McDonald’s Stunning New Greenhouse Gas Strategy Will Completely Change the Future of Fast Food

Today, fast-food giant McDonald’s made a stunning announcement that will change the future of the fast-food industry. According to this announcement, McDonald’s is the first restaurant company to set approved science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thought by scientists to contribute to global climate change.

Says McDonald’s in its announcement:

“Today, McDonald’s announces it will partner with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year in a new strategy to address global climate change. Additionally, McDonald’s commits to a 31% reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across its supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels. This combined target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).”

According to the company, this new strategy — a part of its Scale for Good initiative — will prevent 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030. This is the equivalent of taking 32 million passenger cars off the road for an entire year or planting 3.8 billion trees and growing them for 10 years.

McDonald’s says that it will prioritize action in collaboration with thousands of franchisees, suppliers and producers, prioritizing action on the largest segments of its carbon footprint. These segments combined account for approximately 64% of McDonald’s global emissions:

  • Beef production
  • Restaurant energy usage and sourcing
  • Packaging and waste

If McDonald’s goes through with its plan (there’s no reason to think that it won’t), then the company is going to have a tremendously positive impact on the world around us given its huge, global scale. And as we have seen with other McDonald’s initiatives, when the company sets the pace, others follow.

Starbucks Just Announced It’s Going to Finally Do Something That Many People Have Been Begging It To Do For Years

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

There’s a little hemorrhoidal tension when a company led for many years by man of stoutly liberal principles seems to flout one of those liberal principles.

After all, it’s an odd quirk of existence that it’s liberals who seem to want to save the Earth, rather than some conservatives.

Many people might, on finishing their large Starbucks cup of milk with some coffee attached, think they can just toss it in the recycling.

The truth, however, is that these cups are very hard to recycle. Mostly because they’re covered in a thin layer of plastic that keeps your drink warm.

Finally, Starbucks has announced that it’s going to do something about it.

“Today, we are declaring a moon shot for sustainability to work together as an industry to bring a fully recyclable and compostable cup to the market, with a three-year ambition,” the company announced.

Starbucks says it’s committing $10 million “in partnership with Closed Loop Partners and its Center for the Circular Economy to establish a groundbreaking consortium to launch the NextGen Cup Challenge.”

The coffee chain says its dream is to see its cups composted, turned into a napkin or even a chair.

Please imagine the joy of wiping your mouth, turning to your lover as you do and saying: “And to think I’m wiping my mouth with an old Starbucks cup. The Earth is saved. Let’s have babies.”

Can Starbucks get there in three years? 

If it did, it still might just miss a potential run for president from its emotional core, Howard Schultz.

Still, this isn’t the first idea Starbucks has recently tried with respect to environmental protection.

In January, it began to experiment with charging customers for cups.

Which the life-addled feared was merely a way to make a little more money.

Indeed, it’s not as if just making an announcement is going to please everyone.

Please enjoy this quote offered to me by Todd Paglia, Executive Director of pressure group

“Starbucks today agreed to solve its 4 billion disposable cups per year problem, putting it on the right side of history for forests and climate — we think,” he said.

Ah, why’s your cappuccino so dry, Todd?

“This is the third such commitment Starbucks has made, and if they follow through, it will change the impact of its cups and the worldwide cup market,” concluded a marginally optimistic Paglia.

The third commitment? 

Aren’t third marriages really successful?

Parkland Students Can School Us in Public Relations

The last time I checked, public relations wasn’t taught in school. Yet the students of Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are now masters in PR and storytelling.

In just five weeks since the shooting spree that killed 17 of their classmates, a handful of these survivors have become pros at live TV interviews, created the “Never Again” campaign and raised millions of dollars — from celebrities and organizations like George and Amal Clooney, Oprah and Gucci — for the massive “March For Our Lives” demonstration that they’ve planned for Saturday in Washington. 

Act fast with emotion and urgency.

We can learn — in more ways that one — from these Parkland survivors. Their crisis PR hasn’t been about protecting a company or their brand. The stakes are much higher, literally life and death, and these kids have risen to the occasion. Their message was immediate, urgent and emotional — three key ingredients in effective PR. 

For days and weeks after the shooting, some students gave multiple TV interviews a day. “We are begging for our lives here,” March organizer Cameron Kasky told “Face the Nation” four days after the shootings at his school. “The adults lets us down,” fellow student activist Emma Gonzalez said.

