Category Archives: Career

The Greatest Sales Deck

Source: Medium, Sep 2016

#1. Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World

Note the subtle but important difference from what most pitch advice tells you, which is to start with “the problem.” When you assert that your prospects have a problem, you put them on the defensive. They may be unaware of the problem, or uncomfortable admitting they suffer from it.

But when you highlight a shift in the world, you get prospects to open up about how that shift affects them, how it scares them, and where they see opportunities. Most importantly, you grab their attention.

#2. Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers

To combat loss aversion, you must demonstrate how the change you cited above will create big winners and big losers. In other words, you have to show both of the following:

  1. That adapting to the change you cited will likely result in a highly positive future for the prospect; and
  2. That not doing so will likely result in an unacceptably negative future for the prospect

#3. Tease the Promised Land

first present a “teaser” vision of the happily-ever-after that your product/service will help the prospect achieve—what I call the Promised Land.

Your Promised Land should be both desirable (obviously) and difficult for the prospect to achieve without outside help. Otherwise, why does your company exist?

Note that the Promised Land is a new future state, not your product or service.

the Promised Land is not having your technology, but what life is like thanks to having your technology.

#4. Introduce Features as “Magic Gifts” for Overcoming Obstacles to the Promised Land

#5. Present Evidence that You Can Make the Story Come True


McKinsey, BCG, Bain (Consulting) Pay

Source: Quora, Aug 2017

Automation’s Impact upon Work’s Purpose & Nature

Source: HBR, Jan 2018

The promise of AI and automation raises new questions about the role of work in our lives. Most of us will remain focused for decades to come on activities of physical or financial production, but as technology provides services and goods at ever-lower cost, human beings will be compelled to discover new roles — roles that aren’t necessarily tied to how we conceive of work today.

Part of the challenge, as economist Brian Arthur recently proposed, “will not be an economic one but a political one.” How are the spoils of technology to be distributed? Arthur points to today’s political turmoil in the U.S. and Europe as partly a result of the chasms between elites and the rest of society. Later this century, societies will discover how to distribute the productive benefits of technology for two primary reasons: because it will be easier and because they must. Over time, technology will enable more production with less sacrifice. Meanwhile, history suggests that concentration of wealth in too few hands leads to social pressures that will either be addressed through politics or violence or both.

But this then raises a second, more vexing challenge: as the benefits of technology become more widely available — through reform or revolution — more of us will face the question, “When technology can do nearly anything, what should I do, and why?”

historian, and journalist Hannah Arendt, who in the 1950s designed a far-reaching framework for understanding all of human activity. In The Human Condition, a beautiful, challenging, profound work, Arendt describes three levels of what she defines, after the Greeks, as the Vita Activa.

Labor generates metabolic necessities — the inputs, such as food, that sustain human life. Work creates the physical artifacts and infrastructure that define our world, and often outlast us — from homes and goods to works of art. Action encompasses interactive, communicative activities between human beings — the public sphere. In action, we explore and assert our distinctiveness as human beings and seek immortality.

Most ancient Greek philosophers prioritized contemplation over action as the pinnacle of human endeavor. Arendt did battle with this notion, arguing on behalf of action. Contemporary culture appears to agree. Ultimately, though, action and contemplation function best when allied. We have the opportunity — perhaps the responsibility — to turn our curiosity and social natures to action and contemplation.

When our machines release us from ever more tasks, to what will we turn our attentions? This will be the defining question of our coming century.

Ignorance .NE. (Un)Intelligence

Source: Fast Company, Sep 2017




How to Ask for A Recommendation

Source: Fast Company, Sep 2017


If you find it difficult to ask people if they can write nice things about you, there are a number of steps you can take to make the process less cringeworthy. For starters, you can offer to do most of the work yourself, like writing a draft for your recommender to edit or list out the specific skills that you’d like them to endorse you on.

People like to do things when there’s a clear why, so a less self-absorbed way to ask for help is to give them a compliment. Make it clear why their expertise and experiment make them the right person to give you an endorsement or recommendation. 

Vozza gave two examples of how you can couch this request. Compelling “whys” for your recommend might be something like, “I feel like I did some of my best work under your guidance, and would really appreciate if you’d be open to sharing our experience together in a LinkedIn recommendation,” or “Your opinion means a great deal to me–would you be open to sharing our work together with a LinkedIn testimony?”

Google’s Toolkit for Managers

Source: Quartz, Aug 2017

Its Re:Work blog is offering a series of instructive documents used by managers at Google. They cover everything from feedback and career development to setting agendas for one-on-ones, and codify the insights Google gleaned from spending years analyzing reviews and other observable data at the company to determine essential leadership traits.

