On Encouragement

articles Sep 15, 2020

A school bus driver in Massachusetts has his students to thank for encouraging him to become a history teacher. While driving kids to school, Clayton Ward would talk to them about their history lessons. “It inspired me, hearing them say ‘You should be my teacher,'” the 30-year old bus driver said. He had dropped out of college 10 years ago but through the encouragement of the students and his love of history, he enrolled in Community College and graduated with a 4.0 GPA while continuing to drive the bus. He has now enrolled this fall at Framingham State University to finish his bachelor’s in history with a minor in education.

Make no mistake. A small word of encouragement can inspire another person to do great things.

You were likely inspired by a teacher, mentor, community leader or classmate to become what you are today. Have you taken a moment to let those people know you’re thinking of them during this pandemic?


Have you leaned into your...

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Unity of Purpose.

book Sep 15, 2020

In his review of the new book, How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions, David Roll shares what is known about the evening before a critical World War II invasion, when General Eisenhower visited the 101st Airborne Division at Newbury, a town in the south of England:

This was the unit whose glider forces and paratroopers, Leigh-Mallory had predicted, would suffer roughly 70% and 50% casualties respectively during the invasion. A famous photo depicts a cluster of soldiers, their faces blackened with charcoal for camouflage and to protect against glare, as they gathered around Ike. Up close, he asked them their names and where they were from. “Texas, sir . . . Missouri, sir . . . Michigan, sir,” they responded with laughter and cheers as the roll call of the states went on. He spoke to them about cattle and farming, and to Wallace Strobel, the tall Michigan trooper, he asked, “How’s the fly-fishing?” Eisenhower...

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Actionable Data.

journal Sep 10, 2020

Ro, a digital health care startup, just raised another $200 million in venture capital, bringing its total to over $376 million. The company will use the funds to double its 70-person computer engineering team. 

With over $250 million in revenue generated last year, the firm’s latest round of funding came in at a $1.5 billion valuation. Ro currently runs a digital health site for men and another site for women. Patients can interact with a doctor using secure text message, phone or video. The firm has successfully completed over 5 million patient “visits.”

Ro has entered the online pharmacy space, offering 500 generic medications at $5 a month per drug. The latest round of funding will give their platform the ability to interact with medical devices such as oxygen sensors and other patient monitoring. This extensive data set will give the company tremendous power and leverage in controlling the patient life-cycle and relationship.

The patient will start on the...

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Question Every Hand.

books Jul 31, 2020

Maria Konnikova holds a Ph.D. in psychology. She writes about her research on how quickly people make up their minds and how unwilling they are to change them. She’s a New York Times best-selling author and also a world-champion poker player. For her latest book, The Biggest Bluff, she trained with and then competed against some of the best poker players in the world. They taught her to question every hand. She learned to unpack every strategy and pushed herself out of her illusions–beyond her comfort zone–and she won. Konnikova’s research is so fascinating because it flies in the face of what we should do, when it comes to assumptions and failures, and what we actually tend to do. While being wrong should make us question our assumptions, it routinely has the opposite effect.

Dr. Konnikova’s rsearch shows, when we’re presented with signs that we’ve made a mistake, we very often (and quickly) choose to discard the evidence and...

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On Priorities and Profit

articles Jul 31, 2020

The pandemic and economic crisis have forced Disney to adapt very quickly. Without the anticipated summer blockbuster movie releases, the firm has realigned its priorities. The reopening of Disneyland in California has been postponed indefinitely. Hong Kong Disneyland has shut down again and Disney World in Florida is on shaky ground.

The glue that connected blockbuster stories and characters with retail sales, live entertainment on Broadway and theme park attendance has made Disney extremely vulnerable in a pandemic. Even ESPN, the franchise that is supposed to help weather any economic downturn, was essentially stuck in the mud, without any live sports to broadcast until recently. As a result, Disney’s stock has fallen 18% in the last six months.

But, the Walt Disney Company isn’t the only firm experiencing economic shockwaves following the coronavirus and social distancing. Coca-Cola generates nearly half of its revenue from out-of-home consumption at sporting venues,...

