How to Be Awesome at Your Job: A Podcast for People who Love Learning Improvement Tools for Happier Work | Career | Employment

If your job requires substantial thinking and collaboration, this podcast will help you flourish at work. Each week, Pete grills thought-leaders and results-getters to discover specific, actionable insights that boost work performance. These practical nuggets sharpen the universal skills every professional needs. Pete has coached world-class thinkers from 50 countries, every Ivy League university, and many elite companies to work brilliance. Now, let his VIP guests guide you to becoming a better thinker, doer, presenter, and leader. More career fun, wins, meaning, and money await. Transcripts, show notes, and handy resources available at
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How to Be Awesome at Your Job: A Podcast for People who Love Learning Improvement Tools for Happier Work | Career | Employment


All Episodes
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Aug 31, 2016

Irreverent Great Work coach Michael Bungay Stainier provides mindset and questions to inspire your teammates--10 minutes at a time.

You’ll learn:

  1. Why being a coach at work is a lot quicker and easier than you might think
  2. How to give less advice while getting more results
  3. 7 powerful questions for transforming your team

About Michael
Michael Bungay Stanier is the founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps people and organizations all over the world do less Good Work and more Great Work. Michael left Australia 25 years ago to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. He has written a number of books. His latest, The Coaching Habit, has been praised as one of the few business books that actually makes people laugh out loud. He was recently named the #2 Coaching Guru in the World, which caught him by surprise as he’s not entirely sure why.

Aug 29, 2016

Professor G. Richard Shell discusses how to find happiness in your work.

You’ll Learn:

  1. The importance of changing your metaphor for success
  2. How to find happiness in every domain of your life – particularly careers
  3. How to self-monitor progress to land in a place of achievement AND fulfilment (instead of a crisis)

About Richard

G. Richard Shell is the Thomas Gerrity Professor of Legal Studies, Business Ethics, and Management at the Wharton School of Business. There, he created and teaches the famous Success Course. His books include the best-selling Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success, the award-winning Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People and The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas. He is director of the Wharton Executive Negotiation Workshop and the Wharton Strategic Persuasion Workshop.


View show notes, transcript, and links at

Aug 26, 2016

President & CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Kate Bates discusses how to establish a successful career path at a young age.

You’ll Learn:

  1. Why you should always be the ‘go-to’ person
  2. The value of a good connection
  3. How to be your own champion

About Kate
Kate Bates is the President & CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, longtime friend, and Danville High School Monopoly champion. The mission of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is to strengthen businesses and the economic environment for those who work, live and do business in Arlington.The vision of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is to be the essential partner for business success.

Aug 24, 2016

Author and fellow podcaster David Kadavy discusses how to train yourself to get into and maintain a productive mindset.

You’ll learn:

  1. Powerful rituals for powerful productivity
  2. A handy set of categories to zero in on ideal mind states
  3. Approaches for quickly shifting your mind state

About David

David Kadavy is author of the #18 Amazon best-selling book, Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty and the host of the Love Your Work podcast. Prior to writing Design for Hackers, David founded the Design departments at two Silicon Valley startups, and freelanced for clients such as oDesk, PBworks, and UserVoice. David also launched numerous other projects on his own, none of which failed hard enough to be worthy of mention here.

Aug 22, 2016

Amanda Mitchell, founder of, shares hidden sources of workplace politics that may hinder productivity -- and how you can prevent it

You’ll learn:

1. Approaches to identify and eliminate unnecessary suffering at work.
2.How to deal with “pot-stirrers” at your job
3.The importance of focusing on your agenda before anyone else’s

About Amanda

Amanda is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams.

An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. 

A practical problem solver, she founded Our Corporate Life ( to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with.

She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek and quoted in Fast Company,, and She lives in New Jersey (aka the Land of Enchantment!) with her family.

Aug 19, 2016

James E. Lukaszewski, the man known as America's Crisis Guru, shares how to handle and resolve crises within organizations from a strategic perspective.

