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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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

Instant or Long-term Gratification

Are you a “strike while the iron is hot” or a “good things come to those who wait” type of person? Washington University in St. Louis conducted a study, the first of its kind, that focused on brain responses after a person made a decision and was waiting for his/her reward. While waiting for the ... Read More
 

What Motivates You?

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” So I ask, what is your purpose? What truly motivates you? How do you define wealth? If you believe that financial wealth (as opposed to ... Read More
 

No. 1 Predictor of Career Success

Michael Simmons, contributor to Business Insider, interviewed many of the world’s top network scientists to better understand how networks create competitive advantage in business and careers. According to his research of multiple peer-reviewed studies (read the article here), simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career ... Read More
 

Every Day is New Year’s Day

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” According to the website Statistic Brain, only 8% of people who make a New Year’s resolution are successful in achieving it. Doesn’t that number strike you as odd? Why do we make resolutions year after ... Read More
 

The Fear of Freedom

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates I recently wrapped up coaching a client on the development of her personal intention, ambition, and value proposition statements and a plan to make structural changes to her business. She has traveled the world, won multiple statewide awards, speaks a second language fluently, has a beautiful family, ... Read More
 

Everything is a Gift

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of eating dinner with a group of executives who had flown in to Scottsdale to discuss a strategic plan for their professional association. As we went around the room and made introductions, I sincerely appreciated the diversity of thought, background, experience, and reasons for wanting to volunteer ... Read More
 

How to Divide Your Job Search Time in the “Educonomy”

In a recent speech delivered to top U.S. education policymakers at the 2014 National Forum on Education Policy (sponsored by the Education Commission of the States) Gallup’s Executive Director of Education, Brandon Busteed, discussed the need to create an “Educonomy”. Busteed emphasized that education leaders need to measure and focus on the outcome that matters ... Read More
 

The Benefits of Hitting Rock Bottom

In September 2013, Emmanuel Saez from the University of California, Berkeley published research entitled Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States. The most important finding from his work was that, “… the top 1% (of income earners) captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the ... Read More
 

The Power of Reflection

The search for new career opportunities is increasingly competitive. Each year, the United States graduates over 1.7 million young people into the workforce (according to NACE). The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 24 million people, of all ages, unemployed. Older workers are staying in the workforce longer because their bank accounts are no ... Read More
 

Finding Happiness

I was very fortunate to spend this past weekend in the Midwest working with students at a top-ranked business school. My talk was built upon the idea that students could connect the school’s personal code of conduct with a student’s previous experiences and vision for the future to develop guiding (Intention, Ambition, Value Proposition, and ... Read More
 

Focus on These Three Things in 2014

I spent considerable time with recruiters from many Fortune 100 companies in Q4 of 2013. It was great to hear about the qualities they were searching for in top recruits. From Amazon to Cisco to Apple to Intel to Chrysler to Bank of America, I heard numerous stories about great interviews… and others where candidates ... Read More
 

Crowdsourcing the Incorporate You™ Manual

As societal contracts fracture and the unemployment rate continues to hover near 8 percent, developing a unique personal brand and investing time in creating that powerful visual identity using graphic elements such as logos and symbols will be important. Whether creating a logo for your personal business card or for your entrepreneurial venture, you want ... Read More