4 Ways My Speech Therapist Can Help You To Build More Successful Relationships

The best communicators, like the best designers, use clean lines

Photo courtesy of Mitchell Jordan

Growing up stuttering I spent every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon with a speech therapist. I cannot remember how many of them I had for the simple fact that it was a lot, for the simple fact that I stuttered a lot. However, all of that changed the day I walked into an office and before I could introduce myself, the woman standing before me held up her hand and said, “Don’t worry about talking, that will come.”

I was obviously taken back by someone who was being paid to help me learn how to talk, telling me to shut up, but I also felt relieved so I did what she said and quietly sat down.

For the next thirty minutes or so we sat across from each other in complete silence, until sensing that I was beginning to finally relax, my therapist broke the ice and asked me a question. To my surprise, my response came out effortlessly, that is until I realised that I wasn’t stuttering and I got excited and fell right back into machine gun mode. But the important thing was that she showed me for the first time in my life that if I could control myself, I could control my stutter.

Over the following weeks my therapist built off of my new found, yet still shaky confidence, and introduced to me four more ways to help me get over my stutter. And interestingly enough, many of the lessons she taught me some 20 years ago, are the very lessons I now teach to entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals at all levels who are looking to make better connections.

1. GO FIRST:

As a teenager I was petrified to meet new people and when I brought this up to my therapist her response scared me even more. Over the weeks she had noticed that when I went first and initiated a conversation I had much more confidence and stuttered much less. So when it came to helping me get over my fear of meeting new people her answer was simple: “Michael, go first.”

Often times the difference between good to great comes down to those that have the most diverse groups of friends and contacts. Being proactive with meeting new people has a beautiful way of compounding. You never know where someone you meet today will end up 5, 10, 15 years from now. Ask about the family of the person who holds the door for you as you enter the office each day. Inquire about what the young person is studying who serves you coffee each morning. Those who initiate the most conversations, not only create successful careers, but more importantly, they create meaningful lives.

2. SMALL WORDS MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPACT:

One of my biggest problems with my stutter was that I would get hung up on big words. Quickly noticing this, time and time again my therapist would stop me and say, “Big words do not impress anyone, especially if you stutter when you use them. I know what you want to say, and I know that there is an easier way to say it, so say that instead.”

The best communicators, like the best designers, use clean lines. Pick up a book by Jack Welch, Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Ryan Holiday. Watch a presentation by Steve Jobs, Seth Godin or Simon Sinek. You will find easy to digest, bite sized words because they know that saying less always says more — because saying less is more memorable. KISS — Keep It Stupidly Simple.

3. FOCUS ON YOUR BODY AND BREATHE:

When I asked my speech therapist how she was able to control my stutter better than I could, she responded by pulling out a video camera and recorded me for the next 20 minutes. When I began to get stuck on something, I noticed that I would try and push through instead of slowing down, taking a deep breathe and starting over again. In addition to erratic breathing patterns, my body language was all over the place. As soon as I started to stutter or get nervous I would drop my shoulders and my head which impeded my breathing even more resulting in me stuttering even more.

When faced with a seasoned negotiator or business owner, they not only control what they say, they control how they say it, remaining cool from the word go. At first glance they may make it look easy, but for even the most experienced business executive, it is a skill they have developed by taking the time to observe themselves in their never-ending journey to become more self-aware.

There is no better way to get good at this than getting down on paper a handful of your personal stories and recording yourself on your computer. The difference from “take 1” to “take 10” will be immediately evident. You will clearly see where you can improve your body language and facial gestures, when you need to raise your voice to drive a point home, and when to let the power of silence do the speaking for you.

4. SHUT UP AND LISTEN:

Shortly into our sessions, my therapist told me that my biggest problem was not my stutter, it was the fact that I did not listen to other people. And she was dead right. I would get so stressed out about what I was going to say next that I would not listen to the person talking to me.

As homework each week, my therapist made me carry around a little notebook and after each new person I met I had to write down as many notes about them as I possibly could in an attempt to help me to stop focusing on myself and to start focusing on other people. From the color of their shoes, to their dogs name, to their weekend plans, no detail was too small, in fact the smaller the better.

Human beings are complex creatures, no doubt, but when it comes to relationships they are actually quite simple. People want to spend time with people they trust and people that show interest in them. It just so happens that being an attentive listener takes care of both of these.

As I read over the words above and think back to my time in speech therapy I cannot help but this about how funny life is. One minute you can be entering a room, dreading what is about to come next, and moments later you can meet someone who has the potential to change your life forever…..just as long as you remember the words of my therapist and you shut up and listen.

Michael Thompson is a communication coach and co-owner of Corpore Wear currently residing in small town Catalunya with his dream family.

If you enjoyed this story, please click the 👏 button and share to help others find it! Feel free to leave a comment below.


4 Ways My Speech Therapist Can Help You To Build More Successful Relationships was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dude, that’s rude!

Cautionary tales from the freelance coalface

By Alex E. Proimos (http://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/4199675334/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Through choice, I’ve been a contractor in the UK’s technology sector for 16 years, on and off. I am contacted regularly, via LinkedIn, by recruiters from agencies, and by HR teams within tech organisations. There are some notable exceptions, but so many are plain rude, by my standards at least.

Here are some of the recurring patterns (warning: contains swears):

The Disappeared

“Hi Jo, I hope your (sic) well”, or similar. There may follow some flannel about my profile or maybe some hyperbole intended to spark my enthusiasm for a new challenge. Then a rough sketch about a potential contract. Am I interested?

By now, I’m twisted and cynical about these approaches, but occasionally they do lead to some interesting work. If I’m in the market, I may — against my better judgement — reply.

“Yes, I may be, thanks for asking me. But I’m not available full time; is the role flexible?”

Silence. The recruiter is gone, never to be heard from again.

The polite thing (which I’ve seen from good recruiters) is a swift response to say, “No, sorry, not this one, but I’ll keep you in mind in for future roles that are.”

How long did that take? 1 minute or less? I will probably never hear from them again, but at least we both got some closure from the conversation.

