Fred Dominguez

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Foster a Culture of Gratitude

In the movie <i>Remember the Titans</i>, Coach Herman Boone takes his high school football team to the battleground of Gettysburg. Having inherited a fractured and divided squad, Coach Boone implores the players to “take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together, right now on this hallowed ground, …

Great Innovators Think Laterally

Do you ever wonder why cars aren’t called “horseless carriages” anymore? Today’s cars are just as horseless as they were a century ago. Horselessness is standard equipment on most new and late models, both foreign and domestic.<p>Framing the question this way may seem a bit absurd; yet, it’s a playful …

How to Really Understand Someone Else’s Point of View

The most influential people strive for genuine buy in and commitment — they don’t rely on compliance techniques that only secure short-term persuasion. That was our conclusion after interviewing over 100 highly respected influences across many different industries and organizations for our recent …

The 21st Century Economy Will Be Urban, High Tech, and Green

In my experience, even very sharp business leaders tend to misunderstand three facts when thinking about climate change.<p>The first is how much action we need to take. We’re used to hearing that we’ll need to reduce our carbon emissions by some percentage. The blunt reality is that to avoid …

Preventing Rejection at Work

You walk into a meeting late and people are already in huddles. Colleagues glance over ever so briefly then turn back to their conversations. You sit down in a corner and use your smartphone to check email. Once the group discussion starts, you want to offer an opinion but can’t seem to get a word …

To Be Authentic, Look Beyond Yourself

Authenticity — what is it, who has it, and how do you get it? Most people associate authenticity with being true to oneself — or “walking the talk.” But there’s a problem with that association; it focuses on how <i>you</i> feel about <i>yourself</i>. Authenticity is actually a relational behavior, not a …

What to Do When You’ve Made Someone Angry

I was running late. My wife Eleanor and I had agreed to meet at the restaurant at seven o’clock and it was already half past. I had a good excuse in the form of a client meeting that ran over and I wasted no time getting to the dinner as fast as possible.<p>When I arrived at the restaurant, I …

Stop Telling Your Employees What to Do

I will never forget the experiences of getting my first suit. I was 12 years old and my father took me to a department store on 18th street in New York City. I was very excited; this was the transition to feeling grown up. A real milestone. I would have a suit like all the grown men I knew.<p>At the …

The Innovator Who Knew Too Much

It is a profound irony that the more you know about a particular industry, and the more experience you gain in it, the more difficult it can be to move it forward with truly meaningful innovation. But it’s true, thanks to something known as “the curse of knowledge” — one of the most vexing …

How to Influence People with Your Ideas

One of my young clients, let’s call her Julie, is on a mission. Julie has an idea, one that has been gestating in her mind for quite some time, but now she realizes that for her idea to have any impact at all she will have to “go public” with it. Julie believes there are countless intelligent, …

Your Optimism Might Be Stifling Your Team

I admit that I’m prone to an optimistic outlook, a belief that most problems can be tackled with hard work and the right mindset. I’ve read the research that indicates that positive thinkers tend to do better in school, work and life. Perhaps I even assumed that optimism was infectious and that …

Act Like a Leader Before You Are One

If you want to become a leader, don’t wait for the fancy title or the corner office. You can begin to act, think, and communicate like a leader long before that promotion. Even if you’re still several levels down and someone else is calling all the shots, there are numerous ways to demonstrate your …

I’m the Boss! Why Should I Care If You Like Me?

Many people assume that it’s possible for a person to be an effective leader without being likable. That is technically true, but you may not like the odds. In a study of 51,836 leaders, we found just 27 who were rated at the bottom quartile in terms of likability but in the top quartile in terms …

Leadership Is More than Interpersonal Skills

Most of the 89,000 leadership books offered on Amazon.com focus on traditional interpersonal leadership: the relationships between leaders and followers. Interpersonal leadership sets up an expectation that leaders must be in dialog or at least in view of their followers. Yet this style of …

