Monday, January 4, 2010

New Home for GottaGettaBLOG!

GottaGettaBLOG! has been rebranded and is now being published as/at:

Please update your bookmarks and automated feeds accordingly.


Please note that GottaGettaBLOG! posts from the years 2003 through 2007 will be permanently archived at, under the heading of "GottaGettaBlog! 2003-2007". And GottaGettaBLOG! posts from 2008 and 2009 will be, here, at:

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Play Safely, Kids

So long 2009! Here's to a GREAT 2010!

image source:

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Monday, December 21, 2009

RockStarLeader Guest Post #4: String Cheese, Dave Grohl, and Rock Star Leadership

The fourth guest post I've done for the RockStarLeader blog starts with an interview Foo Fighter front-man, Dave Grohl, did for the 12/14/2009 issue of Time magazine, passes through the category of ?You Don?t Know What You Know until You Know What You Know,? and ends with looking at what Rock Star Leaders know about leadership that most ?lousy? leaders do not:
  1. A Rock Star Leader knows the importance of GETTING ?IN FRONT OF? MEETINGS ? It?s no surprise that meetings are some of the absolute worst places to get things done! That?s why RSLs (Rock Star Leaders) work to have key conversations, with key players, in advance of ?formal? meetings on the topic. Doing so dramatically improves their views being properly heard, understood, and incorporated into the decision-making process. That?s how ?influence? happens.
  2. A Rock Star Leader knows the importance of KNOWING HOW TO MOP-UP QUICKLY ? Obviously, delegation is an essential leadership skill. But even more important is knowing how to clean-up quickly, efficiently, and satisfactorily, should something you delegate go wrong. So whenever RSLs delegate, you can be sure that they spend at least a few moments considering ...
(...continued at

Want to know more about how leaders excel at leadership? Visit
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's Really Being Shredded?

So there's this company called LifeLock that offers identity and personal information protection for a flat monthly fee. You may even remember their television ad from a while back where they pasted its CEO's Social Security number on the screen? By the way, their web site now includes (I've circled it in red, above) an asterisk: "Never share your social security number unnecessarily." (Okay, so apparently, advertising IS necessary! (See yesterday's Accenture piece for more on that.)

But LifeLock now has an even more puzzling full-page newspaper ad that says:

Enroll Today and Receive a FREE Shredder!

Okay, someone explain this to me: Why would a company that guarantees you against identity theft be offering something that you wouldn't need after signing up as an enrollment incentive?!

Don't get me wrong, shredders are good things. But, in this context, isn't that like offering a free steak dinner to anyone who becomes a vegetarian?! Isn't that like offering you free cat litter for as long as you own your dog?! I guess you could give the shredder away to a loved one, but you'd think LifeLock would rather you give them a subscription to their service instead, no?!

Mixed messages, like these, are a pet peeve of mine -- like the TV ads that basically say, "If you're stupid like the people in this TV commercial, then our product is perfect for you!" Argh!

So, too, are mixed messages in the workplace -- especially in the leadership space:
  • Like a boss who who gigs people for tardiness but takes long lunches and sneaks out early himself
  • Like a boss who insists on work/life balance but expects a timely reply to her Sunday afternoon emails
  • Like a boss who stresses professionalism, but says, "Do as I say, not as I do"
  • Like a boss who encourages you to do better but won't say what's specifically needed to bring your performance up to the next level

The only thing that these things "shred" is your leadership reputation. So take a moment to consider what mixed messages might YOU be sending -- not just in your company's advertising campaign, but in your own leadership style, as well. Protect your Leadership Identity.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Accenture's 100% Exit Strategy

The juxtaposition of news and advertising has always interested me. Case in Point from today's Chicago Tribune, where columnist Phil Rosenthal wrote:
"There was a lot of head nodding at Accenture's announcement that Woods was "no longer the right representative for its advertising," even as it promised to "continue to leverage its 'High Performance Business' strategy and 'High Performance Delivered' positioning in the marketplace." As if Accenture had no choice.

"Maybe Woods is no longer the model of perfection that Accenture was selling in its ads, and one has to wonder how a firm that touts its expertise in risk management, strategy consulting and talent management could be caught off guard by what seems to be an established pattern of behavior.

