When I started in the field of leadership development (when gas was 89 cents a gallon), the model we used looking like this:

  • When someone got promoted to team leader, supervisor, or manager, they were sent a memo (no e-mail yet) from HR informing them that they have been registered for a mandatory four-week supervisory training course.
  • When they showed up, some (or most) of them kicking and screaming, HR told them everything they had to learn, showed them step-by-step details, made them practice (role plays), and then sent them off to do good and no harm, never to be seen or heard from again.

Sadly, there are many organizations that are still using this outdated method of leadership development. While this model is inherently flawed in a number of ways, the biggest problem with it is that people won’t grow or change unless they want to. They need to be intrinsically motivated to change, and in order to be motivated, they need to have a sense of autonomy, or control. (read more…)

9781118910665.pdfThe stress of having too much to do and too little time to get it all done is a wonderfully modern problem. After all, it can mean you wield great authority, are working on big and important problems, and, in many cases at work, you are well-compensated.

But being “Overworked and Overwhelmed,” as Scott Eblin named his latest book, is not just some problem we’d all love to have. Being overworked and overwhelmed means you are risking your health, your relationships and — despite your endless hours of work — your ability to be productive, to lead and to make smart decisions. You’re probably not prioritizing, not setting boundaries. You’re almost certainly rushing from one task and thought to another so quickly and so often that you aren’t listening to or focused on any of it. When’s the last time you took a deep breath (or three, as he recommends)?

What is this problem caused by? (read more…)

An article this summer in The New York Times quoted extensively from a research study conducted by Silicon Valley psychologist Stephanie Brown which refers to our collective fear of slowing down. Brown found that people who are alone with their own thoughts for more than a few minutes become agitated and seek any kind of stimulation they can find in order to avoid thinking.

“There’s this widespread belief that thinking and feeling will only slow you down and get in your way, but it’s the opposite,” she said.

Case in point: A study by Benjamin Baird and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara, shows that daydreaming and fantasizing unleash fantastic amounts of creativity and allow people to problem-solve because they feel free to look at problems and challenges without deadlines and outside pressures.

Have you had a creative daydream lately? Would you like to? Here’s how to get started. (read more…)

Perhaps you aspire to the corner office, or you want to develop leadership skills that will help advance your career. You can begin to learn what it takes to be CEO by becoming CEO of your own career.

As CEO, here are six responsibilities you must oversee as you lead the enterprise (the business of advancing your career).

1. Focus on your brand

Yes, you are a brand, whether you realize it or not. To act like a brand, consider the following questions:

  • What is it that you could do better than anyone else on the planet? (borrowed and paraphrased from Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great”)
  • What is your purpose?
  • What are you values?
  • What gift do you provide to your colleagues (how do help them achieve their goals)?

As CEO, you will want to understand these elements of your brand and focus your look, your message and your actions to reinforce them. (read more…)

Scott Eblin -- "Overworked And Overwhelmed"This post is excerpted with permission of the publisher, Wiley, from “Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative” by Scott Eblin. Copyright (c) 2014 by Scott Eblin. All rights reserved. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers. Eblin is a former Fortune 500 executive with a leadership development client list that includes some of the world’s best known private and public sector organizations. He is also the author of “The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success” and an occasional SmartBlog on Leadership contributor. Follow Eblin on Twitter and YouTube, and connect with The Eblin Group on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Happy Hour Starts at 6:00 AM

For Alanson Van Fleet, a senior executive in a global financial services company, happy hour starts at 6:00 AM. No, he doesn’t start his day with a Bloody Mary or a mimosa. Happy hour is Van Fleet’s term for the morning routine that helps him show up at his best for the rest of the day. (read more…)