Achim’s Energy Boost

11Jun2018
Rest in Peace

Yes, me too. The news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide stopped me cold in my tracks. And it keeps reverberating.

Bourdain’s means of departure has deeply personal echoes for me. Thomas, my younger brother, also left this world by hanging himself. And I keep thinking of the impact Bourdain had on so many of us, via his writing and his tv series. Bourdain seemed to live the life many of us aspire to but don’t have the courage to “go for.” He seemed just a little bolder, a little more honest, a little more adventurous, a little more in the moment than the rest of us. He seemed to happily navigate on the edge.

We’ll never know what demons drove him to depart last week.

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4Jun2018
Shattering Change

We’ve been there. Many of us too often.

Our employer announces a major organizational change. Seeking more efficiencies. Slashing resources. Merging business functions. Eliminating others. Right-sizing.

Sure, you believe in continuous improvement. But your first reaction is This sucksBig time. And it’s not just a thought. You get this steady pinch in the pit of your stomach. Your chest and shoulders feel tight and tense. Headaches at night. It doesn’t feel good.

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28May2018
Starbucks Corporate Training

On Tuesday afternoon Starbucks will close its 8000 stores in the US to conduct a 4-hour unconscious bias training for its employees.

Hooray hooray.

I have watched the public discourse in response to this training with a sort of incredulous amazement. On social media. In major news publications like The Atlantic and The Washington Post. I am startled by the undercurrent of cynicism. 4 hours won’t make a difference. It’s corporate damage control. You don’t change anyone or anything in 4 hours. What if they don’t get it right?

Come on, people. Really? Any conversation that starts to move the unconscious into consciousness is worth having. Period. No matter how quick or how long it is.

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21May2018
relaxation
14May2018
close intention

I gave my friend Jane a document to review the other day. And I requested some very specific feedback.

I will read it with INTENTION and ATTENTION, Jane declared.

Jane was in the midst of a hectic day. Conference calls, juggling three projects, preparing for a road trip.

Intention and attention. The writer in me is tickled by the alliteration. The words alone bring me joy. More significantly, Jane’s answer offered instant comfort. Jane was going to take this document review seriously.

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7May2018
sorry!
30Apr2018
claim attention

Attention, says Chris Hayes, the moderator of MSNBC’s “All In” program, is the scarcest commodity of the 21st century.

True. In her book “Reclaiming Conversation,” Sherry Turkle writes eloquently about the differences between deep attention and hyper-attention. Hyper-attention is a fractured attention in which we rapidly zip from one point of focus to the next. You and I know. Googling. Tweeting. Facebooking. Instagramming. Activities like skimming and scanning are often associated with fractured attention. Popular claims notwithstanding, hyper-attention does not equal sustained retention.

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23Apr2018
Revealing the truth results in success

When someone asks you a direct question about something potentially embarrassing, is it best to tell the truth or better to withhold information?

The findings on this matter by Leslie K. John, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, are enlightening. They match what many of us, on a gut level, know to be true but often find difficult to practice. John’s research, via a series of 7 compromising scenarios, divides folks into “revealers” and “hiders.”

Down the line, revealers fared better than hiders. They did so in startling ways.

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16Apr2018
authentic leadership

Two separate conversations, same week.

Each chat is with a CEO who talks to me about a person that reports to him. I have been working with each of these reports.

As we talk, it is evident that each CEO desires the exact same thing for his charge.

I want him to be more authentic.

Authentic is a problematic word. Like many buzz words, we have over-used it until we’ve sucked the oxygen out of it. Let me translate. This is what, I believe, both CEOs were saying. I want him to be less polite, less cautious, play it less safe. I want to hear what he really thinks.

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9Apr2018
Leadership Talks

It sounds a bit clinical, I know. But it’s a game-changer in how we conduct a business conversation.

Our talk ratio.

It quantifies how much you or I talk, how much the other person talks in a conversation. Forget about the substance of the conversation, for a moment (mind you, I believe in substance!!!). Let’s keep it basic. In a conversation, what percentage of the time do you talk, what percentage of the time does the other person talk?

If you have an 80/20 ratio, you likely talk too much.

If you have a 20/80 ratio, you likely talk too little.

But it depends entirely on the other person and the situation! you protest. It does – but not quite as much as you think!

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