Recruiters: if you make unsolicited contact with a freelancer about a potential role, and they get back to you politely to ask a question about it, why disappear? Even when you don’t know the answer or don’t want the hassle of negotiating a part-time role, you can surely shoot off a quick mail and close the discussion that you initiated. Did you found a better candidate? Also fine. You can still be polite to anyone you contacted who bothered to reply to you.

Does this happen to you? What’s your approach? I’m wondering if the best thing to do — when you’re interested in a role — is to call the recruiter directly, have a one-time synchronous transaction that you can close, and move on.

The Ghost

Worse than The Disappeared is The Ghost. These get you half-way down the path to a contract, only to ghost you. You have a good initial discussion, they send you a job specification, which you read diligently and decide — after some research — that you could make a good job of. You respond positively, so they ask about hours, when you can start, your hourly rate. So far, so enthusiastic.

You send through the information they’ve requested. They don’t respond.

Well, fuck you.

You give it a few days, and tentatively check in to see whether you need to start working for them in 2 days time, as they seemed really keen that you do so in their previous mails. They don’t respond. They never contact you again.

This has happened to me countless times over the years. If you get a better candidate, or the contract is filled by another agency, or whatever, you can still let your other candidates know, can’t you? It must be possible to spend 2 minutes writing a short explanation and shutting down the discussion politely.

Or am I being unreasonable?

This doesn’t only happen for freelance jobs. I once went for an interview at a well-established publisher in London. It went great, I had a fantastic discussion over 2 hours with several interviewers, into which I had put time preparing, and paid a not-unsubstantial train fare. All was friendly, enthusiastic and positive. I left under the impression that it went well.

I never heard from them again.

When I contacted them a week or so later to find out what was happening, I was ignored. I emailed them again, only to be treated like a crazed stalker for wanting to know whether I would be passed over, or asked for another interview, or offered a job.

From now on, I’m going to push back on the ghosts. If I don’t hear anything after a reasonable period, you can be sure I’ll be calling to find out what’s going on, even if it does make me look like a bunny boiler. Maybe having the conversation with me will cause the ghost to reflect and change their behaviour next time.

Bunny, Boiler by Bamblesquatch https://flic.kr/p/dCiFGy (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Time Suck

Over the years, I’ve applied for a few jobs where I’ve been asked to read and review website content or documentation, and offer a reasoned critique, then re-write some of it to show how I would improve it. Or I’ve written 1000 words of new copy on a subject of the hiring company’s choosing. Or I’ve been registered for a custom recruitment portal that needed me to cut and paste my portfolio, paragraph-by-paragraph, whereby all the formatting was lost…along with my will to live.

Then nothing. (London 2012 Olympics — I’m looking at you. I’m assuming I didn’t get that job, by the way).

Maybe I’m not what you want? A five minute read of my resume would have been sufficient for a hiring manager to realise that I’m either under- or over-qualified for what they want, or they need someone with PHP experience or a UX designer, or whatever thing that I’m not. You didn’t need to waste my time before deciding that.

Maybe after you set me the task, the role got pulled? That happens, you can share the information because in this industry, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But a silent brush off, after you’ve chewed through my time? It’s just rude.

There’s not a lot you can do about this pattern. I’ve learnt to clarify up-front how much of my time is expected on the task, and I’m forward about my expectations if I put that time into it. Any other ideas to avoid the suck?

The Cloak of Invisibility

This is a classic, which every creative will be familiar with. It’s unavoidable if you want to pitch an idea or content to a team you’ve not worked with previously. You carefully craft the submission, read the guidelines, edit it some more and send it off.

You hear nothing.

This isn’t so much rudeness as thoughtless. I expect to be rejected much of the time. It’s not a crushing blow to my ego, and I’m not whining about never getting my crazy 3am ideas published. But I would like an acknowledgement that my submission ever happened.

If you’re running a serious publication, you want good content to include and promote. You are actively reviewing pitches and you are making judgements about them. So, fuck it, you can take 2 minutes to reply when someone has taken the time to submit something that meets your submission criteria. Or, if you have a high volume of submissions and that’s impossible (which I doubt, as people like Quincy Larson and David Smooke always manage to respond politely, and they probably have more content coming across their desk than you), how about setting up an automated response:

“Thanks for reaching out. We’ve received your proposal, it will be evaluated and, if you don’t hear from us withing 72 hours, we won’t be taking it further”.

That’s not hard, eh?

Deep breath and calm. But, while I’m on the subject…

This goes out to the beautiful, shiny, Medium publications, with thousands of followers and bountiful supplies of life-changing articles.

Please can you make your submission guidelines easy to find, and keep them up to date? And explain how you prefer that we pitch to you? This will help me not to feel like a failure when I send you something and it’s ignored. At least I will know that I followed the correct process and didn’t send my lovingly crafted pitch to an old email inbox or former employee, where it is invisible and unloved.

At least I’ll know it’s you, and not me.

I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing these patterns of behaviour, and you probably have other examples. Maybe it’s normal for those in employment to rush from task to task, and not pay too much attention towards candidates, even though they are potential colleagues or commission, in the case of agency recruiters. But, whenever I’ve been employed and working with freelancers, or hiring team members, I have been careful to make sure communication is open, respectful and complete.

Who else has a similar tale from the freelance coalface? Please share it in the responses below, and thank you for your time, in advance!

Jo Stichbury is a technical writer and developer, who freelances in the UK. She is available for ghosting by technology startups on a regular basis, and can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Dude, that’s rude! was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Hello New World of “Artificial Intelligence”

Why Everyone Must Prepare for the “Automation Revolution”

We need to get smarter about emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain.

What triggered this thought was a visit to an industrial factory last week.

We all know that something is happening. And everyone seems to agree that our future will be automated. But, we tend to believe that it will only — or mainly — affect repetitive “manual labor”.

Automation of “knowledge work” is not on many people’s agenda.

But, is this correct?

Or, is it a naïve view that will be detrimental to business and society?

The factory visit made me think about these issues and what “knowledge workers” — executives, managers, advertisers, lawyers, accountants, etc. — need to do to remain relevant in the coming new world.

The “Disappearance” of Manual Labour

The visit was an eye-opening experience. I will not go into details, but the factory belongs to a well-known global brand that has a strong market position.

