Tony Mayo’s Blog: Tools, Techniques, & Thoughts

 


 

Top Executive Coach Tony MayoI use this blog to collect and make available some of my articles, insights, and guidance for the top executives I coach. My clients can easily find my best advice on goal setting, running meetings, stress reduction, and other topics important to anyone running a business. You can even learn how–and why–to meditate. I have videos, instructions, posters, and research results on this blog and a podcast on iTunes.

You are welcome to use all this in your work and to pass any of my posts along to your colleagues. I only ask that you preserve the attribution to me and not alter the content.

To contact me by telephone or email, click here for the “About Tony Mayo” page. A video that answers the most common questions asked by prospective clients is also on that page.

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© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
For Executives.

Living Heroically

 


 

It is likely that depression, anxiety, and anger come from heritable personality traits that can only be ameliorated, not wholly eliminated. This means that, as a born pessimist, even though I know and use every therapeutic trick in the book about arguing against my automatic catastrophic thoughts, I still hear the voices frequently that tell me, “I am a failure” and “Life is not worth living.” I can usually turn down their volume by disputing them, but they will always be there, lurking in the background, ready to seize on any setback.

So one thing that clinical psychology needs to develop in light of the heritable stubbornness of human pathologies is a psychology of “dealing with it.” We need to tell our patients, “Look, the truth is that many days—no matter how successful we are in therapy—you will wake up feeling blue and thinking life is hopeless. Your job is not only to fight these feelings but also to live heroically: functioning well even when you are very sad.”

 

–Creator of “Positive Psychology” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.
Professor of psychology at University of Pennsylvania
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding
of Happiness and Well-being
(
Kindle Locations 887-890). Atria Books.

 

 


 

Lessons from Bell Labs’ Heyday

 


 

AT&T’s Bell Labs can be credited with inventing the 20th Century, having created the transistor, solar cell, trans-continental and trans-Atlantic telephone cables, and communication satellites, not to mention digital audio and information theory. How they did it is the story of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner. Here are some excerpts.

On Vision:

 

AT&T’s savior was Theodore Vail, who became its president in 1907,… (p. 18)… His publicity department had come up with a slogan that was meant to rally its public image, but Vail himself soon adopted it as the company’s core philosophical principle as well. [16] It was simple enough:

 

“One policy, one system, universal service.”

 

That this was a kind of wishful thinking seemed not to matter. (p. 20)

 

…in any company’s greatest achievements one might, with the clarity of hindsight, locate the beginnings of its own demise. (p. 186). [See also on this blog, Your greatest strength is your #1 blind spot.]

 

 

On Management:

 

Measurement devices that could assess things like loudness, signal strength, and channel capacity didn’t exist, so they, too, had to be created— for it was impossible to study and improve something unless it could be measured. (p. 48).

 

“You get paid for the seven and a half hours a day you put in here,” Kelly often told new Bell Labs employees in his speech to them on their first day, “but Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire’s Radical Strategy: Trust – NYTimes.com

 


 

Here is a top-level endorsement of a principal I have often voiced, most specifically in this popular post, Truth or Consequences? Beyond the Punishment Model.

“By the standards of the rest of the world, we overtrust. So far it has worked very well for us. Some would see it as weakness.” … Mr. Munger and Mr. Buffett argue that with the right basic controls, finding trustworthy managers and giving them an enormous amount of leeway creates more value than if they are forced to constantly look over their shoulders at human resources departments and lawyers monitoring their every move.

“We just try to operate in a seamless web of deserved trust and be careful whom we trust.”

Munger agrees with what I have called natural consequences, citing “late Columbia University philosophy professor, Charles Frankel, who believed ‘that systems are responsible in proportion to the degree in which the people making the decisions are living with the results of those decisions.’ …if you built a bridge, you stood under the arch when the scaffolding was removed.’”

 –Warren Buffett’s business partner
Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman
Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire’s Radical Strategy: Trust – NYTimes.com.

Read more about the power of trust on this blog by clicking here.

 


 

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© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
For Executives.
,

Tony’s Book: Hard cover, paperback, or Kindle. Plus, spoken word version on Audible and iTunes

 


 

Download Tony’s short book on building community.

Click here to see a sample on Amazon.

 

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➤ Paperback and & hard cover available on Amazon & Barnes and Noble!

 

iTunes Spoken word version available on Audible

 

Audio version read by Tony Mayo also available.
To hear a sample click here for Audible or iTunes.

 

 


 

Tony Mayo Courage Sermon front cover

“Time may change me; But I can’t trace time …”

 


 

Some of the most concise and useful personal productivity advice I have seen comes not from David Bowie, but from Peter Drucker. I have often rejected time management with the observation that time seems immune to my attempts at controlling or directing it; time just goes. Personal management is work, but it works.

 

Effective executives, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time. Finally they consolidate their “discretionary” time into the largest possible continuing units.

–Peter F. Drucker
From The Effective Executive

Reminds me of the “Handle the big rocks first” metaphor in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

 

 


 

Return to the Core

 


The tempo of modern civilization has a centrifugal force that carries us outward from the core of life toward ever expanding peripheries. One should return frequently to the core, and to the basic values of the individual, to natural surroundings, to simplicity and contemplation. Long ago, I resolved to so arrange my life that I could move back and forth between periphery and core.
 

–Charles A. Lindbergh

Autobiography of Values


 

See also Tony Mayo’s review of the book here.

 


 

Beautiful Machines

 


Enjoy the videos online of Arthur Ganson‘s compelling kinetic sculptures. In our era of concealed, abstractly-comprehended, and practical technology we can still admire the overt and elegant application of simple gears and levers to accomplishing tasks with no end purpose, only a grace in the doing.

