All Writings

Possibilities VS Probabilities

Have you led meetings where there were too many “ideas” from your team? That you couldn’t land on a decision without disappointing someone? That you wondered if you were too “d…

How To Strengthen Mental Mobility – The Skill to Get Unstuck and Move Forward

My client Andrew runs a F&B group. He was trained as a chef. He opened his own restaurant 10 years ago, and now he owns a group of restaurants. In the span of 10 years, he went from someone who ha…

The Mechanism of Small Goals In Skill Building

Say if you want to learn to bake, you won’t begin with a flaming baked Alaska. You start with the humble cookie. Or if you want to complete a marathon, no one in the right mind would try to comp…

Coaching Superstars

What is the #1 challenge of founders/leaders I work with? Help superstars break through. High performing superstars plateau too. They stall at the edges of their will and abilities too. They need help…

Meditation and Leadership

Out of all the leadership drills and skills I explored, meditation has made the most impact on how I led. This article is going to be a deep cut into meditation and leadership. Life is choosing; Leade…

What They Don’t Tell You About Crisis Management

I had to manage a few career threatening crisis. We were in Xiamen and we got into trouble with the local police. It started with an altercation between a few teammates and a Japanese client. The poli…

How Do Tough-and-Great Bosses Make Us Feel?

There are tough bosses, and there are tough bosses we love. Tough-and-great bosses are those who push and criticize us and we still sadistically yearn for more. One of my tough bosses had standards th…

The Flywheel of Intrinsic Performance

Dear founders, business owner, bosses, To max out the potential of your team, apply the “Flywheel Effect” in your people. This concept is developed in the book “Good to Great.”…

3 Elements of Good Bossing

Here are a few elements of good bossing. They are cheesy, but important. Find a room and spend some time with them privately: 1. “Don’t Just Lead, Lead Well” When you cook, you make …

3 Things To Lead Change

As a leader, you often need to lead initiatives. Or create movements. Here are 3 things you can do to herd cats and lead change: 1. Give it a name Cheesy as this might sound, but giving the initiative…

The Leadership Skill We Should All Hone

More often than not, confusion roots in somebody not saying something that needs to be said, or not saying it in a way that can be heard. Jerry Colonna I believe the leadership skill that every leader…

I Am Not A Natural Leader (And That’s Great)

“Do not envy those who seem to be naturally gifted.” I am a slow learner and am socially very awkward. Back in college, I was the concert master of the school orchestra. I was very uncomfo…

Don’t Just Give the Why: Give Context.

Don’t just give the why. Give context instead. It’s a more useful leadership skill. Why? Well, often we need to move goalposts in order to get after the why. Giving context is a good way t…

Don’t Ask “How Do You Prefer to Receive Feedback?”

What’s the best way to tell someone they are doing a shxtty job? Some say a good way is to ask, “How do you prefer to receive feedback?” This doesn’t work, because most people …

Your Illegal Performance Enhancement Drug

I always thought I ran faster with my new Nike running shoes. Actually, I did. A study* found that participants who were made to believe that they were given Nike Golf clubs, required fewer strokes to…

Challenge: Name 5 Female CEO / Leader

Can you name 5 CEOs? Good. Can you name 5 non-male CEOs? I couldn’t. It was much harder than I thought. Here we go: Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture She was an attorney, and was the first CEO appoi…

Pick 1: 4 Core Leadership Skills

Thinking about becoming a better leader? Start with 1 of these 4 skills – 4 core leadership skills according to Peter Drucker: Communication.Teamwork.Self-development. Development of others…

What Skills Are You Working On?

Can you name what you are actually working on? Most of us can’t, especially when it comes to work skills. Here are 3 skills you may consider putting time into: sell tell stories herd genius We a…

Happiness & Resilience

“A human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy” Viktor Frankl Remember this for ourselves, and if you get to lead people, remember this …

The Core Of Leading

No matter what we do, we are dealing with people. Be it running a start-up, or climbing the corporate ladder, or trying to order our bespoke almond extra hot coffee. At the core, we are all trying to …

Founders: When Do You Go All In?

