Recent Blog Articles

Leadership Means Embracing Discomfort No One Else Will - Clear and Open

Why Performance Reviews Don’t Work and What to Do About it

Mary, a manager in a manufacturing company, recently told me about a very stressful performance review she conducted. She gave her employee, John, some challenging feedback about how poorly he did his job. John was aghast. Not only did he think he was doing well, but he had been expecting a raise. He left the…

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Is Your Unconscious Need for Control Getting in Your Way?

Control is overrated. Your unconscious need for it could be holding you back.  Nate was a CEO and partner in a manufacturing startup who contacted me to help him improve his management team’s communication and help them become more efficient. Poor communication and inefficiency were symptoms, but they weren’t the real problems. The eight-person management team…

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Reductionism vs. Holism: What Type of Outlook is Better to Solve Business Problems?

The other day I was having a check-up, and I decided to have a little fun with my doctor. I asked, “What’s the difference between a living body and a dead one, assuming nothing is broken on the dead one and the person died of natural causes?” “Well, their organs aren’t working,” the doctor began,…

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An Open Letter to Millennials

Dear Millennials, You’re amazing. You shine with a light humanity has not seen before. Your energy is boundless, your passion inspiring, and your sense of freedom and possibility may very well be what saves humanity from its own shadow.  But you’ve got a shadow, too, and I’m concerned. I’ve coached many of you and seen…

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Solving the Right Problem Helps You Avoid a Lot of Extra Pain

When you go to a doctor, usually you bring symptoms. You’re looking for a diagnosis—and a solution to fit that diagnosis.  Patient: My arm hurts a lot! (symptom) Doctor: When did it start? Patient: Right after I fell out of a tree. Doctor: I see. The x-ray shows it’s broken. (diagnosis)  Patient: Well, I did…

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The Opportunity Cliche - Josef Shapiro - Clear and Open

Creating a “Safe Place” so Critical Thinking Can Flourish

As the 2020 presidential race looms in the not-too-far distance, there will be frequent examples among the candidates in which excuses, deflections, and a general lack of critical thinking will be on display. Unfortunately it isn’t just the politicians that are guilty. If you ask 1,000 people if they can think critically, the majority would…

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Foster Employee Engagement - Clear and Open

The Problem with Good and Evil

Our world of fiction is filled with evil characters who seek to dominate the world, immerse it in darkness, let loose destruction and mayhem, and do other “evil” things. While such stories can be entertaining, they contribute to an already less-than-responsible world and complicate accountability. Here’s how… Most people have good intentions. The majority of…

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Leadership, the Long Strange Trip

I just finished watching “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been,” the newish documentary about The Grateful Dead, and I was stunned by what I learned about the life and untimely death of Jerry Garcia. There are lessons here about leadership, success, and facing one’s shadow that can rock your world (pun intended) if you…

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Excuses, Excuses: Changing the Frame

Last week Dropbox raised their prices. Here’s the announcement. As you read it, ask yourself how honest it is: Hi Josef, Dropbox Plus just got an upgrade. And a new price—starting on May 10, 2020 (that’s your next billing cycle), Dropbox Plus will be $119.88 a year (plus any applicable taxes). The all-new Plus plan…

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