Tag Archives: The-Gift-Tree.com

Conventional Wisdom: Assume Nothing…

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A prologue to “Conventional Wisdom”…

I was nervous. It was 8am on the first day of my first job as an attorney in Johannesburg, South Africa. As I arrived in the office manager’s office, he handed me a note. The senior partner wanted me in his office the moment I arrived.

I reacted to the senior partner’s summons as any self-respecting insecure 23-year old new lawyer would have reacted: I freaked out… Could this be the shortest first job in legal or other history, I wondered? Had the senior partner already changed his mind about offering me the job? My anxiety was now spinning totally out of control…

With only unhappy thoughts swirling around my head, I somehow dragged myself up to his executive suite. Breathlessly, I knocked on his door…

Continue reading Conventional Wisdom: Assume Nothing…

My Gift To The NFL – And There’s No Need To Thank Me!

An open letter to Commissioner Goodell…

Dear Commissioner,

I’d like to to help you and the NFL out of a fix you’re in… Please consider this as our gift to you…

The gift is about a standard that the rest of the sporting world has set for winners and losers alike. It is about what you say—and what you don’t say—when presenting or receiving your most prestigious trophies and awards.

It is about a standard, incidentally, that applies equally to small children, to Fortune 500 companies and to the NFL—and to everyone in between.

It is about graciousness, respect, sportsmanship and humility…

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Continue reading My Gift To The NFL – And There’s No Need To Thank Me!

Decision-Making: A Story About Bushmen, Gorillas, Pumpkins And Architects

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 Prologue …

This is a story about bushmen, pumpkins and architects—and gorillas.

Incidentally, did you know that a pumpkin is a fruit? I’ve always thought it was a vegetable, but it seems I was wrong. And what, you might reasonably ask, does a pumpkin being fruit have to do with this story? Absolutely nothing!

This is about the power of making a point through a story. It’s about the importance of understanding how people view you as you tell them your story. It’s also about how you view them…

Continue reading Decision-Making: A Story About Bushmen, Gorillas, Pumpkins And Architects

Thoughts About Knowing What You Are Talking About…

Knowing what you are talking about: Donald Trump and the Pyramids…

So, here’s my question de jour: Is knowing what you are talking about even important? Does it matter?

confuse them

After publishing a recent blog entitled “Thanks, Donald—For The Gift That Keeps Giving,” I was struck by the passion of some of those commenting—particularly when they were complaining about things that weren’t even in my blog!   :-). Perhaps this passion was because of the reference to Donald Trump… (This, incidentally, inspired me to write my latest blog entitled “Another Holiday Gift From Donald And His Mates”…)

Continue reading Thoughts About Knowing What You Are Talking About…

Another Holiday Gift From Donald And His Mates…

Prologue to Another Holiday Gift from Donald…

Gotta admit that this blog about another holiday gift from Donald was inspired by some comments I received to my last blog about Donald Trump

So, if you like this latest blog, you should definitely thank those who commented on my last blog. And if you don’t like it, you should definitely blame them. Whatever you do, please don’t blame me! I’m the totally innocent party here—kind of…  🙂

It seems that, by comparing Donald’s approach to life and leadership with that of the iconic Nelson Mandela, I’ve needlessly irritated and upset some of Donald’s most ardent fans. Sorry about that!

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Daffy and Donald…

If that’s the bad news, though, the good news is that my blog has also brought out of the shadows some colorful comments from the likes of “Donald Duck,” “Daffy Duck,” “Road Runner” and “Sarah Palin”…  Welcome to my cult, guys…  The Kool-Aid’s on ice…

Continue reading Another Holiday Gift From Donald And His Mates…

Decision-Making: Stories From The World Of Art…

 About this series of articles…

This series of articles and stories is about the hazy crazy space of decision-making—in this case, stories from the world of art….

I hope you’ll find some of these stories interesting and even useful in helping you bring life to your ideas. And if they don’t and instead bore you to tears and put you to sleep, I hope you’ll have a wonderfully peaceful and restful sleep.

