Category Archives: Thoughts

The Top 2 Things That Keep Women Up At Night

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?What keeps you up at night?? That?s what I asked the women who shared their personal and professional trials and triumphs in my new Forbes eBook, Their Roaring Thirties. The top two things that they?re losing sleep over: work-life balance and finances, including balancing their finances. Some women are questioning the whole
Forbes – Leadership

Do you Know the Difference Between a Performance Issue and a Pet Peeve?

How would you like it if your manager told you that you were putting the toilet paper on the wrong way?

Probably the same way your employees feel when you get on their case about your own personal pet peeves.

Read my latest post at Management and Leadership to find out the difference between a legitimate performance issue and an annoying pet peeve.

Great Leadership

Avoiding S-curve error

The future is bumpy. It comes in spurts, and then it pauses.

It’s tempting to connect two dots and draw a line to figure out where the third dot is going to be. 

In the long run, that’s a smart way to go. For example, if we look at the cost per transistor in 1970 and again today, we can make a pretty smart guess about where it’s going in the future.

But we won’t get there in a straight line.

Consider this graph (from this must-read article):

On Leadership and Assessing Leadership Potential in Yourself and Others

Carla, a Senior Vice-President of a Fortune 200 company, has the challenge of evaluating the natural leadership potential of several team members. She had worked with all of them for some time, but she’s unsure about the best criteria to match the needed skills for the job with the potential candidates. Not only does she […]
Linked 2 Leadership

A Brief History of America’s Attitude Toward Taxes

The changing attitudes toward and laws around income taxes has been a major driver of the rise of America’s modern talent-based, knowledge economy.

Two things strike me as I study the history. First, it is hard to see the historical development of US income taxation as a gradual evolution. Rather, it is characterized by major swings. Second, it is interesting to see a very consistent cycle in the tax treatment of the super-rich. I think that today we are approaching an inflection point. Unless we do something about the current set up, the tax system may end up as a major factor in the fall of that talent economy.

As I see it, the tax system has moved through four distinct eras over the last century and a half. During each era, government and society subscribed to a theory about what taxes were for, which was eventually replaced by another theory, flipping us into another era. Let’s look at how the pendulum has swung and how the treatment of the super-rich has changed. All the data is from the very handy Tax Foundation website. I have inflated all the incomes to 2013 dollars to make comparisons more easily understood.

The First Era: 1862-1915

Learn to Speak Finance and Accounting!

Managers need to be able to hold their own with the Bean Counters. See my latest post over at Management and Leadership for a handy cheat sheet for some of the most commonly used finance and accounting lingo.

You could also tell a couple of accountant jokes, but that’s only going to get you so far and may backfire:

Why did the accountant cross the road?
To bore the people on the other side.

How can you tell when an accountant is extroverted?
He looks at your shoes while he’s talking to you instead of his own.

Great Leadership

People who like this stuff…

like this stuff.

When you work in a genre (any genre), break all the rules at your own peril. Sure, you need to break some rules, need to do something worth talking about. But please understand who the work is for.

If it’s for people outside the genre, you have a lot of evangelizing to do. And if it’s for those that are already in it, you can’t push too far, because they like the genre. That’s why they’re here.

Those who have walked away probably aren’t just waiting around for you to fix it. Those who have never been don’t think the genre has a problem they need solved. Blue sky thinking isn’t really blue sky thinking. It’s a slightly different shade of the blue that’s already popular.