I knew next to nothing about the business, but I knew that agency life was my calling.
And I was determined to turn my foot-in-the-door into a rewarding career.
To be taken seriously, I needed to be knowledgeable about my clients’ business and be an expert on selling.
People appreciate you more if you take an interest in their problems.
That drive helped me transition from an expert to a leadership position quickly.
But riding on the tails of late nights and weekends spent working was my imposter syndrome.
The harder you grind, the more you get stuck.
Companies do it to look better on paper; when they surpass expected results, they appear financially healthier.
And people avoid setting realistic expectations because they don’t want to appear as average performers and want to get better reviews.
Sandbagging happens when people are afraid to take risks.
So, all the time.
But it’s worse when our incentives and social standing at work are at risk.
We sandbag an ambitious project by setting safer goals or by negotiating down expectations.
It’s a bad practice because sandbagging makes sure that over-delivery never happens.
A McKinsey study found that 78% of business strategies…
Most people can get on by doing a bit of all three. But we’re only really good at one or, at most, two.
That’s not to say that you can’t master all three. You certainly can.
There’s enough research available to prove that practice beats natural ability every single time.
But it takes a conscious decision to do so.
I’m not good at the doing. …
I was dumbstruck after reading that 78% of business strategies do not affect growth.
According to research based on data gathered over ten years, the odds that your strategy will do much more than keep up with your competitors is less than 1 in 10!
Odds like that make you think twice about the time you spend working evenings and weekends on refining that winning strategy.
But what about the hundreds of articles, case studies and books about successful strategies that change the fortunes of companies and people?
If winning strategies are this rare, then what’s different about the companies…
I was blissfully going about my career, believing that all those years of reading every book on leadership was finally paying off.
I was convinced I was the kind of leader people wanted to follow.
Until the day I heard, “You suck as a manager.”
I had just fired him, and he had a right to be upset. But it was also true.
And here’s why: I’m the dysfunctional product of a dysfunctional family.
I spent my youth as a go-between for grown-ass adults who refused to solve their own problems. …
Peter Isenberg led a group of traders at a global investment bank.
He was a go-getter.
Just not as knowledgeable as he would’ve liked to be.
But that didn’t stop him from directing trades in markets he knew little about.
The harder he tried, the worse it got.
One day the senior traders on his team stopped answering his questions altogether.
Things got tense when people started demanding motivations for his directives.
That’s when he realised he needed to start asking for help.
And when he asked questions, traders would stop what they were doing to answer them.
The responsibilities that come with leadership are are often too many to fit neatly into a job description.
Many new leaders get overwhelmed and fall prey to the most common misconception in management: ‘I am my numbers.’
Getting your team to follow through on your plan isn’t enough.
You need buy-in from your peers, other teams and your superiors — which isn’t easy.
Because to succeed you need to solve problems outside your direct influence.
That’s how you proactively create the conditions for your success.
When I started a job leading a newly formed business unit, it wasn’t my first…
I dread the yearly strategy planning marathon.
At first, you make a realistic plan, but that’s never ambitious enough.
Then you make an ambitious plan that gets half the resources you need.
Your boss inspires you with stories of agility, ambition and entrepreneurship.
After a while, you accept that strategies aren’t designed to accomplish anything too big.
McKinsey’s analysis of 2393 companies showed that over ten years, most corporate strategies produce no results.
When they modelled the impact (Economic Profit = total profit — cost of capital) of these strategies, they found that:
Here’s me prepping for high school finals: remove all clocks from my room, close curtains, take apart the computer, study from noon until sunrise, shower, breakfast, coffee, sleep until noon. Rise and repeat.
I did that for three months straight.
Immediately after finals I got sick and was in bed for a week.
I’m just sayin’, I don’t love productivity hacks.
That whole thing of doing more in a limited time bugs me.
But I can’t lock myself away for hours, let alone days, to work undistracted anymore.
I’m a husband and father, consultant and team leader, most of the…
Two years ago, I wrote a blog post on giving up our obsession with cramming more things onto our to-do lists and starting to commit more time to doing our most important work.
I was happily following that advice until COVID showed up and threw everything outta whack.
I realised that as someone who likes having a structured day, it’s far easier for me to stick to a routine when things stay the same.
Any big changes require painful readjustments.
And COVID has been a painful readjustment.
Working from home with a 4-year-old, budget cuts, layoffs, and endless Teams meetings…