Founders: When did you know it’s time to go all-in? When your hearts and guts tell you? What triggered me to quit my 20 year corp career …What turned daydreams into reality … Wh…

Enough With The Why

This is my favorite quote. “If more information was the answer, we’d all be billionaires with 6 pack abs.” Examples of excessive “information”:“Be vulnerable”“Sleep…

When Life Goals Overlap

I have 3 life goals. Suck less as a boss. Suck less as a dad. Suck less as a spouse. Along the way, I have found a few cool clichés: 1. Leading is parenting; Parenting is leading. Even if this is not …

Defining Culture?

What’s your definition of culture? “How a group of people behave?” “A feeling you use to make hiring decisions?” I spent almost 15 years at Nike and Apple, two brands whe…

Endorsing The Unproven

What are you more skilled at? Saying no to your favorite ideas? Or having the courage and tact to endorse and nurture something unproven? Jony Ive on Steve Jobs, “Steve used to say to me — and h…

What Can You Work On If You Are Not A Creative Boss?

“I can’t come up with breakthrough ideas.” “I am not that creative.” This is a worry many bosses share. The good news is … There is another route for you to be a cr…

Interview Questions Recruiters Never Told Me

Academics and recruiters talk a lot about hiring & interviewing. But interviewing in the real world is quite different.  I wish they warned me of these interview questions that made me cry: 1…

Speed Bumps to Slow Laziness

Our brains crave easy options. It’s not us. Blame evolution. Here is a good “speed bump” to halt this default laziness of ours: Decision making systems. These can be check lists, a b…

Monday Morning Drags

It’s Monday morning. How many of you are filling out weekly reports? Why do so many of us have to endure this pain in the 🍑 task? All weekly reports started from a pure, rational, and meaningful…

Filters on Hiring

Inevitably, all my clients and I converge on one topic. Hiring. Because hiring is hard. It’s such a crapshoot. 🎲 In addition to traditional questions, there are filters that my clients resonate …

Bossing For A Peaceful World

Two roles lead to world peace. Great parents* and great bosses. Don’t go yet. Hear me out. The stories we tell ourselves determine our contentment and effectiveness in life: We tell ourselves st…

A Director Dragged Me Out Of The Room

We were setting up the quarterly trade show, where hundreds of buyers would come and review the newest sneakers and apparel. We rented a convention centre, littered the rooms with life size posters of…

How Bruce Lee’s Correct Posture Help Me Lead

As a Bruce Lee worshiper, I use his teachings to approach my work life. 1st, Bruce Lee on “correct posture🥋:” Correct posture 1 = To be “mechanically favorable for the next move:&#82…

Are You Distracting Your Teams?

Boss, what is your “signal to noise” ratio? Do you tend to focus or distract your team? We are all familiar with the typical distractions …– Boss’ rants– Drawing at…

What Kills Our Team’s Creativity?

Our opinions. Including our “just a thought” “just my 2 cent” opinions. According to science, the “information gap theory of curiosity” discovers that in order for …

The Discipline of 1-on-1s

Here is a hack that improved my approachability (as a boss) 🤨 “Monthly 30 minutes 1-on-1s with every one of your direct reports” During these 1-on-1s, talk about these 3 things: What each …

Raise The Bar?

Let’s talk about the “bar.” You know, the “raise the bar,” “set high bars,” the “definition of excellence” bar. We have been told we need to set t…

If You Want To Be Great At Something, Get A Coach

Serena Williams has been with the same Tennis coach since 2012. In this TED Talk surgeon Atul shared that he had a coach watching him cut people open. Shopify’s CEO Tobias Lütke decided to hire …

How You Make Them Feel

“I love you?” He asked.  “I guess not.”  He was respected by many. I found him manipulative.  He was the kind of bosses who would go full-on “Maya Angelou&…

Sales – Underrated

I am a sales. I never felt comfortable admitting it, until recently. I have been binging podcast episodes from REVEAL by Gong.  I get to listen to people geeking out on end of quarters chant…

How Much Do I Charge?

