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  Connecting the Dots Backward
by Suzanne Bates - Nov, 2011
Have you ever wondered why you're doing something today - only to look back five or ten years later - and realize that it all made sense? This is a phenomenon that Steve Jobs called connecting the dots backward. And as he eloquently shared in a story during a commencement speech to Stanford university a few years ago, it is how we make sense of our experiences. Jobs' birth mother was a young, unmarried graduate student w...
 
  Dusting the Money
by Suzanne Bates - Nov, 2011
It was one of the craziest things I ever have done. Or been talked into doing. In college, my sorority, normally a cozy haven of afternoons (after class) filled with hot tea, girl talk, and blankets in front of a soap opera, was disrupted by the intrusion of real life. Girls noticed that their money was missing. Several of us, over several weeks. We had a thief in house. That's right, a bonafide, wallet-lifting sister who...
 
  You, Last?
by Suzanne Bates - Nov, 2011
My mother loves to tell the story about the night of my senior prom. I was on the decorating committee, we had some no-shows, the theme was ridiculously complicated to bring alive through paper streamers and balloons, and we didn't finish until after 5 o'clock. As I was careening into the driveway it shouldn't have surprised me to peer in the rear view mirror and see my date, Jimmy, no more than a block behind me in his green...
 
  Be a Rising Star: 6 Types of Savvy For High Potential Leaders
by Suzanne Bates - Sep, 2011
Over the years as our team has coached C-suite leaders, we've noticed that the succession planning process really hasn't changed. Senior leaders secretly (or not so secretly) tolerate or outright ignore attempts to make the process fair and scientific. It's just human nature. Confident leaders are paid to use their judgment. And they pride themselves on judging leadership talent. My friends in HR have a hard time accept...
 
  The Wrong Question
by Suzanne Bates - Sep, 2011
The The phone was ringing, and no one was picking up. "Bates Communications, how may I help you?" "I was hoping to speak with the CEO or owner," replied a young woman. "Well, you've reached her. Who is calling?" "Oh, well this is Michelle from (a payroll service which shall remain unnamed). I wonder if you can tell me how your payroll is processed." "Well," I said, confused for a moment. "Do you mean how do...
 
  Trickle Down Leadership
by Suzanne Bates - Sep, 2011
Unless you have a small business, and by that I basically mean you, your dog and your thoughts, you have to communicate the big picture to other people. Your vision has to do more than trickle down; it needs to flow. Sounds simple. Until you become a leader and you realize how hard it really is. The other day my husband and I decided to try out a new restaurant. I called around noon for a 6 pm reservation. There was...
 
  Answeryourownquestionitis
by Suzanne Bates - Aug, 2011
I was running on the treadmill the other morning and flipped the channel to one of my favorite local TV sports talk shows. I really like one sportscaster, a gifted analyst who doesn't lead with his ego. His co-anchor is the polar oposite - rude and obnoxious, even by sports talk standards. The topic was the just announced NFL collective bargaining agreement and Mr. Rude kicked it off with a question. "Who won? Owners o...
 
  Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
by Suzanne Bates - Aug, 2011
The mother of a friend of mine always used to say, "Nothing good happens after midnight." After reading the August 1st WSJ article about the Allstate insurance executive who got fired for unflattering remarks about his boss, I would only add "...at the company off-site meeting." The fellow who undoubtedly wishes he had stopped at one (martini, scotch, beer) is Joseph Lacher, the now former president of Allstate's home and a...
 
  Perspective
by Suzanne Bates - Jun, 2011
“Check it out,” said my husband as we zipped out of a parking space past a gaggle of cars. “What!!?” (I always miss these things). “That window sticker, didn’t you see it? Who Rescued Who?” If you don’t own a dog, or more accurately, aren’t a member that exclusive little club that has RESCUED a dog, the humor might not be obvious. There happens to be a category of people that wear this badge of honor; we are extremel...
 
  Working for a Tough Boss
by Suzanne Bates - Jun, 2011
Shakespeare once said, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” If you are a boss you may feel frustrated when you get feedback that people perceive you as tough. Is tough a good thing, or not? In my book, being tough-minded is essential. That’s not the same as being a jerk. But if you aren’t focused and results oriented, you don’t belong in the job. Recently I came across an article on Boston.com with tips on dealing...
 
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