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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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Make Better Choices for Better Time Management

There’s a very high likelihood that you’ve heard the counsel to spend your time on the things that are important but not urgent. Easy to advise, hard to do, right? It’s all too easy to end up spending your day reacting to things that are both urgent and important or, worse, not that important to you but urgent to someone else. And, after hours and days of that, burnout can easily occur and you end up wasting your time and attention on stuff that is neither urgent or important just to get some relief.

The time management framework based on urgency and importance was first introduced back in 1989 by the late Stephen R. Covey in his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While the principles behind the Seven Habits are timeless, the world has changed a lot since 1989. A do more with less operating environment fueled by 24/7 connectivity makes focusing on the important but not urgent more challenging than ever.

Kory Kogon and her co-authors of  The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity are picking up where Covey left off by offering a book full of practical advice for ...

Three Good Reasons to Embarrass Yourself in Public

Can you imagine what it would be like to stand up in front of a roomful of strangers and read selections from the journal or diary you kept as a teenager? If you find yourself in Denver on the right evening, you could have the opportunity to find out.

There’s a great story in the Wall Street Journal this week about a semi-regular gathering at the Contemporary Museum of Art Denver called My Teenage Angst. Similar events have been held in Seattle, Los Angeles and other cities around the U.S. The point of them is summed up by Ben Haley, an event organizer in Seattle: “Our guideline for would-be readers is to find something where your first thought is, ‘I hope nobody finds this.’ And bring that.”

Rachel Nyce, a participant in My Teenage Angst in Denver offers a good example of what Haley is looking for. This quote from her seventh grade diary about a crush she had on a boy ran in the Journal story:

“I wish I could take him to a brain wash place. Then I could brain wash him to like me! Wouldn’t that be awesome! Then we could go everywhere together ...

Do the Same Rules Apply to You?

If you’re following the news this week, you’ve seen the headlines about Hillary Clinton using a private email account supported by her own private email server during the four years she served as secretary of State. As far as this blog is concerned, I’m not really interested in speculating on her motivation or intent in doing so. Nor, am I interested in spending time here parsing the legalities of how she managed her email.

What I am interested in, though, is the prompt that this story provides to consider this question: 

“If you’re a leader, do the same rules that apply to everyone else apply to you?”

In Clinton’s case, it’s pretty clear that the expectation was that she would conduct her official email correspondence on a State Department email account. No doubt, there were plenty of people at the department (and not just the folks in IT) who knew she wasn’t sending or receiving emails at a state.gov email address. But how hard is it to push back on a leader with the profile of Hillary Clinton? Pretty hard, apparently.

If you’re the leader of a team of any size ...

Three Ways to Coach the Person, Not the Problem

Back when we were co-teaching The Flow of Coaching module at the Georgetown Leadership Coaching Program, my good friend, hero and fellow Davidson College alum Frank Ball used to do a funny bit with a bottle of water. To make the point that coaches and leaders should coach people and not problems, Frank would put a bottle of water on the table in the front of the room and say, “This bottle of water represents the problem.” Then he would start coaching the bottle of water. Needless to say, he never got very far. The bottle just didn’t have that many insights on what to change or how to change it.

That’s the thing. People have insights, problems don’t. If you’re a leader who cares about growing and developing your people, you have to coach them, not their problems.

That’s counterintuitive for a lot of leaders and even a lot of professional coaches. The solution to the problem is so obvious (to you) that you just want to jump in there and solve it for them.  That’s not coaching; that’s providing the answer. There’s not much growth in that approach. In fact ...

What Would You Say in Your Acceptance Speech?

So imagine this. You’re an Academy Awards nominee and you’ve just won a coveted Oscar. (Maybe even a super cool Lego Oscar like Oprah got.) You’ve got around 60 seconds at the podium to say what’s on your heart before the orchestra cranks it up and starts playing you off the stage.

What would you say?

Would you follow the lead of Best Supporting Actor winner J.K. Simmons and thank your wife and kids first and then wrap it up by encouraging people everywhere to call, not text, their parents and let them talk as long as they want?

Would you make a statement on societal issues like Best Supporting Actress winner Patricia Arquette did on equal pay for women or Best Song co-winner John Legend did on voting rights and sentencing and prison reform?

Perhaps you’d tell a moving personal story like Graham Moore, the winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay award for The Imitation Game. Making a connection between the life of the hero of the movie, Alan Turing, and his own journey, Moore disclosed:

“I tried to commit suicide at 16, and now I’m standing here. I would like for ...