"In dropping Woods, the message one might take away is that Accenture is the consultant for when things are going smoothly. Slip up, and you're on your own. Or when Accenture makes a mistake, it cuts and moves on."
Clearly Accenture found itself in a tough situation and acted quickly and decisively to address it. Still, depending on how Accenture's clients and prospects think through the implications of what Rosenthal is suggesting, there may be more news about Accenture than just its next advertising campaign.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Conflict Hot Buttons?

What "triggers" you into conflict?
What's your hottest HOT BUTTON?

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GGCI's Executive Coaching Flow

Recently created this diagram to help explain what I do when a company hires me as an executive coach for some leadership development work. Thought it'd make sense to post it for a wider GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. (GGCI) audience to see, as well, so here it is:

GottaGettaCoach! Executive Coaching Flow Feel free to call (847-291-9735) or email ( to discuss.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

ManagementSushi Guest Post #2: Time-Management, the TV-Marathon Way

Courtesy of ManagementSushi, UK-based marketeer, brand expert, and SME business strategist, Bernie Ritchie's blog, my latest guest-post is now live.

Titled, "2010 : Year of the TV Marathon Work Week Approach?!" it's a tongue-in-cheek strategy for managing your way-too-busy work-week, based on how television stations schedule those program marathons.

To start things off, Bernie's included some of her favorite (or 'favourite,' as she'd spell it) time-management resources, as well.

Here, then, is an excerpt of the post:
"Monday could be "Email Day" where all we did was respond to what was in our in-boxes. Now many of you get *zillions* of emails, no doubt, but I gotta believe that if you had an entire day to focus just on that, why you might even be able to come in a little bit late on Mondays. And wouldn't that be a nice way to start the week?!
"Having eased into the week like that, Tuesday would then be "Commitment Day." This would be when you'd be responsible for doing all the things you said you'd do in your emails, a week ago Monday. Just imagine: "Sorry, boss, I can't help you out right now, I'm too busy honoring the commitments I've already made to other people."

"Of course that would mean that Wednesday would have to be "Commitment Overflow Day" (COD for short). Why? Well for two reasons ..."
(... continued at

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dissent and Other Keys to Success

Even in the worst of times, Bad Management causes dissension. In "Developing Managers for Team-Driven Success" (Baseline Magazine, November 2009) William Moskal identified several examples of bad management behavior:
  • Micromanagement: "Decisions are imposed, not delegated."
  • Communication gaps: "Goals, strategies, expectations and timelines are not shared. Feedback is withheld."
  • Inconsistency: "Abrupt reversals, deadline changes and frequent new priorities." (Although in fairness to everyone, that's really become fairly typical in many (most?) organizations, hasn't it?!)
  • Intimidation: "A disproportionate focus on discipline, not coaching, including public criticism and rudeness."
  • Self-promotion: "Opportunities are not shared, and credit is hoarded."
  • Lack of mentoring: "Managers are not groomed for advancement. Cross-training is not encouraged and access to upper management is restricted."

"The reassuring news," says Moskal, "is that managers who unwittingly build barriers can also remove them." (Yes, when it comes to professional development, sometimes you actually can teach old dogs new tricks!) His solution: "Senior executives should take a wide-angle look to identify opportunities to empower and motivate front-line managers, while avoiding corrective approaches that stigmatize and single out individuals."

Okay. Anyway, he also had an excellent approach to helping managers improve their engagement, strategic analysis skills, and conflict management capabilities:

Have each executive establish - and rotate - an "official dissent" role among his/her direct reports.

Per Moskal, "Sanctioned opposition can be a powerful tool for collaborative decision-making, analytic skill-building and improved outcomes." I agree. It 'permissions' the quiet ones to speak up. It encourages those who always play 'devil's advocate' to stretch beyond just that.

(Hmm, dissenting with the official dissenter is tantamount to agreeing with the original idea, is it not?! And agreeing with the dissenter is, well, agreeing! Watch out you devil's advocates out there, this official dissent thing could rock your world! )

Having an official dissent role in your organization might unlock some truly superb ideas. And in these worst of times, superb ideas are exactly what's needed, are they not?!

Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Selected GGCI Tweets from November 2009

twitter bug

For the uninitiated, Twitter is like a "micro-blog" service where each individual "tweet" is limited to a maximum length of 140 characters.

While most of my "tweets" are parts of conversations with others, here are some from November 2009 that stand alone:

(You'll note that several tweets include a word, or phrase starting with a "hash-tag" or #. These are user-defined categories that people use when tweeting.)

  1. #MorningThought: What makes a #Haiku / so much fun for me is that / syllables matter!
  2. #Leadership: What loose ends need to be taken care of today?
  3. #Distinction: Practicing meaningful Self-Care is NOT selfish. Indeed, it's much EASIER to help others once our own needs are met.
  4. #CoachingAssmt: Ask several people you know to use three words to describe you. Like what you're hearing?! Recognize yourself?!
  5. #CoachingQ: What's something you're UNwilling to change? How might your reluctance be making things *worse* than you realize?!
  6. #CoachingQ: What decision have you been avoiding lately? What's stopping you from just deciding already?
  7. A busy Monday makes this a good #quote: "Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least." -Goethe
  8. #CoachingQ: What is consistently available to you when you're at your best that isn't always when you're not?
  9. #CoachingQ: If you got what you said you wanted & needed, what would that give you that you don't already have?
  10. I've found that #Leadership Excellence is typically one-part title, three-parts foresight, and a dash-and-a-half of tenacity.
  11. #CoachingQ: What options can you create for yourself in this situation?
  12. #CoachingQ: What is working? What is not? What frees you up? What overly complicates things? What can you do about some of that?
  13. #Leadership Tip: Ask people to repeat back your instructions - so you can compare what they 'heard' w/what you meant ... & adjust
  14. #Paradox: "Striving for something better" versus "accepting what is"
  15. #MorningThought: On this Thanksgiving Day, allow yourself to feel the gratitude that others have for YOU. You matter, too!
  16. I came to Twitter / to see what it was about. / Found community! #Haiku #Thanksgiving
  17. #MorningThought: Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn't mean we should stop giving thanks.
  18. How "Great/full" was *your* Thanksgiving?!
  19. A key to success in both #leadership and #life is this whole gratitude thing - but not just on some Thursday in November - 24x7.
  20. What a lot of executives don't get about #leadership is that it's not just a title, it's a responsibility.
  21. People often ask me what GGCI stands for - it's GottaGettaCoach!, Inc.
  22. The Responsibility of #leadership is about "making good things happen sooner" while helping people grow. BOTH are required.
  23. It is irresponsible, in my view, to ignore the employee growth side of the #leadership equation, even temporarily.
  24. The Responsibility of #leadership extends into all circumstances - not just the convenient ones.
  25. Executives are not excused from their Responsibility of #leadership just because they're "too busy" or working on something else.
  26. Executives who say they're "too busy" to honor the Responsibility of #leadership likely have poor delegation skills.

You can follow all my tweets on-line at


Monday, November 23, 2009

Remember THIS Job Interview Strategy?!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RockStarLeader Guest Post #3: Rock Music Rocks Stocks - and Rock Star Leaders

My newest guest post at the Rock Star Leader blog was published today.

Titled, "Rock Music Rocks Stocks," it's a riff on a USATODAY article about how America?s ?mood swings? might not just determine music popularity at any particular point in time, but might also determine if the stock market is likely to be on the up- or down-swing!
?When people are in a collective good mood, for instance, they tend to listen to bubble-gum-pop music with a steady happy beat.? Think back to January 2000, when the market was waaaay up, boy bands, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, and the Carlos Santana/Rob Thomas smash hit, Smooth, were tops.

?Conversely, when they?re in a funk, people gravitate to music with dark, complex tones and themes.? No wonder that Linkin Park?s Minutes to Midnight peaked as stocks began to tumble in 2007, AC/DC hit #1 on the Billboards charts in 2008 ? even the Sex Pistols got back together during the 2007 Dow slide!

