Game plan for success

December 29, 2016

My definition of success is having a predetermined plan, successfully carrying it out over a long period of time and having a good time doing it. That’s what John Calipari does as the men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.  Coach Cal is able to recruit the country’s top high-school talent with this simple message:  “Commit to each other, be about each other without sacrificing your goals and by doing this you can achieve all your dreams and more.” Because many of his players are one and done – meaning they leave for the pros after their freshman season […]

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Innovation is the path to growth

December 22, 2016

The Hewlett-Packard Company was famously founded in a one-car garage by William Hewlett and Dave Packard. It has become one of the world’s most innovative and successful technology companies, but it’s never lost sight of its founders’ original vision. According to legend, these rules on innovation were posted in the garage: Believe you can change the world. Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever. Know when to work alone and when to work together. Share tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues. No politics. No bureaucracy. The customer defines a job well done. Radical ideas are not bad ideas. Invent different […]

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Creativity can be a life-saver

December 15, 2016

We take many everyday items for granted, but when these items were introduced to the market, they were anything but ordinary. Have you ever wondered how you got along without a specific product, a must-have invention … or the latest version of your smartphone? Somewhere between necessity being the mother of invention and pure creative genius, all kinds of useful products have come into our lives. Were their creators inspired by a burning desire to get rich? Did they have years of schooling or technical training? Were they part of huge corporations with unlimited research and development budgets? No. They […]

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Communication is a vital management skill

May 12, 2016

A construction worker walked up to the reception desk at a doctor’s office and was asked why he was there. “I have shingles,” he replied. She asked for his name, address and insurance information and told him to have a seat. Ten minutes later, a nurse called his name, took him back to the examining room and asked him again why he came to the office.  Again, he answered, “I have shingles.”  She asked him some medical questions and told him to stay there until he could be seen. Another fifteen minutes passed, and a different nurse entered the room, […]

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I’ll never forget what’s-his-name

May 5, 2016

A man had gone to a circus as a small boy and decided to return years later.  He was sitting in a cheap seat when an elephant came along, reached up into the stands, wrapped his trunk gently about the man and carried him over to the best seat. The man turned to his neighbor and said, “That elephant remembered the last time I was here years ago.  I fed him peanuts.”  Just then the elephant came back, lifted his trunk, pointed it straight at the man and blew a stream of water in his face.  “I forgot I gave […]

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Slow and steady wins the day

April 28, 2016

You might have heard the saying:  If you are persistent you will get it.  If you are consistent you will keep it. This statement describes professional golfer Jordan Spieth to a tee.  Spieth was the defending champion of the Master’s Golf Tournament.  He led this year’s tournament for the first three rounds and had a five-stroke lead going into the final nine holes. Then things began to fall apart.  He proceeded to bogey two straight holes and then had a disastrous quadruple bogey on the 12th hole from which he never recovered, losing the tournament to Danny Willett. Spieth was […]

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A sense of humor is no joke

April 7, 2016

There is an Apache legend that the creator gave human beings the ability to talk and to run, and to look at things.  But in addition, the legend says he was not satisfied until he also gave them the ability to laugh.  After giving humans the ability to laugh, the creator said, “Now you are fit to live.” A good sense of humor helps to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and outlast the unbearable. “A sense of humor is the one thing no one will admit not having,” said none other than Mark […]

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Getting fired can be a good thing

February 25, 2016

When you are fired, you’re rejected.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s the end of the road for that job.  But it might put you on the superhighway to a Super Bowl championship! Look no further than Gary Kubiak, who is the newest poster child for rebounding from adversity.  He was fired as head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans after the 2013 season when the team won only two of 16 games.  If you had predicted that less than two years later, he would coach the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl championship, people would think you were delusional.  […]

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Make a commitment to succeed

October 9, 2014

If you want to excel at anything in life you need to be committed.  If you only want to be good enough to get by, then a commitment to excellence is not necessary.  If you are committed to a cause, you don’t need to tell anyone.  They can tell from your actions. I often wonder how people can be happy or at peace with themselves if they don’t make a commitment to something, whether it be succeeding at work or improving at a skill.  How do you reconcile expecting desired results without giving an honest effort to be the best […]

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Don’t let false assumptions cloud your thinking

September 18, 2014

One afternoon, a woman noticed two small boys on the front step of a house.  They were in their school uniforms carrying their backpacks and she assumed were going home after school.  They were on their tip-toes trying to reach the doorbell with a stick. “Poor little lads, they can’t get in,” she thought.  So she marched up the path, reached over the boys and gave the bell a long, firm push. The surprised boys turned around and screamed, “Quick, run!” and promptly disappeared over the garden wall. We’ve all had incidents where we misread the situation or falsely assumed […]

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Run the right race

September 11, 2014

In a village long ago lived a young boy who loved nothing as much as competing in athletic contests.  Because he was fit and strong, he usually triumphed, and he grew to love the adulation he received from the villagers around him.  One day he challenged two other youths to a race from one end of the town to the other.  The villagers all lined up to watch.  The boy won, and the townspeople cheered wildly. “Another race!” the boy demanded, greedy for more praise.  “Who else will race against me?” Two more young men stepped up, and again the […]

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Creativity lives in all of us

September 4, 2014

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” There’s no shortage of smart people in the world.  But there is a shortage of creative people in the world.  Thinking is the hardest and most valuable task any person can perform.  Don’t stifle it, encourage it.  Remember, there’s no correlation between IQ and creativity. Why aren’t more people creative?  Sometimes people are afraid of trying something new and getting ridiculed for it.  Sometimes people don’t believe that something could be better so they don’t bother trying to be more creative. Whatever the reasons, the biggest risk can sometimes be […]

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How to overcome the jitters and not choke

July 31, 2014

I recently came across a graduation speech by the valedictorian of a university law school.  He began his remarks by acknowledging that he had difficulty deciding what “wisdom” to impart to his fellow graduates.  He said he had consulted several quotation books and speaker’s guides but had come away uninspired.  He reviewed all the cases of law the class had studied and had found nothing that he felt was appropriate on such an important occasion. At a loss for any inspiring thoughts, he sat down at his kitchen table eating biscuits.  And right in front of him on the opened […]

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Life: It’s something to celebrate

July 17, 2014

In July of last year, I was in Israel being briefed in-depth by the cream of Israel’s intelligence community and the entrepreneurial barons of its imposing high-tech establishment.  The American-Israel expert who arranged my visit and energetically accompanied me was my long-time close friend Gordy Zacks, who was 80 years old at the time.  For decades, Gordy was CEO of the comfort-footwear giant R.G. Barry (Dearfoams, Baggallini) and later a trusted White House advisor to President George H.W. Bush. Even when we were in Israel together in July, Gordy knew he had long-term prostate cancer.  Being an early-diagnosed cancer survivor […]

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Get results when you complain

June 12, 2014

Once the famous Chicago merchant Marshall Field was walking through his Chicago store and heard one of his clerks arguing with a customer. “What are you doing?” he asked the clerk. “I’m settling a customer complaint,” said the clerk. “No, you’re not,” said Field. “Give the customer what she wants.” Is the customer always right?  If you are a business owner, the answer most always is yes. Otherwise, they aren’t customers.  They are people who do business with someone else. Years ago I saw a study for Travelers Insurance that showed persuading people to complain could be, in fact, the […]

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