Archives

Every Generation Has Been The Me Generation

Two Fridays ago, I was in Bend, OR delivering a talk to the Oregon Association of School Business Officials at their summer conference. I was asked to speak about aligning cross-generational communication. I am so thankful for OASBO as I’m not sure I could’ve met a kinder, more welcoming and wholeheartedly supportive group. Side note: ... Read More
 

Meeting People Where They Are

Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” In the late 1800s, Disraeli served as Prime Minister for the United Kingdom and is most well known for his role in helping to create the conservative party. I ... Read More
 

We All Fear Success, Here’s How To Overcome It

I admit it. I’m addicted. Addicted to checking things off a task list. I go to the gym four days each week. I can’t resist sugary treats. And, I seek comfort in my cat, Cleopatra… but don’t tell anyone else about how I can walk her on a leash. I think there are pictures and ... Read More
 

8 Questions to Ask When Everything Goes Wrong

I have a good friend who’s been a successful business owner for nearly two decades. Recently, in the span of one week, her most valuable employee resigned, one of her children experienced a medical condition relapse and a major client decided to not renew their contract with her company. That week, everything that could go ... Read More
 

8 Factors for Optimal Career Decision Making

I recently coached a VP of Business Development through finding a new role that truly aligned with his life’s mission. Let’s call him David. Like many of us, David had seen his share of ups and downs. Pre-2008, he owned multiple homes, drove luxury vehicles and took international trips annually. He was part of the ... Read More
 

For Better Time Management, Take These 5 Steps

What percent of your day is spent living your life’s mission? Many executives I interact with seem to be distributing their time towards activities they think will make them money, make them appear powerful or give them a synthetic boost of confidence. Unfortunately, our society’s maniacal focus on this personality ethic produces poor outcomes for ... Read More
 

Balancing Ambition and Patience

Have you ever thought about how most of our lives seem to be focused on waiting? When we’re pre-teens, we can’t wait to get braces for that perfect smile. When we’re high school, we can’t wait to begin college to live on our own. When we enter the workforce, we can’t wait for the right ... Read More
 

Advancing Your Emotional Intelligence

In 1995, Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goleman’s research suggested that conventional intelligence, or IQ (intelligence quotient), was too narrow a spectrum to determine an individual’s level of success. IQ sets a foundation, but ignores how a person’s behavioral profile, motivators and life experiences help shape decision making ... Read More
 

Using Your Behavioral Style to Acquire Self Confidence

Have you noticed the things that make people great in one area of life often make them miserable in others? Success in one area seems to be tied to failure in another because we go to such extremes to be accepted. If you devote extra hours to a job, you are likely spending less time ... Read More
 

How Coachable Are You?

I invest significant time each week deepening relationships with interesting people and opening my network to new people. Towards the end of a handful of these discussions, I’m asked to describe my ideal client. I appreciate this opportunity and can provide a reasonably specific avatar of the potential client’s functional expertise, industry experience, level of ... Read More
 

Building Relationships for Professional Advancement

Note: this article first appeared in the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants July/August 2016 magazine. In 1995, Steve Jobs said “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you … shake off this erroneous notion ... Read More
 

It’s Okay to be the Smartest Person in the Room

Michael Dell gave a speech at the University of Texas in 2003 and said “Try to never be the smartest person in the room. And, if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people… or find a different room.” You’ve likely heard different iterations of this phrase. It may have motivated you to work hard ... Read More
 

Creating a Leadership Pipeline

In recent months, I have been interviewing senior finance executives and subject matter experts, exploring university case studies and reading other existing literature about the millennial generation. I partnered with Financial Executives Research Foundation and Robert Half to publish a white paper about millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, and what can be done to prepare ... Read More
 

Why Doubt Is Important

If you haven’t listened to Casey Gerald’s TED Talk, The Gospel of Doubt, I strongly encourage you to. Gerald is a Harvard MBA, entrepreneur and brilliant orator. He tells multiple stories about his life’s journey and the lessons he’s learned along the way. From his recollection of being robbed at gun point to joining Lehman ... Read More
 

Hire Not For Fit, But For Contribution

Too many organizations fall victim to groupthink. Groupthink occurs when a group makes faulty decisions, ignores viable alternatives and takes irrational action due to various internal and external pressures. Often, group members try to minimize conflict and isolate themselves from outside influence to remain harmonious and loyal to the group’s cause. As a person who ... Read More
 

What Makes Millennials Different

Have you noticed the mainstream media gravitates towards stories that divide people? My guess is you’ve read numerous articles discussing how generations differ and the dysfunction the supposed differences cause. Instead of thinking the differences are negative, let’s leverage the unique traits to uplift people, construct stronger teams, and create more productive organizations. There are ... Read More
 

Bringing Organization Culture and Individual Motivation Together

In December 2009, Daniel Pink wrote Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, a book uncovering the human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and the world. Pink labeled those three motivations autonomy, mastery, and purpose. In writing the book, Pink wanted to ... Read More
 

Be The Person You Needed When You Were Younger

A few months back, I gave a talk about developing your personal branding to group of executives. A gentleman approached me after the talk and shared a few of his experiences conducting business internationally. After some great back and forth, he finally said, “You know what Michael, most of the executives I do business with… ... Read More
 

Writing About Your Values

A group of friends and I recently hiked three mountains in one morning. While climbing the second mountain, a very kind gentleman stopped me and asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like David Beckham?” I wish I could’ve seen the look on my face. I responded with a smile, a “No.”, and ... Read More
 

How to Brag

An integral part of living your personal brand is sharing your growth and success with your stakeholders. Not in the same way Donald Trump does, but in a way that truly shows the value you are generating for society. If you’re an introvert, you likely find the idea of self-promotion even more difficult. First, what ... Read More
 

Taking Ownership

I spent Labor Day weekend in West Michigan with my family reminiscing about previous vacations, the difficulties (and joys) of raising children, the future of the United States, and a host of other awesome topics. The conversations were phenomenal. I hope your holiday weekend was just as wonderful. As I flew back to Phoenix, I ... Read More
 

Failing Forward & Fearing Mediocrity

The more people I serve, the more I see just how limiting self doubt can be. It amazes me how much the need for acceptance and belonging drives us to place extraordinary value on external relationships, material things, and arbitrary notions of success … at the expense of self acceptance and personal achievement. In a ... Read More
 

10 Actions to Avoid in Your Career

During Cisco Live, Cisco’s annual customer conference, CEO John Chambers said, “Forty percent of businesses in this room, unfortunately, will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years.” He then said, “If I’m not making you sweat, I should be.” Whether you work full time for someone else or you’re an entrepreneur, does that ... Read More
 

New Career Pathways

I attended the Southwest Pathways Conference this past week in Scottsdale, AZ. Influencers flew in from across the U.S. to share learning best practices, brainstorm ideas, and plot paths for driving change in education models. For me, it was an insightful exercise in how government and educational institutions are repackaging their products to best meet ... Read More
 

The Hero’s Journey

A TED Talk by Paul Tudor Jones II about capitalism and income inequality recently caught my attention. I’ve listened to it multiple times as Jones II message resonates with me deeply because so many highly acclaimed economists are calling for another economic correction in late 2015, early 2016. Our focus on short-term quarterly earnings and ... Read More