First Friday Book Synopsis

"…like CliffNotes on steroids…"

Tim Ferriss: On The Creative Process and Getting Your Work Noticed

FerrissHere is a brief excerpt from an interview of Tim Ferriss by Ariston Anderson for the website of 99U: Insights on making ideas happen by Bēhance. To read the complete interview, check out other resources, and learn more about 99U, please click here.

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It’s not an easy feat to stay on the New York Times Bestsellers List for four-and-a-half years straight, but Tim Ferriss is used to pushing limits.In 2007, Ferriss transformed the world of book marketing with a grassroots campaign that gave his first book, The 4-Hour Work Week, mass appeal — all while detailing his adventures as a champion kickboxer, world record holder, entrepreneur, and more.

But there was one mountain that Ferriss still hadn’t climbed: how to find his way around a kitchen. The author couldn’t tell his basil from his parsley when he began writing his latest book, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life. But in typical Ferriss fashion, he traversed the globe interviewing top chefs. In the process he found a new model for efficient learning: pinpointing the best, copying their craft, and skipping all the unnecessary filler lessons that most courses begin with.

Your first book was about escaping the workaholic lifestyle to “find your muse.” Do you think it’s better making a living doing what you love, or to make a living that allows you to spend time doing what you love?

If you wake up on Saturday morning and go surfing to decompress for the week, that is different from having to wake up at six every morning Monday to Friday and take investment bankers out to surf. One is elective and one is mandatory. Adults and three-years-olds are very similar, in that as soon as we have to do something, we start to resent it.

For instance with me, I don’t like to do a lot of speaking engagements like a lot of authors do. I just find it really boring. I now only do two types: it’s either top price or free. If you realize that income is intended to ultimately improve your quality of life in some fashion, then it makes it easier to forgo some the fleeting, high-maintenance opportunities.

Adults and three-years-olds are very similar, in that as soon as we have to do something, we start to resent it.

How much real world experience do you need before you kind of go off on your own and create your own lifestyle?

I don’t think you need any real world experience. It’s a question of whether you want to learn the trial and error lessons on someone else’s dime or on your own dime. If you get used to a cushy corporate job and automatic money, it’s pretty tough to say: “I have to sell the car and get a smaller apartment because I’m going off on my own.”

How would you describe your writing process?

I do my best writing between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.. Almost every friend I have who is a consistently productive writer, does their best writing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. My quota is two crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I’m not so intimidated that I never get started. I will do the gathering of interviews and research throughout the day. I’ll get all my notes and materials together and then I’ll do the synthesis between 10 p.m. to bed, which is usually 4 or 5 a.m.

I will have a station on Pandora, and I will put a movie on and mute it in the background so I don’t feel like I’m in isolation. Then I jam. It takes me an hour and a half to get my brain into the flow of doing anything writing related. So once I’m in that flow, I will bleed the stone for as long as I can. If things are going well, I’m not going to stop until I nose dive. But if it goes for an hour-and-a-half and it’s like pulling teeth, then it might be time to go to bed.

My quota is two crappy pages per day.

It’s easy to say “don’t read a million blogs, don’t do this and don’t do that” but it’s often really difficult to shut off and focus. What have you found that actually works?

Use RescueTime and trial it for a week, and try a low-information diet. Get a really cheap laptop that doesn’t have Internet connectivity and do as much work on that as possible. As odd as it sounds, go back to pen and paper. Because once you’re on the computer and distraction is a click away, you’re just like a rat with a cocaine dispenser. You’re going to get toasted.

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To read the complete inyerview, please click here.

Tim is a serial entrepreneur, #1 New York Times bestselling author, and angel investor/advisor (Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Uber, and 20+ more). Best known for his rapid-learning techniques, Tim’s books — The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef — have been published in 30+ languages. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated), has spent seven years on The New York Times bestseller list. Tim has been featured by more than 100 media outlets including The New York Times, The Economist, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, Outside, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and CNN. He has guest lectured in entrepreneurship at Princeton University since 2003. His popular blog has 1M+ monthly readers, and his Twitter account @tferriss was selected by Mashable as one of only five “Must-Follow” accounts for entrepreneurs. Tim’s primetime TV show, The Tim Ferriss Experiment (www.upwave.com/tfx), teaches rapid-learning techniques for helping viewers to produce seemingly superhuman results in minimum time.

Saturday, November 23, 2013 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Kohlrieser: An interview by Bob Morris

Kohlrieser, GeorgeGeorge Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist. He is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD and consultant to several global companies including Accenture, Alcan, Amer Sports, Barclays Global Investors, Cisco, Coca-Cola, HP, IBM, IFC, Morgan Stanley, Motorola, Nestlé, Nokia, Roche, Sara Lee, Tetra Pak, and Toyota. He is also a Police Psychologist and Hostage Negotiator focusing on aggression management and hostage negotiations. He has worked in over 100 countries spanning five continents.

Kohlrieser is Director of the High Performance Leadership (HPL) Program, an intense six-day IMD program for experienced senior leaders and the Advanced High Performance Leadership (AHPL) for former HPL participants. He completed his doctorate at Ohio State University where he wrote his dissertation on cardio vascular recovery of law enforcement leaders following high stress situations. His research has made significant contributions to understanding the role self-mastery and social dialogue has in helping leaders sustain high performance through life long learning.

He is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, adjunct faculty member of Union Graduate School, Antioch, Ohio, adjunct faculty member of Fielding Institute San Francisco, California, adjunct faculty member of Zagreb University, Croatia. He is past president of the International Transactional Analysis Association, San Francisco, California and is also a member of the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF). He has consulted for the BBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS and his work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and other leading newspapers and magazines.

