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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 Executive Productivity Hacks That Any Leader Can Use

One of the things I love about my work is getting to meet and learn from some very talented top executives. That happened again recently when a senior vice president in a Fortune 500 client company stopped by for a lunch conversation with participants in our Next Level Leadership® development program.

She was one of the clearest thinkers and communicators I’ve met recently. Her organization is responsible for billions of dollars in sales so, as you might imagine, she has a very full plate. Recognizing that her time and attention are limited resources that she must deploy as effectively as possible, she’s come up with three productivity hacks that help her determine where she needs to focus.

They’re simple, effective and can be applied by leaders at any level in any organization. Here they are:

1. Three Things on the List. Over the years she’s learned that in any given week she can effectively focus on no more than three big things at once. She carries an old school paper based planner that she uses each week to review what’s on her plate and to boil it down to the big three. She confirms that ...

Put the Phone Down, and No One Gets Hurt

If you’re reading this while you’re on vacation or getting ready to go on vacation, this post is for you.

Please, please, please, give yourself and your family a break.

As I wrote a couple of years ago, the Europeans have it right. They don’t go on vacation, they go on holiday. Here in the States, we don’t holiday, we vacate. As in vacate the office and take your work with you.

I hear way too many stories from clients who insist on checking in every day and keeping up with their email and conference calls while they’re gone. I hear too few from people who actually let their team and colleagues handle things while they’re away for a week.

Can’t image not taking your work with you? Consider this story.

Back before iPhones and Androids had BlackBerry for lunch, I used to talk in leadership programs about a story I’d seen in The Wall Street Journal. It was titled “BlackBerry Orphans” and was about how upset kids were with their parents about checking their email at all hours of the day. It was accompanied by a drawing of a little girl ...

7 Ways to Keep Wizard of Oz Syndrome From Killing Your Organization

Every so often I come in contact with an organization where everyone is on pins and needles. They’re afraid of their own shadows. Everything is on an urgent deadline. The smallest mistakes or surprises are crises. Any sense of humor remaining is solely of the gallows variety.

Here’s what every one of those organizations seems to have in common—the “little people” view the senior leaders as if they’re the great and powerful Oz (and by Oz, I mean the man behind the curtain, not the doctor on TV).

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her gang were petrified by the idea of meeting the Wizard. An entire mythology had been built up around him and the carnival huckster who played the role did everything he could to reinforce the myths.

The Oz Syndrome is playing out in a lot of organizations. Knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or not, the senior leaders have created an aura around themselves in which “the littles” are scared to approach. (For more on how that happens, revisit this post from last year, “What Happens When Executives Freak Out.”)

I get to see the impact of this and it’s not pretty ...

Habit Hacks That Make a Difference

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know that I’m into simple things that are easy to do and likely to make a difference. In my new book, Overworked and Overwhelmed, I call them habit hacks. The manuscript for the book is already done so it’s too late to include a fantastic habit hack I heard last week from a participant in our Next Level Leadership® development program. That doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t share it with you here.

In the development program, the participants are working on building their leadership presence by being more present. One of the ways we’re supporting the “being more present” part of the equation is by having everyone create their own. When this participant considered how she is at her best and the routines that support that, that she realized she had an easy-to-do opportunity that would make a big difference in the relational domain.

Both she and her husband have very demanding jobs and had gotten into a pattern of spending their evenings complaining to each other about all of the frustrating things that had happened over the course of their respective days. When ...

The Three Things You Can Control

A good friend of mine, who I’ll refer to here as Rick, is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. He’s approaching the end of a 20-year career and just got married a few months ago to a wonderful woman. A couple of weeks ago, much to his surprise, he found out that he’s going to be deployed for six months to a base on the opposite coast and possibly to the Middle East.

That’s not what he expected when he got married and signed a lease on a really cool town house. He is not, however, freaking out about it. He’s not super excited about the deployment but is totally taking it in stride. He understands that a deployment at this stage in his career is not something he can control. And, as he learned from an interview with Pat Summitt, the head coach emeritus of the Tennessee women’s basketball program who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, there are only three things in life you can control.

They are:

  • Your attitude
  • How hard you work
  • How you take care of yourself

So, Rick is focusing on what he can ...