Are Self-Imposed Boundaries Imprisoning Your Career

Are Self-Imposed Boundaries Imprisoning Your Career
We are all subject to boundaries of many types—geographic boundaries, legal boundaries, various rules and regulations, and the boundaries of good taste. All of these are essential to a well-functioning society. There are other boundaries, though, that are not essential, nor even useful. Many of these are self-imposed. Think, for a moment, about personal boundaries you have erected for yourself. Do they help or hinder you?  Do they have a positive effect, or are they limiting? Sometimes we ... Read more
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Smarter Than Hell

Smarter Than Hell
The other night, while stumping for Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made an unfortunate comment when she paraphrased Dante: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” I felt myself recoil when she said it because it’s the type of rhetoric that pushes women away. It sounds like she is requesting “blind faith,” or that she believes a women should win on the basis of her gender. If that were the ... Read more
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Systems Laziness

Systems Laziness
We all know a co-worker who always leaves the copier without paper or manages to be unavailable when the assistant needs a few minutes of help with the phone. Then there is the long-term employee who never seems to see or care about needed operational change like updating policies or changing the letterhead to include the new mailing address.  These people are annoying but don’t create chaos. There is another type of worker, however, who is personally and professionally lazy, and that ... Read more
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Forget Failure. Learn From Success.

Forget Failure. Learn From Success.
In the workplace and in our professional lives, we often agonize about mistakes. Whether large or small, we go over them again and again, trying to understand how we could have misunderstood the situation, the request, or the data, or how we could have been so stupid. We analyze each mistake vowing to learn from them, and promising ourselves not to make that same mistake twice. We don’t look at our successes the same way, but perhaps we should. Are there factors that you can identify ... Read more
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When Mentoring Goes Bad

When Mentoring Goes Bad
You were excited to meet one of the leaders in your field. He said he liked the project you just presented and that the topic was of special interest to him. He gave you his business card and suggested you give him a call next week so you can talk further. You think this might be the big break you have been waiting for—your chance to have the attention and support of a giant who can help you move up that career ladder. You are hoping you have found a mentor. You do call, and he is ... Read more
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Reversing a Bad Decision

Reversing a Bad Decision
We do it all the time-—make a decision and then rethink it. Sometimes, we completely reverse it. Most decisions are personal and small. Will you go to your high school reunion?  Will you join a gym? Will you spend vacation with your parents? Other decisions, such as buying a house or changing jobs, are bigger and can have a bigger impact. In the workplace, decisions carry their own consequences. Each day, you probably make many small decisions, most of them so routine that they are barely ... Read more
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This is your Captain Speaking

This is your Captain Speaking
Recently I spent some time vacationing in San Francisco. We stayed on Fisherman’s Wharf and did all of the usual fun tourist activities. Docked behind Pier 45 are two World War II vessels, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a huge warship, and the USS Pampanito, a submarine. In front of the sub, there is a photo opportunity where you can put your face in a wooden opening in an exhibit and you became “Rosie the Riviter” saying “We can do it” in a replica of the ... Read more
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When to Lead, When to Follow

When to Lead, When to Follow
I recently saw a young woman wearing a t-shirt that said, “Follow the leader.” What made the shirt a bit different was that the word “Follow” had been crossed off, and the word “Be” was written above it. We often see children playing “follow the leader.” It’s an age-old game that small children seem to enjoy. What’s most interesting is who gets to be the leader and how those decisions get made. Every now and then, an individual  is ... Read more
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Butter is Good for You and Stress May Be Even Better

Butter is Good for You and Stress May Be Even Better
Butter is one of my favorite foods. Put it on a piece of toast and it becomes my very top food choice. For years, experts made us feel guilty about eating butter. It was a “death” food. Then, last year, it all reversed, and the cover of Time magazine (June 23, 2014) had a headline of “Eat Butter.” The subtitle was “Scientists Labeled Fat the Enemy. Why They Were Wrong.” What wonderful news. No more olive oil or dry toast. It was certainly a day for butter ... Read more
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Thought Pioneer: How to Lead Through Exploration

Thought Pioneer: How to Lead Through Exploration
You’ve all been in the room with a creative thinker. They are the ones known for “thinking outside the box.” In a brainstorming session, they can come up with idea after idea. They are often quick and witty, and you may wish you were more like them. Every organization needs one or two creative thinkers to help other staff think more broadly. Creative thinkers, however, may not be particularly detail oriented. They may not be planners or implementers. These activities ... Read more
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