He is author of the internationally bestselling book, Hostage At The Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance, and, more recently, co-author of Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership with Susan Goldsworthy and Duncan Coombe.

Here is an excerpt from my interview of him. To read the complete interview, please click here.

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Morris: Most change initiatives either fail or fall far short of original (perhaps unrealistic) expectations. More often than not, the resistance to change is cultural in nature, the result of what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” Your thoughts?

Kohlrieser: This is a very interesting and challenging point. In fact, research shows that people do not naturally resist change – they resist the fear of the unknown and the pain of the change. The human brain actually thrives on curiosity, innovation, new learning, challenge and change to create new neurons until the day we die. This has come to be known as brain plasticity. Followers with a secure base leader will be empowered to successfully navigate the uncertainty, ambiguity, and other unknowns associated with change. James O’Toole is correct: most people are hostages to the “ideology of comfort” and to the status quo. They do not dare themselves to do something new or different. The challenge for leaders is to build trust that enables them to drive change. If leaders are not driving change, they are not really leading. We must dispel the myth that people naturally resist change – it is simply not true.

Morris: Looking ahead what do you think will be the greatest challenge that CEOs will face?

Kohlrieser: The greatest challenge I see is the “paradox of caring” – being able to both care and also dare followers, teams and organizations to achieve their full potential and to be true innovators. How do leaders show enough caring and bonding, even with difficult people and those they don’t like? Giving regular feedback and conveying hard truths unlock the door to the highest levels of performance. Successful leaders challenge their people by inspiring them and building trust, not by coercion, control or threats.

Leaders must drive change. Without change organizations wither and die. Leaders who don’t drive change put their companies in grave danger. The challenge facing leaders is to explain the benefits that change will bring. I use the term “secure base leader” to describe someone who gives a sense of safety as well as the inspiration and energy to encourage followers to explore and take risk. In other words, you must care enough to encourage daring by shutting down the defensive nature of the brain and invite the mind’s eye to seek opportunity and possibility. This combination is crucial, and it’s why my new book about unleashing astonishing potential is called Care to Dare.

Morris: In your opinion, why do so many C-level executives seem to have such a difficult time delegating work to others?

Kohlrieser: It comes down to focus and trust. Secure base leaders, referred to in my books, always look for underdeveloped talents and turn delegation into opportunities to stretch people. This means they have to trust people to learn, develop and possibly to fail. Letting go of control is often the most difficult thing for an executive to do. After all, their experience means they often assume they know how to do things better, which may or may not be true. Give people a secure base leader and they will achieve amazing things – delegating is one form of stretching another person to show what they can do. The executive must always be standing behind as a secure base. A good example is flight training. There is a moment when the flight instructor must relinquish the flight controls to the trainee.

Morris: When and why did you decide to write Hostage at the Table?

Kohlrieser: I have been held hostage four times. Early in my career it became clear that hostage negotiators have to establish a relationship with a very unlikeable, even despicable person. They must engage in a dialogue under high pressure and influence the hostage taker to give up their weapons and their hostages knowing that they will likely go to prison. The success rate of hostage negotiators doing this work is an extraordinary 95 per cent. When I described what hostage negotiators do to the executives and other professionals I work with at my IMD High Performance Leadership Program, they wanted to know if the secret of hostage negotiation can be applied to situations when one is being held a psychological hostage.

It is one thing to be a hostage with a gun to your head; it is another to be held hostage by a boss, spouse, situation or yourself. People wanted to know how hostage negotiations applied to everyday situations. So the “hostage” metaphor is a highly empowering concept that I wanted to describe in the book based on theory and actual stories. The fact is even when physically a hostage, you don’t need to feel a hostage. The techniques used to gain freedom in a hostage situation can be used by all of us in everyday life. Warren Bennis and Dan Goleman, my two wonderful mentors, colleagues and friends, encouraged me to formulate these ideas into a book, and I was honored to have Warren Bennis include it in his Leadership series.

Morris: Obviously, much of the material in the book seems to be based on what you learned from your extensive experience as a police psychologist and hostage negotiator. What were the most valuable lessons learned from that experience?

Kohlrieser: I have learned a number of lessons in my 40-year career. The most powerful lessons for me have been:

1. The power of bonding and the impact dialogue can have on an adversary, a hostage taker, or a person threatening violence.

2. The paradox of caring. Hostage negotiation succeeds because the hostage taker feels genuine care, interest and concern from the hostage negotiator.

3. The power of focusing on the goal and not on the danger or the problem. When facing a gun, the brain will naturally focus on the weapon unless you train your brain to focus on the person and the goal.

4. The power of language, dialogue and of asking questions.

5. Making concessions within a negotiation.

6. The power of loss in motivating people and in driving violence, especially hostage taking. There is always a loss that precedes a hostage-taking situation.

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To read the complete interview, please click here.

George cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:

His home page

His faculty page

His Amazon page

IMD “Big Think” interview

YouTube videos

Monday, April 22, 2013 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emily Bennington: An interview by Bob Morris

Bennington bannerEmily Bennington specializes in two distinct forms of career transition: college students entering the workforce and women leaders entering executive management. Her work deep dives into what Stephen Covey famously referred to as “the space” between stimulus and response where she challenges executives to choose mindful, values-centered action. Emily is the author of Who Says It’s a Man’s World: The Girls’ Guide to Corporate Domination and the coauthor of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job, a book she wrote with her first boss and mentor Skip Lineberg. Emily has led training programs for numerous Fortune 500 companies and has been featured in business press ranging from CNN, ABC, and Fox to the Wall Street Journal, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She is also a contributing writer for Monster.com and a featured blogger for Forbes Woman.

Here’s an excerpt from my interview of her. To read the complete interview, please click here.