In 2005, the factory employed 2,700 people, mainly working on the production line. Today, that number is a little over 800.

But the dramatic reduction in the number of employees was not the only difference from 12 years ago. The type of work has also completely changed.

Manual labor doesn’t really exist anymore. These activities have been replaced by robots and machines. Most of the workers are now system operators, necessary to control and monitor the automated production processes.

As it was explained to me, there were three reasons for this change:

  • Increasing competition from low labor cost countries.
  • Automation of manual labor.
  • The products that were manufactured at the plant/factory were “disrupted” by new innovative products.

Automation was necessary to stay ahead of the competition. Machines are simply able to do the work better, faster and more efficiently. It also enabled the company to focus on innovative applications of the “older technologies”.

It was basically a “choice” between automation or oblivion.

And What About “Knowledge Workers”?

Discussing this experience with other colleagues on the visit, their first reaction was a little surprising: “Automation is limited to ‘blue collar’ jobs in specific sectors”.

When pushed, everybody seemed to accept that “knowledge work”, such as the finance, legal and marketing industries, will also be affected by automation. But, this will mainly be limited to the application of automated tools for very specific tasks.

For instance, artificial intelligence will automate routine activities. Knowledge workers will still be needed to work on specialized, high value activities.

This sounds wonderful, but I think it is a complacent view.

The Automation Upheaval Won't Be Limited to Blue-Collar Jobs

I can imagine the production-line workers making a similar argument in the past. They often denied the future and when it arrived, they weren’t prepared.

A better approach might be to observe and learn from the factory example, and adapt the following five lessons in order for knowledge workers to remain relevant in the coming new world of artificial intelligence.

The “5 Lessons”

Here are the lessons that I distilled from my visit to the factory:

#1 — All of Our Futures will be Centered around AI

On one point, my colleagues are right: artificial intelligence will take over and automate standardized “knowledge work”.

In fact, many knowledge workers are already doing standardized work, such as reviewing contracts, conducting mortgage servicing operations and dealing with compliance issues. These can easily be (and are already being) automated.

What is worrisome, however, is that “junior” knowledge workers are usually “trained” by doing precisely this kind of routine activity. Automation will thus have a significant impact.

Much of what currently passes for “training” will soon become irrelevant.

This issue might be partially solved by training knowledge workers how to become “operators” of the artificial intelligence tools and understand artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But, this would mean that recruiters — HR — would need to look for a very different skill-set.

#2 — Big Data “Rules” the World

Big Data and predictive analytics are going to play a crucial role in the activities of knowledge workers. It will spark a revolution in how research is conducted, customers are identified, products are advertised, conflicts are solved, etc.

The world's most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data

This change will undoubtedly have an impact on “employability”.

We will need more “data-savvy” professionals.

#3 — The Disruption of Next Generation Knowledge Workers

Some innovations will replace and disrupt traditional “knowledge work” completely. Think blockchain technology and smart contracts.

If you believe (like I do) that any industry that is characterized by bureaucracy and prone to human error, fraud and hacking will be impacted by blockchain technology and smart contracts, it is obvious that knowledge workers have to get a much better understanding of these innovations.

The visit to the factory taught me that there is no room for complacency.

In the digital age, every aspect of work is potentially subject to disruption. And this disruption will be constant and relentless.

The conclusion? We have to put lifelong learning on the agenda.

#4 — Everyone Must Be a Creator and an Explorer

In order to compensate for the loss of standardized work, knowledge workers will have to find and explore niche or new areas.

Again, this will require a better understanding of new technologies.

For instance, social media and drones will provide new opportunities in marketing and business. Platform companies need very specific legal advice. Cyber security and privacy have to be understood with new technologies in mind.

In all of these examples, a premium will be on finding creative solutions. The application of past experience or established templates will be much less relevant.

#5 — Everyone Must Master the Art of Storytelling

Since the digital age is changing the way we work (both white collar and blue collar), it is necessary to prepare for the “automation revolution”.

The days of a settled and predictable career path and life-time employment are over. We have to constantly learn and position ourselves in a fast-changing market.

This can only be done through personal “branding” and “storytelling”.

Yet, What Still Worries Me . . .

I am not worried about a future in which AI and other emerging technologies are at the center of our lives.

Our ability to develop and then adapt to new technology is remarkable.

Within one generation, everyone has developed a “sixth sense” of being hooked to the screens of their smart phones without bumping into things or other people.

Most such changes seem to happen gradually and without us even noticing.

But, we need to do more to prepare ourselves and the next generation for the future. Particularly, training and education must change.

Besides technology, we have to teach “soft” skills that help navigate an automated world of “intelligent machines” and add value to personal branding. This became again clear from last week’s visit.

And this does worry me. Whenever I discuss this with my colleagues, I am often met with scepticism and resistance.

Reforming traditional models of education and training will be difficult, but I will nevertheless embrace the “five lessons” and incorporate them into my teaching.

Thank you for reading! Please click and hold the 👏 below, or leave a comment.

There is a new story every week. So if you follow me you won’t miss my latest insights about how the digital age is changing the way we live and work.


Hello New World of “Artificial Intelligence” was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Newly Discovered Fossils Reveal Earliest Complex Life on Earth

Before Life Exploded

An international team of scientists, including paleontologists from the University of Manchester, have dug up what could be the fossils of the earliest complex life forms on Earth. In a study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, the researchers said they’ve uncovered a set of trace fossils — tracks and burrows left by organisms capable of movement — in sediments located in the Corumbá region of western Brazil.

“This is an especially exciting find due to the age of the rocks – these fossils are found in rock layers which actually pre-date the oldest fossils of complex animals – at least that is what all current fossil records would suggest,” researcher Russell Garwood from Manchester’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences said in a press release.

Image Credit: James St. John

While the fossils aren’t exactly physical remains or body parts, the findings are still telling. These trace fossils date back some 541 million years ago, from a period of transition between the Ediacaran and Cambrian Periods. The latter is that moment in the Earth’s biological history when complex life exploded. Plus, the burrows were actually just 50 to 600 micrometers or microns in diameter, suggesting that these early complex organisms were only about the size of a human hair strand.