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By The Numbers

journals Jul 31, 2020

The first half of 2020 was one for the record books. We saw an entire decade’s worth of job gains vanish in two months. Then, about a third of the 21 million lost jobs came back. 

More than 1 in 7 U.S. workers lost their jobs during the economic shutdowns. Even though we’ve added jobs at a record pace in May and June, the unemployment rate remains at its highest level since the Great Depression.

In the U.S., the hardest-hit sectors were non-hospital health-care jobs, hotels and restaurants. These types of service industry jobs account for 70% of total U.S. employment. This covers the majority of my members here, who employ audiology and medical assistants.

I've long taught that you must have your ear to the ground in your individual market. Just like I watch the tourists arriving to Southern Utah from my home and pay close attention to the local news where thousands of local workers and families in my practice work, you must do the same.

My advice to clients in Las...

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The Cycle of Growth

books Jun 30, 2020

During periods of growth, it is common to create certain complexities inside your business that, left unchecked, will stifle or even strangle growth. Consider this one of the great paradoxes of running a business. The more successful you are and the higher you reach for the stars, the more likely you are to get tripped up by the very things that brought you success.

I’ve seen this with nearly every brilliant chef, turned restaurant owner. They create something truly unique and rave-worthy. Customers start telling all their friends and family about this amazing new place they found and they encourage everyone to go try the restaurant.

Before you know it, the restaurant is over-crowded, the kitchen is bogged down with capacity constraints, long waits ensue, so corners are cut in an attempt to run on time and please the expanding customer base. The menu becomes a little less exciting and a lot less ambitious. The raving fans are no longer impressed. They stop coming, stop...

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Give Yourself Space.

journals Jun 30, 2020

Today, when someone in Beijing gets the coronavirus again, the entire world knows about it within hours. 52 years after the Hong Kong flu, we still don’t know how many people actually died from it. The WHO says between 1 and 4 million people. That’s a pretty big range.

For the dad reading this on Father’s Day, imagine if someone asked you how many kids you have and you said, “somewhere between 1 and 4.” And yet, somehow we all accepted this final death toll from the Hong Kong flu back in 1968-1969 as somewhere between 1 and 4 million.


Because we weren’t obsessed with instant, always-on communication streaming to us 24/7 through our televisions and smartphones. In the 1950s our average radio use dropped to less than two hours per day while TV viewing climbed to 1 hour and 23 minutes. Back then, we consumed a limited amount of media and shrugged our shoulders at a wildly-inaccurate range of how many people died from the Hong Kong flu and we...

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Memory and Management

articles Jun 30, 2020

Barbara Kingsolver said, “Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth but not its twin.”

In coaching clients, I often ask to see a lot of numbers. KPIs and benchmarks, historical performance and pro forma data are all important. The reason I ask for data is because our memories are not perfect.

  • We think quarter-over-quarter growth was good, but the numbers might indicate we did better or worse than we remember. Measurement helps us discover trends, opportunities or weaknesses and then connect those to future action.
  • We think our employees answer the phone a certain way, present treatment using the most efficient scripts and help patients say yes to treatment, leveraging the best financial options and systems for each family.
  • When we play prospect, secret shop, video and audio record, watching film, however, we see a different reality. One in opposition to our memory. In too many businesses, the reality on the ground simply does not...
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Uninterrupted Time.

books May 28, 2020

In a recent course on passive income streams, while teaching the concept of leveraging one’s time, I quoted the author of Rework, Jason Fried, who also happens to be the co-founder of Basecamp.

Fried said, “40-hour weeks are made of 8-hour days. And 8 hours is actually a long time. It takes about 8 hours to fly direct from Chicago to London. Ever been on a transatlantic flight like that? It’s a long flight! You think it’s almost over, but you check the time and there’s still 3 hours left. Every day your workday is like flying from Chicago to London. But why does the flight feel longer than your time in the office? It’s because the flight is uninterrupted, continuous time. It feels long because it is long!”

Let this sobering fact sink in: every work week, you take the equivalent of five eight-hour flights to London. These days don’t seem so long because your time and attention are constantly interrupted.


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