All business, perhaps all life, is a series of trade-offs.

Self-management is the major difference between today’s  and workers in decades past. The modern worker decides which fork in the road to take every few steps on a day’s journey. He or she acts upon trade-offs continuously.

Now or later? Me or them? Alone or together? Right or wrong? Act or wait? Open or closed? Worthwhile or worth waiting out? Wise or foolish? Do it or don’t?

A particularly poignant divide is choosing whether to improve oneself or one’s environment.

As a person who shoulders responsibility for career and impact, how do you plan to decide  how much you invest in yourself and how much do you put into creating a better, more effective, and enjoyable place to work.


To be all you can be in life and work (and why settle for less?), you will need to master a portfolio of leadership and learning skills, for example:

  • Speaking clearly and persuasively to groups
  • Listening actively
  • Telling compelling stories
  • Displaying empathy in working with others
  • Showing and reading people’s emotions
  • Soliciting and acting on personal feedback
  • Unlearn and cast off vestigial beliefs that have outlived their usefulness
  • Committing to a plan for personal growth and fulfillment

Your organization

Fulfilling, successful work is give and take. The permanent employee benefits from the organization’s culture and gives back by making it stronger. Culture transcends individual drivers. It includes things like:

  • Take a process view. Go up a level to see the context. 
  • Promote openness and transparency. Share, don’t hoard
  • Seek diversity. All of us are smarter than any of us. 
  • Experiment outside of your comfort zone. Go to the edge
  • Focus on core, hand off what others do better.
  • Amplify signal; reduce noise.
  • Cut out needless bullshit. Replace bureaucracy with responsiveness.
  • Question the status quo. What’s in it for the customer?
  • Remove obstacles to doing what’s right.

Where do you end up on our trade-off? Invest time in You, Inc. or your company?

It’s a trick question, for these aren’t trade-offs at all.


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