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How to Dropkick Uncertainty | 5 Techniques to Master Your Domain

As leaders, we continually encounter issues over which we have no control.

U ncertainty hovers over our plans. We can do something about it by focusing only on what WE can control.


Did you know there is an Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS)?

It was developed in 1994 by a team of researchers in Quebec. The scale assesses how much people desire and seek out predictability, and how they react in ambiguous situations. A higher level of intolerance of uncertainty, or IU, is a “cognitive vulnerability,” according to Michel Dugas, a professor of psychology at the University of Quebec in Outaouais, and one of the architects of the IUS.

Here is one of the most important findings and research about uncertainty:

As a rule, humans prefer certainty to uncertainty. Studies have shown that people would rather definitely get an electric shock now than maybe be shocked later, and show greater nervous-system activation when waiting for an unpredictable shock (or other unpleasant stimulus) than an expected one. Where people differ is in the degree to which uncertainty bothers them.

Keep reading to learn the 4 Techniques to Gain Control …


If your thinking is limited to today’s lunch, next year they’ll be eating your lunch!

There’s nothing more important … or more challenging … than the need to balance short-term results with long-range plans.

H ow is your organization focused? Are you encouraging long-range thinking or only what happens this week?


Do you have the Attention Span of a Mosquito?

How many times have we asked Are Distractions Destroying Your Brain?

Whatever happened to that blank sheet of paper you were going to use to THINK, you know, that old-fashioned approach to problem solving and the creative process?

Do you agree that Google is making us stupid?

These are but variations on a theme … our increasingly short-term focus.

Keep reading to make sure you have a longer term perspective


Five Lessons for Success from the Alabama Crimson Tide

It’s the heart of the college football season and there are valuable lessons we can learn from the most successful programs.

Y ou don’t have to be a football fan to embrace them. They are timeless lessons that apply to any business.


“Who’s walking on my field?”

You’re lugging 40 pounds on your back in 100 degree temperature.

Your head’s tucked inside a small capsule like a two-pound sausage in a one-pound casing and sweat’s pouring down your face.

There’s no chance the sun will disappear … it’s only 10 a.m. … and while there’s water everywhere, your reach for the next bottle seems to exceed your grasp.

Oh, yeah, and the boss expects you to be running – not walking – on his field.

Run, don’t walk, to see the 5 Lessons for Success …


Do You Want to Light a Fire Under Your Organization? Have you got the 3 Key Ingredients in Place?

Start your own fires. Begin the burn so your ideas catch fire and spread throughout the organization.

It takes 3 ingredients to start and sustain a fire. Make sure you’ve got all 3 ready to go when you launch your next plan.


Fire has been around since before Prometheus stole it from Zeus and shared it with us mere mortals.

We won’t revisit the penalty that Zeus bestowed, but suffice it to say, Prometheus probably regretted his thievery.

Read about the 3 Key Ingredients to set your business on fire …


Is it Too Much Trouble to Set Clear Expectations? If so, be prepared for mediocre results

Few executives will admit it’s too much trouble to Set Clear Expectations, even for their direct reports

I f it’s true for you, make sure you’re prepared for plenty of confusion and mediocre results.


When I talk to executives every day, there’s hardly a conversation that doesn’t include the same 2 things:

  • “Why aren’t I getting more done?”, and
  • “Why aren’t my people getting more done?”

There are several simple and proven leadership tools that can save your bacon many times over.

Don’t stop just because you’ve heard this before

Keep reading for important insights into Setting Clear Expectations


Steve Jobs Got It Right: Get Rid of All the Crappy Stuff

Do you spend too much time juggling projects and tasks you’re unlikely to ever tackle? Maybe it’s because there’s stuff in there not worth doing?

S ome people call it re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I say, throw ‘em overboard!


In What is the cornerstone of your strategy?, I discussed how important it is to nail down the key elements of your strategy.

When Paul McCartney was feted at the Kennedy Center honors, I shared with you my thoughts on how we become remarkable.

In both cases, I referred to Steve Jobs’ well-known phrase about how Apple is so intensely focused on its products … and how proud he is that the entire product line fits on a single table.

A Single Table?

Everyone always asked Steve Jobs with wonderment,

  • How do you do it?

Keep reading to see why you need a weed-whacker to get more done ….


This is How You Create a Lifelong Customer

In many instances, finding customers can be easier than keeping customers.

T here are a lot of things we can do to get them to show up. But, do we do everything to make sure they keep showing up?


You don’t have to look very far to find instances where customer service lands with a thud.

Restaurants are a pretty easy target

Restaurants may be one of the easiest targets since we’re in them all the time, so imagine my pleasant surprise to receive a Missed Opportunity check from a Grand Rapids, Michigan restaurant I visited while there to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.

The dish I ordered wasn’t quite up to par, a little dry compared to previous visits.

Keep reading to learn about how to turn the tables on Missed Opportunities


7 Deadly Sins | Are Pride & Envy Destroying Your Business?

Man’s shortcomings have been catalogued since the Garden of Eden, and ever after, philosophers and kings have attempted a definitive list of those iniquities.

Pride is often considered the mother of all sins and the one from which all others emanate, so it’s at the top of the list. It’s also at the top of the list of reasons our businesses get in trouble.


Pride is the Mother of all Sins

Pope Gregory in the 6th century reduced the list of wicked human passions to seven, which we generally know as the 7 Deadly Sins.

You’ve seen it often accompanied by various artist renderings illustrating the specific punishments that might accrue to the hapless offender.

What is Pride?

Monsieur Webster defines pride as a …

lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect.

Interestingly, Pope Gregory consolidated the word with its kissing cousin, vainglory that implies …

an inordinate and therefore empty or unjustified pride.

It’s no surprise, then, that the punishment associated with pride is being broken on the wheel.

Keep reading to see the difference between Pride &Proud …


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.

Keep reading so you 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