Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Success Secrets: Talking to Executives

Interpersonal skills are one of my prime concerns at this point in my life, and there is a wonderful post dealing with parts of that skill set on PhD Confidential entitled Top 10 Ways to communicate with Executives.

The blogger, Dorianne, has a wealth of experience with large corporations, and has clearly honed her skills well. The list is equally important to small businesses, especially in their role as suppliers to larger entities.

In my own previous life in a small business, I found that we could always learn more about several of Dorianne’s points. One, “Present Alternatives” is illustrative. In a meeting with the executive, you are an “arrow in the executive’s quiver”. You may think you have “the solution” to the executive’s problem, and you are ready for a signature and a purchase order. But you may not know even a small bit of WHY you were called into the job in the first place. Maybe it is only to supply a bunch of alternatives. And there you go…you only supplied one. Think that executive will ever call you again?

At any rate, Dorianne has an entire list of insightful techniques of dealing with an executive, because she has been on the other side of the desk. Tis post, and this blog, are definite must-read.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Success Podcasts: LearnOutLoud.com

I just came across a huge podcast site named LearnOutLoud.com which claims to be “your one-stop destination for audio and video learning.” And they very well may be right. I just downloaded 56 lectures on Statistics from UC Berkeley. And it was free.

The list of major subject areas on the site includes:

Arts & Entertainment
Education & Professional
Philosophy Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Self Development
Social Sciences
Sports & Hobbies

With dozens of courses within each major heading. I was also delighted that, in iTunes, the statistics course automatically numbered itself in the order of the lectures. Very cool. Besides, Berkeley, I also saw at least one course from Harvard, among the selection of courses.

Beside the free courses, I see on the site a large selection of paid downloads, many in the $10.00 range. The download categories include:

Arts & Entertainment (51 items) Biography (63 items) Business (138 items) Education & Professional (64 items) History (154 items) Languages (49 items) Literature (274 items) Philosophy (48 items) Politics (79 items) Religion & Spirituality (325 items) Science (77 items) Self Development (1010 items) Social Sciences (107 items) Sports & Hobbies (37 items) Technology (4 items) Travel (21 items)

I expect to spend many happy hours going through all the possibilities on this site. We do live in fantastic times.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Success Secrets: Can You Spot Leadership?

I came across a great post on The Practise of Leadership blog entitled Spotting a New Leader. In my experience with leaders, these qualities are spot-on. Please read the entire post. In brief, the characteristics to look for are:

Leadership in the past.
The capacity to create or catch vision.
A constructive spirit of discontent.
Practical ideas
A willingness to take responsibility
A completion factor
Mental toughness.
Peer respect
Family respect
A quality that makes people listen to them

Since this blog also covers personal success, I think we should ask ourselves: "How Many of these qualities do I need to inspire myself?" If we aim to develop mental toughness, a willingness to take on responsibility, etc, we can first lead ourselves, and then, perhaps, others will also choose to be led by us.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Success Podcasts: Bloomberg on the Economy

Bloomberg on the economy is one of my favorite podcasts. And yesterday, host Tom Keene had a fascinating conversation with Robert McTeer, the distinguished and brilliant former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas , who is also quite visible on numerous business TV shows and cable channels. I was delighted that , int he interview, McTeer, in effect, said that he (like myself) uses his iPod almost exclusively for podcasts, and is a special fan of the Bloomberg podcasts. He confirmed my growing intuition that these podcasts far beyond the ordinary. Over the last year, I began to understand that the Tom Keene podcasts were unique: brilliantly insightful interviews with the top minds in world finance, presented on a daily basis. I, for one, felt that my “mental model” of the world economy was slowly coming into focus as thnaks to my daily dose of Bloomberg.

There is something very special about Tom Keene, who clearly has profound economic knowledge, and the ability to demonstrate detailed understanding and fascination with each and every guest on his program. And he seems to know every book, theory, and equation in existence. Keene podcasts anywhere from one to three or four podcasts per day, and the sum total of his podcasts adds up to a cross-section of the brightest and most penetrating (not to mention up-to-date) thinking on economics and investment available to the podcast listener. I find that ongoing listening to Keene creates a shifting “cloud of knowledge”, a broad-brush consensus about current topics in the economy and investment world. And I also find that this consensus generally gets it right as far as predictions and trends go.

This multiple view, coming from so many eminent investment professionals and economists, is the closest thing most of us will get to an ongoing conversation with the “best and the brightest” in their field. The sheer volume of quality interviews, combined with up-to-the-nanosecond timeliness, is something that could not have happened before the Internet. These are fun times indeed.

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