You’ll learn:

  1. Why it’s better to give options instead of solutions
  2. The 7 disciplines of being a trusted advisor
  3. The 6 steps to giving impactful 3-minute advice

About Jim
James (Jim) E. Lukaszewski is one of America’s most visible corporate go-to people for senior executives when there is trouble in the room or on the horizon. As America’s Crisis Guru®, He has been recognized for lifetime achievement in his profession by most of the major public relations organizations in the United States. He served for 22 years on the Public Relations Society of America’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) and is now its first Emeritus member. He has written twelve books, including Why Should The Boss Listen to You, and hundreds of articles.

View transcript, show notes, and links at

Aug 17, 2016

Positive psychology researcher (and former CBS News anchor) Michelle Gielan discusses correlation and causation between happiness and career success.

You’ll Learn:
1. How happiness truly translates into career performance
2. How to use “small shifts” to talk about solutions instead of problems
3. The “4 C’s” of delivering bad news better

About Michelle
Michelle Gielan is national CBS News anchor turned positive psychology researcher, who is the bestselling author of Broadcasting Happiness. Michelle is the Founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research and is partnered with Arianna Huffington to study how transformative stories fuel success. She is an Executive Producer of “The Happiness Advantage” Special on PBS and a featured professor in Oprah’s Happiness course. Michelle holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and her research and advice have received attention from The New York Times, Washington Post, FORBES, CNN, FOX, and Harvard Business Review.

View transcript, show notes, and links at

Aug 15, 2016

You’ll learn:

  1. How to deal with “wicked problems”
  2. How to channel your imagination for extra creativity
  3. What the “trap of advocacy” is -- and why you should avoid it


About Brook

Brook Manville is Principal of Brook Manville LLC, providing consulting and executive development on strategy and organization. He publishes on leadership, networks, and learning communities at Forbes and elsewhere. He coaches leaders on their organizational effectiveness, in the context of a hyperconnected world. He’s a former Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Organization Practice (and the firm’s first Director of Knowledge Management). He’s held senior positions at Saba Software and United Way of America. His first job was as an assistant professor of history at Northwestern University, teaching and publishing on classical Greek democracy. He’s a graduate of Yale and Oxford. Brook and his family live in metro Washington, D.C. View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Aug 12, 2016

In this mini-episode, Pete quickly offers a curation of a dozen episodes to help achieve one of four key objectives:
1) Tackling overwhelm
2) Getting quicker promotions
3) Collaborating better
4) Presenting better

1) Tackling overwhelm

15 - David Allen
32 - Chris Bailey
38 - Greg McKeown

2) Getting quicker promotions

2 - Arla Lach
12 - Claire Pederson Patel
18 - Kara Eschbach
25 - Dan Rust

3) Collaborating better

34 - Kevan Hall
36 - Steve Ritter
45 - Emmanuel Gobillot

4) Presenting better

1 - Mawi Asgedom
41 - Dr. Nick Morgan

Aug 10, 2016

Architect and author Leigh Stringer shares how to adjust your workspace to enhance your performance.

You’ll learn:

1. The powerful connection between relaxation and creativity
2. What “biophilia” means and how it can improve your performance
3. The difference between good workers and great workers we learned from athletes

About Leigh:
Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, is a workplace strategy expert and researcher whose work has been covered by national media, including CNN, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America. She works for EYP, an architecture, engineering and building technology firm. She is the author of the book The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line and lives with her husband and two daughters in Washington, DC.

View transcript, show notes, and links at

Aug 8, 2016

Inventor extraordinaire Afif Ghannoum shares tactics for conceiving, testing, and selling great ideas.

You’ll learn:

1. The conditions necessary for creativity to flourish
2. How to successfully borrow, tweak, and validate ideas from giants
3. The three credibilities you need for a compelling story

About Afif:
Afif Ghannoum is the founder of He is a formerly frustrated lawyer that has launched over ten products that have sold in over 27,000 stores and online. Afif also has two patents, licensed technology to a large pharma company for a product sold in tens of thousands of stores in multiple countries, and has raised nearly $9 Million (and Counting) in venture funding.