Being the eternal optimist, though, I’m betting on your sense of humor and curiosity keeping you awake.

Please don’t disappoint me…  🙂

Continue reading Decision-Making: Stories From The World Of Art…

Yet Another Leadership Challenge: Respecting Space…

The gamblers…

I couldn’t possibly have made up the story I’m about to share with you. No, my imagination’s just not that good. Still, this story inspired yet another leadership challenge that I thought might resonate with you.

But what made me decide to share this particular true story?

I just couldn’t resist. I’d just finished my last story about my dinner with some buddies and the loves of their lives (their smart phones). I wrote about how dinner began with them totally ignoring me. They were squinting deeply into the screens of the loves of their lives. At that moment, I made a decision: No way was I going to pay for my dinner that evening. No way. Instead, I decided one of my buddies would pay for my dinner. The only question was how I could pull this off?

I knew I had one huge advantage: They were all gamblers…

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Continue reading Yet Another Leadership Challenge: Respecting Space…

Leadership And Those Beautifully Written Codes Of Ethics – And Cheating

They’re not a panacea…

I’m truly sorry to have to break the news to you, but those beautifully written Codes Of Ethics aren’t a panacea. No, sadly, they don’t cure all of our ethical ills. No, sadly, this isn’t even close…

To add insult to this injury I’ve just inflicted on you (for which I apologise), you should also know this about EVERY major corporate financial scandal in recent memory—

EACH had occurred UNDER THE UMBRELLA of a major corporation that had in place a QUITE BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED CODE OF ETHICS…

So, what does this say about beautifully crafted Codes of Ethics? Not much…

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Thoughts About Writing…

Podcast…

This podcast is the rebroadcast of some thoughts about writing that I shared in an conversation with best-selling novelist, Tim Hallinan…

The gift…

What inspired my conversation with Tim was my feeling about how writing skills can really helping us breathe life into our ideas…

As Tim mentions in the podcast, to write clearly requires one to THINK clearly—and to think clearly is surely the very essence of achieving success…

The gift this podcast offers are some tips that you might perhaps want to consider in improving your own writing skills—and the writing skills of those around you…

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Leadership and Ethics: Is Doing Business In Los Angeles Really That Different?

My two questions…

Firstly, do my 1979 answers about doing business in Los Angeles stand the test of time? And, secondly, is doing business in Los Angeles really any different from doing business where you happen to live?

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Some background…

It was mid-1979. After spending some brief time living, working and studying in London, Zurich, Paris and Montreal, I’d just arrived in Los Angeles. If you think this sounds mildly glamorous and interesting, I’m cool with that. The truth is sadly that it was neither…

Soon after I’d joined a fancy Century City law firm, an old English client called me. He was the leader of a large international business with offices all around the world. He said he was thinking of setting up an office here in Los Angeles and that he had a question or two for me. We met and I did my best to answer his questions…

 

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Our Extraordinary Capacity For Self-Delusion…

Leaders and followers beware…

My story today falls into the “I-couldn’t-possibly-have-made-this-up” category…

This is a story about self-delusion. It is about two sides of the coin I’m offering you. On the one side of the coin, we have leaders. On the other side, we have their followers—

  • The leaders want to believe the nonsense they might be sprouting—not because its true, but rather because they’d like it to be true. Their challenge is to find someone with the courage to constructively challenge what they are saying…
  • The followers want to believe their leaders so badly that, in the face of the hubris and self-importance of their leaders, they’re happy and eager to suspend their own common sense and natural curiosity. Their choice is between their self-interest in not challenging their leaders and potentially setting back their careers, on the one hand, and acting as a team member to protect their leaders, on the other,

The question, therefore, is what we can do to protect ourselves from falling into the trap created by the leaders’  hubris and their followers’ passivity?

Continue reading Our Extraordinary Capacity For Self-Delusion…