My Pet Peeve of the Month – Weird Shaped Business Cards

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I’m bringing this post back from the archives, because it drives me crazy.  I know they look cool – those weird shaped business cards. Squares, skinny thin ones, or shapes like TV sets, cameras, books, or houses (if you’re a real estate agent.) But the truth is – they’re a real pain. They don’t fit into a business card folder, don’t play well with other cards in a stack, and generally are difficult to deal with. I know – you’re going to say, “But Phil, you always tell us to be different and stand out from the crowd.”   Yes, that’s important – but

This is the Age of Nimble

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Bureaucracy is dead. This is the age of “nimble.” Trust me on this – if your organization has silos, turf battles, or is overwhelmed by policy manuals, you’re about to get squashed by smaller, nimbler, and hungrier organizations. You see bureaucracy everywhere today – the government can’t even pass a budget because of the number of special interests they have to please. Hostess, the maker of Twinkies is out of business because among other things, their Union rules required cake and bread to travel in separate trucks, and barred drivers from loading and unloading. Nimbler firms were

Want to Be More Productive on Monday? Stop Working Weekends

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In trying to write books like “One Big Thing,” speak internationally, and help our great clients, lately I’ve found myself working most weekends.  I do like the quiet, and I can get so much more done without the phone ringing, or having to get ready for a meeting or conference call. But the problem is, I’ve noticed that I’m hating Mondays. Without taking Saturday and Sunday off, work is just a

The Damage Caused by Entrenched Incompetence

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I had a depressing encounter the other day. After working a short time with an organization, it became pretty obvious that their inside public relations person was a disaster. She’d been at the organization a long time and had strong relationships with various leaders. She seemed decent enough with one exception: She was terrible at her job. I mean really terrible. Honestly, I asked a number of people she worked with, and not a single person could tell me anything she’d actually accomplished in the past few years. No PR strategy, no press releases, no social media campaigns, no media connections, nothing. So I asked the next obvious question: “Why doesn’t she get fired?”

Is Your Office Inspiring?

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You spend at least a third of your life there. You’re there for most waking hours. It’s where you work most closely with other people. And yet, it looks plain, uninspiring, and probably outright depressing. Your surroundings have more of an impact on your creativity and productivity than you may think. That’s why you need to be more intentional about your

You Need a Productivity Breakthrough

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OK – I admit that I have a fetish for to do lists. Not that I’m that detailed, but I love working with apps that help me sort and organize my to do lists. My two favorites are Things and Wunderlist. I’m a big fan of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” concept, but I have one big problem with it: I’m a big idea person, so I’m always coming up with things I should do, films I should make, client tasks, and more. So I looked at my to do list recently and it had

Stop Hating Your Job and Start Redefining It

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Before you totally give up on your miserable job, just remember that jobs are often not as inflexible as we think.  The written job description for your position is mostly likely a document that was created years ago and hasn’t changed much even though technology is radically redefining the workplace today.  Here’s a few suggestions before you give up and resign – or perhaps worse – accept that nothing will ever change:

When To Stop Talking

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For some reason, I’ve been meeting a lot of people who don’t know when it’s time to stop talking.  Most of the time they’re meeting me after I teach, or it’s an interview, and I know they mean well, but it’s driving me nuts.  Obviously, they’re nervous, and most people talk when they’re nervous.  Plus, I think they feel an obligation to pitch themselves and simply don’t know when to stop.  I keep looking for openings to jump in and change the subject or bring the conversation to a halt, but with some folks, that’s nearly impossible.  So here’s my advice: 

Be Careful When Employees Recommend People for Jobs at Your Organization

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A new study called “Tainted Recommendations: The Social Comparison Bias” reports that when an employee recommends someone to hire or promote, they might be hurting your company in order to boost their self-esteem.  The study found that employees tend to recommend people who they know can’t outperform them at tasks they feel they are good at doing.  It was the same thing with picking partners for team projects.  The majority picked a partner who wouldn’t

Finding the Cause of the Office Jerk

Sue Shellenbarger recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal about dealing with office jerks and tyrants.  We’ve all seen it – probably way too much.  But the interesting thing about Sue’s approach was to look at how family problems in childhood often create these office monsters.  For instance, the guy in meetings who’s always pushy and loud, may have been raised in a large family where being pushy and loud was the only way to get any attention.  She also made a good point about how to solve the issue: