Week of April 15, 2019

How to “Heimlich” Yourself

The Heimlich maneuver has saved thousands from choking.  Unfortunately, we often “choke” on more than just food.  It’s the rare individual who hasn’t “choked” at a critical moment due to fear, anxiety or some other emotion.

There usually isn’t someone around in such situations willing or able to perform an ‘emotional Heimlich’ on us, so it might be helpful to know how to “unchoke” yourself!  This short article from Ideas.Ted.com (and accompanying video at the end) will show you How Not to  Choke Under Pressure.

This may be a good article to pass on to the young people in your life as well, as they face upcoming final exams or that first job interview.

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Are You a Member of a Non-Team?

Business often looks to sports for team metaphors in trying to encourage their employees to work together. Patrick Lencioni, author of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team is becoming alarmed that teams in general and sports teams, in particular, are at risk of becoming a matter of form than substance. 

He recently posted an article on Linkedin that looks at the decline of teamwork in sports due to young players being coached to be more focused on their individual careers and potential of the enormous financial payoffs that the top performers are able to garner.

Will this trend spread beyond sports to business? Is it already? How about your organization?

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In Praise of Late Bloomers

Helicopter Parents, the recent college admission scandals and the competitive nature of the workplace have put enormous pressure on young people to relentlessly prepare for success.   It may be well-intentioned, but does it work?  Rich Karlgaard of Forbes Magazine isn’t so sure and asks that parents of college-age kids reconsider the ‘Late Bloomer.’

In a new book, Mr. Karlgaard argues that “we’re destructively overdoing the ‘You must be on the road to big success when you’re young, or you’ll never really amount to much’ ” mentality.  Check out this “short review of Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement.”

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What Will Culture “Eat” Next?

Someone (reputedly Peter Drucker) once said “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.”  The next question is  ‘what will it eat for lunch?’   This article from the Chief Executive suggests that it may be your enterprise value.   One study says that the percentage of your firm’s value (exit or otherwise) represented by culture may be far higher than you might think.  To find out just how high, check out “Culture Ate Strategy for Lunch-Now It’s Eating At Your Value.” 

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Econ Recon:  “An Economist Walks Into A Brothel….”

At its core, executive leadership is about two things; opportunity and risk.  Understanding the nature of risk (by which I mean the uninsurable kinds such as business risk) and how to minimize it is core to managing an enterprise and….one’s self

A great first step in understanding risk, and coping with it, is a new book whose title makes you think a joke is coming: “An Economist Walks Into a Brothel (and Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk).”  The author, economist Allison Schrager talks us on a tour of five principles for dealing with risk including a visit to a legalized brothel, surfers and sharks, magicians, horse breeders, and a general who commanded combat troops in Iraq.

Check out this quick review of Dr. Schrager’s book from Bloomberg Businessweek.  Make time for this fun and insightful read….you’ll be a better leader for it.