"So what?s the message, here, for Rock Star Leaders?" ...
(...continued at

By the way, do YOU see a connection between music and leadership and are thinking that YOU'D like to blog about it?! If so, just send me an email and maybe you can be a guest-blogger for the Rock Star Leader blog, too.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

RockStarLeader Guest Post #2: Rock Star Leadership in the Key of ? ?See?

My newest guest post at the Rock Star Leader blog was published today. Titled, Rock Star Leadership In the Key of ? ?See?, it looks at what music can really teach a leader about how to be a Rock Star Leader:
"So can music really teach a leader how to be a Rock Star Leader?!
"Well, let?s see what M-U-S-I-C has to offer:
  • "M reminds us to always strive to Motivate Others. As a Rock Star Leader, it?s not just about helping others to raise their game when it?s convenient, or when you feel like it. It?s about ever-being the role model, the one others look up to, and the one who doesn?t just play the (Leadership) music, but someone who understands the (Leadership) music ? and can explain it to others in increasingly powerfully engaging and relevant ways.
  • ?U? suggests we always Utilize our Resources. A Rock Star Leader knows who?s good at what, who likes doing what, and how to those very skillful (and willful) people to stop what they?re working on, and willingly do what the Rock Star Leader needs done.
(...continued at

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

RockStarLeader Guest Post #1: Why Dogs Don't Enjoy Music

Creative marketeer, Tom Schulte, recently started - "the intersection of music and influence" - and asked if I'd do some guest blogging for the site.

My first post was published today. It's called, Why Dogs Don't Enjoy Music. Bascially, it's a riff on how leaders might not be as strong at communicating with their staff as they may think ... and what can be done about it.
"Subtlety is often considered a more ?refined? form of communication. The problem with subtle communications, though, is that they ask the listener ? they require the listener ? to be much more discerning when listening. And depending on circumstances, that could be asking a LOT from someone.

"Too much, perhaps.

"Indeed, expecting someone to give you their full and Undivided Attention could be far more than they?re ready for ? or capable of ? in this busy, distracted, juggling priorities, go-go, world of ours."
To read the entire piece, link on over to Why Dogs Don't Enjoy Music/a>.

And while there, see what else is going on at

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Don't Squat with Yer Spurs On!

Selected words of wisdom from "A Cowboy's Guide to Life," volumes I and II, by Texas Bix Bender:
  1. Never take to sawin' on the branch that's supportn' you, unless you're bein' hung from it.

  2. A lot of good luck is undeserved, but then so is a lot of bad luck.

  3. Go after life as if it's something that's got to be roped in a hurry before it gets away.

  4. Don't let so much reality into your life that there's no room left for dreamin'.

  5. Ain't never seen a wild critter feelin' sorry for itself.

  6. Honesty is not something you should flirt with -- ou should be married to it.

  7. Avoid flasharity, foofaraw, and fumadiddle in dress, speech, and conduct. leave the peacocking for the peacocks.

  8. You can't weigh the facts if yo'uve got the scales loaded down with your opinions.

  9. When you forgive and forget, forget that you forgave while you're at it.

  10. The best way to knock a chip off a shoulder is with a friendly pat on the back.

  11. Work lessat worrying and more at working.

  12. Advice is like a pot of chili: You should try a little of it yourself before you give anybody else a taste.

  13. If you ain't pullin' your weight, you're pushin' your luck.

  14. Nothin' keeps you honest more than witnesses.

  15. The purest metal comes out of the greatest heat.

  16. You're not being diplomatic just because you put "please' in front of "shut the hell up."

  17. Smetimes it takes a lot more thinkin' to deal with changes than to make 'em.

  18. You'll feel better when it quits hurtin'.

  19. The bigger the mouth, the better it looks shut.

  20. You can't tell how far a frog can jump by its croak.

  21. Always walk tall and keep your head up -- unless you're walkin' in a cow pasture.

  22. The best way to break a bad habit is to drop it.

Thanks to A.W.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

ManagementSushi Guest Post #1: Management Sushi, Johnny Appleseed Style

Management SushiLong-time marketeer, brand expert, and SME business strategist, Bernie Ritchie, over at, asked if I'd write an article for her blog. So I did!
The post, titled, Management Excellence, Johnny Appleseed Style, talks about a boss' responsibility to plant and cultivate motivational Growth Seeds.
"Growth Seeds are those special insights we share with others when we have their undivided attention. They are what inspire continued learning and growth. They are what enable greater creativity, motivation, and decisiveness. They are what help make good things happen for people that might not happen otherwise.
"So how does a manager effectively plant and nurture motivational Growth Seeds, if so inclined? The acronym "S-E-E-D-S" suggests a number of ways of doing exactly that."
To read more about motivational growth S-E-E-D-S, link on over to Management Excellence, Johnny Appleseed Style.
And while there, see what else Bernie's got going on at

