Box of Crayons Blog

BOC Receives 2014 Leadership 500 Excellence Award

gI_84810_4271_leadership500logoWe rarely toot our own horn on this blog, but today is an exception because I’m so proud that Box of Crayons was recognized by and Leadership Excellence as a Top 15 (“Leadership Partners & Providers – International”) award category for 2014.

For the past 30 years, Leadership Excellence has identified and recognized the Top 500 leadership organizations and their strategies and solutions in their yearly ranking.

“Companies that have deep leadership bench strength have significantly higher productivity per employee as well as earnings for shareholders. It’s that simple,” says Debbie McGrath, CEO of “Leadership is an art that requires constant practice and focus to master. The firms recognized in the Leadership 500 Excellence Awards program significantly help firms grow and develop their leaders through some of the most impactful programs we have ever seen.”

If you are looking to build leadership, resilience and focus in your teams and managers, take a look at our coaching programs or contact us for more information on how to arrange a workshop for your organization.

Posted in coaching skills, organizational culture

Twofer Tuesday: On Great Work & Motivation

This week in the Tools for the Time-Crunch Manager LinkedIn group (have you joined yet?!) I shared these great articles on how to find your great work and then how to stay motivated to see it through! Enjoy…

8 Critical Questions that Lead to Great Work

Sure, they call it “finding your passion”. And I’ve never been that “hot” on the whole idea of finding your passion. There are plenty of us in this world – me included – who don’t really resonate with that as a driving force.

But finding your Great Work? Sure.

Here are eight strategies – a fancy word for great questions – that designers and entrepreneurs use to stay focused on the stuff that matters.

Read: Find Your Passion With These 8 Thought-Provoking Questions

How to Stay Motivated (With Tips From Olympians)

I know we’re in between Olympics right now, with Sochi in the rear view mirror and Rio over a year away…

But can you imagine what it must be like to be an athlete striving to compete? Sure, we get to see the peak moment when they perform. But we don’t see the endless, repetitive, gruelling, ceaseless training that’s been going on for the previous ten, fifteen, twenty years.

So how do they keep getting up each day to do it? Personally, there are days when I can be barely bothered to walk to the fridge, yet alone go out and exercise…

This article from The Atlantic lays out some of the insights and strategies these elite athletes use to stay engaged. And there’s wisdom for us all here.

Anything you’d add?

Read: How Olympians Stay Motivated

Posted in self-management

Great Work Provocation

What has this inspired for you today?

Get provoked daily. Sign up our Great Work Provocations.

Like a shot of espresso in the morning without the caffeine.
Feel free to share – Blog it, Facebook it, Pin it…anyway you like.

Posted in Provocations

Strategic Thinking: A Head-to-Head Book Review

There are a lot of books about strategic thinking out there, many of them not worth the effort. However, these two books are brilliant. But, they have very different viewpoints…

In this video, I match up Roger Martin’s “Playing to Win” against Rita Gunther McGrath’s “The End of Competitive Advantage” and explore the interesting tension between them.

If you’re looking to get more strategic about where you put your focus, consider signing up for my next Tools for the Time Crunched Manager webinar.

Posted in self-management

Twofer Tuesday: On Morning Rituals & Daily Habits

This week in the Tools for the Time-Crunch Manager LinkedIn group (have you joined yet?!) we discussed ways to set up your day, and then keep it going! Enjoy…

What’s the morning ritual that sets you up for success?

If you’ve even watched Rafael Nadal getting ready to serve, you’ll see he goes through quite the ritual when preparing to serve (here he is taking almost a minute to get ready).

These rituals of preparation can help get your body and mind “into the game” and ready for what needs to be done. In the article below, a number of business owners share how they set up their day.

Take a read, then share any rituals you use to get ready for the day ahead.

Read: The Morning Rituals Of 15 Highly Successful Small Business Owners

5 proven ways to “level up” as an employee

I’ve mentioned Bill Jensen’s work a few times here – he’s “Mr Simplicity” and always has great perspectives on how to “benevolently hack” the system so you can have more impact and have a better life.

In this short article, Bill draws on a pretty wide range of sources to suggest the 5 best ways for being “a best employee”.

Take a look – and then add your thoughts on what your #6 would be.

Read: Simplerwork Blog: How to Be a Best Employee

Posted in self-management

Michael’s Sign Language

What needs to be repaired today?

Get provoked daily. Sign up our Great Work Provocations.

Like a shot of espresso in the morning without the caffeine.
Feel free to share – Blog it, Facebook it, Pin it…anyway you like…

Posted in Sign Language

GWI Redux: Julia Sloan & Michael Mauboussin

Being strategic is one of those buzzwords in corporate life. So many companies seek to become more strategic without really knowing what it means or if all the stakeholders are defining it in the same way.

