Doug's Blog
Reframing Failure

When I was 24 years old, I fell into a position as the business development director at a small New York advertising agency. I had met the agency owner, Bill Markel, two weeks earlier at an advertising award show. I happened to be attending the event with a friend for the free food and drinks.…

Doug's Blog
Why You’re On The Planet

I watch Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee weekly. I love the behind-the-scenes banter of comedians talking about their personal histories. It’s a rare glimpse of show-person as real person. This week’s guest was Garry Shandling, a long-time and close friend of Seinfeld’s. Shot in LA, they visited The Comedy Story where…

Doug's Blog
Don’t Stand for B.S. Strategic Plans

At least once a week I read a strategic plan that feels like it was written by a random-corporate-buzzword generator. The lingo sounds fancy, but there’s no substance behind it. Give it a little push and it falls apart. Here are few recent offenders: We’re going to utilize a best-practice project management methodology to accelerate cost cutting.…

Doug's Blog
Four Stories a Leader Must Master

Of all the jobs on a leader’s plate these days, perhaps none is more important than sensemaker. We’re all confronted with too much data and too many choices on a daily basis. We see countless potentially-valuable things we could do while only having time for a limited few. We’re so busy that we can’t see…

Doug's Blog
Start Before You Know Where to Start

There’s a moment, when you’re trying to do something big or new, that you realize that logical analysis has taken you as far as it can. It’s never going to convince you to take that final step. Too much still feels uncertain. You realize that if you’re going to take that final step, it’s going to…

Doug's Blog
Don’t Be a Hero

There’s one piece of advice I’ve found all long-term successful risk takers follow. Stay humble. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” No matter what river we stepped in yesterday, today brings different water, different currents, and different conditions—in essence, a different river. The smartest risk takers have…

Doug's Blog
Choosing the Right Focus for Risk Taking

Whether or not we take a risk in a given situation depends, in large part, on where we focus our attention as we weigh the pros and cons. If we focus on the upside of risk taking, we’ll feel pulled to take the risk. If we focus on the downside, we’ll feel pushed not to…

Doug's Blog
What Improv Taught Me About Risk Taking

A few years ago I had lost a bet with a friend and, against my wishes, was accompanying her to an improv workshop as payment. I say against my wishes because to me, improv is the ultimate in anxiety-producing situations. You’re performing before an audience with no preparation, trying to get a laugh. And you’re…