On getting practical advice + the Harvard Business Review

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Confession: I attended leadership camps as a child. Many.  I both blame and compliment the Asian upbringing for this treat. Stephen Covey reigned high.

What I learned then and thereafter is that practical advice is clear, concise and allows space for follow-up.  For some reason as I've gotten older, I've become more shy about asking people for guidance face-to-face- (is it just me?) insecurity, possibly growing frustrated with the 'work hard' , 'give it time' generalities or because I often feel ten steps behind in a field that may or may not be my own.   I think like most , the more specific and broken down the advice or explanation, the easier it is for consumption and action.  Cliff notes on life for every situation would be a handy book, no?

Enter the Harvard Business Review.  (nerd alert)  While there are many posts that are quite meaty and way over my head (read: Rubik's cube conundrum), there are articles that relate to the day-to-day and the human factor element to both business and life.  There really is nothing better than reading something that makes you go 'I get it.' and even more powerfully 'me too.'

A friend linked to me Peter Bregman's articles and I promptly read 5-6 in one brief coffee break.

This one is an excerpt from his article on surprise criticism and why it is so hard for us to process:

Any criticism can be hard to accept. But surprise feedback — criticism that seems to come from nowhere, about an issue we haven’t perceived ourselves — is the hardest. We’re far more likely to be defensive.

Because it’s not just about admitting, it’s about perceiving. Before we can accept something, we have to become aware of it.

That kind of feedback exposes you to yourself, which is why it is both tremendously unsettling and exceptionally valuable. It’s also why our defensiveness is so predictable and so counterproductive. The things we most need to hear are often the things we defend against hearing the most.

He goes on to describe practical steps to do this. Both business and curious mind-friendly, the site is full of clarifying pieces.  It's tagged as a place for ideas and advice for leaders.  While there is so much information to process out there, it's comforting to know there are sites that can get down to the bulk of the matter in this sort of way.  I'm digging it.


  1. I've read your post last week, then I read the recommended column. I wanted to write something smart and I've forgot ;) But I thought I will say hello anyway :)

    1. Muah! Kisses and hellos to you sweet Magda. Always happy you stop in to say hello


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