The Age of Anxiety

What a year it’s been so far. A crippling global pandemic, a series of climate-related weather disasters, mass protests in the streets and a painful reckoning with our nation’s racial history. And we haven’t even gotten through the election cycle yet – one that promises to be deeply polarizing, whatever the outcome.  There are so many unknowns right now – …

The Contagion Effect

Another year, another deadly virus to contend with. Back in 2002, it was SARS making all the headlines. Then in 2009 we were introduced to the “Swine Flu” from Mexico. In 2014, it was the Ebola virus originating in West Africa grabbing world headlines. And now, here we go again with coronavirus (Covid-19) sending the world financial markets into a …

Ask, Don’t Tell

It seems almost too obvious to mention, but nobody really likes being told what to do. It’s as if we are genetically programmed from birth to question authority. And yet, how much of our time is spent on a daily basis either giving instruction or admonition. Sometimes I will ask clients to keep track of their hours to see where …

In Brief

Pity the poor Oscar winner who has to sum up a lifetime’s work, thank their agent, manager, lawyer, 10th grade drama teacher, parents, spouse, kids, all in a minute or less – with a mixture of awe, gratitude and humility. 45 seconds by the time you’ve reached the stage (unless you’re Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep, who always seem to …

The Art of Make Believe

Not long ago, I found myself listening with fascination to a radio piece on NPR about a family growing up in Chicago during the 1980s. The father, Jim Steinfel, had been in the Navy as a young man. Now married with 12 children (yes, that’s right, twelve children), he invented an elaborate game in order to amuse, distract and occupy …

Castles in the Air

As a child, Foster Huntington dreamed of living in a treehouse. Now, at the ripe old age of 27, he divides his time between two adjoining treehouses – one to live in, the other to work in – both perched precariously on a grassy hilltop overlooking the vast wilderness of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state. What started out …

The Art of Persuasion

Most of the work I do with executive leaders and teams could be summed up in a single word: communication. How to get it right, and what to do when things occasionally go wrong. Whether you are selling a product, pitching an investor or negotiating a peace agreement in the Middle East – the goal is always the same: how …

Superabundance

As an executive recruiter in the early 90’s, I worked mainly on contingency. That is to say, I only got paid when I had successfully placed candidates in a job. Very quickly, I learned to develop a keen sense of who was a prospect and who wasn’t. The tendency for most recruiters is to focus only on those few “superstars” …

Company of One

“I’ve always believed, that if done properly, armed robbery doesn’t have to be a totally unpleasant experience.” So says the charming hustler played by Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise, the movie that set female hearts a flutter, and finally made him a star. I’ve always felt the same way about “performance reviews” that crop up about once a year …

Compound Interest

When I was in the second grade, my mom took me to our local bank in New Jersey – Hudson City Savings – and opened up an account in my name with fifty dollars in it. I got a little savings book with my name neatly type-written on the cover. I remember feeling suddenly very “adult” – especially now that …