Above Header Navigation

Entrepreneurship Library

The Power of Checklists | One Simple Tool to Overcome Brain Freeze

Checklists? You mean those lists I prepare each day that don’t do anything to help my productivity?

No, it’s not that kind of checklist I’m talking about.


Are those the Checklists you mean?

Or … do you mean those checklists airline pilots use to keep me from getting killed?

Now, those I like. I like the ones that keep doctors from getting me killed, too.

Checklists are invaluable

In the Value of Checklists, I discussed The Checklist Manifesto, a book by Atul Gwande inspired by issues found in operating rooms, but expanded to the many areas where simple checklists enhance productivity and eliminate errors and oversights.

Checklists are powerful. Don’t miss 4 ways to make yours work without fail


7 Ways to Differentiate between a Lightning Bolt and a Bright Idea

Charles Dickens’ famous opening sentence continues …

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

More than 150 years later, our business world is possessed of similar contradictions.


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Sometimes the light you see at the end of the tunnel is sunshine; sometimes it’s another train coming.

In the distance – and in the dark – it’s very hard to discern the difference. Yet, missing that call has very fateful consequences.

Is This the Time to Take Risks?

In the midst of an endless flood of information and ideas rushing our way, how do we differentiate between a bright idea and a lightning bolt?

  • Is this the time to take additional risks?

  • Should we only survive – or try to thrive?

  • Are some risks more palatable than others?

  • How do we tell the difference?

Don’t miss the 7 Ways to Differentiate between a Lightning Bolt and a Bright Idea


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


Why You Should Implement the 2 Minute Rule … and When You Shouldn’t

Many of us follow an informal rule about doing something now if it takes just a few minutes.

It’s a useful rule of thumb, but what if you can’t get it done in 2 minutes? What then?

Gold Clock Face_1024

Here’s the short version. If you can get it done in 2 minutes, don’t add it to your task list.

Let me explain … and elaborate on why you should also do the opposite.

Try This Experiment

How long is 2 Minutes?

It’s about what it takes for a race car to get around the 2.5 mile Indy 500 track … 4 times. If that seems like a lot, then you’re on your way to understanding that 2 minutes may seem short, but it’s a lot longer than you think.

Try this simple experiment.

Stop doing anything.
Set a timer for 2 minutes.
How long does that feel?

Feel like you could get something done in that period of time?

Learn why you also need to do the opposite of the 2 Minute Rule


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


Are You Ready to Start Your Own “Bonfire of the Vanities?

More than 500 years ago, the Bonfire of the Vanities purged sin and excess.

Objects like cosmetics, artworks, mirrors and much more were burned in the town square. What are you going to throw on your own bonfire?


Bonfire of the Vanities

Bonfire of the Vanities


Is it Time to Start Your Own Bonfire?

Barely 500 years ago, Girolamo Savonarola was an outspoken and strident critic of the current order, angrily vilifying the worldly possessions that tempted people to become sinners.

He was ultimately excommunicated from the Catholic church, condemned for heresy, stripped of his priestly garments, hanged, and his body burned in the town square in Florence, Italy, a stark and ignominious ending to a life committed to vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Tom Wolfe wrote his first novel on this subject

Tom Wolfe, the esteemed American writer, published his first novel in 1987. (It was originally produced in the serial style of Charles Dickens, with 27 articles appearing in Rolling Stone magazine beginning in 1984.)

Wolfe was determined to expose the outlandish excesses of New York society in the 1980s, which were top of mind for many Americans in the same year that Oliver Stone’s infamous movie, Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas, was released.

The Bonfire of the Vanities

There is a compelling message in Wolfe’s novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, a phrase taken from the infamous public exhibitions that Savonarola instituted in Renaissance Florence 500 years ago.

Don’t miss the chance to consider what you’re tossing on YOUR bonfire


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


What do people see when they look in your window?

Do people see exactly what you want them to see when they look in your window?

I’m sure we can agree on this: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.


Back when I was a bank teller ….

Just after the dinosaurs became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period, my first assignment in the Management Training Program of the bank I joined right after college, was as a teller at one of their branches.

Some of you may never have been inside a bank branch, but back then, they were the center of your personal and business banking universe. There was no online capability and everything had to be done face-face.

I won’t belabor my experience … making sure the transactions at my window, and in the entire branch, were balanced before anyone could leave the branch … the often tedious nature of handling deposits or standing around waiting for one … but I remember vividly one of the most powerful lessons I learned on my first day:

If you care about what people see when they look in your window, keep reading


If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Not Paying Attention | What’s Destructive Enrichment?

Concepts about paranoia abound. Ask Andy Grove, Jim Collins, Muhtar Kent and me.

By any name, change is healthy, but it means you’ll have to dropkick some of the things you’re already doing … even if you’re in love with them.


A rose is a rose is a tulip? No, that’s not right. A rose is a rose is … well, by any other name, I think it’s still a rose. Right?

We’re pretty famous in this country for euphemisms, aren’t we, particularly for unwelcome issues.

Eternal rest.

Cement shoes.

Adult entertainment … I think you catch my drift.

How would you describe the Entrepreneurial Mentality?

There are also a lot of ways that the entrepreneurial mentality has been described.

We first read about “constructive paranoia,” a phrase popularized by Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel in his book, Only the Paranoid Survive.

It’s hard to argue with his mantra:

Keep reading to understand the concept of Destructive Enrichment