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween, All!

my 2009 pumpkin


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Drowning in Life's Trash

Curious thing on Page 1 of USA TODAY? today in their Snaphots? chart. (Note: I tried finding the chart on-line, but couldn't.)(Follow-up Note: Dear USA TODAY ~ Please make it easier to find - and blog about - those clever Snapshots charts on your website!)

Today's question, which I thought was a good one, was: "How much receipt paper is generated by America's retailers?"

The answer? An attention-getting "228.7 million pounds a year."

But the graphic explanation of how heavy that amount of paper is seemed, well, curious ...

"... equal to approximately 2 Titanics."

Two Titanics?! Sorry, but I don't get the connection. Maybe if they were talking about newspapers and the dramatic slippage in the number of home subscriptions over the last few years, a sinking ship reference would be more apt. But sales register receipts?! The connection fails me.

So let me give it a try* ...
  • 228.7 million pounds a year ... equal to the approximate weight of 6,600 semi trucks (@ 30,000 pounds/truck, excluding cargo) -- trucks similar to those that likely delivered the goods to the stores you shopped at that necessitated all those paper receipts in the first place.

  • 228.7 million pounds a year ... equal to the approximate amount of waste generated by the good folk of Kansas City, San Antonio, or Cincinnati, over the course of an average year (@ 56 tons/year/person; city populations) -- trash that, in many cases, included many of those very same paper sales receipts we're talking about here.

On second thought, given the nearly 115 tons of paper sales receipts "drowning" the US each year, maybe the Titanic reference isn't so obtuse after all. Hmmm.

* and for all you numbers geeks out there that want to check my math, I've provided site references so you can let me know how I did!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Conflict Trigger Mitigation and Avoidance

Here's the scenario:
  1. Person A wants to talk with Person B about something, and does so.
  2. But the way that Person A raises, or discusses, the issue unintentionally triggers* Person B.
  3. Person B, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally triggers Person A.
  4. Person A, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person B.
  5. Person B, having just been triggered - and re-triggered - in a matter of moments, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person A.
  6. Tensions and exasperations peak, for *both* Persons A and B - individually, and collectively.
  7. Any ability for Person A or Person B to engage in a meaningful or constructive way, at this point, has been lost.

Or maybe, it goes like this:

  1. Person B wants to talk with Person A about something, and does so.
  2. But the way that Person B raises, or discusses, the issue unintentionally triggers* Person A.
  3. Person A, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally triggers Person B.
  4. Person B, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person A.
  5. Person A, having just been triggered - and re-triggered - in a matter of moments, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person B.
  6. Tensions and exasperations peak, for *both* Persons B and A - individually, and collectively.
  7. Any ability for Person B or Person A to engage in a meaningful or constructive way, at this point, has been lost.

Likely both scenarios turn into one, big, round-and-round, ongoing, mess-of-a conflict.

Now keep in mind, no one actually has to be at fault here - Person A (or B) can be triggered just because Person B (or A) did, said, or even just *wore* something that reminded Person A (or B) of a trigger-worthy something/someone in his/her past. It's all very Pavlovian, for you Classical Conditioning fans out there. The point is, though, that triggers can be triggered for reasons totally unrelated to the "triggeree".

But, if Persons A and B can get more "consciously aware" of this whole triggers-triggering-triggers thing, they will likely WANT to work, in true partnership - yes, in TRUE partnership -, on:

  1. Trigger Mitigation - that is, helping each other to UN-trigger more quickly and effectively, should they inadvertently trigger, or be triggered by, each other;
  2. Trigger Avoidance - that is, helping each other to NOT trigger, or be triggered by, each other, nearly as often in the future.