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Morris: Before discussing Who Says It’s a Man’s World, a few general questions. First, who has had the greatest impact on your professional development? How so?

Bennington: Definitely my first boss and Effective Immediately co-author Skip Lineberg. At the beginning of my career, Skip really spent a lot of time coaching and challenging me to be better. One example I’ll never forget was when I had my first performance review and asked for a raise, Skip made me “demonstrate I was worth it” by successfully completing a series of projects ranging from writing a review of How to Win Friends and Influence People to finding a logistical “problem” in the office and solving it using TQM processes. At the time, a lot of my friends and family were puzzled by this, wondering why he didn’t just give me the raise I’d already earned, but I knew better. I saw Skip’s challenge as an opportunity to prove to him that I was not only worth more money, but more responsibility as well. Since then, our relationship has evolved into more of a partnership than a mentor / student connection, but I’m so blessed that we’re still able to work together after all these years.

Morris: Years ago, was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) that set you on the career course you continue to follow? Please explain.

Bennington: My personal and professional growth under Skip’s leadership made me want to offer a similar experience to others in their career. It truly was the turning point that set the stage for everything I do now.

Morris: What do you know about the business world that you wish you knew when you when to work full-time for the first time? Why?

Bennington: I wasted a lot of time in my 20s “looking for the path.” I was constantly planning for a life that would begin 2-4 years in the future when I lived in a particular city, had a particular credential, and achieved particular things. Looking back, I wish I had recognized earlier that I was already on the path. We all are.

Morris: Now please shift your attention to Who Says It’s a Man’s World. When and why did you decide to write it?

Bennington: It all started with dirty Tupperware. Years ago when I was promoted to a director-level position for a corporate accounting firm, I found myself with an assistant for the first time in my career. And I remember being nervous about delegating assignments because she had been with the company for about 15 years and I didn’t want to come off as the bossy new kid. So the first time I went to pass her the baton on a job, I noticed she had some dirty Tupperware from lunch sitting on the corner of her desk. In a flash I reverted back to my waitress days in college. I picked up a few pieces and said, “Can I take this for you?” Turns out, I was SO worried about coming across as too assertive that I overcompensated and made myself look weak. After that, I started thinking about all the “little” ways I was undermining my power at work and I created the survey to see if others were experiencing the same thing. The survey became the foundation for Who Says It’s a Man’s World.

Morris: To what extent (if any) does the book in final form differ significantly from what you originally envisioned?

Bennington: My first book, Effective Immediately, is full of really prescriptive advice on things you should DO if you want to stand out at work. I assumed this book would follow that same path but – literally in the middle of writing it – I realized that success actually starts with how you THINK. I ended up rearranging a lot of the text, but the end result is definitely stronger for it.

Morris: When formulating questions for this interview, I rejected the phrase “working women” because all of the women in my life since childhood were working…but few were paid — [begin italics] and usually under-paid [end italics] — as was my mother, a single parent. So I use the term “employed women.” Do you have a problem with that? Please explain.

Bennington: I have two young sons so I agree that it’s all work – just some jobs pay better than others. That said, I believe that every woman should have a way to support herself and I learned this first-hand through the hardships of my mother. She never had a career and, as a result, she hasn’t always had the freedom to walk away from situations and relationships that weren’t serving her. I teach career success because I want all women to have the safety – and I mean that literally – that financial independence provides.

Morris: In your opinion, what are the “must-have trade-offs” for employed mothers?

Bennington: For starters, go for the “big money.” In other words, what can you do that will be the most important, the most visible, and have the most impact? When it comes to prioritizing time, your kids aren’t all that different from your boss in this respect. If they are old enough – just ask them. Say something like “I can only make one event this month – either the lunch or the assembly. Which one would you prefer I attend?” The fact that they have a voice in the decision will help them feel better about it – not to mention they’re learning a valuable lesson in time management too. Also, if you’re on a crazy air-tight schedule, don’t allow yourself to get talked into anything behind-the-scenes. You may get a gold star from the PTA for selling the most raffle tickets, but your daughter probably couldn’t care less. So before you commit to anything, think about whether she will notice. If the answer is no, well, there’s your answer.

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To read the complete interview, please click here.

Emily cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:

http://www.EmilyBennington.com


http://www.amacombooks.org/book.cfm?isbn=9780814431870

http://www.Facebook.com/EmilyBennington

http://www.Twitter.com/EmilyBennington

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Achim Nowak : An interview by Bob Morris

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAchim Nowak is an internationally recognized authority on executive presence and interpersonal connections. His just-published book Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within (Allworth Press) has already received acclaim in Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Leadership Excellence, and Forbes. His first book Power Speaking: The Art of the Exceptional Public Speaker has becomes an essential leadership development tool with Fortune 500 companies around the world.

Influens, the international training and coaching firm Achim founded in 2004, is based in South Florida. It has guided thousands of leaders from organizations such as Sanofi, Dover Corporation, HSBC Bank, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield to better connect and be more influential.

Achim holds an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and International Relations from New York University. He served for over a decade on the faculty of New York University and has been a frequent guest speaker at other universities and industry events. Achim and his work have also been featured on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, NPR, and CNN.

Here is an excerpt from my interview of him. To read the complete interview, please click here.

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Morris: Before discussing Infectious, a few general questions and then a few others about high-impact communication. First, who has had the greatest impact on your professional development? How so?

Nowak: In 1992 I was trained at the Brooklyn Courts to become a mediator. Mediators are highly skilled at shaping the flow of a conversation and using language with strategic precision. The skill sets – validating, paraphrasing, reflecting feelings, identifying underlying issues, speaking in neutral – are priceless. These skills instantly elevated the quality of the conversations I was having, anywhere. They should be required study for any business leader!