2% of your monthly income = ACCESS To GREAT Coaching: Because excellent coaching should not cost an arm and a leg.  Because everyone should be able to afford investing 2% of their income into gre…

Run Agile Meetings

So much has been written about meetings.  There is 1 goal from having meetings – reduce confusion.  Yea, some calls it alignment or whatever but I prefer the word confusion. It is prec…

Why You Should Sell Over-prized iPhone Cases

One of the more difficult things to convince the team to sell was official Apple iPhone cases.  They were well crafted, did great in drop tests, but were 4-5 times more expensive than other cases…

To Unearth Your Team’s Ideas? Try The Steelman Technique

Often my Western colleagues would complain, “the team here can’t interview!” “No it’s not the language. They simply don’t think clearly!” They elaborated. The…

Our Choices In The Corporate Rat Race

“Where do you want to be in 5 years?” Could I answer “I don’t want to be in management, because I prefer spending all my time researching and supporting, instead of leading?&#8…

Handwriting and Leadership

Most people’s handwriting show that doing something mindlessly, a million times over, does not yield improvement unless you actively try to improve. So what makes us think that we can improve th…

Practice Curiosity

I have met curious folks that remained merely curious. I have met boring folks that were extremely skilled at being curious. Some say, creativity is more than just being curious. It is the capacity to…

Mastering Motivating Others

Some say, the true source for motivation is the trifecta of “autonomy,” “purpose,” and “mastery.” When we experience all three, we want to hop out of bed and get to…

A Fish Spatula

This is a fish spatula. It does one job really well – turn fish. The feeling of flipping a piece of fatty salmon on a grill flawlessly is magical. I often wonder who on earth decided to create t…

Unnatural Talents

There is natural talent in leadership. You got this far because of it. Then, one day, your goals got bigger your teams grew smarter your world became more complex. Talent is no longer enough. Everythi…

You Suck At Giving Feedback

Do you know what it is like to receive harsh critical feedback? You know, those gut-wrenching/ego-shattering criticisms that humiliate and expose you? If you don’t know what that’s like, y…

Lose Our Shxt At Work?

“Fuxk you guys, do whatever you want. You’re responsible!” Yelled Jobs after he let the team make iTunes available to Windows. *1 “This is a fuxking insult to everything I’ve d…

Building In Public: Jan 2021

I am building in public. In 2019, I left my comfy corporate life and began my career as a solopreneur. Yes. I am 20 years late and I am that odd old guy, sitting in the front of the lecture hall, tryi…

It’s Stupidity, Stupid

The below email blew up on Facebook. I feel bad for the person who sent it. The fact that he felt it was ok to send it said more about the company culture than his own attitude. Plus, he probably neve…

Where Do Leaders Train?

We understand that if we sign ourselves up for a Marathon, we will need to train for it, if you plan to finish it. The same is true for management. We need to train for it, if you plan to get good at …

Push You Over The Edge

“I will push you over the edge and watch you fall. I will be there until you no longer fall. Then I will push you over the next edge.” This should be in the “contract” between …

Thrown Into Leading

Here is the problem with our paths to leadership. We were thrown into it. Yesterday you were the most creative marketing specialist. Today you need to herd marketing specialists; Yesterday you were th…

Mood Follows Actions

Science says, “mood 👉🏼 actions.” If woo woo is your thing, then “what we do is what we are.” Growth junkies hack this to level up. #bossbetter bosses use this to max out their …

Beautiful Things Grow Out of Shit

“Beautiful things grow out of shit.” We forget that. We forget that the first iPhone prototype looked like shit. We forget that Da Vinci created so much crap that he was notorious for not …

Musk Said There Were Too Many MBAs

Elon Musk said we should spend less time in meeting rooms with PowerPoint presentations and more time on factory floors and with customers. So many of us loved what he said. So why aren’t more of us d…

Why Hire Me?

