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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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3 Simple Ways to Create Space to Think

How do you create the space to step back and actually think about what really needs to be done when the input is coming in far faster than the output is going out?

Here are three simple ways to create the space to think:

  1. Leverage Time. One of the leaders I’ve interviewed for my new book is Adm. Thad Allen, former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, who led recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There aren’t many jobs that get more high stakes and high profile than that. When I asked Allen about the routines that enabled him to perform at his best, he told me that on the days when he was in his office as commandant, he rode his bike 15 miles to work every day. That 45-minute ride was not just his exercise for the day but also his time to do mental planning and reflection on projects, public appearances and tough problems. In a packed, busy schedule he leveraged the time he had available to give himself space to think.
  2. Schedule Time. Another leader I’ve spoken with is Brian Halligan, CEO of the rapidly growing Web ...

Why It’s Critical to Have an Organizing Principle

During the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time reading through the transcripts of interviews I’ve been conducting for my new book about simple and practical things leaders can do to be more mindful in their work and life. It’s been a fun process because I’ve had the good fortune of speaking with some compelling leaders who take a mindful approach to their work and life.

Two of those interviews were with Kaye Foster-Cheek and Danae Ringelmann. Kaye was the senior vice president of human resources for Onyx Pharmaceuticals and, prior to that, was the global head of HR for Johnson & Johnson. Danae is the co-founder and chief customer officer of crowdfunding innovator Indiegogo. She’s received a lot of high-profile recognition during the past few years, including being named to Fortune’s 40 Leaders Under 40 list and Fast Company’s list of the 50 most influential women in technology.

Kaye and Danae both bring a lot of strengths to the table. In interviewing each of them, some common characteristics stood out for me. One of those is that they each live their life in accordance with what I would call an ...

What Can We Learn From a 10-Year-Old About Making a Stand?

The adorable 10-year-old girl in the picture with my wife, Diane, and me is Vivienne Harr. We met her at a party at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Valentine’s Day evening. Earlier that afternoon she spoke to 2,000 people about how her lemonade business has raised over $1 million to help free 18 million children around the world from slavery.

Yes, you read that right. Vivienne, with the help of her parents, has raised over $1 million -- in one year -- to end child slavery. It started when her parents shared with her a photo book of child slaves in Nepal and it made her “really sad.”

She decided to open a stand to sell enough lemonade to make a big enough donation to an organization that could end child slavery for 500 kids. That would take $100,000. She raised the money in 170 days. Selling lemonade. Here’s how she did it.

As she said to the crowd at Wisdom last week, she quickly realized it was going to take a  ong time -- “like a million years” -- to raise the money at $1 a cup. So she started asking people to pay what ...

What Brings You Joy as a Leader?

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who first became publicly known for his efforts to negotiate a peace treaty during the Vietnam War. Since then, he’s taught around the world and has written more than sixty books that have had an influence on people in all walks of life. (I’ve only read a few of his books; my favorite is Being Peace.)

Last week, a friend of mine, Alanson Van Fleet, sent me a note to share how some of Hanh’s work is making a difference for leaders in corporate America. Alanson is a senior executive in a financial services firm and a longtime mindfulness practitioner who’s also doing some leadership coaching inside his company.

A well known Thich Nhat Hanh quote is “If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.” Based on that idea, he has an exercise called “deep touching” in which he encourages people to be in touch with all of their senses and intentions as a part of being fully present in the moment. To make that tangible, Hanh suggests taking out a piece of paper and writing down all of the things that bring you joy ...

The Seventh Circle of Conference Call Hell

One of the theories about what makes comedy funny is when the bit does such a great job of describing everyday reality that you laugh out loud in recognition.

That’s what made Jerry Seinfeld a wealthy man and it’s what makes this video on the seventh circle of hell known as a corporate conference call from comedy duo Tripp and Tyler so hellaciously funny.

I first learned about the video from a post by Seth Godin at the beginning of the week on conference call hygiene. He linked to it and when I first watched it, it had about a million views on YouTube. As I write this four days later, it has over 4 million views. It’s viral because it’s funny.

I’ve yet to find the person who loves conference calls and, yet, they are a fact of professional life. We can all at least do what we can to make them more bearable and less frequent. Seth offers an excellent list of ideas about how to do so in his post. They’re all good. My favorite is “when in doubt, don’t have one.”

What say you? What rules should every conference ...