Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

Lessons learned from “Never Split the Difference.”

As a former attorney, I witnessed negotiations become adversarial environments. Zero-sum power games with the illusion of a winner. “Illusion” because, with time, I learned if one party loses, everyone loses.

Then, I stumbled upon Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. After reading his book multiple times, writing on every margin, and creating post-it note summaries to carry with me as reminders, I now apply his techniques daily.

At first, Never Split the Difference seems like it’s about negotiation. Upon reflection, you realize it is about how you carry on your life — how to have an open and honest conversation, develop genuine curiosity and leave no one behind. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ray Fragapane on Unsplash

Leveraging the natural laws of time, energy and evolution

The path of least resistance is what most of us crave without fully understanding. Most of us seek the “easiest way out” and “quick win.” But, when we all pursue the same things — more money, more attention, more status — we end up competing against each other for limited resources. We face more resistance, not less.

Further, when we all seek the same thing, nothing distinguishes you from me. We become predictable, a foregone conclusion, and lost in a sea of human competition. Chasing the same thing as everyone else is also the easiest way to become forgettable.

Thus, the path of least resistance is the path least traveled. It is not interested in quick wins or easy solutions. Instead, the path of least resistance involves doing things most people are unwilling to do. And, it starts with a shift in our perception of time, energy and survival. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Robert Katzki on Unsplash

Converting the corona crisis into a competitive advantage

As organizations resume operations, they risk leaving behind valuable lessons. Smart organizations will mine their crisis experience to discover crucial lessons and create a significant competitive advantage.

In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity. — Albert Einstein

The corona crisis has accelerated the success of some industries (telehealth, e-commerce) and failure of others (retail).

COVID-19 is really more of an accelerant than it is a change agent, and that is, the future’s just happening, playing out the same way; it’s just being pulled forward faster. — Scott Galloway

That means the next organization to lead your industry is leveraging the coronavirus by reflecting on their experience and implementing the lessons learned to create their future. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

How managers can communicate effectively during crisis

Most organizations are unprepared for communicating with their teams during times of crisis. As we have seen with the Coronavirus crisis, some organizations like Marriott and Slack communicate their plans clearly and publicly, but they are the exception.

CEOs need to adjust to a new reality that pandemics are now a known unknown when scenario-planning their businesses. — Steve LeVine

In most organizations, the burden of communicating and implementing crisis management decisions inevitably falls on frontline managers. Here are some actionable steps frontline managers can take to mitigate panic and work more effectively with their teams during the Coronavirus crisis.

Exercise Calm

As a manager, you are more influential than you think. Your energy and emotions are highly contagious. When your team’s emotions are at peak levels keeping your cool is a superpower. …

Don’t just focus on culture fit. Look for future fit, as well.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: katleho Seisa/Getty Images

Hiring is critical, yet organizations fail at it time and time again. The best candidates are rarely chosen, and a lot of not-so-great candidates are selected for all the wrong reasons: nepotism, politics, bias, etc.

After sitting on both sides of the table, I believe there are fundamental characteristics every organization should look for in every candidate, regardless of role or industry. Organizations focused on hiring individuals with these traits will gain a significant competitive advantage.


The most important trait a candidate must possess is character. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The secret to retaining customers

Two weeks ago my wife and I invited a friend to dinner at the new Blue Ribbon restaurant. After the staff turned an unforgivable mistake into a wonderful story we now share with friends, it got me thinking about why I would return.

I realize that I, and almost everyone I know, keep returning and happily handing over our money to the same businesses. What makes these businesses special?

I believe their common denominator is a focus on hiring. Specifically, they hire people that exhibit these characteristics:

  1. Kindness — People that genuinely care about others. Employees that are naturally caring and considerate tend to treat customers respectfully and courteously. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

A few details can 10x the quality of the feedback you receive.

We all grow up receiving feedback that we never ask for. Because it’s usually painful, we learn to avoid asking for it. As a result, we also fail to benefit from its incredible power: it makes everything better.

But, not all feedback is created equal. We can harness the power of high-quality feedback if we focus on first answering these questions.

Who should I ask?

Seek high value and best intention

Carefully choose who you seek feedback from, so you spend more time pursuing the best version of your idea and less time defending it.

Seek feedback from people who will support and encourage you with high-value constructive feedback — not distraction and discouragement. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Lukas on Unsplash

Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love a robot?

If on a beautiful Sunday morning, your “bot” could mow your lawn, correctly fold your laundry, and cook your favourite afternoon snack, would you rather do it?

Automation is liberating. It frees us to be more human. It offers us the promise of more time. Time to think, create and enjoy life. On the other hand, perhaps our bot future will look much like today: we will spend our new free time by watching videos of other people’s bots doing useless things.

I am optimistic. I believe that as our lives become more automated, we will crave more human contact. Specifically, I believe we will seek service. “Service” in the sense of hospitality — by humans. Not the type that is routine, procedural or scripted. Any machine can do that. Rather, the rare and unforgettable service we have all experienced at some point — thoughtful, empathetic and creative. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Rupert Britton on Unsplash

To develop who you are meant to be, try this

Authenticity is absolutely irresistible. Consider the people you most admire through history.

History’s great achievers — a Napoléon, a da Vinci, a Mozart — have always managed themselves. That, in large measure, is what makes them great achievers. We have to learn to develop ourselves. — Peter Drucker

Who would you become if you focused on developing yourself? Here’s how to begin the journey to your authentic self.

Be your own hero

To discover your authentic self, start by trying to better understand the underlying factors influencing your decision-making — your hidden motivators, biases, and blindspots. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Chris Moore on Unsplash


A guide to make sure your feedback sticks

Giving feedback is crucial, but may have unintended or second order consequences despite your best intentions.

Best intention is bullshit. What matters is outcomes, and whether you’re taking actual steps to anticipate those outcomes and mitigate those outcomes the best you can.– DHH

Some people believe giving feedback “raw and now” is the best method, and some may prefer receiving it that way. However, feedback that is “raw and now” can easily backfire because it lacks 1 critical element: careful thought.

When you are asked for “raw” feedback right away, it’s up to you to determine how to best deliver it. A better approach is to carefully and thoughtfully craft your feedback with a focus on outcomes. …


Rodrigo Lopez

Former attorney, 2x entrepreneur, organizational consultant and writer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store