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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about my coaching by clicking here for “
Client Comments.”

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© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
For Executives.

Coaching from the Man Who Launched 40,000 Businesses

 


 

Failing entrepreneur: “My problem is money.”

Entrepreneurship Coach: “No, your problem is trying to do everything yourself. Finding people is your job.”

One of Sirolli’s current goals is to work with business schools to shift the nature of entrepreneurial education. “Most schools teach entrepreneurs that they must have all the skills—product, marketing, financial management. They reward students for putting together a go-it-alone business plan instead of collaborating or identifying who they need to start a business with. In this way, [the schools] often set their students up for failure.”

I told [the trainee coach], “There are just two things you should never do. Don’t initiate anything yourself and never try to motivate people.”

The newly anointed [Entrepreneurship Coach] objected that it would be a disaster to rely on locals for ideas, but promised to do “nothing” until given different instructions. Within two months, he had 46 projects under way.

–Ernesto Sirolli, Ph.D.
The Entrepreneurship Coach
by Sally Helgesen
in Strategy + Business

 


 

Tony’s Interview with Healthcare Finance News




Tips for CFOs to survive the transition to value

  • Give up clinging to the illusion of certainty, said executive coach Tony Mayo. Accounting is a black and white world and as such attracts people who like certainty. However, once you move from being a bookkeeper to being a CFO, you are dealing with the future rather than keeping track of the past. “We think we can control the outcomes, but we can’t, so trade certainty for confidence,” Mayo said. “Confidence that you can handle what is coming next. Rather than trying to control and constrain, let’s learn how to respond and create.”
  • Understand your purpose. “If you identify yourself with a particular number occurring on a particular day, you can’t win,” said Mayo, so get clear about your purpose as a human, as an executive and as an organization.

Letting go of the balance sheet
Healthcare Finance News




Practice Makes Us




The form of [Buddhism] I study is not really a matter of beliefs. I don’t believe; I just try to practice. And I’m no better than that practice, which is in the present moment. You’re either here or you’re not, either in contact or you’re not.

The Sun Magazine Interview
Not On Any Map
Jack Turner On Our Lost
Intimacy With The Natural World

by Leath Tonino

The Sun Magazine
Not On Any Map




See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 

 


 

The Science of the Good Life

 


 

See it at AmazonThe founder and driving force of “Positive Psychology” has summarized his lifetime of research in this accessible book for the lay reader. Though padded with the usual flab of today’s nonfiction–refutations of criticisms most readers have never encountered, tangential personal anecdotes, and repetition–the substance of his findings are practical and enlivening. Dr. Seligman even summarizes the components of a life well lived in a mnemonic acronym.

P – E – R – M – A

  1. Positive emotion,
  2. Engagement [A/K/A Flow]
  3. positive Relationships,
  4. Meaning, and
  5. Accomplishment.

I prefer FAMES, if only for the irony, since fame is at best a fleeting and ancillary aspect of a satisfying life.

  1. Flow, escaping the self through challenging activity
  2. Accomplishment & Progress
  3. Meaning, a generative story
  4. Experiencing welcome emotions
  5. Social Support

Details below.

 


 
Selected excerpts
Flourish:
A Visionary New Understanding of
Happiness and Well-being
by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.

Atria Books. 2011-04-05
Page numbers from Kindle Edition.
[Tony's comments in square brackets.]

 


 

PREFACE This book will help you flourish. There, I have finally said it. I have spent my professional life avoiding Read the rest of this entry »

Simple Science of Healthy Eating

 


 

Click here for an up-to-date review of what science knows about healthful diet, written by two public health experts at Yale. The gist: don’t be distracted by the latest popular diet or the tendency of publicized studies to contradict details of previous advice. The basics have been established and understood for a long time. As Michael Pollen has said, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Diet is established among the most important influences on health in modern societies. Injudicious diet figures among the leading causes of premature death and chronic disease. … The weight of evidence strongly supports a…diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants. Efforts to improve public health through diet are forestalled not for want of knowledge…but for distractions associated with exaggerated claims, and our failure to convert what we reliably know into what we routinely do.

Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?
Annual Review of Public Health
Vol. 35: 83-103 March 2014

D.L. Katz, Prevention Research Center
Yale University School of Public Health

S. Meller
Yale University School of Medicine

 

May you live long and prosper.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 

 


 

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!

 


 




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