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Our StoryTelling Blogs…

Overview…

Each of our storytelling blogs offers a story with one or more gifts. We believe each of these gifts will make a difference for the better in the lives of those the story touches…

Each story…

What follows is a chronological list of links to each story and a brief summary of the gift each story offers…

Please enjoy—and we’d certainly welcome your comments!

The gift here is that you should be careful never to assume too much…

Michael offers the story of David and Goliath that he was reminded of when he read Malcolm Gladwell’s book of the same name. Michael uses that biblical story to show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, David wasn’t an underdog at all in his encounter with Goliath. Indeed, it seems that Goliath was the real underdog. Go figure!  

The gift here is that, as you network and connect with others, be interesting! And be interested in those with whom you’re meeting….

In this blog, Michael tells a story of advice he received when he launched his first international business law firm…

The gift here is the importance of understanding those with whom you are negotiating. It is also about the importance of using common sense and logic to connect with them…

Michael offers a story about a part of Nelson Mandela’s negotiations with the South African government while he was still their prisoner…

The gift here is the importance of not paying too much attention to conventional wisdom…

Michael offers the story of Gillian Lynne and how she became a dancer and world-renowned choreographer…

The gift here is that just knowing the name of something isn’t the same as knowing anything else about that thing—and that, sometimes, in explaining something, you need to bring it to life…

Michael offers a story told by Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Richard Feynman, about some advice his father him when he was a very young child…

The gift here is the importance of knowing the people with whom you are working and the people with whom you might have daily contact…

Michael offers a story told him by the Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post…

The gift here is that we sometimes face choices that seem contradictory, yet that also each seem quite reasonable… How do we decide which path to follow?

Michael offers a story about walking his dog and coming across a man in distress…

The gift here is that the situation in which you find yourself might determine if you and your colleagues will act ethically. You therefore have to control the situation in which you and those who work for you will find yourselves…

To shine a light on why people sometimes act unethically, Michael writes about “The Apple Conundrum.” Here, he offers the story of the The Princeton Theological Seminary Study that suggests an answer to the question he poses…

The gift here is that how you should not look away and remain silent as those around you lie, cheat and act unethically…

Michael offers a story about someone who buys a fake Rolex and, in the process, offers an ethics test that many of our finest and brightest failed, but that you should not.

The gift here is a story about how, to succeed or even survive in life, you sometimes may have to let go of things you may really like…

Michael offers an old African story about Bushmen, Gorillas and Pumpkins. Michael used this story to explain to his architectural firm why the firm was downsizing in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The gift here is that you should not give too much weight to people who speak with great authority on subjects about which they may actually know very little—if anything!

This short blog offers a segue to an amusing 15-minute podcast in which Michael and Steve Burrows CBE reflect on how some people are able to speak with such passion and conviction on subjects about which they know very little…

The gift here is threefold—and profound: (a) before you speak, it might be a good idea to know what you’re talking about; (b) its always better to tell the truth; and (c) please, try to be likable…

Here, Michael offers a story about Donald Trump who he thanks for a rare holiday gift. He describes the gift as a “threefer,” being three gifts in one—with one overriding gift that can help all of us bring our dreams to life…

The gift here is a reminder about the quite remarkable leadership qualities of Nelson Mandela…

Here, Michael offers a story about how Donald Trump for reminded him of the iconic and inspirational leader who just happened to exhibit some qualities that Donald clearly doesn’t have (e.g. humility and refusing to humiliate anyone)—qualities that we should try to emulate as we bring our dreams to life…

The gift here is about decision-making. It is about how we should never ignore our instincts and, certainly, never ever suspend our common sense…

Here, Michael offers two stories from the world of art. One is from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Blink,” and the other is a story from Michael’s law practice…

The gift here is about decision-making. It is about how we need to balance making decisions. on the one hand, with very little information available to us and, on the other hand, making decisions with so much information that we might become paralyzed and might never make a decision…

Here, Michael offers the story of Carlo Ponzi to illustrate part of the gift.

The gift here is about being “present”—particularly as we use our smart phones. It is about how, as we use our smart phones, there might be people near you who really don’t want to hear about your personal life crises—and who may hate you for unintentionally sharing them with you…

Here, Michael’s story is about a hospital experience when his mother was forced to share a hospital room with a woman who was quite insensitive to those who could hear every word of her conversations with her friends… And how we hated her for this!

The gift here is about being “present” as we use our smart phones. It is about the importance of being “present” when you are with people in both a personal and business setting. It is thus a gift about leadership…

Here, Michael tells a story about how he offered a challenge to dinner companions to abandon their smart-phones during dinner…

The gift here is about the importance of creating ethical cultures and how leaders must actively take the lead in doing so…

This offers a story about the teaching of ethics in business schools. It also provides the context for an attached podcast in which Michael invited Prof Diane Swanson to join him and Steve Burrows, CBE to discuss the previous weeks’ s radio show. In that show, Michael and Steve discussed “Leadership And Those Beautifully Written Codes Of Ethics—And Cheating.” Together they explored how poorly the business schools were training our future leaders of industry…

The gift here is that beautifully written Codes of Ethics alone are not enough to create an ethical culture and that leaders must display the moral authority to demand of others that they act ethically…

This blog attaches is a podcast that is the rebroadcast of a conversation Michael had with Steve Burrows CBE about how beautifully written Codes of Ethics are not a panacea and how, without leaders with moral authority, these Codes have a limited value…

The gift here is the importance of balance in life and how, to obtain that balance, one must decide what is important and what isn’t—and who is important and who isn’t… One must then focus on the important and try to ignore the unimportant.