“The evolutionary events during the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition are unparalleled in Earth history. That’s because current fossil records suggests that many animal groups alive today appeared in a really short time interval,” Garwood explained.

C’est La Vie

Advances in modern technology have allowed us to do this. With the new study, for instance, the researchers used a process called X-ray microtomography to build 3D computer models of the trace fossils without damaging the original burrows. To ascertain the exact age of these creatures, the researchers used a DNA studies approach that traces an organism’s evolution from a common ancestor called “molecular clock.” Lead author Luke Parry from the University of Bristol said this makes their discovery important, as it “highlights an unexplored window for tracking animal evolution in deep time.”

The Evolution of Human Understanding of the Universe [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

It would seem then that organisms capable of movement came about earlier than previously thought. Indeed, our understanding of how life came to be on Earth continues to evolve, as researchers find more evidence that suggests life could have originated on land and not just in the oceans, as well as fossils providing clues as to how complex life may have originated. Not only that, understanding the origins of complex life on Earth also better equips us to discover complex life beyond Earth.

“Our new fossils show that complex animals with muscle control were around approximately 550 million years ago, and they may have been overlooked previously because they are so tiny,” Parry continued. “The fossils that we describe were made by quite complex animals that we call bilaterians. These are all animals that are more closely related to humans, rather than to simple creatures like jellyfish. Most fossils of bilaterian animals are younger, first appearing in the Cambrian period.”

The post Newly Discovered Fossils Reveal Earliest Complex Life on Earth appeared first on Futurism.

Newly Discovered Fossils Reveal Earliest Complex Life on Earth

Before Life Exploded

An international team of scientists, including paleontologists from the University of Manchester, have dug up what could be the fossils of the earliest complex life forms on Earth. In a study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, the researchers said they’ve uncovered a set of trace fossils — tracks and burrows left by organisms capable of movement — in sediments located in the Corumbá region of western Brazil.

“This is an especially exciting find due to the age of the rocks – these fossils are found in rock layers which actually pre-date the oldest fossils of complex animals – at least that is what all current fossil records would suggest,” researcher Russell Garwood from Manchester’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences said in a press release.

Image Credit: James St. John

While the fossils aren’t exactly physical remains or body parts, the findings are still telling. These trace fossils date back some 541 million years ago, from a period of transition between the Ediacaran and Cambrian Periods. The latter is that moment in the Earth’s biological history when complex life exploded. Plus, the burrows were actually just 50 to 600 micrometers or microns in diameter, suggesting that these early complex organisms were only about the size of a human hair strand.

“The evolutionary events during the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition are unparalleled in Earth history. That’s because current fossil records suggests that many animal groups alive today appeared in a really short time interval,” Garwood explained.

C’est La Vie

Advances in modern technology have allowed us to do this. With the new study, for instance, the researchers used a process called X-ray microtomography to build 3D computer models of the trace fossils without damaging the original burrows. To ascertain the exact age of these creatures, the researchers used a DNA studies approach that traces an organism’s evolution from a common ancestor called “molecular clock.” Lead author Luke Parry from the University of Bristol said this makes their discovery important, as it “highlights an unexplored window for tracking animal evolution in deep time.”

The Evolution of Human Understanding of the Universe [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

It would seem then that organisms capable of movement came about earlier than previously thought. Indeed, our understanding of how life came to be on Earth continues to evolve, as researchers find more evidence that suggests life could have originated on land and not just in the oceans, as well as fossils providing clues as to how complex life may have originated. Not only that, understanding the origins of complex life on Earth also better equips us to discover complex life beyond Earth.

“Our new fossils show that complex animals with muscle control were around approximately 550 million years ago, and they may have been overlooked previously because they are so tiny,” Parry continued. “The fossils that we describe were made by quite complex animals that we call bilaterians. These are all animals that are more closely related to humans, rather than to simple creatures like jellyfish. Most fossils of bilaterian animals are younger, first appearing in the Cambrian period.”

The post Newly Discovered Fossils Reveal Earliest Complex Life on Earth appeared first on Futurism.

Newly Discovered Fossils Reveal Earliest Complex Life on Earth

Before Life Exploded

An international team of scientists, including paleontologists from the University of Manchester, have dug up what could be the fossils of the earliest complex life forms on Earth. In a study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, the researchers said they’ve uncovered a set of trace fossils — tracks and burrows left by organisms capable of movement — in sediments located in the Corumbá region of western Brazil.

“This is an especially exciting find due to the age of the rocks – these fossils are found in rock layers which actually pre-date the oldest fossils of complex animals – at least that is what all current fossil records would suggest,” researcher Russell Garwood from Manchester’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences said in a press release.

Image Credit: James St. John

While the fossils aren’t exactly physical remains or body parts, the findings are still telling. These trace fossils date back some 541 million years ago, from a period of transition between the Ediacaran and Cambrian Periods. The latter is that moment in the Earth’s biological history when complex life exploded. Plus, the burrows were actually just 50 to 600 micrometers or microns in diameter, suggesting that these early complex organisms were only about the size of a human hair strand.

“The evolutionary events during the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition are unparalleled in Earth history. That’s because current fossil records suggests that many animal groups alive today appeared in a really short time interval,” Garwood explained.

C’est La Vie

Advances in modern technology have allowed us to do this. With the new study, for instance, the researchers used a process called X-ray microtomography to build 3D computer models of the trace fossils without damaging the original burrows. To ascertain the exact age of these creatures, the researchers used a DNA studies approach that traces an organism’s evolution from a common ancestor called “molecular clock.” Lead author Luke Parry from the University of Bristol said this makes their discovery important, as it “highlights an unexplored window for tracking animal evolution in deep time.”

The Evolution of Human Understanding of the Universe [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

It would seem then that organisms capable of movement came about earlier than previously thought. Indeed, our understanding of how life came to be on Earth continues to evolve, as researchers find more evidence that suggests life could have originated on land and not just in the oceans, as well as fossils providing clues as to how complex life may have originated. Not only that, understanding the origins of complex life on Earth also better equips us to discover complex life beyond Earth.