Morris: Years ago, was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) that set you on the career course you continue to follow? Please explain.

Nowak: I spent six weeks in the late 1980s at a retreat in the Arizona desert. I had never done anything like this before. I had never just stopped to take a look at myself – I was your classic results-driven alpha male. The retreat center sat atop an old Anasazi burial mound. The Anasazi spirit energy was electric. I soon had daily visits from power animals. In one very long night I had repeated visions of a white house on an island, overlooking a sparkling dark blue ocean. I knew instantly that this house was not a metaphor, it was a real place. Six months later I had left my life as a theatre director in New York City and was living in a small white house on the island of Tobago, overlooking the Atlantic. This was the first time in my life that I listened to deep inner guidance and followed suit – even though at no time prior had I ever had a yearning for island life. This was the start of my journey into a life and career that looks different from anything I might have envisioned for myself.

Morris: To what extent has your formal education been invaluable to what you have accomplished in life thus far?

Nowak: My formal education has been marginally valuable, at best. There are great minds whose work I cherish – Peter Drucker, Daniel Goleman – and I greatly believe in continuous learning, but my most meaningful lessons happened while working in the trenches: Doing transformational work in North-American AIDS communities, facilitating co-existence dialogues in countries that are at war – and in every one-on-one coaching conversation I have with a C-level leader!

Morris: From which business book have you learned the most valuable lessons about business? Please explain.

Nowak: FLOW by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi is my favorite book about business – and life. Distinctions between business and non-business are often artificial since we tend to spend more time at work than we do in our non-business life. The common denominator between both is that we are in constant relationship with others. Csikszentmihalyi’s insights about how we attain peak performance, and how our engagement in peak performance leads to a state of flow, are instantly relevant, in all parts of life. I recommend to everyone.

Morris: Here’s one of my favorite quotations from Oscar Wilde to which I ask you to respond: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

Nowak: There are tantalizing questions behind this clever quip. Do I know who I am? Is this knowledge of who I am growing and changing over time? (Yes – I hope!) And most importantly – which parts of myself do I choose to reveal in public? The ability to be myself at all times and make enlightened choices about how I show up – that’s the mark of a mature leader.

Morris: Here’s a brief excerpt from Paul Schoemaker’s latest book, Brilliant Mistakes: “The key question companies need to address is not ‘Should we make mistakes?’ but rather ‘Which [end mistakes should we make in order to test our deeply held assumptions?’” Your response?

Nowak: I love the title of this book – Brilliant Mistakes. I tend to be a risk-taker, and the moment we take risks we will make mistakes. Only when we test deeply-held assumptions do we get to the unknown – which is a world that we, by definition, do not know before we know it. How many mistakes we can tolerate, well, that’s the personal frontier everyone one of us needs to explore. I’m thinking of a few situations in my life just recently where I feel like I pressed for results a little too hard. My job is to learn from that experience. Were my actions mistakes? It’s up to me to decide how I frame it up for myself, isn’t it? It always boils down to assuming responsibility for my actions without beating myself up for having taken a risk. That’s my personal bottom-line.:

Morris: In your opinion, why do so many C-level executives seem to have such a difficult time delegating work to others?

Nowak: My experience doesn’t entirely match your statement. I know quite a few C-level executives who do know how to delegate. The key, of course, for all C-Level executives is to be secure enough to surround themselves with amazing talent – and to let this talent shine. Part of letting the talent shine is having real, tough, challenging conversations when everyone meets in person, without ever denigrating the brilliance of others. And, of course, there has to be the willingness to let go of those who do not wish to play your game or support your vision.

Morris: The greatest leaders throughout history (with rare exception) were great storytellers. What do you make of that?

Nowak: They’re smart. Well-told stories tap into our deepest yearnings and desires. They stir us. Leaders who are unable to stir folks, especially in a democracy, simply will not get elected. Because we know that stories work, every modern politician these days has been coached on telling stories. The key now is to move from the easy and predictable stories – rags-to-riches, immigrant-to-success – and tell stories that involve taking a true personal risk in the telling. Stories that are mere marketing clichés come across as mere marketing clichés. They fail to stir!

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To read the complete interview, please click here.

Achim cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:

www.influens.com

www.theenergyproject.com

www.jaynewarrilow.com

www.melanieroche.com

Monday, February 25, 2013 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emily Bennington asks, “Who says it’s a man’s world?”

Bennington, EmilyEmily Bennington is holding her breath. Well, not literally, but with a new book coming out this month, she’s certainly feeling the “excited energy” as she calls it. Good thing she knows how to thrive under pressure. Actually, Emily’s latest book, Who Says It’s a Man’s World: The Girls’ Guide to Corporate Domination (AMACOM 2013), is all about showing women how to thrive in the pressure-cooker environment of business today.

Here is an excerpt from an interview conducted by Elizabeth Willse during which Emily discusses her idea of business success, why “goals make us crazy,” and the most challenging part of being an author.

To read the complete interview, please click here.

Photo by KD Lett

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What are some of the most important points you want to make in Who Says It’s a Man’s World?

My intention with Who Says It’s a Man’s World is to shift the reader’s perspective on everything we’ve been taught about success. How’s that for a modest aim? But seriously, the core idea of the book is to define success based on who you want to be first and what you want to do second. This approach – anchored in mindfulness and being present in the moment at work – is very different from most business books that are honed-in on what I call “checking boxes.” While I encourage readers to have goals, I remind them that tomorrow’s success only comes from being present in the work of today.

But how can you be “in the moment” and goal-driven at the same time? Those things seem on different ends of the spectrum.

