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Personal Development Library

Personal Development is a widely used term by thousands of bloggers. Some are wide-ranging articles about the body, mind, spirit and soul. Others are focused on life coaching, personal success and lifestyle. It’s a bit of a potpourri here, too, but you will find practical strategies, tips and tools that can make a difference in your life.

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

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.

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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 …

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Odds of 2 Monumental Events in Your Life on the Same Date? Incredible!

There aren’t too many days so emblazoned in our memories as July 20 is for me.

N ot just for one memorable moment, but two spectacular ones.

So, if you don’t mind, come along with me as I memorialize those wonderful moments and share some of the colorful details that intensify my own memory of those very special days … and maybe help you, as well, to memorialize those special moments in your life.

Jim Bunning

Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame Pitcher


Sunday, July 20, 1958

My father was a minister so weekends were never our own. Saturdays for last minute preparation, Sundays for church.

We lived in Michigan and were huge Detroit Tiger fans. Detroit was several hundred miles away and between school, summer jobs and Dad’s work, we never made it to a game.

That is, until my Dad was hired to teach some courses at Boston University one summer and the family got to tag along for 3 weeks. While Dad was working, Mom dragged us all over town. We hit the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, Bunker Hill, Lexington & Concord and an endless array of the great attractions of Boston.

“Hey Dad, look who’s in town?”

Read the Full Article. What happened on July 20?

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The One Big Change You’re Sick of Hearing About … And a Foolproof Way to Fix It.

There is at least One Irrefutable and Universal Truth

I t’s a pretty rare day when we don’t think about changing someone else, isn’t it?

If we could just get other people to change, to do things our way, to see the path as we do ….

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You may not know Tom Allender, but you’d be lucky if you did.

Several years ago, my wife mentioned that Tom had a reputation as a very insightful and heartfelt speaker and was appearing at the local parish in a few weeks to talk about relationships.

I was a little skeptical of getting “preached to” about relationships, but my wife was eager to attend, so I agreed to join her.

He was terrific and wasn’t at all “preachy” … and as he got started, you could see couples beginning to squirm, turning to each other and whispering versions of …

“How did he know that [about us]?”

… or “Have you already talked to him?” …

“I didn’t see him peeking in our window.” ….

What is that One Universal Truth?

It quickly became clear he could pinpoint the universality of the many things we face in our relationships with each other.

What I distinctly remember is his story about the married man who approached him one day to ask about an upcoming couples’ retreat:

Keep reading to learn about the One Universal Truth …

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How Many Times Have You Been Through This Revolving Door?

Remember how Mom used to say: “You know better than that?”

S he knew we could make better decisions. So, why did she have to say this so often?

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It wasn’t that we were ignorant or unaware of what was supposed to be done.

Quite the contrary. We knew damn well what we were supposed to do but we just didn’t want to do it.

Why not?

Why Don’t We Do What We Know We Must Do?

That’s the eternal conundrum, isn’t it my friends? Why don’t we do what we know we must do?

Continue reading to detect the symptoms & learn the solutions for indecision …

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Do You Follow a Routine – Or Just Full Speed Ahead and Hope It All Gets Done?

If you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine.

A re you diligent about keeping track or have you just given up?

imageIf you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine.

It’s usually those things we’ve promised someone we would do that day FOR SURE … a small thing, easily done … but then, in the firestorm at the office, we completely forget about it until we hit home and are gently reminded about our oversight … again.

Yes, it could be very minor but it’s often one of those nagging little nuggets that keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

What is a Routines List?

what should be on your routines list? Keep reading …

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Accountability | What Does It Really Mean?

Accountability comes up as one of the top 3 issues on the minds of CEOs in almost every conversation I have with them.

T hey know, deep in their bones, that unless they build an organization that embeds this elusive concept into its DNA, the chances of achieving their goals will be equally elusive.

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When does Accountability begin?

“When is it no longer my responsibility to get people to complete their assignments … and where does their responsibility to perform begin?” a North Bay CEO asked me recently.

“Your responsibility never ends … and neither does theirs,” I said.

“Your job is to work tirelessly to build accountability into the organization so that your team understands that being held accountable is the cornerstone of a strong, successful organization. It is not punitive.”

Recently, we’ve discussed personal accountability as the “singular touchstone of professional success over which we have the greatest control.”

We’ve also discussed the After Action Review a valuable teaching tool that reinforces accountability and inspires a culture of continuous improvement.

An organization focused on accountability might be seen as the thread that connects our personal accountability

–talking the talk, and, the After Action Review as …

walking the walk.