Today is Boxing Day and I still need to post something. This is what I have signed myself up for- post everyday … Alright, let’s go. It has been 1.5 years since I started selling myself. I…

The “F” In Feedback Is …

F = “Follow Up” Check in and see if progress is made.Check and see if the feedback is actually helpful.Tweak, assist, persist,Until we see meaningful changes.  Why?It shows that you c…

I Can’t

I can’t draw because I can’t see I can’t write because I can’t think I can’t cook because I can’t taste I can’t lead because …. ? (Be nice, please?)#bos…

5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Teams Christmas gifts🎄

1st, giving good gifts is one hell of an exercise to up your leadership game. Or love game. Or parenting game. (hey don’t hate the player. Just trying’ to make this LinkedIn-proper) 2nd, c…

Gifts From My Bosses

It’s Saturday. You should go shopping…. The “Understand Rap” book was a gift from a boss who used to drive me crazy. He was vocal, a bit of an ass, and nudged and pushed in ver…

Beefing Up Resilience

The fine-tuning of your understanding of triggers and reactions, is the biceps-curl of beefing up resilience. Or. You can work on your resilience- pay close attention to what triggers you and how you …

Progress is Not Enough

Which route are you on? Many say we should focus on the process and enjoy the progress, instead of just the results. Better everyday. Continuous improvement. #bossbetter I say this is insufficient. My…

How To Give Feedback

We know receiving feedback is often uncomfortable, and because of this, giving feedback becomes uncomfortable too.  There are many methods to make giving and receiving feedback suck less: The “💩 Sandw…

Take Better Breaks 🏖

Yep. This is the kind of #bossbetter stuff I like to work on. How can we hack a 5 minute break so it feels eternally reinvigorating? 𝗕𝗮𝗱 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗽; 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗽Time flies by when you scroll through …

2 Uncommon Practices To Present Better

If you are the kind that enjoys mind-tricking yourself, you might find these presentation skill practices useful.  Olympian’s Secret  Michael Phelps was going for the 10th gold medal of his …

Good Choosing

Do you want to sound smarter today? I have got something for you. mmhmm, #bossbetter sometimes means “sound smarter.”“There is no right choice. There is only good choosing.” Wh…

Act 3: GSDers, Assemble!

We were in Xiamen, and one of us was thrown into jail. We were hosting a 6-day tradeshow (voluntary confinement)inside a convention center where hundreds of clients checked out new sneakers and sports…

Act 2: The Sith Lords of GSDers

If Hank from Act 1 was the ultimate cheer leader Kate had to be the Sith Lord of party poopers. Kate couldn’t get any group going. She just could not get herself to see the bright side of anythi…

Reality Santa 🎅🏼

Santa is your destiny, at home and at work. When parents trick their kids with the Santa story, all they are trying to do is to bring their children a sense of wonder some fun, and to coerce the kids …

Techniques to Asking Useful Questions

Which leads to better communication? Hacking our listening or questioning skills? The latter. Wait, what? “Creativity is problem formulation.” Murray Gell-Mann. Let’s think about it. Usefu…

Are You A “Pro”?

What makes a professional musician different from an amateur? What makes a professional nanny different from an amateur (like me)? Is it the skills? The experience? The DNA? Joe Hisaishi (久石讓), compos…

Act 1: The Get Shxt Done Tribe

For almost a year our store was like this, day after day. There were endless chaos. From customers to teammates, everyone was drenched in stench and dread. Hank’s specialty was motivation at sca…

Hilter’s Authenticity

“Be authentic?” Well, did the world need Hitler to be more authentic? Anchoring our actions on “being authentic” is selfish, lazy, and unprofessional. It is tempting to use aut…

There Are No Dots To Connect

This week’s #bossbetter theme has been “connecting the dots,” an idea Steve Jobs shared in his famous commencement speech. I loved it. Isn’t great to believe that destiny will …

Level: 99

In video games, when your character reaches {Level: 99}, you have achieved the limits of the game. So what are “{Level: 99} professional skills” like? This is the kind of stuff I work on with my clien…