They took to Twitter fast and furious, and Twitter worked quickly to verify student accounts with its little blue checkmarks. Gonzalez has 1.25 million Twitter followers.

These student activists have kept the conversation going — and, sadly, there’s been occasion to do so as they once again called for nationwide changes to gun laws following a shooting and lockdown today at at Maryland high school.

In times of crisis or breaking news, it’s important to be prepared right away to tell your story. If you don’t, others will tell it for you. I was speaking recently with a business about this very thing. This firm had been the subject of a negative news story on a Friday, and leaders wanted to wait until after the weekend to respond. Now that firm knows it needs a crisis communications plan and for leaders to be practiced in responding to news as it happens.

The soundbite rules and so does poise.

On TV and now on social media, the sound bite is important. You have to cut to the chase, break through the noise. These kids seem to be naturals at it. Growing up with cell phones in hand has its practical uses, I guess. Kasky on “60 Minutes” referred to himself and his peers as the “mass shooting generation.” If that doesn’t stick, in people’s minds, nothing will.

And let’s talk about poise here. These kids have dealt in facts and figures in the face of unspeakable tragedy with incredible grace and poise. I haven’t seen an interview with these student leaders in which they’ve been combative, disrespectful or gone low to spread lies and hateful slurs. They’re just really smart, fired up kids, learning while doing and teaching the adults in the room a thing or two, too.

They key to the soundbite is practice, practice, practice. The more interviews you do, the better you are at it. It also helps to write out talking points but to keep them short. Talking points aren’t meant to be entire speeches but just brief reminders of where you want to take the conversation. I like to think of talking points in terms of headlines — short and punchy.

Now I just wish these kids didn’t have so much practice.

7 Important Pros and Cons to Consider Before Hiring Freelancers

In today’s ever-changing marketplace, being lean and agile could mean the difference between becoming a booming business or being forced to close your doors. One of the fastest-growing trends enabling companies to become lean is hiring freelancers as opposed to full-time employees. According to CareerBuilder, employers who are seeking short-term, contract workers increased a whopping 47 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Yet, like everything in business and in life, there are pros and cons to hiring freelancers. By taking the time to do your homework, you could save yourself loads of time, money and headaches.

Here are seven pros and cons when it comes to hiring freelancers.


1. The Price

One of the greatest benefits to hiring freelancers is, of course, the price. Not only with salary, but also with other costs such as health insurance, company perks, desk space taken up in the office and more. 

2. Lower Financial Risk

Entrepreneurs only need to hire and pay freelancers when there’s work to be done. Almost all freelancing is done on an hourly or a project-by-project basis, so you’ll never have to worry about digging yourself in a hole financially in terms of payroll during “down times”. From a financial point of view, this makes hiring freelancers less of a risk for entrepreneurs than full-time employees.

3. Freelancing Platforms Make Hiring Freelancers Easier Than Ever

With platforms like, Upwork and Thumbtack on the rise, hiring freelancers has gone from being a painstaking process to a relatively speedy one. By streamlining the process of posting job offers for freelancers, sifting through candidates, selecting the best fit and paying them for their work, these platforms can save an entrepreneur precious time they can funnel back into their business. 

Additionally, much like Yelp does for businesses, these platforms also allow you to see reviews and the job history for freelancers so you’re not taking complete a stab in the dark. Although, in my own experience with hiring freelancers, many of the reviews have been a bit more generous than their work reflected. Nonetheless, it helps to be able to differentiate a scrub from an all star.


Hiring a freelancer isn’t all butterflies and roses though. While it’s easy to see the positive benefits of hiring contract workers, there are many cons that exist.

1. Lack of Supervision

Given most freelancing is done remotely, there’s truly no way to know whether or not 2 of those 10 hours your freelancer billed were spent working hard or scrolling through Instagram and watching YouTube videos. This isn’t to say all, or even most, freelancers do this, but without supervision, immediate motivation often takes a backseat to leisure.

2. Unpredictable Quality of Work

Because one of the main advantages to hiring freelancers is the speed, an extensive, thorough interview process to vet freelancers doesn’t tend to take place for entrepreneurs. As a result, a freelancer’s resume and portfolio are sometimes breezed through by whoever is in charge of hiring and onboarding them relative to the immense amount of time dedicated to ensuring a potential full-time hire is a good fit or not. 

3. Lower Investment in the Company

Freelancers have bills to pay just like you do, so thinking you’re their only client would be similar to thinking your waitress is only working her shift tonight to serve your table.