Here’s an overview of what’s available. Each section header below has the link to the corresponding documentation from Google.

Manager feedback survey

Googlers evaluate their managers on a semi-annual basis with a 13-question survey. The first 11 measure whether employees agree or disagree with statements like “My manager shows consideration for me as a person.” The final two questions (“What would you recommend your manager keep doing?” and “What would you have your manager change?”) are open-ended.

At Google, these survey responses are reported confidentially, and managers receive a report of anonymized, aggregated feedback, plus verbatim answers to the two open-ended questions. “The feedback a manager gets through this survey is purely developmental,” Google says. “It isn’t directly considered in performance or compensation reviews, in the hope that Googlers will be honest and constructive with their feedback.”

Career conversations worksheet

Google’s management analysis reveals that above all, employees value knowing that their manager is invested in their personal success and career development. To help managers effectively discuss development with their direct reports, Google uses the GROW model—which organizes the conversation into four recommended sections:

  • Goal: What do you want? Establish what the team member really wants to achieve with their career.
  • Reality: What’s happening now? Establish the team member’s understanding of their current role and skills.
  • Options: What could you do? Generate multiple options for closing the gap from goal to reality.
  • Will: What will you do? Identify achievable steps to move from reality to goal.

“One Simple Thing” worksheet

To encourage personal well-being and work-life balance, Google uses the popular goal-setting practice “One Simple Thing.” The goal should be specific enough to measure its impact on one’s well-being. “Managers can encourage team members to explain how pursuing this one thing won’t negatively affect their work,” Google explains. “That goal then becomes part of a team member’s set of goals that managers should hold them accountable for, along with whatever work-related goals they already have.”

Some examples of “One Simple Thing” goals include “I will take a one hour break three times a week to work out,” and “I will not read emails on the weekends.”

1:1 Meeting agenda template

At Google, the highest-rated managers hold frequent one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. However, as most leaders know, individual check-ins can often feel rushed and disorganized. To squeeze the most out of each one-on-one (which Google managers are advised to hold every week or two) Googlers set up a shared meeting agenda ahead of time—which both the manager and the report should contribute to.

Some agenda items Google suggests include:

  • Check-in and catch-up questions: “What can I help you with?” and “What have you been up to?”
  • Roadblocks or issues
  • Goal updates
  • Administrative topics (e.g., upcoming vacations, expense reports)
  • Next steps to confirm actions and agreements
  • Career development and coaching

New manager training course materials

As Google explains, “These course materials were originally designed for Google managers to help them transition from individual contributor roles to manager roles.” As anyone who has done this can attest, conducting the transition gracefully requires a bit of perspective shifting, and more than a little awareness building.

The course materials include a facilitator guide (to help whoever is training the new managers), a new manager student workbook(including interactive exercises), and the presentation slides that Google trainers use internally.

Communicating at Work

Source: Fast Company, Aug 2017

one overall rule can help you maximize your impact: People simply like to know that you’re interested in them, not focused on yourself. Using collegial and collaborative language will build bridges to your audience, and hopefully result in more respect and authority for you.


Kick off your comments by referring to the previous speaker or to the subject of conversation (rather than the people conversing). … Once you’ve built a bridge to your audience first, you can go on to show what you believe, including by saying “I,” “me,” or “mine.”


Never use “I” to claim the glory if other people have been involved–after all, nearly every project draws on the talents of many people.

The best thing to do is connect yourself with the accomplishment without taking sole credit for it. Say, “I’m so proud of my team. We had a great win”: one “I,” one “my,” and one “we”–that’s a balanced way to accept praise that’s directed at you rather than the whole group.


candidates typically don’t realize that the hiring processes isn’t just about them; the roles they’re auditioning to fill are really about solving problems for the team that role belongs to. “And sometimes they come out of the actual interview and tell me they knocked it out of the park,” Kelly says. “Then they discover they didn’t get the position because they focused on themselves and not enough on the company or the position.”

A surefire formula for prevent this from happening is simply to say what you did, followed by the impact or outcome for the group. 


walk into the event, grab a place next to someone who looks interesting or approach the VIP you’ve had your eye on (here’s how to do it), then start asking questions. How did they like the speaker? Why did they come? What do they do? Be complimentary, and make them feel good (“Love your shoes!”) Keep talking until you have common ground. Then you can resort to those first-person words, explaining why youcame, what you do, and what you and the other person might do together.


when you’re talking to someone more senior to  you, focus less on yourself and the interpersonal politics involved than on the organization itself–the needs, goals, and outcomes everyone is pulling toward.