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The Greatness Project

My first vlog. There is a hidden bias that most of …

My first vlog. There is a hidden bias that most of us have which prevents us from really hearing anyone who doesn’t agree with us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb3Br1shPAQ

The Question That Changes Lives …

The Question That Changes Lives

Have you ever had a moment when you read something and it stopped you dead in your tracks? It happened to me at Starbucks this morning. No, I wasn’t reading anything about coffee, but let me fill in the pieces.
Every year, I create my personal goals for the New Year and my husband does this also. Over dinner we share what we want to accomplish for ourselves individually, and talk about what we’d like to commit to do, together for the year. These resolutions might be about health or taking more time together. Occasionally we add a life goal, like traveling to South Africa. Oh, and when we are done, we type them up and put them on the refrigerator.
This year was difficult for me. I read through many articles about resolutions and goal setting, all of them written as though they had the perfect answer. I came up with some personal goals that I thought would be meaningful, but wasn’t wowed by them. Then this morning leaving Starbucks, I looked at a quote someone had posted on the wall by Martin Luther King Jr. It said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
That question changes the focus of so much goal setting. There is a strong tendency when we set our New Year’s resolutions to focus on the things that we believe will make us better people. But the focus is on us. Wouldn’t it be amazing instead if we made resolutions that focus on the things that will help others. Those are the resolutions to commit to because they actually make us better people, bring out our good angels and change the world. I know I need to rethink some of my resolutions.

It’s About People, Not Paper …

It’s About People, Not Paper

Adam Grant posted the graph above from The National Bureau of Economic Research which shows the growing need for social skills in the workplace even as we rely more than ever on technology. I am always impressed with Grant’s work but in this case I would take Grant’s post farther. It is not just the workplace where social skills are critical; they are the only thing that will help us in this complex and challenging world. We won’t solve the problems of the world through technology without connecting with each other first.
Years ago, when I was hired at Merrill Lynch, I proudly put my nose to the grindstone and tried to churn out work. However, my mentor, Jan, told me “it’s about people, not paper.” She was right though now we might say “it’s about people, not tech”. In my time at Merrill Lynch and since then in my own consulting company I continually remind myself that it is more important to connect with people, help them in what they need to do and then collaborate in getting the work done. Not only does the work get done, the work environment improves, people learn from each other and it brings out the best in everyone.
Focusing on social skills is exactly what we need on a global level, even as we use technology as the part of the solution. We need to hone our people skills. We need to stop pressing buttons and start engaging in dialogue. We need to stop staring at screens so that we can look into the eyes of other people to see who they really are. Social skills are rarely being taught these days and in its place technology is creating a mindset that views the world and people as machines. That mindset can only end with someone pulling the plug.
It’s about people, now more than ever.

What does it take to be the master of your own …

What does it take to be the master of your own universe? I tried to answer this question at the Master of the Universe Summit in Vancouver.

Give Thanks to Those Who Make You Better …

Give Thanks to Those Who Make You Better

Have you ever sat in a room listening to someone speak and think “Wow, they are amazing. I can learn from them.” Or have you had someone say to you “that was amazing, and I think you can do this even better?” Those are wonderful experiences that make us better; better at work, life, parenting, you name it.

Too often we allow individuals and moments like that to slip by without realizing that they have just helped us make our lives better in some way. We need those who push and pull us to be more of who we can be.

So today I am grateful to my clients and colleagues who bring out the best in me. Every time I stand up in front of an audience, I know they want the latest research presented in a way that is what I call “entertraining.” It has to keep their attention as well as be informative. My colleagues also pull the best out of me because I see the work and research they do and want to make sure my standards are as high as theirs.

These are the people who make us great. The ones who compliment us on work well done, and then ask if we can go further, or be sharper, or be better. They craft the fine people we can become. So, whether it’s your coach, supervisor, client, colleague, or even parent. Thank someone today who makes you better. You will be better for it.