Latest Posts

  • Writing or Reading Morning Routine

    Morning routines are key to a sustainable, healthy and productive lifestyle. I am always looking for small optimizations to my routines and I was faced with the question:

    Should you read the first thing in the morning or should you write?

    For quite a long time, my morning routine contained one hour of reading time. 

    This week I decided to challenge my approach as I was feeling that the ratio of the content I consume over  content I create was getting out of balance. Therefore, I started writing first thing in the morning. I couldn’t be happier with the decision.

    Here is my recommendation:

    Take advantage of a fresh start in the day and start writing. Your mind is free of other people’s thoughts and filled with your own, born from your subconscious or your imagination.

    Read throughout the day or in the evening. Let all ideas that you collected brew overnight, and turn them into nuggets of wisdom the first thing the next day.

    Do this every morning and not only your writing will get better, but as will your thinking.

  • The Fisherman

    Once, a powerful executive went on vacation—his first in fifteen years. As he was exploring a pier in a small coastal fishing village, a tuna fisherman docked his boat. As the Fisherman lashed his boat to the pier, the Executive complimented him on the size and quality of his fish.

    How long did it take you to catch these fish?” the Executive asked.

    Only a little while,” the Fisherman replied.

    Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more?” the Executive asked.

    I have enough to support my family’s needs,” said the Fisherman.

    But,” asked the Executive, “what do you do with the rest of your time?

    The Fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends. I have a full and busy life.

    The Executive was flabbergasted.

    I’m a Harvard MBA, and I can help you. You should spend more time fishing. With the proceeds, you could buy a bigger boat. A bigger boat would help you catch more fish, which you could sell to buy several boats. Eventually, you’d own an entire fleet. “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you could sell directly to the consumers, which would improve your margins. Eventually, you could open your own factory, so you’d control the product, the processing, and the distribution. Of course, you’d have to leave this village and move to the city so you could run your expanding enterprise.

    The Fisherman was quiet for a moment, then asked, “How long would this take?” “Fifteen, twenty years. Twenty-five, tops.” “Then what?”

    The Executive laughed. “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you’d take your company public and sell all of your stock. You’d make millions.”

    “Millions? What would I do then?”

    The Executive paused for a moment.

    “You could retire, sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll into the village each evening to sip wine and play the guitar with your friends.”

    Shaking his head, the Executive bade the Fisherman farewell. Immediately after returning from vacation, the Executive resigned from his position.

    A great parable, highlighting the common mentality of maximizing profits and losing grasp on what is really important.

    I encountered the story is in the book “The Personal MBA” by Josh Kaufman. [Full Disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]

  • Coaching Tips

    To be a good leader you must know and master multiple leadership styles, from democratic to commanding, affiliative, coaching etc. To know when and how to apply them.

    When it comes to “coaching”, I had difficulties seeing this syle in a business environment since I was easily connecting it to sports. The second challenge was to understand and differentiate between mentoring and coaching.

    To help others who go through similar struggles and want to improve their coaching skills, I extracted the tips from the book “Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell” by Eric Schmidt.

    Check them out and share your experience in becoming a great coach to your team.

    • Your title makes you a Manager. Your people make a leader.
      People are the foundation of any company’s success. The primary job of the manager is to help people be more effective in their job and to grow and develop. We have great things, and come o work fired up to do them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies that energy. Managers create this environment through support, respect and trust.Support means giving people the tools, information, training, and coaching they need to succeed. It means continuous effort to develop people’s skills. Great managers help people excel and grow.
      Respect means understanding people’s unique career goals and being sensitive to their life choices. It means helping people achieve these career goals in a way that’s consistent with the needs of the company.
      Trust means freeing people to do their jobs and to make decisions. It means knowing people want to do well and believing that they will.
    • It’s the people
      The top priority of any manager is the well-being and success of her people.
    • Start with trip reports
      To build rapport and better relationships among team members, start team meetings with trip reports, or other types of more personal, non-business topics.
    • 5 words on a whiteboard
      Have a structure for 1:1s, and take the time to prepare for them, as they are the best way to help people be more effective and grow.
    • The throne behind the round table
      The manager’s job is to run a decision-making process that ensures all perspectives get geared and considered, and, if necessary, o break ties and make the decision.
    • Lead based on first principles
      Define the “fist principles” for the situation, the immutable truths that are the foundation for he company or product, and help guide the decisions from those principles.
    • Manage the aberrant genius
      Aberrant geniuses – high performing but dificult team members – should be tolerated and even protected, as long as their behavior isn’t unethical or abusive and their value outweighs the toll their behavior takes on management, colleagues and teams.
    • Money’s not about money
      Compensating people well demonstrates love and respect and ties them strongly to the goals of the company
    • Innovation is where the crazy people have stature
      The purpose of a company is to bring a product vision to life. Al the other components are in service to product.
    • Heads help high
      If you have to let people go, b generous, treat them well, and celebrate their accomplishments.
    • Bill on boards
      It’s the CEO’s job to manage boards, not the other way around.
    • Coach only the coachable
      The traits that make a person coachable include honesty and humility, the willingness to persevere and work hard, and a constant openness to learning.
    • Practice free-form listening
      Listen to people with your full and undivided attention. Don ‘t think ahead to what you’re going to say next. And Ask questions to get to the real issue.
    • No gap between statements and fact
      Be relentlessly honest and candid, couple negative feedback with caring, give feedback as soon as possible, and if the feedback is negative, deliver it privately.
    • Don’t stick it in their ear
      Don’t tell people what to do; offer stories and help guide them to the best decisions for them.
    • Be the evangelist for courage
      Believe in people more than they believe in themselves, and push them to be more courageous.
    • Full identity front and center
      People are most effective when they can be completely themselves and bring their full identity to work.
    • Work the team, then the problem
      When faced with a problem or opportunity, the first step is to ensure the right team is in place and working on it.
    • Pick the right players
      The top characteristics to look for are smarts and hearts: the ability to learn fast, a willingness to work hard, integrity, grit, empathy, and a team-first attitude.
    • Pair people
      Peer relationships are critical and often overlooked, so seek opportunities to pair people up on projects or decisions.
    • Get to the table
      Wining depends on having the best team, and the best teams have more women.
    • Solve the biggest problem
      Identify the biggest problem., the “elephant in the room” bring in front and center, and tackle it first.
    • Don’t let the bitch session last
      Air all the negative issues, but don’t dwell on them. Move on as fast as possible.
    • Winning right
      Strive to win, but always win right, with commitment, teamwork, and integrity.
    • Leaders lead
      When things are going bad, teams are looking for even more loyalty, commitment, and decisiveness from their leaders.
    • Fill the gaps between people
      Listen, observe, and fill the communication and understanding gaps between people.
    • Permissions to be empathetic
      Leading teams becomes a lot more joyful, and the teams more effective, when you know and care about people.
    • The lovely reset
      To care about people you have too care about people: ask about their lives outside of work, understanding their families, and when things get rough, show up.
    • The percussive clap
      Cheer demonstrably for people and their successes.
    • Always build communities
      Build communities inside and outside of work. A place is much stronger when people are connected.
    • Help people
      Be generous with your time, connections, and other resources.
    • Love the founders
      Hold a special relevance for – and protect – the people with the most vision and passion for the company
    • The elevator chat
      Loving colleagues in the workplace may be challenging, so practice it until it becomes more natural.