“Our new fossils show that complex animals with muscle control were around approximately 550 million years ago, and they may have been overlooked previously because they are so tiny,” Parry continued. “The fossils that we describe were made by quite complex animals that we call bilaterians. These are all animals that are more closely related to humans, rather than to simple creatures like jellyfish. Most fossils of bilaterian animals are younger, first appearing in the Cambrian period.”

The post Newly Discovered Fossils Reveal Earliest Complex Life on Earth appeared first on Futurism.

5 Strategies To Make Your Business More Successful

Why Neglecting Your Organization Puts You on a Path to Failure

A lot has been written about the “organization, processes and values” of a workplace and their importance for any successful institution. We hear a great deal about how crucial “good governance” is for companies, both large and small, for instance.

So, why do we need yet another piece on this topic?

Well, in my discussions with start-ups and growth companies, as well as with other experts in the field, I have more and more come to the conclusion that we are doing something wrong. We are really making a mistake.

In short, “workplace organization” is still being neglected or misunderstood.

In some ways, this is hardly surprising.

Take a young company. It seems obvious that the founders want to focus their energy on developing their product or service. After all, that is where their interests and expertise lie. And the very word, “organization”, is a mood-killer. That much is obvious.

Nevertheless, “organization” does matter and I will use the term as shorthand to refer to the processes, values and even culture of a workplace.

Where Things are Going Wrong

The general view today is that workplace organization is important.

When “done right”, it can prevent business failures, but can also help create value and contribute to the successes of any business.

I would go further and say that any organization or institution can benefit from thinking more about how it is organized.

Even smaller “units” — teams or relationships, for example — can benefit from devoting time and energy to thinking about how they organize themselves.

The problem lies in how we approach this key challenge. Too often, we try to find a “one-size-fits-all” solution, a “checklist” for success that can be applied without much thought about the time or situation.

This is where things go wrong.

We have to be much smarter about this. For a start, workplace organizations, processes and values are dynamic and cannot be captured in “boilerplate” solutions.

There are several reasons why standardized guidelines, policies or templates, will not work, but an important one is the environment in which we all now operate.

We all live in a digital age in which everything is constantly being disrupted and innovation is both expected and required.

Instead of static solutions, we need to design and implement dynamic processes that help review, learn and adapt workplace organization.

What worked yesterday may not work today (and we don’t even talk about tomorrow).

Lessons in Leadership from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

The Obstacles

Most people agree that “one-size-does-not-fit-all” and that workplace organization needs to be more dynamic. But, in practice this is much easier said than done.

All businesses find it difficult to implement change and the idea of dynamism means accepting a philosophy of radical openness and change.

Change is particularly difficult when companies grow bigger or have already been around for a certain period of time and have developed settled ways of doing things.

All organizations seem to have a natural tendency towards conservatism.

But, why do companies today seem to find it so difficult to make the necessary changes to their organization, processes and values?

Generally, there are three answers (depending on the stage of the company, and the industry and market they operate in).

First, larger businesses often have to follow “rules” about how to organize, govern and manage themselves. Although deviation from the “rules” is usually possible, large and established companies tend to be more comfortable conforming with the established practices.

Second, business advisors and experts are often reluctant to think “out of the box”. They also tend to recommend boilerplate arrangements and compliance with one-size-fits-all “best practice”, rather than offering their clients customized solutions. This is why experts and the consultancy industry often struggle with companies that don’t fit with any of the “standard” business models.

Third, even if businesses (particularly younger high-tech businesses) do deviate and are able to maintain the startup feel (by ensuring that the founders can continue to be in control over the business activities), long-term success is not guaranteed.

The recent issues with Uber show that the “start-up culture” may have worked really well in the early stages of its development. But, the same culture appeared to be having a devastating effect on the business in its growth stage.

Uber exec: We can't behave like a startup anymore

A “Five Strategies” Approach

In order to better prepare businesses and teams for the future, they have to adopt processes that help them adapt to new circumstances faster.

Here are 5 strategies that are crucial in overcoming the various obstacles and meeting this challenge:

#1 — Embrace a Culture of “Being Dynamic”

First, we need to let go of the idea that there is a blueprint of “best practice” for organizing a successful business.

We have to realize that organizations, teams and relationships are dynamic in nature and need to be constantly adapted, depending on the needs and circumstances of the environment.

For instance, the organization of business needs to be adapted to the specific needs of the next phase of its development.

Or, during a crisis — i.e., in difficult times — it makes sense to reviewing and adapting the organization, processes, and values in order to make the business healthy again.

Also, business needs to adapt to the specific challenges that it faces. This could involve expanding to new regions/countries or dealing with new business opportunities of the digital age (such as artificial intelligence, robotics and “initial coin offerings”).

In each case, the question of organization is as important as the substantive question of how to meet the business challenge. In fact, I would go as far as to suggest that the organizational and business questions are inextricably linked.

#2 — Build a Narrative

In order to continuously assess the organization, it is very important to provide a shared narrative or story about the organization and its purpose, culture and values.

For instance, this kind of narrative is not only necessary for management and the founders, but for all stakeholders in a business.

A “personalized” organizational story of this kind can be much more helpful — at least compared to “just” complying with “best practice” — in evaluating the internal organization of a business.

If everyone shares an understanding about the goal of that organization then everyone is much better placed to make (and agree on) judgments about how that organization is structured and managed.

Too often, organizational narratives become formalistic, box-ticking exercises that are worse than useless, in the sense they can provide a distraction from a genuine discussion about whether workplace organization is contributing to the goals of the business.

#3 Engage in Open and Inclusive Dialogue

To get quick and meaningful feedback it is important that any discussion about workplace organization is open and inclusive.

That is to say, it involves all relevant stakeholders participating in an honest appraisal of how things are currently being done and how they might be improved.

This means creating an environment in which everyone feels valued. At least, everyone feels that their opinion will be heard.

#4 Embrace Constant Learning

Such an open and inclusive dialogue can provide impetus and input for change.

It can help a company learn what needs to be done and, in this way, better adapt to the fast-changing demands of the environment.

This appears to be particularly important to older, established companies that often struggle to adjust to new realities.