View transcript, show notes, and links at

Aug 5, 2016

Leadership thinker/author/speaker/consultant Emmanuel Gobilott lays out how people really work best together.

You’ll learn:

  1. What charisma really is and how to project it
  2. When collaboration is ideal vs. inappropriate
  3. The four steps to collaborative success

About Emmanuel:

Emmanuel Gobillott is one of Europe’s most sought after leadership speakers and has been described as ‘the first leadership guru for the digital generation’ and ‘the freshest voice in leadership today’, He is the author of Kogan Page’s UK and US bestsellers The Connected Leader, Leadershift, and Follow The Leader. His new book Disciplined Collaboration provides further insight into new leadership and organisational models. He is the founder of leadership development consultancy Emmanuel Gobillot Limited and co-founder of Collaboration Partners, a boutique consultancy specialising in helping organisations release the value of collaboration. View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Aug 3, 2016

ABC news anchor Dan Harris shares how meditation has helped him and other high-achievers accomplish even more. 

You’ll learn:

  1. Dan’s wild story of how he came to discover meditation and its benefits--including a panic attack on national television
  2. The key question to reign in sub-optimal ruminations
  3. The meditation dose required to see substantial benefits

About Dan

Dan Harris is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller 10% Happier, the co-creator of the '10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics' app, and the host of the podcast 10% Happier with Dan Harris. He is also co-anchor for ABC News’ Nightline and for the weekend edition of Good Morning America. He has been at ABC News for 15 years, receiving Murrow and Emmy awards for his reporting. Prior to joining ABC, he was in local news in Boston and Maine. He grew up outside of Boston and currently lives with his wife, Bianca, and son, Alexander, in New York City. View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Aug 1, 2016

Legendary vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams offers powerful tactics for making your voice make a bigger impression.

You will learn:

  1. The most powerful and underutilized speaking tools
  2. Why Renee is “obsessed with consonants”
  3. Benefits of incorporating silence into speeches and negotiations

About Renee

Renee Grant-Williams is a vocal coach to hundreds of successful singers including legends like Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus, Tim McGraw, Christina Aguilera, and Garth Brooks. She’s the author of Voice Power: Using Your Voice to Captivate, Persuade, and Command Attention. She lives in Nashville, TN and I’ve personally found her quite helpful in our voice lessons. View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Jul 29, 2016

Popular productivity blogger Ben Elijah of fame teaches how to form effective habits and provides pro-tips on determining optimal contexts to rock your to-do list.

You’ll learn:

  1. The importance of context in your day-to-day to-do list, and how you can use it most effectively
  2. How Ben jots captures ideas while in the shower (and now I do too)
  3. How to ingrain new habits by using the habit loop 

About Ben
Author of The Productivity Habits, Ben studies how our relationship with information affects the way we live and work. As a writer who straddles science and the arts, Ben has a uniquely analytical approach to problems such as information overload, life goals, and well-being.

View transcript, show notes, and links at


Jul 27, 2016

Legendary speech coach Dr. Nick Morgan shares verbal and nonverbal keys to making a powerful impression.

You’ll Learn

  1. How to hook audience attention in presentations
  2. What vocal cues can unconsciously undermine how your peers see you
  3. Keys to cooperating with the adrenaline that speaking produces

About Nick

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. He has spoken, led conferences, and moderated panels at venues around the world. Nick is a former Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He founded Public Words Inc, a consulting firm specializing in communications, in 1997.
Nick has been commissioned by Fortune 50 companies to write for many CEOs and presidents. He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to deliver an unforgettable TED talk. He has worked widely with political and educational leaders. Nick helps people find clarity in their thinking and ideas, developing thought leaders – and coaches them to deliver their ideas with panache. 

View transcript, show notes, and links at

Copyright © Optimality

Jul 25, 2016

Business communication guru Casey Hawley shares tips and tricks for delicate conversations around the office.

