Career

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Status quo bias, and the uncertainty of your success

Tyler Cowen, an economist and author, thinks our preference for the status quo is one of our costliest biases. I heard him make that claim in an interview he did with Ezra Klein. It’s easy to frame status quo bias as a form of risk aversion. And I think that’s right. Change is risky. We
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When it comes to your career, are you a chef or a line cook?

Think about the value you bring at work. Do you play the role of a chef? Or are you more of a line cook? What do I mean by a chef? Someone who is creative. Someone who experiments, who relies on his or her own judgment. The chef knows the first principles of meal preparation.
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Humility and curiosity are rocket fuel for your career

Think about the most frustrating relationships you’ve encountered in your career. Think about the interactions that caused you the most anxiety, or frustration, or stress. What was the common thread? What traits did the other person exhibit that caused such friction? If you’re like me, the answer is arrogance and know-it-all-itude. (Yes, I think I
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Career success is built on trust. And trust is way too rare in business

Have you ever worked for someone you didn’t trust? Have you ever worked for someone who didn’t trust you? Have you ever tried to earn someone’s trust, but failed?  It happens every time you interview for a job, but leave without an offer. It happens when you try to make a sale, but can’t close
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Here's one reason executives can struggle to make good decisions

Executives can struggle to make good decisions for lots of reasons. They’re people, after all. They might let emotions interfere with reason. They might be tired or ill. They might misread the demands of customers, or the strategies of competitors. But there’s another, particularly mundane reason executives can struggle to make good decisions: they grew
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STEM to Business: 2016 year in review

Well, it’s that time. 2016 is almost done. And it’s been an awesome year here at STEM to Business. I want to cover a few items in this post. First, I want to discuss my motivation for launching, and continuing, STEM to Business. Second, I want to look back at the 5 most viewed posts
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ExxonMobil CEO's difficult move from executive to diplomat

Donald Trump has named Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s current CEO, as his Secretary of State.  You hear a lot of arguments why business leaders should make effective politicians. And those arguments make sense, for sure. Business leaders know how to manage large organizations. They know how to combat inefficiencies. They know how to satisfy diverse stakeholder communities, and
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Are you a problem solver? Or a problem preventer?

I recently listened to an interesting episode of The Ezra Klein Show. In the episode, Ezra interviewed Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner for Baltimore. The conversation is about public health and Dr. Wen’s approach to combating serious challenges in some of Baltimore’s most troubled communities. Here’s an interesting new data point I learned from
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Businesses have a painfully simplistic view of employee accountability

Modern business has an accountability fetish. For a recent example, look at Wells Fargo. Management was worried that employees were slacking. So management set some aggressive performance expectations. And the people that didn’t meet those expectations were fired. Accountability was enforced. It turns out, the expectations were so aggressive that thousands of employees turned to
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Henry Ford and the 100 year old complaint about sales people

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m reading Henry Ford’s 1922 autobiography My Life and Work. It’s truly fascinating to read the thoughts of a business legend at the peak of his game. It’s also interesting to see how much of Ford’s writing translates perfectly to today’s business environment. At one point in the book, Ford shares
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