Free Yourself from Conventional Thinking

Groundbreaking ideas are no longer a luxury when success is contingent upon an organization’s ability to adapt, innovate, and improve. We need look no further than Kodak, Sears, or Sony for validation that status-quo thinking is the fast-track to failure. How, then, can organizations break free of …

Every Entrepreneur’s Least Favorite Question

It’s happened to every founding CEO. You’re in a meeting — with fellow founders, potential partners, VCs, or even just friends — and you’re asked that simple question that often feels like the hardest one:<p>“How are things going?”<p>“Great!” you respond<p>Cue, awkward pause. Where do you go from there? As …

Six Components of a Great Corporate Culture

The benefits of a strong corporate culture are both intuitive and supported by social science. According to James L. Heskett, culture “can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.” And HBR writers have offered advice …

A Better Way to Think About Your Business Model

The business model canvas — as opposed to the traditional, intricate business plan — helps organizations conduct structured, tangible, and strategic conversations around new businesses or existing ones. Leading global companies like GE, P&G, and Nestlé use the canvas to manage strategy or create …

Will You Ever Be Taken Seriously?

Your palms are sweaty. You stumble over your words. You don’t seem to be getting a clear message across. You look around the table — everyone is more senior than you — both in age and title. You wonder if you’ll ever be taken seriously. Sound familiar? If so, you are among many who experience what …

How to Brand a “Useless” Degree

Graduation season is upon us — and that means approximately 700,000 U.S. students will be receiving master’s degrees and another 150,000 or so will be getting their doctorates. For some, the path forward is clear: the math experts will be snapped up by hedge funds, the software engineers will have …

How to Listen When Someone Is Venting

Disclaimer: It’s probably not a good idea to read this before you eat.<p>I still remember how it felt when, as a medical student, I drained my first abscess in a patient. We called the procedure “I & D” which stands for “Incision and Drainage” (I told you not to read this just before you eat).<p>When you …

Hiring an Intern? What to Do Before the Summer Starts

Recently, the marketing director for a tech start-up told me that her CEO was furiously drafting job descriptions for a half-dozen summer interns. She was planning to bring a small army of youngsters on board to help push her business into overdrive this summer. As the director of marketing looked …

The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination

A recent early morning hike in Malibu, California, led me to a beach, where I sat on a rock and watched surfers. I marveled at these courageous men and women who woke before dawn, endured freezing water, paddled through barreling waves, and even risked shark attacks, all for the sake of, maybe, …

Truths for Our Daughters

As a senior professional in financial services — an industry with comparatively few women in the executive ranks — I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why there aren’t more women at the top-most levels of companies. I’ve read the studies and heard the theories that women don’t network well; …

The Secret to Effective Motivation

An interview with <b>Heidi Grant Halvorson</b> and <b>E. Tory Higgins</b>, authors of <i>Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World to Power Success and Influence</i>. For more, see the article Do You Play to Win–or to Not Lose?<p>SARAH GREEN: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Sarah Green. I’m …

Be Selfish. Be Very Selfish.

Here is a leadership lesson: Be selfish. Be very selfish.<p>For this message to be an effective leadership tip, we need to understand what selfishness is. Selfishness is typically defined as “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself.” If someone hears that the CEO is being selfish, the …

Change the World and Get to Bed by 10:00

Let’s say you believed deeply in the importance of sleep health, and you wanted to start a movement to change people’s attitudes and behavior. Maybe, like Arianna Huffington, it’s a personal crisis that convinces you. Or maybe it’s a key piece of research or two that opens your eyes, as it were, to …

To Attract New Grads, Hire Like a Start-Up

Something astonishing is happening to the market for young, smart labor. The luster of big prestigious firms, particularly on Wall Street, has dimmed: “The End of Wall Street as They Knew It,” goes a recent New York Magazine headline. A few months ago at Davos, CEOs complained about the brain drain …

For Entrepreneurs, Failure Isn’t Always a Good Teacher

Much has been said about the virtues of failure — it’s a learning opportunity, it happens to everyone, it’s character-building. Failure is becoming some romanticized rite of passage, invoking images of young entrepreneurs burning the midnight oil and yelling “Eureka!” I can say from experience that …