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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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Accepting the Help When You Need It Most

In a New York magazine article called “Life, After,” former CNN anchor Miles O’Brien shares his experience of what life has been like since losing most of his left arm a few months ago. O’Brien was on a reporting trip in the Philippines when a heavy camera case fell on his arm. What seemed like a minor injury became a major problem and his arm had to be amputated below the shoulder and above the elbow.

Since then, he’s been learning how to do everyday tasks like showering, brushing his teeth, getting dressed and cooking. He’s figuring out new ways to do his job of reporting and typing his stories. He’s learning how to run with a new center of gravity. He’s also learning how to accept the help of friends, family and colleagues who care about him.

O’Brien is a great reporter and tells his own story with courage and grace. The most moving passage for me was at the end of the article when he wrote:

“Two months to the day after my accident, I went to see a therapist for the first time in my life. I didn’t know ...

What Good Did You Do You Today?

I had been working in my hotel room in Wilmington, Delaware, most of the day last Wednesday and decided to head up to the concierge lounge to see if they had anything I could eat for dinner. As I got on the elevator, there was already a gentleman in the car who seemed a little stressed out. You know, some heavy sighs, comments of “What a day,” and things like that. Guessing that he was looking for a beer or a glass of wine, I told him I was headed for the lounge and to follow me.

Fortunately, they were serving chef salad, so I loaded up one of the little plates they use and sat down at a table to eat. It was crowded in the lounge and my new friend from the elevator asked if he could join me. I had brought a file folder of work to look at to prep for a leadership development program I was leading the next day but quickly decided that could wait.

As he took his first sip of white wine, it seemed to me the right question to open the conversation was, “So, what good did you do today?” He ...

Why You Should Be Brief and How to Do It

There’s a famous quote that’s often attributed to Mark Twain but actually originated with the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal: “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.”

That Pascal was one smart guy. A full 500 years before the information flood that all of us face today, he understood that brevity is important and that it takes work to be brief.

If you want to learn more about why you should be brief and how to do it, check out a new book, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less by marketing expert Joe McCormack.

In a recent conversation I had with Joe, he pointed out that your audience is drowning in the information flood that you don’t want to be the one to push them under for the count. Preparing your message is the best way to avoid doing that. Joe shared with me a communications planning framework he’s developed around the word BRIEF. First you get clear on the topic and then you provide the:

  • Background on the topic, and then the
  • Relevance to the audience, followed by the key bullet points ...

Are You a Segmenter or an Integrator?

One of the things I learned in doing the research for my forthcoming book, Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative is that it’s possible to be incredibly busy with a lot on your plate and not feel overworked and overwhelmed.

One of the common denominators that I heard from the people who are most successful in doing this is that they create a clear separation in both their minds and on their calendars between when they’re working and when they’re not working.

One CEO I interviewed referred to it as “compartmentalization.” He and his wife have several teenagers living at home and he has found that things go better for everyone when he makes clear decisions in his mind to ignore his work when he’s home. As he said to me, “If my daughter just broke up with her boyfriend or got a C in a class . . . I need to be present and be her dad, even though I may have had something blow up at work and I’ve got all hell breaking loose all over.”

I recently came across Harvard Business Review blog post from Google’s head of people operations, Lazslo Bock ...

3 Must-Do’s for Leading Through Change

As reported in the New York Times this week, the World Bank is in the midst of a two-year restructuring effort. The basic goal of the change is to shift from the Bank’s decades-long regional structure to one that is organized around areas of functional expertise. Another goal is to reduce expenses. Everyone’s world is being rocked there, and the criticism and rumors are flying.

If you’ve spent any time in a large company or agency, you’ve probably lived through something like this and know how painful it can be. It’s kind of like ripping a really sticky Band-Aid off bit by bit so you feel every hair on your arm being plucked out one by one. At least with the Band-Aid, you can see the end of it; with big organizational changes that’s not usually the case.

Keeping everyone engaged and productive during a big change is a very tough job for leaders at all levels. There’s a lot of stuff you don’t know and, chances are, you can’t talk about a lot of the stuff you do know. So, what do you do when you’re a leader who ...