How I Learned: Working Well Under Pressure

work under pressure

“Must work well under pressure” shows up on a lot of job descriptions, but how does one develop the skill to work under pressure? Washing dishes and breaking news taught me to handle pressure and I wrote about it here for AOL Jobs.

How I Learned: Positive Attitude Makes The Difference

positive attitude

Positive energy is contagious. Catch it if you can! Here’s something I wrote for #JobsWeek at AOL Jobs. Check it out here.

The Power of Great Management

There seem to be endless books and articles praising leadership as a virtue and vilifying management as a vice, that somehow mere management is beneath the lofty status of the great leader. Often portrayed as unforgiving, solitary geniuses who demand excellence and punish mediocrity, leaders can’t be bothered with the day-to-day minutiae of running an organization. They are busy singlehandedly building a brave new world while managers are cruel and stupid thugs hobbling us with layers of process and pointless bureaucracy. Leaders lead and managers block the way.

While those stereotypes make for captivating copy, great leadership requires great management. The only thing wrong with management is BAD management.

Company politics so often create an environment that encourages and rewards poor oversight. Suck up, punch down and never stick your neck out. This style of supervision breeds apathy, resentment and lowered productivity. It’s why people leave and organizations limp along. How can we change that?

Excellent managers provide leadership with a series of simple daily actions so teams can GET SHIT DONE.

  • Set goals
  • Make decisions
  • Give clear direction
  • Offer immediate feedback
  • Solve problems

And don’t overlook the awesome power of face time with your team. What we spend so much time trying to accomplish through endless meetings, email, phone calls, IM and conference calls can often be solved instantly and effectively with a few minutes of face-to-face. It takes time, but a lap around the office can be good for you, good for morale and great for the team.

in the end great management provides leadership, so lead from the front, not from behind. Clear the road ahead so your staff can be excellent every day. It’s harder and everything hits you first, but your results will always be better.  What do you think?


Believe in the product, then believe in the vision

Every day many of us find inspiration in the words and ideas of Seth Godin, Gaping Void, Guy Kawasaki and many others. Great minds make it sound so easy. With a little confidence, a strong vision and some connections you will be drowning in VC money and prepping for the big payday. Your product, company or service will change lives and your customers will follow you anywhere. If only it were that simple.

Vision is a powerful thing. It’s alluring, seductive and captivating. We attribute great vision to the leaders and builders who have created amazing things. Working with people who truly possess vision and can deliver on big dreams is a thrilling experience. But few really have the gift of vision and even fewer can execute on it.

Yes, we don’t all get to follow our bliss or do what we love. We can’t all change the world. Our bliss needs to be something people want and will pay for or our bliss won’t pay the bills. We need to be the best at doing what we love or someone else will get to do it. I don’t mean to discount the power of vision, but dreams without a great product won’t cut it in the real world.

I have worked for true visionaries who built amazing companies and incredible products. Through foresight, tenacity, force of will and luck, they were able to deliver on their promises. This success demanded a willingness to disrupt, transform, iterate and invest time, money and resources.

But I’ve also worked with a company whose leader had an incredible vision for where he wanted to take the organization. It was bold and daring. He wanted to create a best in category product that seemed revolutionary. I was hooked. Sign me up and let’s make it happen!

However, there was already a clear, well-resourced leader in the category. Plus, there was little willingness to devote the time, creativity and resources crucial to challenging the leader. You can insist to your staff at a conference table that your product is the best all you want, but until you are willing to execute on your dream you’ve got nothing but an empty vision and a crappy product.

In the end people don’t buy vision, they buy awesome products, they use remarkable services and they love extraordinary companies. Vision may add marketing power and strength to the brand, but it’s all about the end results. Deliver on your vision and your customers will reward you. If not, they will go somewhere else. What do you think?