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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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Why Too Many Meetings Leaves You Feeling Stupid

Last week I was on the phone with an executive coaching client who, like many of the people I work with, was lamenting the insanity of her schedule. It was Friday and she was finishing up a week of back-to-back meetings every day, all day. (To her credit, she kept her coaching call with me.)

In talking about her schedule, she described the impact in a way that I had never heard before. She told me that, “Having so many meetings makes me feel stupid.” She is most assuredly not stupid so I asked her to explain what she meant. She talked about how running from meeting to meeting with literally no time to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom in between had overloaded her brain. All of the input and all of the gear shifting between topics left her mentally depleted.

And then, as if reliving an awesome dream, she told me about “last Wednesday. I had a daylong meeting that was scheduled and then cancelled that morning. I had the entire day to myself to catch up, think and actually get ahead of things. It was wonderful!”

We both agreed that full days that...

How to Prepare for Your Meetings Like Olympians Prepare to Compete

Last night, Diane and I were watching the U.S. women’s gymnastics team compete in the opening round of competition in the Rio Olympics. The floor exercises were the most astounding thing I saw. Tiny young women like Simone Biles, Laura Hernandez, and Aly Raisman stand at one corner of a springy floor, gather themselves, seemingly go from zero to 60 in about half a second and then launch themselves 8 or 9 feet in the air to do a couple of flips while they lay their bodies out flat in the air, rotate themselves on another plane, land solidly on their feet and immediately start another move that’s even more amazing.

One of the things I love about watching the Olympics is when the camera zooms in on the face of the athletes right before they compete. They all do the same thing. Their eyes appear to fix on a point that only they can see. They take a deep breath and then they go. With the women gymnasts you can see them holding the fixed gaze and taking the breath in the middle of their routines as they start another run that launches them into more...

How to Silence Your Itty Bitty Committee

A while back, I was coaching an executive who found herself getting emotionally hijacked. Like a lot of executives in large organizations, her job required her to work cross-functionally with lots of different people. That kind of work environment leads to lots of conversations, meetings, e-mail threads, presentations and the like. With all of that information flying around the matrix, there are lots of opportunities to get hijacked if you’re not watching out for it.

For instance, someone doesn’t respond to your email. Or, maybe someone else leaves you off an e-mail thread you should have been on. Maybe they didn’t invite you to a meeting you think you should have been in. Or, you didn’t get the recognition you thought you deserved for a job well done.

Any of those things can trigger that little voice inside your head that tells you that you must not matter that much or your contributions aren’t valued or that this whole thing is just a grind and really unfair to boot. You may be familiar with that voice. I like to call it the itty bitty shitty committee.

That itty bitty committee is what cranks up when...

Five Reasons You Should Rip the Band-Aid Off Fast

Unless you’re a sociopathic (and I’m sure none of my readers are), you probably don’t enjoy delivering bad news. It could be announcing that the quarterly numbers aren’t on target, letting someone know that they underperformed, admitting that you made a mistake or telling someone that they no longer have a job with your organization.

Working up the courage and intestinal fortitude to do any of those things can be tough. So tough, in fact, that many people find it easier to rip the proverbial Band-Aid off slowly. You know, one excruciating arm hair at a time. You sit on the information. You agonize over what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. How much should you share at once? How will people react? Pluck, pluck, pluck. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

This post is an argument for ripping the Band-Aid off fast. It’s going to hurt either way, so why not get it over with? Here are some thoughts on how and why to do it fast.

The subject of Band-Aid ripping has come up in our house recently as my wife, life and business partner, Diane, has been trying...

Those Emails You Send From Home At Night Are Creating More Problems Than You Know

There's an epidemic no one talks much about because it's rarely seen that way. Even so, it makes no distinctions from one industry to the next; I've seen this bad habit infect the ranks of Fortune 500 companies in technology, retail, manufacturing, health care, pharmaceuticals, hospitality—you name it. The good news, though, is that it's easy to diagnose.

In my experience of working with managers and executives, that starts by asking a single question: "How many of you send out emails from home at night?" Nearly everyone raises their hand.

Reading that may only inspire a shrug—you probably do the same thing. And you might roll your eyes to learn that the pernicious habit of answering work emails after hours is the widespread problem I'm talking about. Far from being news, we've grown amazingly adept at discussing overwork in general and email overload in particular.

But there's one thing that might surprise you about that late-night emailing habit: It's overwhelmingly voluntary, and therefore largely avoidable.

You’re Doing It To Yourself

After the resounding yesses I usually elicit by asking professionals about their evening email habits, I'll pose a...

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