The Best of Bill's Brain from July and August

The Window and The Mirror, Email Dysfunction and Multitasking Mistakes

It’s been a summer like no other in a year like no other.

Protests about wearing a mask to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protests about a more serious matter, the treatment of young black men by law enforcement, have dominated the news.

And if that’s not enough, a presidential election is just around the corner. Yikes! There’s never been a time I can remember where leadership has been more needed, and, frankly, more absent from public life.

I hope you’ve found help for your leadership development in my weekly articles, because the world needs better leaders like you. Here are the three you liked the most over the last two months:

The One Critical Question that Determines Your Success as a Leader

What kind of a person are you?

Are you a day person or a night person? Are you a dog person or a cat person? An introvert or an extrovert? A beer person or a wine person?

My wife is a day person, a dog person, and an introvert who enjoys the occasional glass of wine. This means we wake up at roughly the same time and are amused by the same two silly mutts, but she’s someone I don’t have to share my IPA with nor my stupid jokes (which is just fine by her).

None of the answers to these questions, while they may contribute to marital harmony, will determine your success as a leader, however. But there’s one critical question that will. Here it is: Are you a window person or a mirror person?

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Don’t Use Email This Way Ever

It was 4:00 a.m. I’d been tossing and turning since 2:00 a.m.

The source of my sleeplessness was an email I received before going to bed many hours earlier. In it, a colleague mentioned in passing some slight I’d served him and that comment got under my skin.

So I grabbed my laptop and pounded out a sharply worded, extensively documented email and sent it to every person on the planet. Then I went back to bed.

I awoke to utter humiliation and weeks of apologies. I still cringe when I recall that embarrassing episode.

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My Most Costly Multitasking Mistake … Almost!

I just landed at O’Hare airport in Chicago. After getting off the airplane, I did three things. I ordered an Uber, read my email, and checked my text messages.

Flipping back to Uber to see how soon my driver would arrive, a dialogue box popped up asking for my name, address, and phone number. “I guess I need to re-authenticate my credentials,” I thought to myself and proceeded to provide the information. Then another dialogue box asked for my employment history, annual salary, and Social Security number.

“What the $#%&,” I exclaimed. “This is crazy! What kind of insanity is going on at Uber?”

Then I realized the insanity was mine.

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