What My Son With Autism Taught Me About Being A CEO

Four business (and life) lessons learned by a CEO from his son. You don’t need to be a CEO to apply these findings in the professional and personal aspects of your life.


Talk to Remote Colleagues About How You’ll Work Together

Good advice to define the “rules of engagement” between colleagues working in different locations. I suggest to extend this good practice to any two or more people who need to communicate regularly: What’s the default medium? Email? When should other media be used? Phone? Text? This will improve collaboration and productivity of all the people involved.


You Can Find Meaning Even in Tasks You Don’t Enjoy Doing

Short but sweet article on how to apply the “root-cause analysis” technique to those tasks that you may not enjoy doing. It’s important to do so with a growth mindset, aiming to find the positive side of the task, versus looking for the reasons why such task doesn’t add any value to your work.


The Ten Best New Year’s Resolutions For Your Career

Ten good suggestions on how to grow your career. My top three are:

  1. Ask for feedback: Don’t wait for the annual performance review to find out what you should continue doing and what to fix.
  2. Stop being late: I suggest you apply “zero tolerance” to yourself. Treat one minute late as already being late….
  3. Read: There seems to be a high correlation of reading and being professionally successful. Whatever your starting point is, commit to improve on it.

One final suggestion: Don’t wait until January 1st to get started. Start today.


How To Build A Best Place To Work

Five key lessons and insights in this article to apply to your leadership efforts. I want to comment on the importance of the fourth one: discussing career plans. If employees are not clear on their potential career growth scenarios, chances are they will look for them elsewhere. Make it a 2-way discussion rather than a firm commitment. Your will learn what is important for each employee, and they will hopefully learn of the different potential avenues their career can take.



6 Interview Tips to Ensure You Land The Best New Hire

Six good interview tips in this article. I want to highlight the second one: share the strengths you are looking for in the candidates. Better yet, as a manager, search for those strengths that map to your and/or your team weaknesses.


What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

How often do you face decisions that do not seem to have a clear-cut answer? Do you agonize through the process of choosing an alternative when there doesn’t seem to be a good one?

When I was 19, I faced one of those forks on the road. I was starting my second year of engineering in Peru. My school, a state university, had been suffering due to frequent strikes and instability. In part, this was a reflection of the country going through an unstable period under a military dictatorship.

This led me to apply for a scholarship the year before to study in the United States, since neither my parents nor I had the resources to fund my studies abroad.

After several interviews, tests, and heavy paperwork, I was awarded a tuition scholarship to study engineering in the United States. The good news did not last long, however, as I was expected to cover the rest of the expenses (room, board, books, and others). I politely reminded the scholarship grantors that my family had provided the evidence that we could not cover the expenses and thus we had requested a full scholarship, not just the tuition portion. The answer, as expected, was that a tuition scholarship was all they could offer me at that time, and if I did not want to accept it, there was another student waiting in line.

I got cold feet and told my parents, who were with me during this meeting, that maybe I should stay and finish my studies in Peru. I could always go later to the US to do post-graduate work. There was just too much financial uncertainty around this partial scholarship offer.

It was then that my parents posed the following question: What’s the worst that can happen? The resulting conversation can be summarized as follows:

Today we don’t have the money to fund the full program abroad. However, based on your savings and ours, we could fund the nontuition expenses for the first year. No doubt it will be a stretch, but it’s doable.

So, what’s the worst that can happen? You finish your first year in the US, you run out of money, and you come back to Peru. You will have had an experience abroad that very few people in this country have. You will have significantly improved your English and you would likely be able to get credit in your current school for the courses taken abroad.

Now, what’s the best that can happen? Once you get to the US, you can improve your financial situation through on-campus jobs and additional scholarships. Our financials could also improve, and we can help you as well.

After a few moments of reflection, I chose to accept the scholarship and study in the US. And as the saying goes, “the rest is history.” The worst-case scenario never happened, and the best-case scenario did. I graduated as a chemical engineer three years later.

I was very fortunate to receive this timely and life-changing advice from my parents.

If I had to do it all over again, I would follow the same path. In fact, I continue to ask myself this same question every time I face a fork on the road. I have also used it in my coaching practice when the executive is not clear on a specific choice he or she needs to make.

As you face difficult choices in your life, consider asking yourself: What’s the worst that can happen?

Percy M. Cannon

Managing ‘Up Or Out’ Sounds Harsh But Can Be Effective

“Up or Out” is a phrase I have frequently heard throughout my 35 years in the corporate world, first as an executive and lately as an external coach.
The attached article highlights a very important element around this phrase: It is a key role of managers to do their very best to grow their employees. If, despite the manager’s best efforts, the employee were not delivering up to expectations, then the manager’s role is to manage them out of the job.
My reflection here is for managers to feel accountable for job #1: grow their employees. Should this not work out, then job #2 is to remove the person from their current job in a manner similar to the way the manager would like to be treated.  The employee is a human being and deserves the best possible treatment: is there another job in the company where the employee can have a better fit for his/her profile? Is there anything that manager can do to help the employee find another job?
Net, always manage up. If unsuccessful, manage out, the way you’d like to be managed out.


4 Ways Busy People Sabotage Themselves

In the attached article you will find four good tips to improve your productivity. A concept embedded in the first one is to identify those tasks that are important for you. Are you clear on what your professional and personal priorities are? If you aren’t, I suggest you allocate time to defining these priorities.
If you don’t take this step, you run the risk of allocating your time based on the urgency of the task. This approach, though not optimal, may still be okay if these urgent tasks were also important to you, but what if they weren’t? You would be redirecting your limited time and energy away from those activities that truly matter to you.


Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most

Good 3-step process to make important decisions. I want to highlight the third step: deciding. No matter what process you follow to evaluate alternatives, avoid paralysis by analysis. Remember that choosing not to act is also a decision.