As an FBI agent making an arrest, success wasn’t an option — it was an absolute necessity if I wanted to stay alive. I couldn’t wait for success to show up before I became confident in my abilities. The confidence was there first; the successful arrest came afterwards.

Confidence is a critical building block for a successful career because it is the one mindset that will take you where you want to go. The good news is that confidence is a set of learned skills and beliefs.

No one is immune to bouts of insecurity at work, but they don’t have to hold you back. For entrepreneurs, leaders, and business owners, it means having the grit you need to get through those times of doubt and the presence of mind to learn the lessons they can teach you about yourself and others.

Here are five bulletproof confidence strategies to get you where you want to be:

recite-2fducy1. (read more…)

When I entered the workforce as a part of “the tech industry,” most people could do their jobs (even in tech) without using a computer. Today, every company is dependent on technology, to the point that just about every leader is to some extent a “tech” leader. Yet, we still have leaders who are directly responsible for teams who design, build, test and deploy complex, science- and technology-based stuff.

After years working in tech, I really enjoy supporting these STEM leaders in my executive coaching practice. While many other leadership groups receive training on the people skills a leader must refine, many STEM leaders don’t get that same encouragement. They’re more often sent to technical conferences. I don’t want to play too heavily on stereotypes, but it’s true that many science and technology leaders rise to their level of technical competence long before they achieve the same level of human competence. (read more…)

My mother was an elegant woman who never went out in public without looking very pulled together. Her hair was always well-coiffed, her clothes properly tailored and suited for her petite frame, and her youthful face was stark in its contrast to the date of birth listed on her passport.

“If you want to look good 10 years from now,” she said, “you’d better get started on that today.”

Many years later I realized that my mother’s advice applies to both life and business. The most successful leaders I know are dedicated to achieving results today, but have a keen eye focused on what it will take to build an organization that thrives into the next decade and beyond.

If you pick up any business journal it’s hard to miss that fact that today’s business environment is ripe with disruption in many industries. That phenomenon is demanding a paradigm shift in leadership thinking, and your willingness to embrace it may well determine whether your organization can sustain success into 2026 and all the years that follow. (read more…)

After logging on your email in the morning, do you ever find yourself falling into a rabbit hole of reactions and responses that rob you of a good hour of your day — every day?

What about your texting, social media, Googling, or online gaming habits? Have these behaviors been slowly and steadily growing in frequency over the years? If yes, how does that make you feel about your performance as a leader?

Lately, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who are struggling with these and other distractions. Consequently, they’re stressed out and are having trouble getting things done — or done well. Yet in spite of all this, they constantly check their texts, emails, social media pages, etc. It’s like what Nicholas Carr writes about in his book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains”: “When we are overtaxed, we find ‘distractions more distracting.’”

Distractions aren’t just about time management

Digging deeper in conversations with these same people, they often tell me they’re struggling with time management. (read more…)

Aon’s most recent “Trends in Global Employee Engagement” reprises a familiar refrain:

“Companies continue to struggle with providing growth opportunities for employees and other top engagement drivers. Career opportunities is the top engagement driver globally; however, positive perceptions surrounding this driver have fallen 3 points, to 44%”

Yet again, organizations, talent professionals and leaders have to face the hard data and hard reality that we’ve still not cracked the code on what matters most to employees: career opportunities. It’s not for lack of effort. Companies are investing extraordinary resources in skills training, portals, online systems and processes designed to make this happen. And it all falls short. Here’s why.

Dated definitions: We continue to hold tightly to and perpetuate the illusion that career development operates via the old career ladder, which (in days gone by) allowed for the regular, progressive and consistent movement upward toward increasingly desirable positions. Unfortunately, the ladder no longer exists. (read more…)