Building New Skills

I facilitated a leadership development program last week where participants were asked to take a company based assessment of their leadership skills. The assessment identified a number of strengths but for most of the folks, the results also came back with about 8-10 “areas of opportunity” for improvement. Most folks had a worried look on their face as they reviewed the findings asking, “What the heck do I do now?” Research conducted by Mckinsey in 2014 indicated that the context in which leadership development occurs must be taken into consideration to determine which skills are the right skills. If your company is needing people strong in decision strengthen your decision making skills. At home, if you’re kids are becoming teenagers; Read More

Just One of Those Days

This past weekend was beautiful here in Pittsburgh and I spent Sunday morning over at the golf course. I was excited about playing that day and really thought I would have a good round. I was wrong. My golf game was horrible! I couldn’t drive the ball off the tee very well. My iron shots to the green went left or right. My chips and pitches were short or long of their targets, and my putts were just not finding the hole. Nothing was working and by the third hole I knew it would be a long day of golf agony. It was about that time when I decided that it was just going to be one of those days Read More

OMG USA HBD

I’m reading Walter Isaacson’s wonderful biography of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was the embodiment of the American archetype. On one hand, he was a self-made man who ran away from his family in Boston and established himself as a success in Philadelphia. He always believed in the civic good and served his community with everything from microloans for small businesses to encouraging diversity of religious thought. Issacson shares the story that when a hall was being built to allow for visiting preachers to speak, Franklin urged his fellow citizens to donate so that “even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism, they would find a pulpit for his service.” Imagine that! On this our 242nd Read More

Power Athlete

Last week I was the guest on Power Athlete Radio which is a global strength and conditioning organization. I connected with them through my Crossfit coach who thought they would want to hear about my resilience work and its application for elite and professional athletes. The 90-minute interview was headed by John Welbourn, a former NFL lineman turned performance entrepreneur and CEO of Power Athlete, along with two of his top coaches. While we had a great time talking about resilience for athletes young and old the most interesting part of the conversation was their take on praise. Seems that John’s approach is to minimize or eliminate praise in the belief that people should gain satisfaction by knowing and doing Read More

Stepping into the Breach

Ford Motor Company announced the acquisition of the 105 year old Michigan Central Railway station in the heart of downtown Detroit last month. The train depot and its 18 story office building were abandoned in 1988 and while undergoing some renovations it was far from being occupancy ready. Ford plans to turn the building into their headquarters for autonomous vehicle development but more importantly they want it to be seen as their commitment to restoration of that dilapidated part of Detroit. Establishing it as a centerpiece for what will be a new automobile technology hub, they are hoping to attract young professionals committed to 21st century emerging industries. The takeaway from Ford’s initiatives is that while difficult and even painful Read More

Resilience Overdone

When I opened my door to walk Cody the other morning, there was the annual surprise that I don’t ask for waiting on my porch…the 2018 edition of the Yellow Pages or as they refer to themselves, “The Original Search Engine.” This year’s soft covered, thin-paged edition is loaded with ads by attorney looking for medical malpractice cases, home repair companies looking to fix roofs, and restaurants with B ratings from the health department offering discount coupons. Oh and did I mention that the attorneys are looking for medical malpractice cases? Obviously there must some economic value to the Yellow Pages for Verizon who is selling all those ads and hopefully for those few folks who reference those pages and Read More

How Change Happens

It’s got to be something special when the Wall Street Journal and NBC News agree on something and that happened this weekend. Courtesy WSJ, 2018 On Saturday, the WSJ headlined a story about The Overprotected American Child. On Sunday, NBC News ran a story about making playgrounds for children more adventurous as a way of encouraging creativity and resilience. Resilience teaches us that facing up to our challenges is the surest way to strengthen our capacity for success. It’s not just about the creative part of the exercise but the opportunity to experience failure. Just the other day, I was talking to a client who manages quality care functions for a health care company. He mentioned that their focus is Read More

That Trip to Mars

NASA is planning a human trip to Mars in less than 20 years. Robotic missions to the Red Planet (orbiters, landers and rovers) have provided good data on the technological challenges and NASA has a three-phase plan that will build the skills and science that will allow a surface landing. A still significant issue is in developing the psychological hardware that will be required of the space travelers. Research being done right now is attempting to mimic the elements of the journey that will entail a small crew being placed in a vehicle about the size of a 6 bedroom house for over 3 years. Scientists point out that it is difficult to mimic the same kinds of circumstances associated Read More

Making Meetings Meaningful

One of my clients had to laugh last week when I pointed out I knew his schedule for the day so I was only going to meet with him for 45 minutes so that he had enough time to hit the restroom before his next meeting started up. He agreed and with a chagrined look, thanked me for the extra time and told me he would use it to check emails! There is just not enough time to get everything done but if would could do some things more efficiently, that would be a good start. Ineffective meetings are big drainers of time and lost energy. Starting late, lacking structure, not making meetings relevant are all low hanging fruit in Read More

Happy Birthday to Me

I have a birthday this weekend on May 19th. I have a bit of a tradition in that I like to celebrate my birthday during the whole week leading up to that day. Each day this week, I’ve been doing something special to help me appreciate my world a bit more. For example, on Monday I posted on my Facebook page that I’ve recently joined the Board of the Women’s Center and Shelter here in Pittsburgh and so to acknowledge their great effort, I’ve created a birthday fundraiser. Today, I thought I would share a bit of my gratitude list for my birthday. I always think that moms should be celebrated on their children’s birthday since they did all the Read More