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Leadership LibraryI have written more than 300 articles about Leadership, about 1/3 of which have been published by the SF affiliate of the New York Times. You can focus here on specific issues including Communication, Compensation, Governance, Entrepreneurship, Performance, Planning, and Recruiting

Please check out the Featured Articles from our Leadership Library to get you started.

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


How to Keep Smart People from Killing Each Other

While I am spending a little downtime with my family, I wanted to share with you a timeless article from our Leadership Library.

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


There’s a simple one-word formula to Achieve Excellence

PREPARE to Win … or get ready to get your butt kicked!

I n our travels, we’ve seen plenty of obstacles to success, from making the tough decisions to staying focused on execution.

As if all that isn’t enough, there are still a few more barricades around the corner.

Lack of preparation is one of them.


How many people have the will to lose?

How many of us have the will to lose?

Few, I’d guess, probably between zero and none.

How about the will to prepare?

The determination to do the unrelenting hard work to prepare to win … maybe not a lot more … and yet that’s exactly where the rubber mallet hits the lobster claw. Keep reading to embrace the key to success


Will You Be Talking about How You Will Implement This Year’s Plan … Next Year?

Strategy Execution Not Working?

A re you still trying to cobble together a plan to actually implement your strategy this year?

Last week, we talked about the inevitable slowdown in strategy execution. The summer slows us down, some of these initiatives have cooled down, some of them have worn us out and we wish they’d just go away.

closeup of carpenter cartoon fisheye style

We still get to ask this question:

If the execution of a company’s plans is an avowed priority, critical to the success of both the CEO and the business, why aren’t CEOs spending enough time on it to make it successful?

Continue to read the full article ….


Hope Springs Eternal … but it’s not enough!

How’s that strategy execution coming along?

I ’ll bet things are starting to drag about now, aren’t they? Summer’s here, you’re dialing it back a little, taking some well-deserved vacation. You launched the year full of promise … but many of your initiatives seem to be stuck, people have too much on their plates, the plans you made may not quite make it to the finish line …

How do you get your initiatives back on track?

The gum does kinda lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight, doesn’t it? Even though you’re about to round the clubhouse turn toward year-end, you’re discovering that it’s much easier to start than to finish.

You struggle to keep the engine stoked with the same energy that propelled your launch at the beginning of the year.

You may be feeling some of the air coming out of the tires, and begin to wonder … “where did all of our energy go”?

What’s that whimpering sound?

Keep reading …


The past offers no forgiveness for today’s transgressions!

What’s missing? Why do we keep wrestling with the same issues that we’ve examined and discussed throughout our careers?

T hat’s what makes it both fascinating … and painful … to be reminded about our timeless journey and our ongoing struggle to find the right balance to fulfill the lives we envision for ourselves.

“To be or not to be that is the question.”

I’ve always been intrigued by Shakespeare’s line … not only because of its famous lineage, but because so few know the words that follow and give the phrase its power:

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them.”

I recently sent a note to a few of my former partners, accusing Yo-Yo Ma of hijacking for his new album one of our frequently-invoked phrases: “Goat Rodeo Sessions.”

In those days, we applied it to all manner of things that appeared as a super-cluster of mayhem and chaos. What I’ve learned is that poor project planning and organization is the hallmark of many of the failed projects on which we have all served.

what should be on your routines list? Keep reading …


More Timeless Leadership Lessons | Why are some challenges so hard to kill?

This week, our magical mystery tour continues with another retrospective about some of the timeless issues that of us face.

M aybe we can figure out why some of these challenges are so hard to kill?

I’ve grabbed a few quotes to re-introduce those concepts (and give you collective access to a bunch of them at once.)

What are Some of the Most Important Leadership Concepts?

None of these issues has gone away. We’re continually battling the same challenges … occasionally finding temporary resolution or respite, but often juggling so many of them because we don’t take time to resolve any of them.

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” Andrew Grove

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” George Bernard Shaw

Keep reading for more timeless leadership lessons …


Timeless Leadership Lessons and the Quotes That Go With Them

Most of the articles I have written over 30 years have climbed around the monkey bars at the intersection of Leadership, Strategy and Productivity.

A ccording to several keen observers, I’ve also listened in on their boardroom conversations.


Others have said they recognized themselves in my examples … I’ll never tell … and some have even said, “stop writing about me”. We’ll never know if it was intentional or accidental, will we?

What are Some of the Most Important Leadership Concepts?

From that platform, I decided to take a moment to summarize some of the timeless issues that beset executives … and since so many of you have remarked about how much you love the regular quotes … and have liberally “borrowed” them … which you should … I’ve grabbed a few to re-introduce those concepts (and give you collective access to a bunch of them at once.)

In most cases, time has only strengthened my conviction about the importance of these concepts. Most of them deserve to be regularly refreshed and repeated as the touchstones of Effective Leadership and successful businesses.

Keep reading for timeless leadership lessons …


The Power of the “Elapsed Time Effect”

Time is the one thing we want more of … and yet more of it dissolves every day.

H ere’s one more way to get the most out of your day … every day.


Don’t we all know there are many tasks or projects that require us to wait for something else to get done first … or for someone else to get something done before we can continue?

We know that “waiting for” stuff is a critical piece of our personal productivity program because it’s the linchpin of the critical “follow up” that we must always be doing.

So, that part is pretty obvious.

But, have you ever prioritized your tasks to make sure that you’re taking account of the “elapsed time” that something requires?

Here’s the simple hierarchy I try to use. See if it makes sense to you.

1. The 2 Minute Rule

If you can get it done in 2 minutes, do it, get it over with, move on. I think we all know this one.

Keep reading to put the Elapsed Time Effect to work for You …