Almost all freelancers are juggling multiple projects at once, so their loyalty to your brand is probably lower than a full-time employee who’s sporting company tshirts, stickers and other gaudy swag. While this isn’t necessarily a “make or break”, it is something to consider depending on the project you’re hiring the freelancer for.

4. Lack of Ability to Train a Freelancer

Every company is different. As a business owner, you know better than anybody there are nuances to your company that only could be figured out by working at the company. By not having the ability to properly train and onboard a freelancer, they may be missing out on crucial details which may be seen as second nature to a full-time employee. Of course, the remedy to this is building extensive, scalable systems your company follows religiously, but that’s the topic for another article. 

Freelancers can be an extremely valuable asset for entrepreneurs, particularly those who are in the early stages of development or those running on a tight budget. That being said, just like any other business decision, you should do your homework and think critically before jumping head first into the freelance economy. Best of luck.

7 Disciplines That Help Successful Entrepreneurs Work Smarter, Not Harder

Being “street smart,” or able to anticipate and deal with daily business problems and surprises, is generally recognized as a critical skill to have for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Most investors say they can recognize this capability when they see it, but it’s hard to define if you haven’t been there. They say you can’t have street smarts if you have never lived in the streets.

Some people argue that you can only be born with street smarts, but I see these as more of a function of experience. In many cases, they come from lessons learned from prior failures (and successes), but I believe the most productive street smarts are the result of personal disciplines, which can be learned and practiced by any business person.

These include the following:

1. Keep the emphasis on working smart, rather than working hard. 

This means using every resource to get smart on relevant issues before you start a business. Find out everything you can about the domain you are targeting, preferably by taking a job there to lean the unwritten rules before you try to compete with your own business. 

For example, we probably all know people who have started restaurants because they like to cook, but with absolutely no experience in the restaurant business.

No matter how hard they work, most of these fail, not because of their food, but for a lack of marketing, or service, or lack of cash flow management.

2.  Every conversation is a business communication or negotiation.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that everyone has to be your friend, or wants to be. You can work hard on friendly chatter, but results come from sending and receiving real information from the right people at the right time. Use preparation, practice, delivery, and ask for the order.

3.  Surround yourself with people who can help, not just be helpers.

We all have strengths and weaknesses, and the best business people understand their own. You must find partners and build a team of people smarter than you are in key areas, to complement your strengths. Look for a match in values, work ethic, and chemistry.

It takes discipline to recognize your needs ahead of time, carve out the time to do the recruiting job right, and resist the temptation to hire inexpensive interns, or unqualified family members.

Assuming or hoping that new team members can “learn on the job” and will free up your valuable time, without making mistakes, is not being street smart.

4. Spend time working on the business as well as in the business.

It takes discipline to focus on constantly improving processes and looking ahead for new customers, as well as looking behind for competitors sneaking up on you. As Andy Grove of Intel once said, “Only the paranoid survive.” If your business isn’t evolving and growing, you are failing.

5. Manage your work, health, and work-life balance. 

It’s hard for a business to be healthy if the leader isn’t healthy. Street smart business leaders recognize that they need down time and non-work activities to stay balanced. They learn and practice time management disciplines. Banish procrastination. Be decisive. Have some fun.

I have personally worked for two startups where the CEOs was so passionate and dedicated to the business that they were at work twenty hours a day, trying to make every decision, and destroyed their health or family relationships.

These individuals had no fun, were not successful, and would never be considered street smart by investors.

6. Manage your business cash flow personally every day. 

The most street smart business people manage cash flow relentlessly and never delegate decisions about spending money.

A big influx of orders may feel like success, but can kill your business if you don’t have the cash at the right time to produce, deliver and wait for payment.

7. Be the visible role model for urgency versus emergency. 

Street smart business leaders are not easily distracted by putting out fires in the business while they are working on the business. The best display a calm but visible urgency for scaling the business, and designing the next product generation. They know their team culture mirrors the leader.

Overall, street smarts requires that you put all these things together for problem solving, and dodge and weave effectively through the risky business streets. It means balancing your idealistic vision of how things could be, against the realities of the business world.

The alternative is a long and painful learning curve, which neither you nor your investors can afford.

This Is The Real Reason Startups Succeed–And No, It’s Not Money

The number of self-employed people in the U.S. has grown by nearly 150,000 since 2014 to 8,751,000. This number is up from 8,602,000 at the end of 2016. This data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is in many ways exciting, especially for a business coach. Yet, I can’t help but think about the failure and disappointment that lies ahead for the majority of small business owners who are included in this data.