#5 Involve Advisors

All firms — both large and small — receive constant advice from multiple sources. These advisors are also important, at least if a distinction is made between the good advice and advice that can safely be ignored.

At best, advisors can act as a mirror for a business. They have the potential to play a crucial role in reflecting and testing ideas about the organization, culture and values of a business.

Advisors come in all shapes and sizes.

They could be an informal group of trusted “friends” or a more formalized group, such as a board of directors.

Either way, such advisors have the potential to offer a valuable “outside” view on workplace organization and the various issues that need to be addressed.

The importance of such advisors can be made clear with a story about Apple. In 1997, following Steve Jobs’ return, Apple was in grave danger and its future was very uncertain. And yet, in his keynote address during the Macworld Expo in Boston on 6 August 1997, Jobs explicitly avoided the announcement of new products, but instead devoted his address to revealing the appointment of four new, hand-picked, board members (advisors).

A Steve Jobs Moment That Mattered: Macworld, August 1997

Jobs was convinced that changing the composition of the board of directors was a crucial and necessary first step to bring back focus, vision and relevance to the company.

Only in this way could it “begin” its journey to introduce disruptive innovations and creative products to its potential customers.

Twenty years later, Apple is one of the biggest and most influential companies in the world, with multiple innovative and life-changing product lines.

Part of that success was down to a recognition of the importance of the “five strategies”, in general, and the crucial role of advisors, in particular.

So, What’s Next?

Workplace organization is crucial in building a successful business.

In fact, any institution, team or working relationship can benefit from thinking about how they are organized.

And yet, there is a tendency to either neglect this issue (by paying “lip service” to these ideas, but not really doing anything) or to see the different elements of workplace organization — processes, cultures and values — as more or less static concepts.

Both of these responses are wrong, in that they are creating problems for the future.

Sooner or later, neglecting organization or not appreciating its dynamic character will come back to haunt a business (unit, team or relationship).

In this respect, it is much better to ensure that narrative building, open dialogue, dynamic learning and self-reflection become part of a company’s DNA.

I don’t expect the issue of “organization” to suddenly become exciting. But, I do believe that by paying more attention to the “why”, “how” and “what” of the organizations, we can add genuine value in a digital age characterized by constant innovation and disruption.

And that is important and — dare I say it — exciting.

Thank you for reading! Please click the 👏 (which can be clicked as many times as you want) below, or leave a comment.

There is a new story every week. So if you follow me you won’t miss my latest insights about how the digital age is changing the way we live and work.


5 Strategies To Make Your Business More Successful was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

52 Life Lesson I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 2 )

“Just because you have someone´s email address does not mean they want to hear from you.” — Seth Godin

Courtesy of Unsplash

This post is the continuation of a post from this past Sunday, “52 Life Lessons I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 1)” and inspired by a post from a few weeks ago, “38 Lessons That Took Me 38 Years To Learn,” in which I forgot to include quite possibly the most important lesson:

Instead of asking people what they are watching, ask them what they are reading.

If you are reading this post first, keep going. Below are simply my favorite quotes in no particular order from the 52 books that I have been recommended this past year along with what each of them mean to me. In the comment section I would love to learn what you are currently reading or what your favorite quotes are.

52 Lessons from 52 Books as a result of asking 52 people the same question (27–52)

27. “Think about your hero. Do you think of this person as someone with extraordinary abilities who achieved with little effort? Now go find out the truth. Find out the tremendous effort that went into their accomplishment, and admire them more.”

Reminder: Most overnight success stories are 10 years in the making.

28. “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

Reminder: Exciting lives are created by good choices and boring routines.

29. “Life is a helluva lot more fun if you say yes rather than no.”

Reminder: I met my wife doing something I originally did not want to do.

30. “If you can’t learn, you can’t thrive.”

Reminder: Figure out how you learn best and keep auding and making improvements to the process.

31. “The most promising ideas begin from novelty and then add familiarity.”

Reminder: You do not have to reinvent the wheel, just add to the conversation.

32. “What gets measured gets improved.”

Reminder: Tracking your health, performance etc, has never been easier, so take advantage.

33. “Just because you have someone´s email address does not mean they want to hear from you.”

Reminder: Think of how you can help others, not of how they can help you.

34. The Ultimate Elevator Pitch –

“Simply create a one-sentence answer to the following four questions:

  1. What do you do?
  2. What problem do you solve?
  3. How are you different?
  4. Why should I care?”

Reminder: You never know who you are going to meet, so be prepared.

35. This is not a quote, but in this book, General George C. Marshall, was referred to as an, “Unnatural Genius,” and it dawned on me that I had never heard that before. Is there a higher compliment?

Reminder: Never stop learning, trying new things and meeting new people

36. “Acronym of FAILURE:

F — Frustration (you don´t have any answers)

A — Aggression (Misdirected)

I — Insecurity (You can´t cut it anymore)

L — Leadership (You abandon it)

U — Undisciplined (You stop practicing fundamentals)

R — Resentment (You assume the victim´s role)

E — Excuses (It´s everyone´s fault but your own)”

Reminder: Most of the time success is found by analyzing and fixing failures.

37. “Ultimately, our progress, our growth, and our happiness comes from our ability to look within ourselves and ask the important questions.”

Reminder: The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the questions that we ask others and we ask ourselves.

38.You need to stretch people to help them achieve their full potential. The most powerful way to do this is by having the courage to say, `I believe in you.´ These four words constitute the most inspirational message a leader can convey.

Reminder: If you focus on supporting others, people will eventually support you.

39. Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.

Reminder: Think like a philosopher, but communicate like a truck driver.

40. “The only guarantee, ever, is that things will go wrong. The only thing we can use to mitigate this is anticipation. Because the only variable we control completely is ourselves.”

Reminder: We cannot control what happens, but we can control how we react and respond.

41. “We all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided.”

Reminder: Operate in reality.

42. “We convince by our presence.”

Reminder: Stand up straight and smile.

43. “Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing.”

Reminder: After reading a book or listening to a podcast — do something about it.

44. “Those who succeed in an outstanding way seldom do so before the age of 40. More often, they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of 50.”

Reminder: Life is long. Slow down and keep collecting and connecting your dots.