Michael illustrates this by offering stories in a short amusing podcast. It is the rebroadcast of a radio program in which Michael was asked about a life-lesson he’d like to pass on to his sons. Here, he offers up an amusing true story that is an example of what he considers to be the importance of finding balance in our lives…

The gift here is that we should write as we speak…

This short podcast is a rebroadcast of a radio conversation Michael had with best-selling novelist, Tim Hallinan. They talk about the importance of honing one’s writing skills and they offer some tips to help this process along… 

The gift here is that we must be careful about believing things just because we  badly want to believe them. Instead, we should only believe what reality suggests we can reasonably believe…

Here, Michael shares some extraordinary stories of the self-delusion of some of our institutions and leaders that were once quite well-respected…

The gift here is about understanding that, in any discussion in which others are present, the person appearing to talk to you might actually be talking to someone else in the room…

In this sequel to his blog, “I’m Talking To You!” Michael offers an invaluable negotiating test and ethics lesson to anyone wanting to bring their ideas to life. He does so through a true story that offers lessons that, for him, have stood the test of time..

The gift here is about why people act unethically …

Here, Michael offers a sequel to his last blog (An Ethics Test That Many Failed…). Michael highlights the importance of creating an ethical environment —and why unethical people do what they do and what we can do to affect their behavior… 

The gift here is that, if you look away as those around you act unethically, you may be as guilty as the person acting unethically…

For anyone wanting to bring their dreams to life, Michael argues that they have to understand a reality, namely, that people can witness unethical acts and then just look away and do nothing. Here, Michael offers an ethics test that many of our finest and brightest have failed. He then challenges you to pass the test. Why? Because to bring your ideas to life, you need to establish trust. And to establish trust, you will have to pass the test…

The gift here is that you can send unspoken messages to your partners and colleagues about you and your values…

Here, Michael offers an example of how a client made a difficult choice that resulted in his client winning the trust of its high-profile partners—and how it did so with unspoken communication about ethics… And how this lessons applies to every part of our lives…

In this blog, Steve recalls how his decision to lose weight made him think about change. As he went through that process, he began to think about how business can learn from the same tools you need as you go through the process of losing weight…

In this blog, Diane tells her compelling story of her campaign to persuade the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (“AACSB”) to improve the quality of how students at business schools are taught ethics. The gift she offers here is that logic and common sense doesn’t always prevail—even when dealing with the most distinguished people in the most prestigious organizations. And that is a very valuable gift…

In this blog, Steve tells some stories from the world of sports in which he explores pervasive cheating and how the owners of sports teams appear to have a wink-and-a-nod attitude. They appear to condone cheating as long as nobody gets caught and their teams benefit from the cheating. His gift to us is invaluable: “Bad behavior that is rewarded is repeated.” 

In this blog, Michael reflects on our public discourse of “winners” and “losers.” He then offers the story of how different people keep score in deciding who is a “winner” and who isn’t.  Michael uses the different philosophies of Nelson Mandela and Donald Trump in determining who is a “winner” and who isn’t. The gift he offers is how we should keep score. It the values versus money dilemma…

In this blog, Steve tells the story of a question he was asked about the soccer team he supported. He explains how that question led him to Isaac Newton too and the gift of curiosity. He reveals how, in his experience, poor performance can often be traced to people being asked to do things they hate—and how there is a way to combat this…

In this blog, the gift Michael offers is a story about how, in bringing one of his own ideas to life, he was inspired by three unlikely sources—from sources that represented the good, the bad and the ugly…

In this blog, Michael reflects on the story of Isaac Newton’s curiosity as he sat under that apple tree. That led him to think about deals that are too good to be true—and about the kryptonite we all possess to use against those trying to sell us those deals. His gift to us here is the value of curiosity and kryptonite…

In this blog, Diane draws on legend to make her point about the need for a moral compass. She tells the story of how the American Psychological Association, by secretly assisting the government in its torture program, lost its moral compass. Her gift to us? We should take good care of our own moral compass… 

In this blog, Michael tells the story of Daniel Pinks’s book on motivation entitled “Drive”… He explores Pink’s idea of how management can sometimes get in the way of effectively motivating people. The attached podcast is a discussion between Michael and Steve  about this…

In this witty blog, Steve talks about how his first bite into a salty kipper on Sunday morning resulted him thinking about happiness and motivation. The gift Steve offers here is that, sometimes, less is more—another quite invaluable gift for those seeking to bring their ideas to life…

In this blog, Diane borrows from the Star Trek series to make her point. Drawing on the Data, Doctor and Quark characters, she makes the argument for moral courage. And that is the gift she offers here are those seeking to bring their ideas to life…

 In this blog, Michael tells a story of the best networking advice he ever received — advice that anyone wanting to bring their ideas to life would find invaluable. The gift offered here is the importance of being interesting…

In this blog, Steve tells the story of how we communicate digitally and how, if we want to close deals, there really is a better way. The gift offered here is the importance of face-to-face meetings and establishing relationships…

Here, Michael tells a story that appears like a fairy tale, but that isn’t. The gift of his story is that we have to separate fantasy from the truth in deciding who we can trust..

In this blog, Michael tells the story of how sustainability principles can apply to bringing our ideas to life. He tells the story of Steve’s journey into exploring the pyramids. He describes how imagination and dreams can bring our ideas to life. The attached podcast is a discussion between Michael and Steve about this…

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