Why Selling Is A Leadership Skill

When I worked for brands like Nike and Apple I was constantly challenged to sell the hyperbolic. Another new Nike Air Max? Sell it. A best iPad yet? Sell it. Brand new Apple laptops with the new M1 ch…

Missing Dots

I shared how I think instead of looking back to connect the dots, we should aim at creating the dots. Today, I want to share the dots I wish I created. I was working with a boss whom I would often rea…

Tell Us About You

Politicians are great at answering this question. So are great founders/CEOs/leaders. But if you are like me, I actually can’t tell you about me effectively.  We prefer working with leaders whom we kn…

Why Should We Talk About Trump & Biden At Work?

Ok, it’s Monday. This Monday is unique, because there is an in the room- the election. Should we talk about politics at work? Well, we don’t always get to decide … What if your teams…

I Don’t Have Anxiety Because …

Today is a holiday. Time to light some candles, eat some cookies, and chill. Anxiety is the party pooper. I have a whole closet of ways to try to combat it. So I am going to unleash them today, so the…

What I Learned from Negotiating Performance with Employees

It took me a long time before I fully accepted that performance intervention was a negotiation between my employees and I. After all, performance review is for both sides to agree on: How we understan…

Why Fail Enthusiastically?

I love this quote. “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm is fragile, especially at work. Think about all the jaded teams we have been on … Susta…

A Simple 2×2 Grid To Manage Performance

A simple 2×2 Grid that transforms you into a better staff / boss:  Both sides fill the boxes out:✍🏻What do you expect from yourself? 📝What do you expect from your boss/staff? Then, go t…

Leadership Skill – Humor

Humor is a professional skill. My boss once put that as one of my “opportunities.” The issue was I overused it, especially when I was nervous. Ha. So I have been trying to make sure my kid…

4 Techniques to Build Your Team’s Confidence

How are you growing as a boss? One clear indicator is how “skilled” you are at strengthening your team’s confidence. You know, that feeling of “we are not afraid to confront th…

Build Trust Fast(er)

I once had a chance to be in a room with a C-level executive at Nike. It was all fun and stuff when she was telling us her stories. The moment she locked her eyes on me and asked me an objectively har…

Can I Coach Losers?

I love what I do because I get to have invigorating conversations with my clients. But this is a looming threat. I don’t think I am growing. My clients self-select. These are folks who understan…

Investigate Great Outcomes

Wrapping up on #reframing, I want to look at using self talks as guard rails- guard rails that prevent us from falling when things are going well. When outcomes are bad, we are more receptive to learn…

The Technique of Reframing

Reframing is one of the most useful self-talking techniques. Many athletes use that to center themselves in the heat of battle. Reframing is to embrace a different perspective of a situation. I know t…

Reframing Touchy Feely Emotions

Let’s continue our journey to explore the dark arts of #reframing. Let’s approach today’s dysfunctional thought a little differently. In addition to rational alternative perspectives…

10 Quick Tips To Lead at Apple … ?

Here is the thing. Nobody expects “10 Quick Tips To Play Violin At Carnegie Hall.” Violinists spend hours perfecting their craft. There is no shortcut to great art. The same is true for le…

Reframing Slow and Fast

Yesterday I tried to convince y’all why #reframing is a useful practice to improving our mindset. Today, let’s look at an example. “I am too slow.” REFRAME:“Slow is smoot…

Coaching With No Certification

I am learning coaching through apprenticeship, not certification. I had to work at understanding it. This is what I have learned, so far:Coaching is: Recognising your patterns and defaults:– emo…

Leading New Apple Product Launches

Apple announced new iPhones. Its stores awaken, roar into motion, and prepare themselves for the most complex human activites on Earth. This is no hyperbole. Hear me out. Everyday, how do we: Unbox th…

I Led Some Large Teams

I led some big teams, such as the store , which had ~500 humans trapped inside it. I used to joke that if our entire store needed to go onto an overseas trip, we would have to charter a 747 and a squa…