45. “Being present, paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts, can yield immense rewards. When you exhibit presence, those around you feel listened to, respected, and valued.”

Reminder: Most people are so worried about what they are going to say they do not listen to what is being said. Do not be like most people.

46. “Happiness and success will pass, what endures is creating meaning in your own life and in the lives of others.”

Reminder: Never stop asking yourself how you can make the lives of the people around you better.

47. “For me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.”

Reminder: It’s the journey….

48. “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”

Reminder: What was impossible in the past is normal today.

49. “Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls: family, health, friends, integrity, are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

Reminder: Friend, mother, father, partner, husband, wife is much cooler than any job title.

50. “The easiest thing to sell is truth.”

Reminder: Never work on something you do not believe in.

51. “You buck yourself up with the thought that `this too shall pass,´ but then you remind yourself that it may not pass anytime soon, and so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.”

Reminder: My wife and son are the only things that matter. Make them smile……at all times.

52. “You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of f*cks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a f*ck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice, well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

Reminder: Just because a great writer, but a bad word in the title, does not mean you should.

And there you have it, my favorite 52 quotes from the 52 books that I have read in the last 52 weeks.

Onto the next one.

Any recommendations?

If you have enjoyed this article, please give it a ❤ or 👏 so other people will see it here on Medium. Truly appreciate the support — means the world.

And do not forget to click here to read 52 Life Lessons I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 1).

Michael Thompson

www.thefirstknock.com (blog)

www.corporewear.us (company)


52 Life Lesson I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 2 ) was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

52 Life Lesson I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 2 )

“Just because you have someone´s email address does not mean they want to hear from you.” — Seth Godin

Courtesy of Unsplash

This post is the continuation of a post from this past Sunday, “52 Life Lessons I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 1)” and inspired by a post from a few weeks ago, “38 Lessons That Took Me 38 Years To Learn,” in which I forgot to include quite possibly the most important lesson:

Instead of asking people what they are watching, ask them what they are reading.

If you are reading this post first, keep going. Below are simply my favorite quotes in no particular order from the 52 books that I have been recommended this past year along with what each of them mean to me. In the comment section I would love to learn what you are currently reading or what your favorite quotes are.

52 Lessons from 52 Books as a result of asking 52 people the same question (27–52)

27. “Think about your hero. Do you think of this person as someone with extraordinary abilities who achieved with little effort? Now go find out the truth. Find out the tremendous effort that went into their accomplishment, and admire them more.”

Reminder: Most overnight success stories are 10 years in the making.

28. “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

Reminder: Exciting lives are created by good choices and boring routines.

29. “Life is a helluva lot more fun if you say yes rather than no.”

Reminder: I met my wife doing something I originally did not want to do.

30. “If you can’t learn, you can’t thrive.”

Reminder: Figure out how you learn best and keep auding and making improvements to the process.

31. “The most promising ideas begin from novelty and then add familiarity.”

Reminder: You do not have to reinvent the wheel, just add to the conversation.

32. “What gets measured gets improved.”

Reminder: Tracking your health, performance etc, has never been easier, so take advantage.

33. “Just because you have someone´s email address does not mean they want to hear from you.”

Reminder: Think of how you can help others, not of how they can help you.

34. The Ultimate Elevator Pitch –

“Simply create a one-sentence answer to the following four questions:

  1. What do you do?
  2. What problem do you solve?
  3. How are you different?
  4. Why should I care?”

Reminder: You never know who you are going to meet, so be prepared.

35. This is not a quote, but in this book, General George C. Marshall, was referred to as an, “Unnatural Genius,” and it dawned on me that I had never heard that before. Is there a higher compliment?

Reminder: Never stop learning, trying new things and meeting new people

36. “Acronym of FAILURE:

F — Frustration (you don´t have any answers)

A — Aggression (Misdirected)

I — Insecurity (You can´t cut it anymore)

L — Leadership (You abandon it)

U — Undisciplined (You stop practicing fundamentals)

R — Resentment (You assume the victim´s role)

E — Excuses (It´s everyone´s fault but your own)”

Reminder: Most of the time success is found by analyzing and fixing failures.

37. “Ultimately, our progress, our growth, and our happiness comes from our ability to look within ourselves and ask the important questions.”

Reminder: The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the questions that we ask others and we ask ourselves.

38.You need to stretch people to help them achieve their full potential. The most powerful way to do this is by having the courage to say, `I believe in you.´ These four words constitute the most inspirational message a leader can convey.

Reminder: If you focus on supporting others, people will eventually support you.

39. Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.

Reminder: Think like a philosopher, but communicate like a truck driver.

40. “The only guarantee, ever, is that things will go wrong. The only thing we can use to mitigate this is anticipation. Because the only variable we control completely is ourselves.”

Reminder: We cannot control what happens, but we can control how we react and respond.

41. “We all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided.”

Reminder: Operate in reality.

42. “We convince by our presence.”

Reminder: Stand up straight and smile.

43. “Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing.”

Reminder: After reading a book or listening to a podcast — do something about it.

44. “Those who succeed in an outstanding way seldom do so before the age of 40. More often, they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of 50.”

Reminder: Life is long. Slow down and keep collecting and connecting your dots.

45. “Being present, paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts, can yield immense rewards. When you exhibit presence, those around you feel listened to, respected, and valued.”

Reminder: Most people are so worried about what they are going to say they do not listen to what is being said. Do not be like most people.

46. “Happiness and success will pass, what endures is creating meaning in your own life and in the lives of others.”

Reminder: Never stop asking yourself how you can make the lives of the people around you better.

47. “For me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.”

Reminder: It’s the journey….

48. “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”

Reminder: What was impossible in the past is normal today.

49. “Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls: family, health, friends, integrity, are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

Reminder: Friend, mother, father, partner, husband, wife is much cooler than any job title.

50. “The easiest thing to sell is truth.”

Reminder: Never work on something you do not believe in.

51. “You buck yourself up with the thought that `this too shall pass,´ but then you remind yourself that it may not pass anytime soon, and so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.”

Reminder: My wife and son are the only things that matter. Make them smile……at all times.

