On Biking & Business: The Nail in my Tire


The other morning I was riding through Portola Valley when a nail pierced my tire. It was quite impressive. I must have hit the nail at just the right angle for it to enter the tire and exit next to the rim. Realizing this one wasn’t going to be easily fixed with my basic tire repair kit, I called an Uber, and in just over 20 minutes, my hobbled bike and I were at my local Woodside Road bicycle shop. Read more…

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On Biking & Business: The Hill Climbing Gear


When I booked my Backroads bike trip to Alaska I had just two months to train. I dusted off my road bike and started riding. I knew it would be important to up my mileage and to get in a lot of hills to match the challenges I’d face in Alaska.

What I didn’t know is that my two-decade old bike was lacking something critical – a hill climbing gear. Read more…

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Do You Avoid Giving Feedback? Here’s a Formula that Works

feedback-that-landsFor many people, just hearing the phrase “I’d like to give you some feedback” triggers a flight or fight response. They’re on high alert before you even start the conversation.

This conversation can be just as difficult for the person delivering the feedback. I’ve seen people go to incredible lengths to avoid delivering what they fear might be perceived as negative feedback. By putting the encounter off, the situation invariably gets worse. Continue reading

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5 Keys to Managing Your Team Effectiveness and Efficiency

swiss-train(Originally published on AlleyPost)

We’ve been fortunate to work on some extraordinary teams and I’ve learned countless lessons about how high performing teams function. But I’ve learned just as much, if not more, from the teams that weren’t so hot (and I’ve been on a few of those!) The truly low performing teams are a no-brainer. It’s usually easy to diagnose the dysfunction. It’s the average teams and leaders that intrigue me because they often look good on paper but they’re just not performing. So what sets apart an outstanding leader from a merely good one? A high-performing team from a lackluster one? In my experience, it’s a laser focus on results and an unwavering commitment to outcomes. Ineffective leaders, and subsequently their teams, focus on activity rather than outcomes. Continue reading

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Backroads Biking Trip in Alaska Reveals Valuable Business Insights


IMG_3767I just returned from a six-day bike trip in Alaska with the active travel company Backroads. The trip was superb. Jaw-dropping natural beauty, fantastic food, unbelievable guides, great equipment and routes, 17 new friends from the US and Brazil, and a lot of rain.

As the trip finished I found myself wishing we had just a few more days on the bikes, a completely unexpected outcome given that I had just covered 275 miles in the saddle.

Several insights came to me as I rode through Alaska’s magnificent mountains and valleys. Here they are, with my take on how they relate to business – and life.

Insight #1: When it gets tough, the only way out is through. Refocus on what’s good and working rather than resisting what’s not.  

The second day of our ride through the Matanuska Valley started in a complete deluge. After an hour, it was clear to me that despite my hope and optimism, the rain was not going to let up. By this time my feet were soaking wet and the rest of me was soggy at best, though I was reasonably warm — at least until we turned onto the Glenn Highway to ride along the Matanuska River when the headwinds hit. Here I was riding through some of the most magnificent places in the world, and all I could focus on were my soaking wet and numb feet, freezing cold hands, painful sit bones, and aching legs as I struggled to ride slightly uphill in a cold and forceful headwind. Continue reading

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The Moonshot Effect Podcast on Emergingwomen.com

emerging women podcast

(Original post by Chantal Pierrat on Emergingwomen.com. Listen here)

I recently learned a new word that I LOVE: moonshot. It sounds so feminine, but with this deep undercurrent of disruption of the status quo.

Inspired by President Kennedy’s massive efforts to put a man on the moon, a “moonshot” is a barely achievable initiative that demands extraordinary effort and teamwork to achieve. It’s an initiative that’s definitely not possible with “business as usual” – you have to completely transform ways of working and collaboration and performance in order to make it happen. And the most exciting part? The widespread effects of a moonshot are often world-changing in a way no one could have imagined. Continue reading

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Three Practices That Keep Critical Projects On Track

3 practices keep projects on trackby Kate Purmal and Lisa Goldman

Here’s a common lament we hear from senior executives: “My team left the off-site planning meeting fully energized, but when it came to getting the initiative off the ground, we stalled. If we can’t rebuild momentum, I’m concerned this critical project will fail.”

If you’ve experienced the failure to launch, let alone complete, a big project (“a moonshot,” in our terms), you’re far from alone. A survey by the Project Management Institute, reported that only roughly half of strategic initiatives are self-reported as having succeeded. Here are three practical tips to ensure your great idea gets to the finish line. Continue reading

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Strategy: Invest Aggressively in Three Areas

Invest 3 areasThis must-read article by Chris Zook in Harvard Business Review argues that the best way to invest is not to spread your money around evenly, but instead invest aggressively – 10x the typical investment – in three areas: Continue reading

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Why Even Bad Innovation is Good

innovationAndrew Hargadon’s article in Strategy+Business, Bad Innovation is Just What Your Company Needs, makes a case for innovation regardless of whether or not it results in a new hit product or market disruption. This argument is similar to our assertion in our book, The Moonshot Effect, that launching a Moonshot brings benefits – the effect – that go well beyond a successful business outcome. Continue reading

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Why Go the Extra Mile to Recruit Talented Female Board Directors? Not for the Reasons We’ve Been Told.

women on boards

When I started reading Kim Elsesser’s Forbes article, The Truth About Women’s Impact on Corporate Boards (It’s Not Good News), the “not good news” part gave me pause – until I read the article.

Elsesser debunks three widely promoted arguments about the impact of women on corporate boards. And it’s about time. These three arguments for diversifying a board with women directors have never rung true to me – and I’m sure they don’t ring true to others experienced in board service. Continue reading

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