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  5 Ways to Overcome Obstacles
by Gary Cohen - Nov, 2013
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people. –Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture The best way to overcome obstacles, Randy Pausch suggests, is to imagine they’re opportunities to...
 
  10 Ways To Keep Your Focus in a World of Distractions
by Gary Cohen - Nov, 2013
1. Control Your Media – You may love your media, but does it control your concentration, or do you control it? Do you set your notifications so that they only distract you for the most valuable messages, or do your email, Facebook, and Twitter alerts draw your attention away from the most important issues you are trying to accomplish? As I’m writing this post, my only distraction is Mozart’s Four Seasons, which is playing over...
 
  Moving Your Team From Activities to Actions
by Gary Cohen - Apr, 2010
Do you lead your team toward activities or actions? You might think “activities” and “actions” are more-or-less synonyms. When you begin to understand the defining difference, you will never look at the words in the same way again. “Activities” are those everyday behaviors that you do, the mundane, no-change, no-gap-closing initiatives. Activities are like merry-go-rounds; you’re constantly moving, but making no forward...
 
  Leadership: In Building Trust, Character Matters
by Gary Cohen - Apr, 2010
What if you did something shameful in front of your employees or they found something out about you that you would prefer not to be known? How might your story unfold? You are multifaceted, and there are more dimensions to you than most people know. In fact, there are parts of your character that are unknown to you because the circumstances have not presented themselves yet for you to discover–or you may have a blind spot t...
 
  Prepared for Randomness
by Gary Cohen - Mar, 2010
You work hard to become knowledgeable yet, admittedly, it is easier for some than for others. Even before you learn to speak a journey has begun. As a youth perhaps you begin to emulate some of your parent's beliefs regarding religion, politics, and culture. As time advances you move on to more complex ideas such as advanced equations, the teachings of early philosophers, and even how your system of government was designed to...
 
  When is the Right Time to Tell a Secret? (Shhhh don't tell anyone)
by Gary Cohen - Feb, 2010
How can you be telling me this now? I was counting on you! If you had only told me this when you first knew! I can't believe you waited this long! It's never fun learning a secret that's been kept from you. It's not fun holding onto a secret either that will leave others (coworkers, friends, loved ones) disappointed and, in all likelihood, angry. When, if ever, is it a good idea to keep secrets? And when is the best...
 
  Leadership Accountability - Losing Control of Your Staff?
by Gary Cohen - Jan, 2010
Reader's Question: I am a sales manager for a business services firm in Minneapolis. I am responsible for all new business revenue for my company and I have 5 sales people that work for me. Of the 5 sales people only one is a star performer. The issue I am having is he breaks all the rules and creates really bad relationships with all the other people in the company. I am on the senior team and the rest of them are angry that...
 
  Sometimes A Job Badly Done Is The Job Description's Fault
by Gary Cohen - Dec, 2009
Don't blame the poor employee. Usually when employees fail to fulfill the expectations their job descriptions raise, their superiors work with them to improve their performance. If that fails, they are sent packing. Such firings--and all the hurt feelings, wasted time and tried patience that accompany them--aren't always avoidable, but leaders shouldn't overlook the part the job description can play. Sometimes it's the job...
 
  Training Leaders to Handle Uncertainty: Moving from Knowing to Not Knowing
by Gary Cohen - Oct, 2009
When the Dow Jones industrial average goes from over 14,000 to under 7,000 in roughly a year's time, not much is certain. Will your chief supplier survive the credit crunch? Will customers return to their old spending habits or continue to conserve? Is another industry primed for a crash? Our government has shown far-reaching power—rescuing companies it deemed too big to fail and letting others succumb to market forces. Wil...
 
  Leadership: How to Ask the Right Questions
by Gary Cohen - Oct, 2009
Question-based leadership only works if managers don't provide all the answers. Here's how to focus on being a facilitator, not an oracle. What are the right questions for leaders to ask? Like notorious law school professors who interrogate their students until the "truth" appears, many business leaders hold meetings where they pepper employees with rapid-fire questions. But too often managers' questions are designed to...
 
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