According to Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, it’s not idea, plan or business model, team, or surprisingly even the money that’s the most significant factor in a startup’s success. It’s all in the timing. Gross studied 100 companies and discovered that a startup’s timing accounted for 42 percent of the difference between success and failure.

In this Ted Talk Gross uses one of  Idealab’s startups as an example. was an online entertainment company. They raised enough money, had a great business model, and even signed well-known Hollywood talent to join the company. The problem for was that broadband penetration was too low in 1999-2000. Do you remember trying to watch video content online back then? It was miserable. You had to put codecs in your browser and find workarounds for all sorts of issues. These challenges forced the company out of business in 2003. A mere two years later, YouTube launched a similar platform that would quickly grow into the insanely popular video-sharing website it is today. The difference? The codec problem was solved by Adobe Flash and broadband penetration quickly crossed 50 percent in America.

You may have a brilliant idea, but if the timing is off you are likely to fail. Here are some important things to consider.

Are you personally ready?

One of the top things entrepreneurs talk to me about is their exhaustion. They’re overwhelmed on a number of levels, and guilt is especially high for parent-entrepreneurs. Not to mention the costs associated with starting a business. Too many new entrepreneurs place an equity line on their home, only to find themselves in perpetual debt. Frankly, it’s difficult to circumvent some of these problems, so you have to be prepared for them. Is this the best time in your life to start a business? How will you balance the sacrifice, keep yourself healthy, and maintain a strong, supportive mindset as you invest yourself into your new venture? Be honest with yourself and your family. If you’re not prepared to put many aspects of your life aside for hours a day, this may not be good timing for you.

How’s the competition doing?

When I owned my coffee house people assumed I would despise Starbucks for creating such competition. There’s much to learn from the giants and companies like Starbucks are responsible for creating a culture that can pave the path for smaller companies. Today, independent coffee houses have a significant opportunity; I don’t think that would be true if it weren’t for Starbucks.

Examine your prospective competitors. What are they doing well and what are they lacking? How will you be different–even better? Is there no competition because your idea is groundbreaking and innovative? If yours is an emerging market test the idea vigorously, and not just with family and friends.

What’s the market research say?

What are the barriers to success? How do you know there’s a demand for your product or service? What evidence is there to show you will succeed? What problem do you solve and what opportunity or experience does your idea present to consumers or businesses? Have others attempted something similar and failed? These failures are a perfect learning opportunity for you. How do you differentiate yourself in the market?

Have you gained enough traction to attract funding?

Gross points out that acquiring funding is “easy” if a company has gained enough traction in the market. People often believe that if they have a great idea someone will come along to back it. That’s a rarity. On the other hand, not all investors look for significant profits before they consider funding a startup. You can de-risk your investment opportunity, by demonstrating market engagement. Since timing is everything, don’t be too slow or too fast in entering the market. Your timing is evidence of your ability to make smart decisions and evaluate risk.

Small business makes the world go round in my opinion. Time it right and you’ll enjoy the ride.

Your Headphones Have a Huge Flaw. Here’s What 1 Company Is Doing About It

As a former double music major, I have a tendency to treat my headphones a bit like Gollum treated The Precious in The Lord of the Rings. AndI’m willing to bet money that, whether it’s to pump yourself up before a huge presentation or just block out Stan Whatshisname’s gum smacking, yours are pretty dear to your heart, too. But are we all doing audio wrong?

Danny Aronson, CEO and founder of Brooklyn-based startup Even, has been working with sound for decades. Not only is he a classically trained musician and composer, but he’s also worked as a commercial sound designer for more than 20 years. He summarizes the audio problem we’re faced with:

“We all hear differently, and we hear differently in our left and right ears. Yet, this issue has never been addressed by any of the leaders in the commercial personal audio industry. While companies like Apple, Beats and Bose boast that they have high quality audio products, they do not address the most critical factor in a person’s listening experience–how he or she actually hears. […] Even is turning the industry on its head by focusing on the listener–and not on barely noticeable, incremental ‘upgrades’ or non-audio related issues such as connectivity (Apple Airpods) and noise cancellation (Bose).”

Well, I could be wrong, but that sure sounds like a gloves-off challenge to me. And fortunately, Even is putting design where its mouth is. To rectify the lack of science-based customization he’s identified, Aronson and his team have come up with Even EarPrint H2 wireless headphones, which have individual profiles based on personal assessments of your hearing.

