Picture Your Gold Medal

In keeping with the Olympic spirit of the upcoming winter games in Sochi, we’ll start with a story: Six months before the summer Olympics in Sydney, say Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in their Harvard Business Review article, "The Making of a Corporate Athlete," diver Laura Wilkinson broke three toes on her right foot while training. Unable to go into the water because of her cast, she instead spent hours a day on the diving platform visualizing each of her dives. With only a few weeks to actually … [Read more...]

Becoming a Clutch Leader

Your basketball team is down by 1 with 5 seconds to go. Are you the player that demands the ball and calmly sinks the game winning shot? Or are you the player that wilts under pressure and fumbles the ball out of bounds? In sports, the analogy is easy, and athletes spend countless hours working on it. But as Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz point out in their Harvard Business Review article, "The Making of a Corporate Athlete," very few leaders develop the skills necessary to star under the most … [Read more...]

Delegate and Elevate

I recently wrote about the important leadership skill of decision making and focused on the “how.” And equally important, for the sake of living up to my moniker and saving you time, is the helping with the “what.” As leaders, we play Whac-a-mole every day. Tons of info and requests bombard us from all corners forcing us to try to quickly synthesize and prioritize. What needs to be addressed right now? What can wait? And then those lists change as quickly as something else hits our … [Read more...]

A Bad Decision is Better than no Decision

The dog days of summer are upon us, which means orientations, vacations (hopefully) and strategic planning meetings for the upcoming school year. This is our rare opportunity to elevate to 10,000 feet, think more broadly about goals, processes, people, etc., before the frenzy of the new recruitment cycle starts in fall. And as a leader, it’s also time to make some decisions to shape the upcoming year. Fascinatingly, one of the most crucial aspects of leadership that is rarely, if ever, taught is … [Read more...]

Father Time’s top 5 ways in 2013 to save time and money

It’s budget time again! And unless you are one of the lucky few, it’s otherwise known as that friendly reminder that you are once again supposed to do more with the same (or less) resources. As an entrepreneur who started from nothing and has never had millions in venture capital funding, I eat, breathe and sleep this stuff and am passionate about helping other leaders save time and money so they can perform at a high level with less. Back by popular demand, here are my top 5 ways to free up … [Read more...]

Bench Strength

“The most important decisions you make aren’t what decisions, they are who decisions.”   -- Jim Collins How much is a phenomenal staff member worth? The difference between meeting your goal or exceeding it? Making your budgeted goal or not? Yet if you don’t have an open position on your staff, how much time last week did you spend on finding top notch people? It is easy to be reactive when it comes to the people part of our role, yet it really doesn’t matter how great your institution is or … [Read more...]

Dolly the Sheep

For my money, the most challenging aspect of being a leader is being a leader of people. When I think about where I spend the most time, and where I’ve faced my most challenging issues, it always comes back to the people. The art and science of leading people can get remarkably complicated, so much so that it sometimes feels like you need a PhD in psychology on certain days. Two of your team members can’t stand each other and the office is choosing sides. Your top performer lost his/her mojo and … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolutions are for Sissies

The ball dropped and 2013 is here, and along with it the cliché of a fresh start. But being I’m Father Time, after all, I am a sucker for the perspective a new year brings. Now the question is, what are you doing about it? New Year’s resolutions? Are you still wearing a pager? Those are soooo 1992. Could there be bigger time wasters? People spend a bunch of time and mental energy to come up with them, spend a bunch of time in January following them, and by March are spending a bunch of … [Read more...]

A Leader’s Most Important “Employee Birthday” Quiz

Here’s the quiz you, as a leader, should ace this holiday season. First write down the names of all your staff members (hopefully you can ace this one, otherwise things will go downhill quickly :)). Next to each, write the names of spouses or significant others. Then, write at least one thing that each person is passionate about. Finally, and be honest on this one, if you were to buy each person a personalized gift that they would truly enjoy (fruitcakes and Target gift cards do not … [Read more...]

The Magic Hour

Too many people spend their day reacting instead of being in control and spending time on the most important things. As a result, they work a lot but accomplish only a little, and the mountain of things to do never seems to dwindle. This occurs because most people do not stop to first plan their day. The whims and fires of each day control them, as opposed to them ensuring their time is spent on the highest value tasks. A common myth Hyrum Smith writes about in The 10 Natural Laws of … [Read more...]