The One Thing

I was invited to speak again this year at Mark Divine’s Unbeatable Mind Academy in Carlsbad, California.   I chose to speak about The One Thing, inspired by that famous scene in the movie City Slickers, in which Curly (played by Jack Palance) holds up one finger to Billy Crystal and tells him that the meaning…

A Bias for Bold Action

I was recently invited to provide a Navy SEAL’s perspective to a conference on risk management.    As I was preparing my remarks, I realized that throughout my career in the Navy, “risk management” had been inherent in my duties as an officer and leader of audacious men in high risk operations, but I had never…

The Fifth Factor

Ok, what’s the “Fifth Factor?” That is the question I frequently get when I tell people I named my company “Fifth Factor Leadership.” This simple question seems to deserve a simple answer, but I don’t have a simple answer, except my standard wise-guy response: It comes right after the fourth factor. Which of course leads…

In Praise of Mediocrity

I use this title partly in jest.   ‘Mediocrity’ is, almost by definition, that which is not ‘praiseworthy.’  And yet in my comments that follow, I hope to point out that what appears to us as mediocre does not automatically warrant derision or embarrassment.  There is an important place for mediocrity in this world, and often there…

Asking the Right Questions

Asking the right questions can be key in much of what we do. Teaching is largely about asking the right questions – pioneered by Socrates in what has come to be referred to as ‘the Socratic method.’ The ‘right’ question will challenge and inspire the student, the leader, any of us to look differently at what we do and how we perceive an issue. It seems however that the ‘right’ question has to come at the right time to be most effective.