How EarPrint works

  • “Sarah”, Even EarPrint’s audio guide, talks you through a 90-second, self-administered threshold of hearing test with a few music tracks. This is a basic, standard audiometry test similar to what you might get in a doctor’s office or remember from school. It’s designed to check what volumes and frequencies you can hear in either ear.
  • Patented algorithms compensate for specific frequencies in each ear in real time based on the profile (EarPrint) created from your hearing test results.
  • You can store multiple EarPrints for yourself or others who use the headphones via an app. This means you can compare your hearing needs to others and/or use different profiles for different situations, such as in the office versus on the noisy subway.
  • You can repeat the hearing test any time to see if your hearing is changing. The headphones can continue to adapt to your needs over time.

One product, two goals

Aronson asserts that there’s a direct correlation between hearing quality and how much music affects you emotionally. But Aronson isn’t just focused on the experience. He wants the headphones to affect health in a positive way, too. Hearing problems are on the rise, especially among teens. If the EarPrint profiles and compensation algorithms work properly, individuals finally might hear well enough to lessen or stop behaviors that contribute to hearing problems, such as turning up the volume on their devices to unsafe levels.

The summit’s in sight, but the ascent is still brutal

Aronson predicts that the audio industry will shift its attention to more personalized sound, and he wants to be at the forefront of those changes. He has some significant support, selling more than $1 million and raising roughly $5 million in the past year alone. He’s been able to expand distribution to the U.K. and Japan and has also partnered with Napster to embed Even EarPrint within their music streaming service. Even so, Aronson says it’s still very much an uphill battle to convince people that not everyone hears the same way. They’ll bite once they actually sample the difference, but simple discussion still falls somewhat flat. In this sense, the transition to customization might take much longer than Aronson wants. Good in-person demonstrations and word-of-mouth advertising might be the key to the product’s success.

Regardless of what happens with EarPrint, Aronson is confident about the overall future of his business.

“Since we are a technology company, not specifically a headphone or hardware company, we are able to, and are in the process of, securing licensing contracts in several audio verticals in the person audio space. This will continue to allow us to lead the charge in personal audio through hardware products and software solutions.”

A review by yours truly

While I didn’t try a set of Even’s new headphones, I did take the free profile test on their website. (You can use any set of earphones you already have. I used a $20 Bluetooth version. Don’t judge, I have kids, and that’s why nothing I buy is worth more than three digits anymore.) At the end of the test, Even lets you play a little music, switching back and forth from having the profile settings on and off so you can test the difference (or lack thereof).

From my personal perspective, the technology didn’t make my jaw drop in awe–my hearing isn’t all that much of a disaster to begin with, especially since I’ve been hardwired through music training to protect it. But I immediately noticed that, with the settings, the music seemed louder and much more balanced. I lost some of the muffled quality I had without the settings, and I didn’t have to look at my computer screen during the test at all to tell what effect years of having upper woodwinds playing into my right ear has had. The results were a little less pronounced when I tested again using some wired earbuds (again, $20, don’t judge). 

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether Even EarPrint is worth the $229 price tag. But for my part, all my music training and soundtrack obsessions aside, I’d have to say that customization and a better user experience are two goals virtually every company operating today is looking to reach. And to me, the concept of other companies following Even’s example and turning to science to get there sounds pretty sweet.  

7 Ways Generation Z Can Best Use Social Media in the Workplace

Restricting social media at work is unrealistic in a world dominated by mobile devices and social networks, and it can actually hinder the productivity of Generation Z. Generation Z is the post-Millennial generation born after 1998 who can’t remember a world post social media. 

Seventy-seven percent of Generation Z rely on technology to help them accomplish personal and professional goals. Encourage your mobile-first and social-savvy Generation Z employees to use social media more strategically and effectively at work.

7 Ways Generation Z Can Best Use Social Media in the Workplace 

  1. Get help
    Use social media to get input on a project or product. Connect with an expert or thought leader who can weigh in on an issue. Or consider leveraging tools like Survey Monkey or Twitter Polls to get help, feedback, or answers to a question via social media.
  2. Collaborate with colleagues
    Collaboration technologies like Slack, Yammer, or Google Drive are tools that Millennials are familiar with and can leverage to increase productivity, streamline messaging, share documents, and more.
  3. Search for talent
    Use social media (specifically LinkedIn) to find freelancers, experts, contractors, or job candidates.
  4. Listen to customers 
    Use social media to actively listen to what potential or current customers are saying about your product, industry, or competitors.
  5. Connect with customers
    Communicate with customers in real time across multiple social networks about new promotions, exclusive offers, new store openings, or updated product features.
  6. Promote events or products
    Company announcements, events, or products can be promoted (externally or internally) via social media.
  7. Receive real-time feedback
    Receiving feedback from in-person small groups, at a trade show, or other public settings can be tedious, time-consuming, and costly. Social media offers a simpler and more real-time way to receive feedback and gauge customer interest while the product or service is still in progress.

