A Bug’s Life Guide to Decision-Making

Photo by fly again on flickr.

Remember the brilliant animated movie A Bug’s Life?  (Disclaimer for animated purists: I haven’t watched the movie in a few years, so this is my mind’s interpretation, which may be technically inaccurate.)

There’s a scene shot next to a camper van.  It’s a quiet evening.  You hear the night sounds of all of the insects chirping and buzzing.  It’s a peaceful evening.

You then see a bug light glowing in the background.  Two bugs are talking as they fly in the area of the light.  One starts to go closer to the light when the other one calls out, “don’t look at the light!”  His bug friend, continuing to move closer to the light, says “I can’t help it.  It’s so beautiful!”

Seconds later you wince as you hear the inevitable buzzing sound and see the flashing light.  The bug screams as the bug light does its job and kills the insect.

The bug light.  Or, as this website calls it, the “electrical-discharge insect-control system.”  It’s designed to rid your outdoors of annoying insects.

So many times in life what may look good isn’t in our best interest.  The key question is how do you distinguish between genuine opportunity and a disaster.  And that discernment isn’t always easy.  What can help guide you?

7 Triggers That Can Transform Your Business

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Daniel Burrus is a world renowned business strategist, futurist and technology forecaster.  He is the CEO and founder of Burrus Research, a firm that helps spot trends for clients to take advantage of coming market forces.  His latest book Flash Foresight is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

In his book, he outlines seven principles of transformation including:

1. Start with certainty

2. Anticipate

3. Transform

4. Take your biggest problem—and skip it

5. Go opposite

6. Redefine and reinvent

7. Direct your future

You provide seven triggers for users to pursue to create their own flash foresights. What’s the history of the development of these triggers?  Which came first?  Did you end up discarding or merging other potential triggers?

Make Work Happy

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On a recent business trip, I was reading Work Happy at breakfast.  A server walking by noticed the book’s title and said, “I’m all for that!  Who doesn’t want to be happy at work?”  Then we started talking about what makes a great workplace.

The author of the book is Jill Geisler.  She leads the management faculty at the Poynter Institute.  She has one of the most popular management podcasts, “What Great Bosses Know,” with over seven million downloads on iTuneU.  When I read her book, Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know, I was thrilled to find so much excellent management advice packed into a single book.

I didn’t just read the book; I put it to immediate use.  For instance, I recently followed some of her advice on giving feedback.  It was remarkably well-received, and I credit Jill for that.  In another example, how do you answer an employee who stops you and says, “Got a minute?” when you truly are swamped and don’t have 20 seconds.  Jill offers tips that I have already used. 

Why didn’t you write this book much earlier in my career?  You could have saved me from making many mistakes!  What inspired you to write it?

Skip, you and I apparently share the same goal: to help managers avoid the mistakes we made as bosses!  Your blog is a great contribution to that end, and for my part, I’ve been teaching, coaching, writing columns and producing podcasts on leadership and management in my faculty role at the Poynter Institute. But the book’s inspiration came from discovering that my “What Great Bosses Know” podcasts on iTunes U have been downloaded millions of times by people all over the world.  It was evidence of an unsatisfied hunger for credible, practical help among men and women on the frontlines of leadership. That’s why I wrote this workshop-in-a-book. 

New Beginnings

Image courtesy of istockphoto/clu

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”  Frank Herbert

Today I’m announcing personal news.  I am stepping down from my role as CEO of Ingram Content Group and turning over the leadership reins to John Ingram.

Five years ago, I joined Ingram in large part because I was excited about the possibilities ahead for the company.  Excited to work with John Ingram, I signed up to accomplish certain goals, and those goals have all been met one by one. 

Michael Hyatt on Leadership

Michael Hyatt is the Chairman of Thomas Nelson.  In addition, he is a New York Times best-selling author, a speaker, and a personal friend of mine.  He also runs a hugely popular leadership blog, which consistently is ranked among the top in the world.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Michael about what he has learned about leaders from his storied career and his social networking experiences.

5 Characteristics of Authentic Leaders

1.  INSIGHT

2.  INITIATIVE

3.  INFLUENCE

4.  IMPACT

5.  INTEGRITY

Michael explained the five characteristics of authentic leaders:

1.  They have insight.

2.  They demonstrate initiative.

3.  They have true influence.