Recent Blog Articles

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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There IS Such a Thing as Too Much Responsibility

This is different than you’ve seen from me before. I wanted to share a transcript from one of my more unusual clients. If you enjoy it, please let me know, and I can share more like this. 😉   Peter: Everyone I get close to gets hurt. Josef: Say more. Peter: I constantly have to…

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Cut the Bullshit Part Three: They’re Not The Problem - Employee Problems - Clear and Open

Revisiting the Responsibility Paradox

The core of what I teach my clients is that if you want to grow, you have to get used to living with the discomfort of examining how you cause your own problems. It’s easy to find any number of excuses for things that are going wrong in our lives. But once you embrace the reality…

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Your Employees Want a Mentor, Not a Supervisor

I thought I was done with the series I did on The Matrix, but I’m not. That’s what epilogues are for! It’s like a P.S. for writers, and who doesn’t like a good postscript? If you read the series, which started with Part One, you probably appreciate now more than ever that it’s a film…

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Stop Getting Better at Doing Easy Things

I was a springboard diver as a kid. I was good, but I was never great. I understand why now. There are two principles that make the difference between good and great in any endeavor. When you learn to dive, you start with the easy stuff, of course: front dive, back dive, maybe a single…

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