Exactly – and that’s the point. I’m guessing most women reading career books would classify themselves as “goal-oriented,” but the problem with goals is they constantly keep us focused on a future outcome. When your ability to feel successful is wrapped in goals, you inevitably spend the bulk of your mental energy wanting things you don’t yet have. The dream job…the higher salary…the better body…you name it. So when you want something but don’t have it – what are you supposed to do? Well, you can go to business books, all of which seem to tell us to “create a plan and work harder.” Or you can go to self-help books which tell us to “be grateful for what we have already.” There’s nothing wrong with these approaches except for the fact that neither one by itself is 100% satisfying. I’d like to introduce readers to a new way – one where you can still rapidly ascend the career ladder, but enjoy the journey too.

How does the book itself balance both of those promises?

The book is divided into five skill sections that build on one another – self-awareness, social skills, personal effectiveness, team building, and leadership. At the end of each section, readers have an opportunity to choose from a list of selected activities and create their own individualized career plan. Each activity has a point value assigned to it allowing them to tally their points and assess their own “promotability.” There is also a toolbox section with worksheets and templates readers can use to apply what they’ve learned to their own lives, but this isn’t planning for things down the road, this is planning for the person you want to be right now. So while the book is a practical career guide, it definitely has a strong thread of mindfulness throughout the text that addresses both achievement and fulfillment.

What kind of reader did you have in mind as you were writing? Who do you most want to reach with this book?

I had two kinds of readers in mind, actually. The first is ambitious career women transitioning – or aspiring to transition – into executive management roles. In my head I pictured the countless women I’ve met on the road who want to take over the world, but they’re just not quite as successful as they’d like to be yet. My hope is that the book challenges them to take a deeper look at how their own beliefs and actions are propelling them forward or holding them back.

The book is also a fit for my core audience of college students looking for answers as they make the leap from classroom to boardroom. I know these women particularly well from my first book, Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job. They have been absolutely bombarded with information over the years, but what they really need is answers. They don’t need the “why” they need the “how” and so I wanted to provide it for them in very specific action steps.

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Emily Bennington specializes in two distinct forms of career transition: women leaders entering executive management and college students entering the workforce. She challenges executives to choose mindful, values-centered action. In addition to Who Says It’s a Man’s World, Emily is also the co-author of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job, a book she wrote with her first boss and mentor, Skip Lineberg. Emily has led training programs for numerous Fortune 50 companies and has been featured in press ranging from CNN, ABC, and Fox to the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Glamour magazine. She is also a contributing writer for Monster.com and a featured blogger for Forbes Woman.

Monday, January 28, 2013 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life’s Work: Christiane Amanpour

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Here is an excerpt from the transcript of an interview of Christiane Amanpour conducted by Alison Beard and featured by Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete interview and/or  watch a video based on it, please click here.

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Christiane Amanpour gained global fame in the 1990s as a war correspondent for CNN and parlayed it into a simultaneous gig with CBS’s 60 Minutes. This year, only 16 months after stepping into a coveted anchor spot on ABC’s This Week, she returned to foreign news reporting (for ABC and CNN) because “there simply aren’t enough people doing it.” She is interviewed by Alison Beard.

Beard:  How did you get started in journalism?

Amanpour: My first job was at a local television station in Providence [Rhode Island]. They took a leap of faith with me, I think because they saw a young woman who was very serious about her career path and knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life. I was committed to journalism; I wanted to be a foreign correspondent. Today I think that’s quite unusual. Many undergraduates don’t know what they want to do, so most of them put off the final decision and go to graduate school. So I think it was the ambition I showed, the sense of mission, the desire to improve myself, and also the willingness to do anything, go anywhere. No task was too paltry, and when things were above my experience level, I didn’t shrink. I just did the very best I could.

Beard: You’ve said that covering the war in Bosnia for CNN was a turning point in your career. Why?

Amanpour: That’s where I really started my professional journey. The first time they sent me abroad I was based in Europe, and several months after that, Iraq invaded Kuwait. I was immediately sent to work on that story, even though I was very junior. With CNN being what CNN was in those days, it was all hands on deck, and I was very lucky that was the case because I learned my craft, my trade—whatever you want to call it—on the job.

After the Gulf War, I turned to the next breaking story, which was the implosion that was going on in the former Yugoslavia, starting in the summer of 1991. The Bosnian War began 20 years ago in April. And it was a turning point for many reasons. First, my only war experience had been covering armies against armies in the desert. This time I was seeing a war against civilians, and so I had to adjust the way I looked at it, the way I covered it, the way I talked about it. I was questioned early on about my objectivity. And I was very upset about it because objectivity is our golden rule, and I take it very seriously. But I was forced to examine what objectivity actually means, and I realized that in a situation such as the one in Bosnia, where you had ethnic cleansing—genocide—you have a duty to call it like it is and to tell the truth.

Objectivity, in that regard, means giving all sides a fair hearing but never drawing a false moral equivalence. So I called who were the aggressors and who were the victims, and I’m very, very proud of that now, because that was what we had to do. I think we did the right thing as journalists and eventually managed to be part of the reason that the world intervened. We led and we forced leadership in our international sphere at the highest levels of the U.S. and European government. Unfortunately, we’re looking now at Syria, where we’re trying to do our job again, but it’s very, very difficult. Television organizations in the United States, except CNN, do not give enough or adequate weight to international stories. And the world is again saying: “Oh, we can’t intervene.” Excuses are being made, and leadership is not happening.

*     *

To read the complete interview and/or watch a video based on it, please click here.

 

Saturday, April 28, 2012 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peter Bregman: An interview by Bob Morris

Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman is the author, most recently, of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.  He advises and consults with CEOs and their leadership teams in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups to nonprofits. He speaks worldwide on how people can lead, work, and live more powerfully. He is a frequent guest on public radio, provides commentary for CNN, and writes for Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Forbes, and Psychology Today. He is also the author of Point B: A Short Guide to Leading a Big Change.

