The Emotional Businessist

Chief Failure Officer. New Parent. Multiple Hat-Wearer. Public-Profit Warrior.

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I’m Not As Cool As I Thought I Was Last Week

It’s true - my coolness has been completely botched.

I’ve always loved shopping at thrift stores. I’ve purchased a few new things in my life, however the main focus has always been on second-hand. I love finding that diamond in the rough, and you can’t beat the price. Most importantly though, I’ve always seen it as an under-acknowledged form of recycling and I feel good knowing I’m not contributing to new clothes being made.

Unfortunately, the cloud of perfection I was floating on regarding my shopping habits took a fall from grace the other day when I realized that I may be recycling clothes, but I am just passing along the burden of buying new ones to someone else. Someone else is buying new so that I can score his old clothes, and as long as I am buying clothes at all I am contributing to the production of new ones.

I thought I was so much cooler - an elitist recycler to the max -...

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Plea to Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer’s been in the news a lot over the last four years since taking over tech giant Yahoo. I became interested in her story soon after, curious to watch it unfold as this young woman took on a beast of a turnaround job.

Since 2012 when Mayer signed up to give the Yahoo turnaround a shot, she’s been criticized, celebratized and even infantilized by disappointed shareholders and journalists looking for their next fresh meat. Many well-respected writers have pontificated on Mayer as the new Chief, Mayer’s Boring Plan, Mayer’s Inability to Bet the Farm, Mayer and the Glass Cliff and Mayer and the Urgency to Sell. In fact, the above chronology pretty much summarizes the public story to-date: new chief, new plan, new challenges, new failures.

It’s not a surprising outcome, so why is everyone surprised? Did we think that all those other Yahoo CEOs left because they didn’t like the...

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First Response

My first response to information is not always the response I end with. I am a slow and deep processor. When I am presented with information that challenges me it takes me a minimum of 24 hours to find a mature emotional response that I am comfortable presenting to the world. Within that first 24 hours - watch out!

In business we are constantly negotiating our emotions, deciding which to express and which to depress. A respected mentor said to me last week, “It’s not that we want to steer clear of being emotional in business, it’s just that we want to have mature emotions - healthy emotions - in business.”

So just what is a mature emotion in business?

Yesterday around 2pm I received a message from my boss, the director, implying that he was considering withholding a benefit from me given to all other staff on their one-year anniversary.

My first response was feeling anger. My next...

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What stories do you tell yourself that get in the way? I tell myself I have a bad memory, and I don’t understand physics. My partner’s sister says she’s not good with hand-eye coordination.

What about stories we tell ourselves as a social group? I hear often that once you have kids your life is over. Or (my personal favorite) you might hear bachelor-grooms say “this is my last night as a free man.”

What stories do we tell ourselves as non-profit leaders? “Overworked and underpaid” is a common one. Lack of resources is another. In my organization over the past nine months it has been “I have no bandwidth to take that on. I’m trying to keep my head above water!”

Sometime about six months ago I realized that the bandwidth story wasn’t actually true for me anymore. The truth was that I was caught up on most of my work and looking for something new and exciting to sink my teeth into. I...

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