In search of the man who broke my neck

When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident in Israel left him with a broken neck, unable to walk. He returns twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down. In this mesmerizing talk, Prager tells the tale of their meeting.


A remarkable story of a man whose life, along with the lives of 3 others, changed dramatically in an instant. And how his quest for the man responsible led to something he did not expect.

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Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: ‘No one can have it all’ – McKinsey Quarterly – Organization – Talent

Coming to terms with that reality is invaluable for women trying to find fulfillment as both great leaders and great parents. A McKinsey Quarterly Organization article.

And more of the Sandberg media blitz.  This one from McKinsey shares additional insights from Sandberg’s book.  I love that this is starting conversations across virtually every group of people I know.  True, my groups tend to be highly educated professionals so I’m not suggesting her message is reaching farther afield than the fairly privileged.

Most people agree with many of her points.  And most also agree that something about how her message is conveyed bugs them.  Is this just a confirmation of what Ms. Sandberg says about how we are uncomfortable with women at the top?  Or is there more to it?  I’d love to hear others’ views.  

My most recent conversation focused equally on Sandberg’s message and on her possible agenda.  Something just doesn’t ring true about her as an altruist trying to forward women.  Yes, her points are valid, and really important, as we look at the future of women both in the workforce and leadership positions. I think she misses the opporunity to address the choices that women may make to not pursue leadership, many for reasons outside of the potential future demands of motherhood.    As I discussed in my last post on this topic, I also believe her not discussing the roles of serendipity and the powerful people who mentored her is a bit disingenuous.  

And I can’t help but wonder what she is planning to run for and when.

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3 Ways Great Leaders Make Every Day Count

Leading in crisis is one thing; Leading day-to-day is quite another. Here’s how to beat the daily grind and shine when it’s business as usual.

This short one from Inc. has three suggestions:

1. Develop a morning routine

2. Heighten the first 90 seconds of every interaction

3. Balance hard and soft landscape in your schedule

Your reaction may be yeah, I’ve hear all that before.  My question is: yeah, but do you do ’em?

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Givers vs. Takers: The Surprising Truth about Who Gets Ahead – [email protected]

Another vote for the good guys…In this interview discussing his book “Give and Take,”Grant says that givers are overrepresented at the top of most success metrics.  It seems that taking customers’ interests first, building trust and good will builds good reputations that lead to extraordinary social capital that is critical to success.

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How to Make a Change that Lasts

Create rituals that become habits.

The above photo is one I use in talks about goal setting.  The quote is from an article is on the HBR Blog Network today by one of the good guys, Tony Schwartz.

Schwartz addresses that routines and rituals, specifically energy rituals – “highly specific behaviors or regimes that you do at the same time every day” help counter the effects of ego depletion.  Ego depletion is “the idea that self-control and other mental processes that require focused conscious effort rely on energy that can be used up.” (click here for more information and descriptions of two experiments that illustrate the effects).

I also like Jonathan Haidt’s description from the “Happiness Hypotheses” (also discussed in Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch).  He compares the mind to an elephant and rider.  The elephant part of the mind is the one that runs on natural instinct and desire, and unoconstrained lumbers along the easiest path.  The rider has the job of directing the elephant to go where he wants.  Yet the elephant is far larger than the rider so as the rider expends effort he gets tired.  

Yup, change is hard.  Fascinating stuff.

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Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders | Video on

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite.

I read Lean In.  In fact, I liked it.  A lot.  I only took issue with the fact that Ms. Sandberg never acknowledged that not all of us have Larry Summers, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah on our speed dials.  

Ms. Sandberg is that rare combination of brilliant, wise, hard working and extremely lucky.    Again, I agree with most of her points, I just would have liked the book to explore a little more what life is like for those whose lives are not the coalescence of so much that is outstanding like hers.

This TED talk from 2010 explores three of the main points she discusses in Lean In

1. Sit at the table

2. Make your partner a real partner

3. Don’t leave before you leave

Read the book if you want to go deeper and learn about some of the research that supports her points (and the endnotes are a terrific addition). If you just want the general thrust, this near 20-minute talk will do just fine.

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Five routes to more innovative problem solving – McKinsey Quarterly – Strategy – Strategic Thinking

Tricky problems must be shaped before they can be solved. To start that process, and stimulate novel thinking, leaders should look through multiple lenses. A McKinsey Quarterly Strategy article.

After a complete dry spell of good reads on decision making, here comes another good one.  This McKinsey article discusses using flexible options for generating novel solutions, or “flexons.”   They identify 5 key flexons that come from the social and natural sciences: Networks, Evolutionary, Decision-agent, System-dynamics, and Information flexons. 

Good stuff.  As with so much of the decision research, this approach underscores the importance of following a process that is flexible yet thorough, helps us navigate through the minefield of (bad) instincts and get ourselves out of our own often unrecognized emotionally attachment space.

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