52. “You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of f*cks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a f*ck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice, well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

Reminder: Just because a great writer, but a bad word in the title, does not mean you should.

And there you have it, my favorite 52 quotes from the 52 books that I have read in the last 52 weeks.

Onto the next one.

Any recommendations?

If you have enjoyed this article, please give it a ❤ or 👏 so other people will see it here on Medium. Truly appreciate the support — means the world.

And do not forget to click here to read 52 Life Lessons I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 1).

Michael Thompson

www.thefirstknock.com (blog)

www.corporewear.us (company)


52 Life Lesson I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 2 ) was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Why So Many Leaders Fail

[Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash]

These characteristics are what make us human, but they are also what separate the true leaders from the wannabes.

Weare constantly putting business leaders on a pedestal, celebrating their stellar successes, but for me, the real lessons lay in understanding the failures of business cultures and leadership patterns.

To be successful we have to first learn to guard against destructive behaviours — everyone will be confronted with them (indeed, perhaps exhibit them) at some point in their career.

Let me highlight six of the biggest mistakes for anyone in a leadership role. These characteristics are what make us human, but they are also what separate the true leaders from the wannabes.

Fear of change

People used to have fun browsing the shelves at Blockbuster to see which movies were still available for rent that night. (“Am I in the mood for a horror movie or a comedy?”) They had the strongest entertainment brand, but they went under because of a stubborn refusal to follow the customer online. With their decades long knowledge of industry trends, surely they could have potentially been a player in the online market. Instead they chose to stick with what worked earlier until they unravelled. Today’s economy — global, domestic, and local — is fast and dynamic; it’s in a constant state of change. And so, the greatest overarching challenge facing leaders and their organizations today is to be able to quickly identify and respond to market change.

Lack of transparency

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is reported to have encouraged his staff to ignore their moral compasses for years before the emissions scandal came to light. Cooking the numbers was accepted as long as it helped the company to meet their profit goals. When you work for a leader who is happy to foster an opaque environment, it is hard to really get a grasp on the true situation. If a leader has a reputation of less than transparent dealings, there is a risk that this can spread downwards to their employees.

Effective leaders are always testing to make sure their companies’ strategies are still effective — and say so when they aren’t. The truth sometimes hurts, but it’s often the shock of that truth that prods people into taking actions and making decisions they might not have contemplated otherwise.

Working all the time

Often my fellow CEOs and entrepreneurs say they work all time — 24/7, it’s only way they can keep up, manifest their passion, and keep their team motivated. This is something I used to do and can relate to. Over the years, I painfully learned that faster and longer does not mean better. It has more propensity to create faulty outputs, team burnout, and eventually a fearful and toxic culture. Unless you work for emergency services, no one needs to get emails in the middle of the night.

Effective leaders deliberately slow down and unplug everyday — and encourage those around them to do the same. When we slow down, we notice both the details and their potential repercussions. We ask more and better questions and come to more and better conclusions. The less important things fall by the wayside as we focus more slowly, yet effectively, on the matters having the greatest impact.

Closed-mindedness

There’s a word for not knowing: Ignorance. It’s true that the term carries a negative connotation; if someone calls us ignorant, we leap to defend our egos. Ego is important for a confident leader, but too much Ego can also be detrimental for a leader as it makes them closed-minded.

Sometimes ignorance is an important prerequisite for accomplishing big things. We can be skillfully ignorant by acknowledging that it’s a complex, maybe even opaque world we’re setting foot in. That simple recognition can help us get our bearings, providing a framework for expanding our knowledge base before striding forward. Other times, of course, ignorance is just ignorance — causing us to stride blindly forward.

A beginner’s mind, then, can be an asset. But only if you take the right approach — avoiding negative patterns — for making a new beginning.

Abusive behavior

You always hear stories about the controlling and Machiavellian antics of power-hungry bosses, but there are few recent corporate examples that are worse than the co-founder of investment firm Pacific Investment Management Co. (Pimco), Bill Gross. Pimco executives accused him of “breaking commitments to abide by management decisions, trying to sabotage the careers of the former CEO and others he suspected of disloyalty, and treating his colleagues abusively.” Almost sounds like something out of the Game of Thrones TV series.

It is important for a leader to guard against the toxic emotions that others may bring into your orbit. That takes intentional and constant effort. The people we surround ourselves with can make the difference between failure and success just as much as our own emotional self-control can. Emotional self-control also allows for empathy for others. And without empathy, a leader fails to listen, motivate, and direct.

Inability to deal with failure

Success often results after several misfires. We make many mistakes along our personal and professional journeys. If we learn from our mistakes, life does make allowances. However, if we wallow in our mistakes, they can consume us.

Successful leaders learn to bounce back from failure repeatedly. Milton Hershey was a ‘nobody’ who, according to Biography, became the American manufacturer and philanthropist who founded the Hershey Chocolate Company, popularizing chocolate candy throughout much of the world. He started three separate candy ventures before he found success. None of them worked out the way he’d hoped, but eventually he started the Hershey Chocolate Company, which made him an industry leader.

The biggest threat of any mistake is not the immediate ramifications, but the longer-term effects on our behavior. If we take a mistake to heart (especially when we could not have done anything to influence the outcome), being able to take the next step seems that much harder.

Why dwell on failure when it is in the past? If a leader does not take a positive next step, they risk being caught in an emotional loop of failure.

Start the next project to occupy your mind. Don’t just sit in your room waiting for the world to swallow you up. Perhaps that’s the biggest lesson from Hershey’s story.

Original Article @BusinessInsider.

Copyright © 2017 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved.

I am an entrepreneur and author. Founder of SHADOKA and other companies. Shadoka enables aspirations to lead, innovate, and transform. Shadoka’s accelerators and solutions bring together the management frameworks, digital platforms, and thought leadership to enable innovation, transformation, entrepreneurship, growth and social impact.

Author of “Everything Connects — How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability” (McGraw Hill) and “Survive to Thrive: 27 Practices of Resilient Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Leaders” (Motivational Press). Follow me on Twitter Faisal Hoque. Use the Everything Connects leadership app and Suvvive to Thrive resiliancy app for free.


Why So Many Leaders Fail was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.