Peter began his career teaching leadership on wilderness and mountaineering expeditions with Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. He moved into the consulting field with the Hay Group and Accenture and, in 1998, he founded Bregman Partners, a global management consulting firm.

Peter earned his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.B.A. from Columbia University. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children and can be reached at www.peterbregman.com, where you can subscribe to be notified when he writes a new article.

To read the complete interview, please click here.

*     *     *

Morris: Before discussing 18 Minutes, a few general questions. First, who has had the greatest influence on your personal and professional growth? How so?

Bregman: There are so many people. I couldn’t reduce it to one person. I view life as an almost infinite number of small steps, experiences, learnings, and aha moments. Each one moves us in a certain direction. Sometimes it seems like it takes me 20 times making the same mistake before I learn to avoid it. And then I make new mistakes.  And each time, I have new teachers and people I admire who influence me and help me develop and grow.

Certainly my parents fit in the category of being important teachers. And Eleanor, my wife, has a great influence on me. Then there are friends of mine – some accomplished, like the late Dr. Alan Rosenfield who was the dean of the school of public health and a remarkable man, and some who are simply kind thoughtful intelligent people who live their lives in a way that I admire.  And then, of course, there are my children who, these days, may have the greatest influence on my growth because I feel such a need to be a better person in order to be a good Dad.

Morris: Was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) years ago that set you on the career course you continue to follow? Please explain.

Bregman: It was more of an experience. I went on a camping trip that was training me to lead camping trips and I fell in love with outdoor leadership. The people on the trip were generous and talented and simply good people and living in nature and leading people to work effectively with each other felt great. I just loved it. That trip set me on the course that I’m on today.

Morris: To what extent has your formal education proven invaluable to what you have accomplished thus far?

Bregman: It’s been helpful, to be sure. But it’s been one experience of many that move me – both emotionally and practically – toward my accomplishments. I loved going to school and I was fortunate enough to have terrific teachers – not just because they were talented and smart – but because they cared, we’re passionate about their subjects and about learning, and took an interest in me.  Also, my fellow students always taught me as much as my formal teachers. Learning really does happen in every moment if you are interested.

Morris: What specifically do you know now that you wish you knew when you began teaching leadership on wilderness and mountaineering expeditions with Outward Bound and then the National Outdoor Leadership School?

Bregman: Not much. I enjoy having life uncovered as I experience it. I’ve made mistakes for sure, but I don’t really regret any of them. Each of my mistakes has helped me become clear about what’s important to me and how I want to act in the future. Each mistake teaches me something. I’m pretty pleased with my decisions – good and not so good – and I’m happy with the way knowledge has unfolded for me in my life.

Morris: Opinions are divided (sometimes sharply divided) about the importance of charisma to effective leadership. What do you think?

Bregman: I believe that charisma is really important. I think people want to be inspired by their leaders. I know I do. But it can’t be all charisma – leaders need to create processes, organizations, and other leaders who can operate independently of them.

Morris: Although hardly an authority, I am a serious student of great leaders throughout history. However different they may be in most respects, all of them seem to have been great storytellers. Presumably you agree. How do you explain that?

Bregman: Great leaders engage the emotions of those around them. Great leaders help us feel passion and loyalty and courage and persistence and a million other things. Great leaders help us feel deeply. And stories are one of the best ways to help people connect to their feelings.

Morris: Most change initiatives either fail or fall far short of original expectations and much of the resistance is cultural in nature, the result of what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” Here’s my question: How best to avoid or overcome such resistance?

Bregman: I don’t believe that people resist change. We all change, purposefully and intentionally every day. We get married, have babies, change jobs, move – and those are some of the big ones. We also change what we eat, how we travel, and places we visit on vacation.

People don’t resist change, they resist being changed. I don’t mind changing as long as it’s my choice. But I will resist when you try to change me. I don’t like to lose control.

So the way you avoid resistance to change is you don’t force it. This is what I wrote my first book about – Point B: A Short Guide to Leading A Big Change. The book includes 7 strategies for creating change without resistance. The strategies are counter-intuitive like “get the change half right.” We usually try to make change perfect but that leaves no room for people to write themselves into it.

Instead of shooting for perfect, we should be shooting for half finished and then let the people we want to buy in to the change finish it. It’s while they are perfecting the change themselves that they buy in to it.

*     *     *

To read the complete interview, please click here.

Peter Bregman cordially invites you to check out the resources at www.peterbregman.com.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dan Roam: Second Interview, by Bob Morris

Dan Roam

“I believe that any problem can be solved with a picture. And that anybody can draw it.”

Dan Roam is the author of two international bestsellers, The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures and Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures, both published by Portfolio Trade, a Penguin imprint.  The former was selected as Business Week and Fast Company’s best innovation book of the year, and was Amazon’s #5 selling business book of 2008. The Back of the Napkin has been published in 25 languages and is a bestseller in Japan, South Korea, and China. Portfolio also published his latest book, Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work (November, 2011)

Roam has helped leaders at Microsoft, eBay, Google, Wal-Mart, Boeing, Lucas Fims, Gap, Kraft, Stanford University, The MIT Sloan School of Management, the US Navy, and the United States Senate solve complex problems through visual thinking. Dan and his whiteboard have appeared on CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Fox News, and NPR. His visual explanation of American health care was selected by BusinessWeek as “The World’s Best Presentation of 2009″. This inspired the White House Office of Communications to invite him in for a discussion on visual problem solving.

Here is an excerpt from my second interview of Dan. To read the complete interview, please click here.