 

 

 

 


 

You Don’t Need to be Crazy to be an Entrepreneur…

 


 

…but being hypomanic seems to help, according to John D. Gartner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of The Hypomanic Edge

In his article for The American Enterprise Institute, America’s Manic Entrepreneurs Dr. Gartner writes,
“Successful entrepreneurs are … are highly creative people who quickly generate a tremendous number of ideas—some clever, others ridiculous. Their “flight of ideas,” jumping from topic to topic in a rapid energized way, is a sign of hypomania. … It is a temperament characterized by an elevated mood state that feels “highly intoxicating, powerful, productive, and desirable” to the hypomanic, according to Frederick Goodwin and Kay Jamison, authors of the definitive book Manic-Depressive Illness. ”

–John D. Gartner, Ph.D.
American Enterprise
Jul2005, Vol. 16 Issue 5, p18

I highly recommend the article to anyone who is or works with high-energy business leaders.

 


 

Newspapers: Why bother?

 


 

I have often remarked on this myself; now I learn it has an “official” name.

Why Speculate?
A talk
by Michael Crichton
International Leadership Forum
La Jolla
April 26, 2002

 

 

…the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

 –Michael Crichton

 

My theory on why we still read ‘em

  1. To learn what other people are reading; be part of the culture
  2. Being conceited enough to think we can separate the wheat from the chaff

 


 

Help with Eating Healthy

 


 

Here’s a useful site, paid for by the foundation established by the founder of Health Valley Foods. The World’s Healthiest Foods List at: http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

I was glad to have more reasons for eating basil,

Research studies on basil have shown unique health-protecting effects in two basic areas: basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils.

and eggplant,

In addition to featuring a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity. Phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin.

 

Plus, of course, fiber. Gotta keep things moving!

 


 

Another Good Reason to Meditate

 


Dr. Peter Suedfeld, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and an expert in human cognition. …told us that creativity is a “very mysterious thing” that “exists in pretty much everyone” — but that there are indeed ways to improve it. One method he has studied extensively is what he calls the Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) — putting people into places with no light or outside stimuli.

“What I’ve found,” he said, “is that far from making people crazy, moderate deprivation lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and makes people more creative.”

From: “Outside the Box”: The Inside Story
By Martin Kihn, Fast Company, June 2005

Found in:

IDEAS IN THE NEWS
A biweekly publication of MeansBusiness
Vol. VI No. 8 — June 29, 2005 

 


 

 

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 

 


 

Let Your Mind Think

 


 

MortimerAdler

You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.

Mortimer Adler

 

 


 

 

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 

 


 

What would you give up to truly give?

 


 

It is rare indeed that people give.

 

Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is the system of reality in what they assume themselves to be. One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself – that is to say, risking oneself.

 

If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.

 

–The Price of the Ticket:
Collected Nonfiction 1948-1985
by James Baldwin
Page 370

 


 

Fear is Running Your Career and Your Company

 


 

Your efforts to lead, manage, and sell often fail because of people’s fears. The fear may be disguised as resistance, indecision, lack of creativity, poor communication or reluctance to take responsibility. You can work on the symptoms forever, but the big rewards come from dealing with the fundamental fears we all share.

We promise according to our hopes and
perform according to our fears.

– La Rochefoucauld

I painted a lot of houses when I was a teenager. Each season, when school let out, I had to force myself up the ladder again. I didn’t look down, I maintained a white knuckle grip, I kept as much of my body in contact with the ladder as possible. The occasional trips across a plank between ladders were performed sitting down with one hand on the wall. Every sway and breeze was a stomach churning calamity. Some say acrophobia isn’t a fear of heights but a fear of falling and hitting, but that wasn’t true for me. I didn’t think about falling. My body just hated being up there. Over the course of a few days I got more accustomed to being on the ladder and by the end of the summer I even made a few trips across the plank standing up. The fear never went away. I just managed it better. The next season it would be back, full force.

Why would anyone do that to themselves? Why did I tolerate so much discomfort? Why would I place myself in situations which brought up so much fear? The reason, ironically, was Read the rest of this entry »

The Courage to Create Community

 


 

Download Tony’s short book on building community.

Click here to see a sample on Amazon.

 

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➤ Paperback and & hard cover available on Amazon & Barnes and Noble!

 

iTunes Spoken word version available on Audible

 

Audio version read by Tony Mayo also available.
To hear a sample click here for Audible or iTunes.

 

 


 

Tony Mayo Courage Sermon front coverScientific evidence and personal experience tell us that sincere, engaging personal relationships are essential for health and happiness. Yet, little is said about how we might actively nurture such relationships for ourselves and for people near us at home and work.

I recently delivered a non-sectarian, non-doctrinal “sermon” to one of my most treasured communities, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston. My intention was to encourage everyone to take action that deepens and broadens our relationships, to foster community as a sanctuary and solace. It was very well received.

Comments from Listeners

 

“More of an invitation than a sermon, the message is not religious in nature and the message is universal. Tony leaves us with an opportunity to live richer, more expressive lives.”

 

“Thank you, Tony, for such a wonderful message this morning.  It was so uplifting and, based on feedback, provided many with a transformational experience.”

 

“Tony, one of the things I valued most about your sermon is that so few words were wasted. You did not speak just to fill the time; each sentence added to the whole.”

 

“Tony, I have it on good authority that your sermon this last Sunday was about the best ever.”

 

“We were inspired by what you shared and how you shared it. Thank you.”

 

A revised and expanded version of the talk is now available as a $2.99 eBook on Amazon Kindle and an inexpensive audio book on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. You can hear a sample on Read the rest of this entry »




Tony Mayo, Top Executive Coach, is located in Reston, Virginia 20190