The Common Sense Blog

27
Feb

How a Top Leader Organizes Her Time

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Laurie, the chief operating officer for an organization of 12,000 people. While time management wasn’t our topic, she began to describe how she works as a part of our conversation. “I divide my days into 15 minute chunks,” she said. “I typically work from 8AM to 6PM everyday, so I have 40 chunks

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20
Feb

Stay Interviews from the Millennial Point of View

One of the more recent fads in HR circles has been the so-called stay interview. In other words, meeting with top performers to discuss their concerns and aspirations in an effort to keep them on the job. As the economy gains momentum and the skills gap continues to grow, employee churn is becoming a significant cost. But I have to

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13
Feb

How Presence of Mind Adds to the Bottom Line

My wife and I just spent a wonderful week in Hawaii, a chance to relax and reflect. Of course, my mind is never far from the topic of decision making. The first night we were there, Wendy discovered the clothes iron in our room wasn’t working. She called the hotel’s front desk to ask for a replacement. Five minutes later,

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25
Jan

Stop Multi-tasking and Boost Your Productivity

Juliette thinks she’s a master at multi-tasking. She responds to e-mails, checks Facebook, talks with passing colleagues and does her “real work” all at the same time. But she’s exhausted by the end of the day. She woke up twice last night remembering she forgot to submit a report. She almost caused an accident texting her boss about a customer

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3
Jan

The Essential Secret to Good Judgment

I visited with a senior leader from a Fortune 100 company last month. At one point, he said, “My dad used to say, ‘Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.’” While I was amused by his simple characterization, it dawned on me that this glib little insight contains the essence of why some people are better decision

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21
Dec

Systemize Decisions to Boost Performance

Dr. Daniel Levitin, writing in his book The Organized Mind, discusses the behaviors of what he call HSPs, or Highly Successful People. One characteristic these individuals share is their practice of implementing systems that save time and improve their personal performance. Top salespeople, for instance, learn that if they can respond effectively to the ten most common customer objections, their

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26
Nov

Are You Industrializing the Coffee Cake?

One of my small indulgences is the coffee cake at Starbucks. I’ve always loved digging into it with a fork and feeling its moistness in my mouth. Up until recently, it’s been served on a plate. They’d even heat it up for you if you asked. While I was waiting to order, I’d stare at the pieces in the display

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14
Nov

Interviewing for a Skill Set You Don’t Have

“How do you interview for a skill set you don’t have yourself?” I was asked this question the other day by the owner of a machine shop with 50 employees. While this is a common dilemma for small business owners, most every manager faces it at one time or another. Over the past 25 years, I’ve seen a variety of

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8
Nov

Are You a Student of Error?

Do you learn best from success or failure? Upon reflection, most people will say failure. The question is what do you learn? Mistakes can cause all kinds of heartburn, fear, and frustration. But they are a fact of life. When you make a mistake, you are really faced with two choices: 1) You can relive the event, wallow in it

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30
Oct

Your Choice — Control or Success?

  I had a conversation with a small business owner (SBO) recently that went like this: SBO: “I feel like I’m forever answering everyone’s questions rather than focusing on the business. It’s maddening.” ME: “Tell me about the kinds of questions they ask.” SBO: “It’s everything, from whether to give a customer a 5% discount for late delivery to where

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