Can people really learn it? Is it one of those things that you either have or you don’t?

Here are two Great Work Interviews designed to help you hone your strategic thinking skills

Julia Sloan

Julia Sloan is author of Learning to Think Strategically. She’s also an expert in teaching executives and global leaders how to do just that. In this Great Work Interview, Julia and I discuss how strategic thinking is like positioning a lighthouse, the difference between “complicated” and “complex”, and how a state of disequilibrium can produce innovative thought.

Listen to my interview with Julia Sloan.

Michael Mauboussin

No one likes (or plans to!) make bad decisions, but we all do it from time to time. Michael Mauboussin is the chief investment strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management as well as the author of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition and what he has done so brilliantly in his book is point to some of the systemic errors in our mistakes and say that we can actually develop our ability to make better decisions.

In this interview, Michael and I discuss what separates great investors and business people from the average ones (it has very little to do with mathematical ability.) You’ll also find out why 80% of us think we’re better-than-average drivers, and how this overconfidence gets in the way of making better decisions.

Lastly, get ready to embrace the checklist: the humble yet effective tool, and the 3 keys to having a checklist that works.

Listen to my interview with Michael Mauboussin.


Posted in self-management | Tagged

The Name the Ninth Contest: The Winners!

Thank you to everyone who helped us mark the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun that started it all, by creating a ninth principle of fun.

(NOTE: Winners, if you haven’t yet, please mail me with your mailing address and phone number so we can send goodies your way.)

The 10 inspiring winners in no particular order…

9th Principle: Show and Tell

John M.
Remember in grade school, when your opinion took center stage, and you were given the freedom to convince everyone just how awesome it really was?
It ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none. - Snoop Dogg

9th Principle: Forgive

Susan P.
Forgive those who may have done you wrong in the past. It will free your soul. Forgiveness allows you to go on with your life without holding grudges and brings you great peace! Forgiveness removes the obstacles that bind you and frees you to do so many things you thought you could not!
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize it was you. – Lewis B. Smedes

9th Principle: Live Intentionally

Isaac G.
Great work, teams relationships success and service are never accidents. They come from intentional effort. Setting your mind to something and doing it is FUN!

9th Principle: Give Life a Smile

Jose Manuel S.
Be grateful. Be Thankful.
Reflect on all the good in your life (people, opportunities, things).
I’ve never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful. - Unknown author

9th Principle: Find Your Flow

Larry H.
As in Csikszentmihalyi, discover that state where time stands still, you are challenged but competent, and effort is effortless. Articulate that to whoever pays you, and try to “work” in that state as frequently and for as long as possible.

9th Principle: Let Go of Expectation

Kimberly C.
Let go of how it should look…and how it should go. When we focus on outcomes, rather than action items, we open up a world of potential and possibility that doesn’t exist in our tiny little sphere of “I know best.”

9th Principle: Give It Your All

Richard A.
When you’re standing at the plate you just never know whether it will be a home run or not, but swing like you know it will be, every time.

9th Principle: Stay Present

Paul G.
Savour the moment, the sensations, the beauty of nature, permit yourself to be vulnerable and connected to the many special people who are in and flow through your life, and allow yourself to be open to new possibilities.

9th Principle: Stop Thinking Everyone Else Has It All Figured Out

Linda D.
They don’t. Be willing to make mistakes, ask for help, and laugh at yourself.

9th Principle: Get More Sleep

Allison C.
You can’t appreciate or participate in the sparkle of life, if you’re crabby.

Posted in makes me smile, self-management | Tagged

Teaching as a Powerful Tool for Engagement

JenLoudenYou might have heard (or read) about my “Brain Trust” – a group of smart, savvy people that talks regularly and meets up once a year for a retreat.

They are my sounding board and help me reflect on who I am, what I’m doing and what patterns I’ve fallen into. I think everyone should have their own Brain Trust – it’s one of the most critical tools I’ve had in terms of personal and professional growth.

One of the Brain Trust’s original members is Jen Louden. She’s written a gazillion books, including The Woman’s Comfort Book,  The Life Organizer, and  The Woman’s Retreat Book just to name a few. One interest that we share is teaching, learning and change.

Jen has a terrific program called TeachNow. If you’re a teacher, facilitator, trainer or coach, you’ll want to take a look to see how it can help you better engage and inspire those you work with. Here are the details.

Even if you aren’t in a typical “teaching” role, you can benefit from using teaching skills to engage those around you – managers, employees and peers. There’s a preview class tomorrow, and you should really check it out.

Visit Jen Louden’s TeachNow to sign up for the preview class and program.  I highly recommend it.

Posted in self-management | Tagged