The City of Bridges…Shut Down

There’s an old expression here in Pittsburgh about having to cross bridges or go through tunnels, both of which are central to the movement of people in town, which is “don’t do it!”. For the most part, its usually just a minor inconvenience, but yesterday at 5 PM after completing my day of consulting with my clients, I was ready to head home from East Liberty which is just a quick 10-15 minute drive across the Highland Park Bridge. As I got onto Washington Blvd, I couldn’t help notice that it was backup up all the way to Penn Ave about a three mile backup from the Bridge…oops I thought, I probably should go down Highland Ave…backed up there too…Negley…even Read More

Ask Better Questions

Its not enough to ask questions when you are wanting to understand more about what is important to  your clients, colleagues or employees. The questions must be better, more focused and build on one another. Good question: Why did you decide to take that action? Better question: Walk me through the steps you took to arrive at that decision? Good question: Do you think our product will meet your needs? Better question: Tell me more about what you need to achieve success? Good question: How’s the new product rollout going? Better questions: What’s working and what’s not working on your product rollout project? Oftentimes we’re too interested in giving our responses and ideas to folks and miss the opportunity to Read More

My 1% Learning

I had the opportunity for a small group meeting yesterday with Dan Pink, best selling author of the books, To Sell is Human, Drive, and Free Agent Nation at a Thought Leadership Conference sponsored by my mentor, Alan Weiss down at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. Dan spent several a day with us and provided some amazing insights about how he develops his ideas for his books, his thoughts about the future of publishing and what he believes his readers want from his work; and none of that was the biggest take away for me during the day. Dan described himself as naturally curious and has a thirst for understanding cutting edge research from the lab and field. As Read More

The Essential Skills

“Oh , I don’t worry about those. They’re just soft skills” “Grrrr”, I went under my breath, as another person talked to me about using soft skills. Just in case you can’t tell, they’re talking about people skills the same way that Tea Party activist talk about the Affordable Care Act. With contempt. The implication is that hard skills like budgeting, financial planning, and other mathematically related activities are more important than is our ability to interact with one another effectively. But the research does not bear that out In one study of 358 randomly selected Johnson and Johnson managers, the best performing ones possessed significantly higher levels of self-awareness, self-management capability, social skills, and organizational savvy. Another study conducted Read More