of these 7 Attributes


The 8 Most Powerful Letters in Your Productivity Toolkit | Video

Just when I thought we had covered the waterfront with respect to accountability, I’m reminded of the linchpin of true accountability – the very simple concept of FOLLOW UP.

During my conversations with CEOs, I’m repeatedly reminded of how remarkably little attention is paid to this simple concept.


Why do we ignore follow up?

It seems so obvious I wonder why I’m writing about it … and yet, routine follow up is often ignored in the hustle for the next opportunity or when there just isn’t another finger to put in the dike.

This isn’t a new problem and it stretches across all of the aspects of our lives. Five years ago, the New York Times even lamented about the lapse in our social manners reflected by people’s failure to respond to RSVP invitations, much of which I’d chalk up to this follow up laxity.

It’s a process that is halfheartedly pursued by so many that it’s no wonder so few things get done on time – or at all.

We expect the other person to get it done

There are a number of reasons for this you may recognize in yourself.

Don’t miss the video & the 7 Simple Steps to create a powerful Follow Up routine


How to Keep Smart People from Killing Each Other

If you want to poison the well where you work, allow a Certified Jerk to roam free.

Mollycoddling is a pernicious and infectious organism you need to expel from your organization.

No Asshole Diagram

It’s easy to figure out how to deal with the Certified Jerk

This phrase is powerful in so many ways.

Smart people can often be prima donnas – I’ve heard those accusations myself … the smart people part, of course, not the second (and when it has been used, it’s typically disguised in less elegant terms) … but the brilliance of some people is often more blinding than enlightening.

Fortune magazine once asked Dr. Mehmet Oz about the best leadership advice he had ever received.

Keep reading so you don’t miss how to make the tough decisions


12 Holiday Morsels to Strengthen Your Business

Yes, the holidays are here and already the list of things to do continues to grow – completing the annual budget, planning parties, visiting with friends, figuring out what to get who for when … and so it goes.

Yet, my spirit remains strong, so I’ve prepared a menu of 12 holiday treats that I hope will slide down like Amaretto eggnog in front of a winter fire.

I’ve even scoured some of my earlier columns to find the most delectable morsels.

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” — Yogi Berra

So, here’s a smorgasbord of lessons learned – a few appetizers, a choice of entrees, a little dessert – from executives of both extraordinary capability and numbing incompetence  — that should grace your executive table for 2015.

1.     It’s never about you.

It’s always about them. Customers, employees, suppliers … family, friends, colleagues.

Be clear about it and thrive.

Get it backwards?


2.     If you don’t think you’ll ever have a management succession problem, you already have one.

Keep reading. There are 12 days. Remember?