Not to sound sales-y about it, but coaching (along with a Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) Assessment) is an excellent way help someone better understand his/her own triggers, how they may be unknowingly triggering others, and how to better manage these conflict dynamics.

So if you and someone - or someone and someone else you know - are in seemingly constant conflict with each other, there very well might be something we can all do about it to make things better.


*Triggers --> Whatever causes one's fight/flight instinct to suddenly, and dramatically, engage.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

4qtr2009 Not Just Talk! Newsletter Now Available

The 4qtr2009 Not Just Talk! quarterly newsletter from Barry Zweibel and GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. is now available and ready for viewing at


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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where They Sign What They Sign

Dan Ariely, a Duke University professor and author of Predictably Irrational, has been studying how to prevent cheating.

In a recent study, he found that when people are asked to sign their name at the TOP of an insurance application (instead of the usual signature spot, at the bottom) they were more honest about their driving habits, even though higher annual mileage meant higher premiums.

Extending this notion to more of a B-to-B setting:
  • The next time you query vendors on their Request for Proposal (RFP) submissions, or the like, have each vendor contact person sign the RFP response ... at the top of page 1 ... before reviewing it with them.

  • The next time a customer wants to review with you their Service Level Agreement (SLA) status report, or the like, have him/her sign that SLA status report ... at the top of page 1 ... at the very start of the meeting.

And just to keep yourself on the up-and-up:

  • The next time YOU need to submit some written information on something to someone, or the like, put YOUR signature ... at the top of page 1 ... before completing it!

source: "When People Recon it's O.K. to Cheat", BusinessWeek magazine, October 5, 2009, p25.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Selected GGCI Tweets from September 2009

For the uninitiated, Twitter is "a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices." Twitter is like a "micro-blog" service where each individual "tweet" is limited to a maximum length of 140 characters.

Some terminology:
  • RT -- This stands for "re-tweet" and indicates a re-posting of someone else's tweet.
  • @ -- This is a public message to someone, via Twitter, that anyone can view. It's typically in response to something that someone's already tweeted about themselves.
  • # -- This is a hash-tag, or user-defined categorization label.
  • -- Because every character counts, these are fully-functioning URL hyperlinks that have been shortened, or 'trimmed'.

Here, then, are some of my tweets from September 2009:

  1. RT @tonyrobbins: "Put your guts on the line on every day and your dream will come to life" Tony Robbin
  2. ?The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.? Albert Einstein
  3. Paradox: Why is it that when someone says they're 50% done with a task it usually means they've got about 90% left to do?!
  4. Part 1 of Jan Carlzon quote: "An individual without information cannot take responsibility..."
  5. Part 2 o f Jan Carlzon quote: "... an individual who is given information cannot help but take responsibility."
  6. "Chance favors those in motion." - James H. Austin (thanks, Molly!)
  7. Coaching Q: Are you on good terms with your conscience?! What is it asking you to do that you're not?
  8. True Professionalism = Doing the things you *don't* want to do with as much zeal as the things you *do* want to do.
  9. Day baseball is great / Even with the #Cubs trailing / Still, a few runs please?! #haiku
  10. Coach's Creed: Always get permission BEFORE giving an executive Unsolicited Feedback. Don't just assume you've already got it.
  11. ?Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.? - Dr. Suess
  12. Try this: Do the first few things you do as s-l-o-w as possible & then notice how much faster your 'fast' becomes
  13. Rephrasing the Architect: Our self-talk is simultaneously the source of our greatest strength & greatest weakness. What say you?!
  14. Coaching Q: What one thought could you carry around with you today to *dramatically* increase your impact?
  15. Coaching Q: What one THING could you do before the end of the week that would make a true difference? What's another *one thing*?
  16. Morning Thought: "If you ain't living it, it won't come out of our horn." - Charlie Parker
  17. RT @darrenhicks The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground. -- Author Unknown > @ggci adds: To the acorn in all of us!
  18. Have you sufficiently looked after yourself today? If not, make a point of doing so tomorrow.
  19. Yesterday's Thought: "Have you sufficiently looked after yourself today? If not, make a point of doing so tomorrow." Well, it's tomorrow!
  20. (Capital L) Leaders don't just do what they MUST, they do what makes SENSE. What makes sense for YOU to do today?
  21. Quirky and clever. RT @duhism: I'm writing something for Buddhists who want to improve their lives. It's a no-self-help book.
  22. Morning Thought: People who live in aluminum houses shouldn't throw can openers
  23. On Silence. Nice. RT @thomasjwest: "A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence." ~Leopold Stokowski
  24. Coaching Q: So, what's your plan for impressing the world - and, more importantly, *yourself* - today?
  25. RT @yokoono: Listen to the sound of the fire burning in the center of the Earth. It is the same as the beautiful fire you carry inside you
  26. RT @funnyoneliners: Do the other trees wish the weeping willow would just get over it already?
  27. Afternoon check-in: So, that plan for impressing the world - and *yourself* - today? How's that going?! Well, I hope.
  28. #CoachingQ: How can you, sometime today, show the very special people in your life just how very special they are to you?
  29. Coaching Q: How sharp is your edge today? Try using it to cut open a pesky problem you've got and see what you can make of it.
  30. Distinction: Easy ? Unimportant - Know that just because something is EASY for you doesn't mean it's automatically UNIMPORTANT.