*     *     *

Morris: Before discussing Blah Blah Blah, a few general questions. First, for those who have not as yet read one or both of the “napkin” books, please explain why using relatively simple drawings can have great impact when we attempt to answer a question, solve a problem, persuade others to agree, or to express the essence of an important concept.

Roam: When we see an idea clearly illustrated right in front of us, much more of our mind lights up than if we were just talking about it. With simple and clear pictures, we see more, understand more, and share more than words alone ever could. As humans, we are essentially walking, talking “vision” machines. Three-quarters of all the sensory neurons in our brain are dedicated to processing vision, and in the first four months after we’re born almost all brain development in takes place in those areas that process vision and movement.

From the time we are infants, we know how important sight is to understanding the world around us and guiding us safely through it. What is a shame is how quickly we forget that once we enter school. We spend years perfecting the tools of spoken but we don’t spend two days learning to understand how we SEE. The essential point is this: if we really want someone to understand what we’re talking about, we should actually talk less – and draw more.

Morris: The hieroglyphics on cave walls pre-date the earliest attempts at a verbal language. So the insights you share in the two Napkin books have been common knowledge for at least several million years?

Roam: The oldest drawings ever found are located deep in the Chauvet Cave in south-central France. These paintings of horses, bison, and bulls date back 32,000 years. In the entire sweep of recorded human history, these beautiful images represent the beginning of the “whoosh.” We don’t know anything about the early humans that created these images, but we do know they could draw extremely well. These are the earliest markings ever made by humanity, and they are sketched more wonderfully than most of us could do today.

Morris: Relatively simple drawings can be a great resource for brain storming sessions because almost anyone can draw without possessing highly-developed drawing skills. However, what Tom Kelley characterizes as “ideation” [begin italics] does [end italics] require them. Don’t people have to have something worth communicating, first?

Roam: We all have ideas we believe are worth communicating, and we have them all the time – which is precisely why so many of us talk so much. Those ideas may not be fully developed, we may be uncertain of them, and they may be complex or controversial, but we typically have no shortage of them. And that is why drawing them out – even in the most crude circles-boxes-and-arrows manner – is such a great idea. Drawing out our thoughts forces us to clarify them, look at them from multiple perspectives, and think them through in a vibrant way.

Morris: Since the publication of the two Napkin books, presumably you have received a blizzard of feedback from those who read one or both of them. Of all that you have learned from what your readers have shared, what do you consider to be most valuable? Why?

Roam: I have received thousands of comments from readers over the past three years. The most frequent involve a reader sharing a moment of pictorial  discovery, either in a meeting that was saved when someone went up to the whiteboard and drew the idea that clarified everything, or when they completed a difficult sale by drawing out the solution for all to see. Without a doubt, I have learned the most from readers who had never drawn and, thanks to my books, decided to give it a try. The sense of discovery and enthusiasm that permeates these notes illuminates visual possibilities that I had never considered myself. I always knew pictures made things clearer to me; it is electrifying to see how common that is even among people who never considered themselves “visual.”

Morris: From which sources did you learn the most about what the mind is and does, in general, and what the verbal and visual minds do, in particular?

Roam: I have read, studied, participated in, and discussed with experts three different approaches to understanding the mind. First, I took an academic approach to understanding the mind: in university I studied biology and I was fascinated with the evolutionary development of the human brain, and more recently I consulted with vision scientists and neurobiologists at leading universities. Second, I took an applied approach: I studied meditation for four weeks in a Thai monastery (including spending one week in silent isolation), I participated in cognitive behavioral therapy sessions to see how my mind reacted to various situations and I participated in extensive psychodynamic therapy sessions to try to see why. Third, I took an intuitive approach: I simply monitored myself in hundreds of business meetings and noted when I and other people seemed to be understanding each other and when we did not – and then noted what we were talking about and how we approached it.

Morris: What are the defining characteristics of “vivid thinking”


Roam:
“Vivid Thinking” is a mnemonic. Vi-V-id stands for Visual-Verbal-Interdependent thinking. It is a simple idea that says we haven’t really thought through an idea until we have both talked about it and looked at it, and that we can’t really explain an idea until we can both write about it and draw it. Vivid thinking does not accept that an either/or verbal-vs-visual approach ever fully illuminates an idea; on the contrary Vivid Thinking demands that we must exercise both our verbal and visual minds in concert if we really wish to understand an idea. Talk + look; write +draw = Vivid.

Morris: By what process can vivid thinking be strengthened?

Roam: Like anything we do, Vivid Thinking becomes strengthened through practice. For all its successes, our educational system has in fact allowed us to become lazy thinkers. By relying almost entirely on our verbal mind, we have taught ourselves to shut our visual mind down and to denigrate its importance. My goal in “Blah-Blah-Blah” is to introduce a set of simple tools and rules that reawaken our visual mind and kick it back into gear.

*     *     *

Here is an excerpt from my second interview of Dan. To read the complete interview, please click here.

He cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:

http://www.danroam.com/

http://www.slideshare.net/danroam

http://www.slideshare.net/danroam

I also urge you to check out these videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri8E8cNf2Bw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuA_yz7aTo0

Saturday, October 29, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

4 Biggest Lies About Social Media

Penelope Trunk

Here is an article written by Penelope Trunk for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.

*     *     *
You cannot have social media goals. It’s like having copy machine goals. The copy machine is a business tool, and if you need it, it’s there to help you meet one of your business goals. Treat social media the same way.

The best way to understand which tools will help meet which goals is to cut through the crap that the buzz is built on. Figure out who is really using social media to meet their goals, and how they are doing it.

[Here are the first two of the four "lies" that Trunk discusses. To read the complete article, please click here.]

Lie #1: LinkedIn is for networking.