As a Millennial and Generation Z keynote speaker and trainer, I help companies lead, engage, and sell to the emerging generations. If you’d like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.

Following the Biggest Upset in NCAA History, Virginia Coach Tony Bennett Showed Us What Great Leadership Looks Like

This was supposed to be a great month for me. The NCAA college basketball tournament was upon us, and my hometown team, the Virginia Cavaliers, were ranked number one in the nation–the favorites to win the national championship.

Then, Friday night happened.

The small, unheralded University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers, a 16 seed in the NCAA tournament, defeated the Cavaliers by a score of 74-54.

In 135 attempts, a 16 seed had never defeated a number 1 seed, never mind the overall number one seed in the tournament. With a suffocating defense and amazing coach, Virginia has been one of the best teams in the country for the last five years. And it wasn’t just that the Cavs were defeated; they were blown out by 20 points.

Ironically, this is the beauty of “March Madness.” A lifelong college basketball fan, I always knew one day a lowly 16 seed would dethrone one of the big boys. I just never expected it to be my team.

So, how would Virginia coach Tony Bennett respond to this historic loss?

What follows is what may be the best post-game speech I’ve ever heard, bar none:

“This is life,” Bennett said. “It can’t define you. You enjoyed the good times and you gotta be able to take the bad times. When you step into the arena…the consequences can be historic losses, tough losses, great wins, and you have to deal with it. And that’s the job.”

Wow. After what must be one of the toughest losses of his career, here stood a man with outstanding poise, a man who refused to stay down or feel sorry for himself, or for his team.

Instead, he humbly credited his opponent. He focused on the positive, helping his guys to see the bigger picture.

And most of all, he taught his team not to let a single negative experience–albeit an especially painful one–define them.

That’s emotional intelligence at its finest.

Of course, I shouldn’t have expected any less. In a sport that is ridden with scandal and cheating, Bennett is recognized as one of the few who does things by the book. His fellow coaches describe him as a “class act” and “genuine, great human being.”

Truth be told, I’ve never been more proud to be a Cavaliers fan. This team may have been on the wrong side of basketball history, but they had the privilege of being taught how to handle one of life’s more difficult moments. They learned how to keep that moment in perspective, and most importantly, how to grow from it.

I bet these guys would be ready to step right back into the arena with Coach Bennett any day.

And that’s what leadership is all about.

This Simple Question Reveals If You Have High EQ

I once sat down with a well-known CEO who told me that in his interviewing process, he likes to know how the candidate treated employees on his or her way into the interview. Did this person shake hands with the assistants? Was this person nice to the driver? The security guard?

One time, the CEO recalled, a very high-level candidate was already offered the job. Word soon came back to him that this particular person was very rude to the driver. The next day, this CEO rescinded the offer. He said there was absolutely no way you could ever compromise on character.

It’s been a story that’s stayed with me. I’ve heard variations of the same throughout my career.

Legend has it a college professor once told his students on the day of an exam that if they could tell him the name of the person who cleans the classroom, he’d give them all an instant “A.” He then went on and said if anyone could name her children, they’d have an “A” for the entire semester and he didn’t need to see their face in class ever again.

How many people got either answer correct?


Emotional intelligence is critical to your success and yet in our formative younger years, we’re not really taught to focus on it. After I graduated college, I realized I needed great people skills to be an effective reporter. I learned how to develop these skills on my own and made a lot of embarrassing mistakes along the way. I wish I had been told earlier on that connecting with people, communicating with them, understanding how to influence and persuade your counterparts is so important to your future.

So how do you know if you have high EQ or if someone you’re dealing with has emotional intelligence?

Ask them a simple question: Do you know the name of the person who cleans your office?

Chances are, if they don’t, it’s not that they’re jerks or rude people but that they haven’t place enough importance on people skills. If that person does know the name, very likely you already know that they are great with people and emotionally intelligent.

Now watch other CEOs talk about how important it is to have these people skills, starting with Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and founder of Quicken Loans.