You can follow all my tweets on-line at


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting More Done

"We all face the same constraint: there are only 24 hours in a day. But some people seem to get so much more done each day. How are they able to fit it all in?"

So starts a very helpful article, titled, Time at the Top: Productive Work Habits from CEOs and Top Executives, by Ann Gomez, a productivity expert, and President of Clear Concept Inc., and Mark Ellwood, an internationally known productivity consultant, expert on how people spend their time, President of Pace Productivity Inc., and buddy of mine from up in Canada.

They collaborated (quickly and efficiently, no doubt) to provide, based on their interviews with CEOs and other top executives, several "straight-forward techniques that employees at any level can use to fit more into their days":
  1. Know Your Priorities: I've blogged and tweeted about tracking your own "T-O-P 3", Today's (three) Overriding Priories - my version of doing this.
  2. Focus on One Thing at a Time: Developing one's ?focus muscle? is an important, yet often overlooked, prerequisite for this.
  3. Manage Your Interruptions: To effectively switch gears and focus on their issue, Gomez and Ellwood recommend coaching people on how to give you some context and background, when interrupting, so you can better understand the issue they want to talk with you about and more easily segue from what you had been focusing on.
  4. Be Strategic About Your Email: Using the preview pane to scan the subject line
    and first two sentences is helpful to some, as is using "non-prime working time" to respond to the non-urgent ones. Others use the Touch it Once principle, acting on each email "the first time they read it." Regardless of strategy, though, it's important to "train" others as to your preferences and processes regarding email so important communiques don't get lost in the cracks.
  5. Run Efficient Meetings: One of the interviewed executives "consistently reinforces
    the designated start time by always closing the door when he walks in, and starting right away." Another, "recognizing that people need time to transition from one meeting to the next, scheduled most meetings to start exactly five minutes after the hour."
  6. Be Decisive: "Executives talked about the importance of committing to a decision, once made." Per one of the executives interviewed, "I make a decision once and go with it. I don?t allow my executive team to revisit a decision unless there is a case that is so compelling (i.e., brought on by new information or the discovery of a mistake)."
  7. Leverage Your Team (a.k.a. Delegate): Encouraging your staff to engage in Unsolicited Updates, is key.
  8. Take a Break: "All of the executives [interviewed] placed great importance on their lives outside work." And, yes, it does take some practice.

"The issues facing executives at the top of an organization are not fundamentally different from managers at any level. A lot of work needs to be done and there are always opportunities to do more. A major theme that emerges from our interviews of senior executives is that they are pro-active about how they manage their work. Rather than haphazardly allowing themselves to be overtaken by activities, they are clear about what needs to be done to be their most effective. In articulating how they achieve maximum effectiveness, they are simply preaching what they

Thanks, Ann. Thanks, Mark. Very helpful information and insight.

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