Networking should be at the forefront of every entrepreneur’s mind. Research from the Darden School of Business shows that startups are most likely to succeed when the founder is great at networking. But LinkedIn isn’t going to help you on that front.

LinkedIn is for displaying your network, not building it. For example, you can go on LinkedIn and find out that I’m really well connected. But most of you already know I’m well connected — I’m a print journalist, blogger, and startup founder, which are all very network-intensive jobs. Which means I didn’t build my network via LinkedIn networking tools. I built it offline.

Networks are built on relationships, which grow from conversation. LinkedIn is not for conversations. So you need to go somewhere else to build your network, and then when it’s big, display it on LinkedIn so you’ll look great.

Lie #2: Twitter is for conversation.

Twitter is an index of people with whom you might want to talk. It’s a great index — you can search by topic to find out who is interested in what, and then talk to them about mutually interesting topics. It used to be that you’d have to suffer through endlessly boring events at conferences striking up conversation to find the people to talk to later. Twitter makes that conference drudgery superfluous; you can talk to anyone you want, by topic or specialty, super fast.

The problem with using Twitter for conversation is that you’re going to need way more than 140 characters to make a genuine connection. So Twitter is great for finding people who have similar ideas, and for keeping track of them in a high-level way.

But you still need to go elsewhere — offline or online — to solidify the relationship to the point where you would actually care about each other in the way a solid network connection does, but Twitter is a good start.

Social media is about being nice. The people who are best at meeting their goals through social media are the most generous as well. When you use social media, give way more than you get. And remember that giving something that requires someone to do something for you (Download my book! Test out my free software!) is not giving. Ask people how you can help them. Read enough about someone to understand what they need and then surprise them. Be interesting without expecting anything in return. You could think of social media as its own economy: Interestingness is the currency; kindness is the way that currency is transported.

*      *       *

Penelope Trunk is the founder of three startups, most recently Brazen Careerist, a professional social network for young people. Previously she worked in marketing at Fortune 500 companies including Mattel and Hyundai. Her blog about career advice, blog.penelopetrunk.com, receives half a million visits a month and is syndicated in more than 200 newspapers. She frequently appears as a workplace commentator on CNN, 20/20 and FOX News. She’s also the author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, a bestselling career advice book for Generation Y.

 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Lessons We Could Learn from Steve Jobs

Here is an excerpt from an article written by Margaret Heffernan for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.

*     *     *

Tracking the achievements of Steve Jobs isn’t a difficult thing to do. They’re big, public and – especially in technology – remarkably long lasting. More tricky but, I think, more interesting, is eliciting from those achievements the lessons we could learn from his successes if we tried.

[Here are the first three of the six lessons.]

1. Style is Content

From the outset, Jobs and Apple believed in style: in fonts, in graphics, in industrial design and in marketing. It’s easy to under-estimate how eccentric this was at the time – and how eccentric it remains today. While most organizations believe that style is the exclusive purview of marketing, few achieve it even there. Most hardware and software remains remarkably clunky, ugly or simply derivative. (The Kindle is hideous; the Fire a pale imitation.) When I first started working in technology 15 years ago, style was dismissed as frivolous and that’s the status it still holds in most companies today. Anyone who imagines that Apple’s success derives entirely from what’s inside the box  (and there are more than a few) has missed a very obvious point.

Conventional wisdom divides thinking into the left brain and the right brain. The left is all systematic, rational, linear while the right is more emotional and creative. What Jobs demonstrated was that success lies not in emphasizing one over the other but in bringing them together. The physical representation of this was clear when he took over Pixar. The new campus planned 3 separate buildings: for creatives, for producers and for business people. He insisted that they be brought under one roof, with toilets at the center – because that’s where everyone meets and talks.

2. Patience Beats Speed

For all that Apple is known for fast product development, the truth is that Jobs was very good at waiting. After his return to Apple in 1997, when the company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, he did what any smart CEO would do: slashed product lines (15 desktop models to 1) cut software and hardware engineers, eliminated peripherals, reduced inventory and retailers and moved most manufacturing offshore. There is nothing brilliant about this; it’s textbook stuff. But asked in 1998, by Richard Rumelt, what he was going to do next, in order to move Apple beyond its fragile niche position, Jobs had a gutsy answer: “I am going to wait for the next big thing.”

Wait? In a technology business? That took courage. Of course, once he’d figured out what the next big thing was, Jobs was methodical and patient – again – in putting in place everything he’d need to take advantage of the seismic shift in the environment when the U.S. market moved to broadband.

It’s also worth remembering that, during the three years he did this, he was remorselessly hammered by industry analysts not one of whom understood what he was up to.

3. Drama Trumps Romance

Jobs’s product launches were famed for their drama. But one thing they didn’t offer was romance. The products did what they said they’d do. Marketing commentary around them didn’t promise fantasies, illusions or daydreams. Apple promoted its products but didn’t hype them. This may seem a lackluster quality but it built trust. Apple said its products were easy to use not because (like many of its competitors) it hoped that was true, or because it was true for the PhD engineers who’d invented them, but because it was true. It seems peculiar to celebrate a company for truth in advertising but that’s one reason why Apple customers, once smitten, stayed loyal.

*     *     *

To read the complete article, please click here.

Margaret Heffernan worked for 13 years as a producer for BBC Radio and Television before running her first company. She has since been CEO of five businesses in the United States and United Kingdom, including InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and iCAST Corporation. She has been named one of the Internet’s Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter and one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter. Her books include The Naked Truth, How She Does It: How Female Entrepreneurs are Changing the Rules for Business Success, and recently published Willful Blindness. She has appeared on NPR, CNN, CNBC, and the BBC, and writes for Real Business,The Huffington Post, and Fast Company.

 

Sunday, October 9, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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