Category Archives : Training and Development


How to Broach a Difficult Topic

Dear Crucial Skills, As the mother of two adult children who are each very intelligent and gainfully employed, I try and stay out of their personal decisions. However, one of them started smoking during his high school years. The smoking has continued for almost twenty years. His father and I worry about his health but [...]

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A 3-Step Plan for Turning Weaknesses into Strengths

Yan Wang, the former CFO of VitalSmarts, didn’t survive Mao’s China by taking outlandish risks such as questioning those in positions of authority. As our CFO, she did impeccable work with the highest ethical standards. But challenging the status quo was deeply unsettling to her — especially if it meant critiquing the actions of one [...]


Responding to Racism While On the Job

Dear David, I work in a community hospital with culturally diverse patients and staff. Recently, a nurse told me about an upsetting experience. The nurse is African-American and was caring for a patient in a double room. He overheard a conversation between his patient’s roommate and a visitor. In a loud, strident voice, the visitor [...]

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Be a good Actor

You’re Not A Good Enough Actor

In the early 1980s, I slowly transitioned from teaching MBA classes to designing corporate training programs. Surprisingly, with this change in focus, my design partners and I soon found ourselves in, of all places, Hollywood—not the glamorous version that produces dazzling movies, but the not-so-glamorous version that produces industrial videos. Here’s what took us to [...]


The Roi-Tan Cemetery

By Kerry Patterson When I was a little tyke, I loved insects. Sometimes I’d watch ants for hours as they hauled Lilliputian bundles down footprint valleys and up tennis-shoe mountains. On listless summer days, I’d crumble a Necco wafer over our front-porch deck and then sit back and watch as hundreds of tiny stevedores struggled [...]

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