But what is it, really?

What is Accountability … Really?

In simple terms, accountability is a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions.

It’s being reliable and making certain that the commitments we make, from the perspective of others, have been kept. For a responsible culture to prevail, each of us must make certain that those commitments are honest – and honored.

At the core of accountability is the requirement to set clear expectations.

Keep reading to make sure you understand what Accountability really means

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The Power of Personal Accountability

The Power of One concept is not new — it’s the bedrock of everything from motivational speeches to Army One.

S o, why not begin by setting an example of personal accountability that can be emulated throughout your organization?

the power of personal accountability

There’s an entire industry devoted to the power we have over our destiny.

In the context of Becoming a More Effective Leader, you can view the Power of One as a series of concentric circles that ripple outward from the center … from where you stand as a business leader.

God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Nieburh

With a jittery economy and an historical presidential election on the horizon, we’ve been inundated with economic data, shards of doubt and glimmers of hope. While we can’t ignore these external forces, we can’t allow them to deter our commitment to reclaiming control of our agenda.

It all starts with Personal Accountability

As a result, there’s no better topic with which to start than Personal Accountability, the singular touchstone of professional success over which we have the greatest control.

Keep reading to learn more about the Power of One ….

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Rip Off that Mask. Let’s See Who’s Really Responsible for All of This?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed how it’s possible for different cultures to produce equally profound results.

H ow do you create a mindset where everyone takes full responsibility for their actions and refuses to blame outside forces for failure or disappointment?

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Déjà vu all over again?

How often have you heard that phrase banging against your skull … and how often was it telling you …

“I’ve been here before.”

“Didn’t we already solve this problem?”

“Why does this subject keep coming up all the time?”

Why do these issues keep resurfacing?

We’ve been talking about culture and accountability over the last few weeks, and as I’m sure in your experience, you’ve already discovered how often so many of these issues continue to be the same challenges year after year.

They’re constantly resurfacing, often in disguise as a different issue altogether … but really, the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

Have we become dumb and dumberer?

Why do these same issues keep popping up like whack-a-moles?

Continue reading to see who to hold accountable for what happens next …

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The Four Common Features of Equally Successful but Different Cultures

We’ve been exploring the impact of different cultures and how they affect our organizations.

W hat are the common threads shared by these radically different cultures that you can apply to make your company equally successful?

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“Lary, give this customer a call. We’ve just received an unauthorized return, and I want these shoes sent back. Funny how the green shoes they bought don’t fit and the red ones fit perfectly.”

It wasn’t uncommon for the Chairman of company North (remember, “N” for “Nasty”?) to stop by my office with a message like this. His remarks were actually a code:

“The red shoes sold well but the green ones the customer bought aren’t selling … so now they’re claiming they don’t fit so they can return them. We’ve had no other such complaints. Tell them we won’t accept them and ship them back.”

I made a note to contact the customer, figuring I’d call them after lunch when I would be more likely to catch them three time zones away. No e-mail back then.

Unexpectedly, the Chairman returned to my office 20 minutes later to ask,

“What did they say?”

The first few times this happened I asked,

“Who?” …

failing to make the connection he expected.

While I learned the nuances of merchandising economics with these examples, what I finally realized was that the Chairman expected me to drop everything and call them immediately.

He wasn’t happy,

“What else are you doing?”,

and after a few unpleasant encounters, I finally caught on.

Don’t miss the 4 Common Threads that bind successful companies

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Can Radically Different Cultures Produce Equally Great Results? Part 2.

Last week, in Can Radically Different Cultures Produce Equally Great Results?, I posed the question: If measured by financial performance, can dramatically different organizations be equally successful?

I n this short series about culture development, we’ll take a look at how sound business principles and cultural patterns often collide within an organization’s walls.

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How can opposing cultures both succeed?

In many ways, it doesn’t seem fair that both charitable and churlish cultures can thrive.

It’s easy to embrace the benevolent culture created by Sid Rich (we’ll call it Company South, “S” for Sid) as profiled in the first article in this series.

His company deserves to be successful.

Wouldn’t it be great if that was the company you worked for?

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. ~ Albert Einstein

What if you’re stuck on the other side of the tracks?

Contrarily, when you look across the aisle at the rough and tumble world of Company North (“N” for Nasty), highlighted by temper tantrums, public floggings and a petulant devotion to spending a dime on anything, we’re either glad we’re not working there … or wishing we didn’t.

Some powerful lessons are evident as we compare and contrast these companies, their styles and culture, although some lessons are not very inviting.

continue reading to see some of these cultural differences

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