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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.
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How to Create Time in a Packed Schedule

When we were kids, summer was something that stretched out ahead of us with the promise of fun and play. When we join the working world, we still greet the longer days and warmer weather of the season with gusto, but, paradoxically, it can be the busiest and most hectic time of the year for many of us. With co-workers on vacation, we’re often on backup duty while also managing our own daily work. And we’ve all experienced the pre-vacation sprint, which might leave you wondering: “Is this vacation worth it?”

There may not be a lot you can do to create some white space in your schedule in the weeks before you go on vacation, but there are some steps you can take now so you’re in better position when you get back:

No objectives, no attendance. How many meetings do you attend in a week that don’t have any stated objectives? As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Meetings with no stated objectives end up wasting time. Start insisting on stated objectives for any meeting that you’re asked to attend. The deal...

Why You Should Pay Attention to Trump’s Leadership Style

Last week I delivered an interactive keynote presentation on “Preparing Yourself to Negotiate” to about 200 global managers and executives. One of the fun things about the session was the cool software we had that allowed the audience to use their phones to contribute to word clouds on my slide deck. The word cloud technology set up a very interesting moment that provides some insight into why, if you’re a leader, you should pay attention to President Trump’s leadership style.

Whether you are Trump, who takes great pride in promoting The Art of the Deal, or a newly promoted executive taking on a game changing negotiation, it’s important to be aware of and intentional about the energetic state you bring to the table. To make that point with my audience, I projected a 2×2 matrix on the screen that measured energy on two different scales: low to high and negative to positive, resulting in four categories of energy: High Positive, Low Positive, High Negative and Low Negative.

I asked the audience to use the word cloud tool to write down words that illustrated each category. For instance, our cloud for High Positive Energy had words like...

A World Class Example of Dopamine Derailment

In the latest installment of the story that wouldn’t die, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced that the two Price Waterhouse partners responsible for the Best Picture award snafu will never work the Oscars again.

There’s all kind of evidence that the lead partner, Brian Cullinan, was distracted by Tweeting and snapping photos of Best Actress winner Emma Stone in the very moments that he should have been focused on making sure that Warren Beatty got the right envelope before he went on stage to award Best Picture. Even after Beatty was on stage, if Cullinan had been paying attention to his job instead of to his phone he could have subtly given Beatty the right envelope while the film montage of Best Picture nominees was rolling.

Sadly, for Cullinan and his partners at PwC (and for the La La Land and Moonlight teams), he was focused on his smartphone. I feel bad for Cullinan in a way because what happened to him while he was on the job could happen to any of us while we are on the job. I call it a dopamine derailment.

Here’s how a dopamine derailment works...

Three Leadership Lessons from La La Land’s Jordan Horowitz

No doubt, you heard all about it: It’s the end of the Academy Awards ceremony and Hollywood icons Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway have just announced that Best Picture goes to the popular musical "La La Land." The producers and cast joyfully come on stage to accept their Oscars and make their speeches. The main producer, Jordan Horowitz, goes first and then, as his co-producers start giving their thanks, the hub-bub begins. Guys with headphones are scrambling around the stage. Warren Beatty is huddling with people. For the first time all evening, the host, Jimmy Kimmel seems at a loss for words. And then, as reported in the Washington Post, Horowitz steps to the microphone and says:

“Guys, guys, I’m sorry. No. There’s a mistake,” he said. “‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.”

“This is not a joke,” Horowitz repeated. “‘Moonlight’ has won best picture.”

Horowitz then held up the card that proved it: “‘Moonlight’ … Best Picture.”

You can read the details elsewhere about how it all happened, but the Oscars ended with the biggest surprise of all. The crew from one celebrated movie gave way to another when the producers, creators and actors from "Moonlight" came...

How to Work for a Human Tornado

Chances are good that, at some point in your career, you’re going to work for a human tornado. In my speeches and workshops, I often say that leaders control the weather. When I talk with my audiences about that, I’m assuming that it’s a room full of healthy, positive people who can make smart choices about the weather they’re creating as leaders. Unfortunately, though, many of us will at some point work for a leader who creates all kinds of terrible weather. They’re the human tornados.

The experience of working for a human tornado can feel a lot like being on the plains in a summer storm. You know the conditions are ripe for destruction and devastation, you just don’t know exactly where the tornado is going to hit, which way it’s going to turn, what it’s going to sweep up in its path and destroy and what it’s going to leave standing. Waiting for the inevitable but unpredictable forces of a tornado and then dealing with the damage is a very high stress experience.

Working for a human tornado can create a similar but different phenomenon. At least with a...