You’ll learn:

  1. How to deal with your ‘dragons’
  2. Key words and phrases for dealing with a bad boss
  3. How to enroll others in mentoring you and championing your ideas

About Casey

Casey Hawley teaches at Georgia State University and has consulted clients such as the NFL, Department of the Interior, and over a dozen Fortune 500 corporations on communication. She conducts workshops on writing and speaking for professionals. View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Copyright © Optimality

Jul 22, 2016

Author William Poundstone discusses the importance of knowledge in your head in the modern era.

You’ll learn

  1. Why it’s important to still have general knowledge in the era of Google
  2. Why those who listen to podcasts tend to be the most informed people of all ;)
  3. It’s nearly impossible for humans to be unpredictable.

About Bill

William Poundstone is the author of 15 books, including Fortune’s Formula, which was named Amazon Editors’ pick for #1 Nonfiction Book of the year. He has written for The New York Times Book Review, Village Voice, Esquire, Harpers, The Believer, The Economist, and Harvard Business Review. Poundstone lives in Los Angeles.

Show notes, transcripts, and more available at

Copyright © Optimality

Jul 20, 2016

Author Greg McKeown expounds the idea of essentialism--the disciplined pursuit of less, but better.

You’ll Learn:

  1. The meaning of essentialism and why to eliminate non-essentials.
  2. How to use extreme criteria to determine priority.
  3. The power and importance of having some buffer time.

About Greg
Originally from London, England, Greg McKeown is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” and the founder of THIS, Inc, a company with a mission to inspire millions of people to design their essential mission in life. Their clients include Adobe, Apple, Airbnb, Cisco, Google, Facebook, Pixar,, Symantec, Twitter, VMware and Yahoo!

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Jul 18, 2016

Professor Michael Marquardt explains how great questions make for great leadership. 

You’ll learn:

  1. How to use questions to solve problems and build relationships
  2. What makes a question great
  3. How to avoid “dis-empowering” questions


About Mike

Dr. Michael Marquardt is a senior consultant with Aspire Consulting, Professor of Human Resource Development and International Affairs, and Program Director of Overseas Programs at George Washington University. Mike also serves as President of the World Institute for Action Learning.

He has held a number of senior management, training, and marketing positions in major organizations. Dr. Marquardt has trained more than 100,000 managers in nearly 150 countries. He’s consulted many major organizations such as Microsoft, United Nations Development Program, Samsung, Singapore Airlines, and the governments of Indonesia, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Honduras, Swaziland, and many others.

Mike is the author of 24 books and over 100 professional articles in the fields of leadership, learning, globalization, and organizational change. He has received the International Practitioner of the Year Award from the American Society for Training and Development.


View transcript, show notes, and links at

Jul 15, 2016

Old friend and Team Clock originator Steve Ritter shares his experiences on the key differentiators of toxic vs. healthy teams...and key steps for making the leap.

You’ll learn:

  1. Why strategic planning is often a monumental failure
  2. The pillars of Ritter’s “Team Clock” model for successful teaming
  3. Common behaviors that cause dysfunction in teams --and how to correct them

About Steve

Steve Ritter has served as a human resources leader, teacher, author, and consultant. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Founder and CEO of the Team Clock Institute, the Managing Director of the Midwest Institute & Center for Workplace Innovation, and the author of Team Clock: A Guide to Breakthrough Teams and Useful Pain: Why Your Relationships Need Struggle. Steve is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst. He is the former Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, which won the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve consults organizations including Kraft Foods, Kellogg's, Advocate Health Care, the Chicago White Sox, Northwestern Mutual, the Illinois Hospital Association, and Starcom Worldwide.

View transcript, show notes, and links at

Jul 13, 2016

Lee Caraher separates fact from fiction when it comes to millennials, and discusses how to work through intergenerational conflict.

You’ll learn:
1. Just what defines a millennial, exactly? And why do 72% of us reject the label?

2. What’s actually different about millennials vs. traditional generational bashing?

3. How to coordinate well cross-generationally.

About Lee
Lee Caraher started Double Forte in 2002 to work with good people, doing great work for good companies. Her friends and colleagues call her "The Millennial Whisperer."

After struggling with how to work well with Millennial clients and now staffers (more than half of Lee’s staff is under 35) and then working to figure out how to make that work, Lee has written a positive and practical book about the topic, “Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at Work.”

She served as the Vice President of Corporate and Consumer Communications at the $1.6 Billion SEGA of America—their youngest US VP. She then served as Executive Vice President of The Weber Group and Founder and President of Red Whistle Communications, both Interpublic companies. Lee is active in the community and currently serves on numerous boards.

A graduate of Carleton College, with a degree in Medieval History, which she finds useful every day, Lee lives on the Peninsula with her husband, two sons, and their blind cat Al.

View transcript, show notes, and links at

Jul 11, 2016

Globetrotting trainer Kevan Hall shares how to minimize waste and frustration in work environments complicated by multiple bosses, countries, and priorities.

You’ll learn:

  1. The “stars vs spaghetti” perspective to minimize unnecessary meeting attendance
  2. Approaches to getting needed clarity at work
  3. Frameworks for quickly sizing up and adapting to cultures

About Kevan

Kevan is CEO of Global Integration and author of the books “Making the matrix work - how matrix managers engage people and cut through complexity and “Speed Lead faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies.” He is the author of the “Life in a Matrix” blog, videos and podcasts.

As an experienced corporate line manager he spent 14 years leading teams in manufacturing operations, HR, and strategic & market planning in the Telecoms & FMCG sectors. He has lived in the UK and France and worked around the world.

As an entrepreneur, he has founded, built and runs Global Integration, a group of companies based in Europe, USA and Asia and operating worldwide.

The companies have consulted with more than 300 of the world’s leading companies (including PepsiCo, GE, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley, W. L Gore, Abbott, Samsung and Vodafone) around the world and delivered over 100,000 participant days of training in the skills of working in matrix, virtual and global organizations.


To view transcripts, show notes and links, visit



Jul 8, 2016

User Experience designer and recovering alcoholic Victor Yocco speaks about habit formation--good and bad.

You’ll Learn:

  1. Victor’s personal story and implications for forming effective habits and breaking ineffective ones
  2. The power of teaming up with others to achieve your ambitions
  3. How to use a design approach to construct and reach your career goals

About Victor

Victor is a Philadelphia-based research director, author, and speaker. He received his PhD from The Ohio State University, where he studied communication and psychology. Victor regularly writes and speaks on the application of psychology to design and addressing the design and tech culture of promoting alcohol use. He has written for A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, UX Booth, User Experience Magazine (UXPA) and many more. He is the author of Design for the Mind, a book from Manning Publications on the application of principles of psychology to design.

View View transcript, show notes, links, and more at Copyright © Optimality 

Jul 6, 2016

Chris Bailey’s extreme commitment in productivity self-experimentation has yielded a boatload of insight into channeling your time, attention, and energy for maximum achievement. He shares the best of the best with us today.

You’ll learn:

  1. What 35 hours of weekly meditation does to your productivity
  2. How to galvanize your daily attention using the rule of three
  3. The power of single-tasking and claiming the missing 47% of our attention

About Chris

When Chris Bailey graduated University, he received two full-time job offers, but decided to decline them both to dedicate a full year of his life to exploring his weird passion: productivity. For a full year he did anything and everything to become more productive. His work has received national and international media attention from outlets like The New York Times, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and countless others. The prestigious TED Talks blog said that he “might be the most productive man you’d ever hope to meet.” Recently, Fast Company called him a "productivity mastermind." You can read Bailey’s work at Bailey is on a mission to share the lessons of his year-long journey both with his new bestselling book, The Productivity Project, and in his lectures, where he offers insights and best practices that will help everyone from college students to CEOs accomplish more. View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

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