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 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

Jul 4, 2016

In this mini-episode, Pete shares a quick tip to declare independence from sub-optimal meetings.

Jul 1, 2016

Executive coach Julia Atkinson shares her experiences coaching teams across three different continents, and provides insight into how to thrive when cultures collide.

You’ll learn:

  1. The differences between Eastern and Western styles of communication
  2. A quick rundown of the four different Myers-Briggs preferences, from ENFJ to ISTP
  3. What is “Guanxi”? A Chinese word that has worldview implications worldwide

About Julia

Julia Atkinson is an Executive Coach with more than 8 years experience of living and working in China before taking her business to the US, Chicago. 10 years of leading teams in Multinationals in IT and Telecommunication give her first hand corporate know-how. Julia uses an interactive coaching process to help clients attain awareness of deeply rooted beliefs and values and related behaviors. From that awareness, she helps them identify and implement shifts that will effect lasting change where they want it. View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Jun 29, 2016

Leadership advisor Randy Street shares fascinating insights gleaned from his advisory firm’s in-depth analyses on thousands of senior leaders--the biggest database on leaders in the world. He then shares strategies and tactics for putting those insights to work.

You’ll learn:

  1. The 5 essential interview questions to boost your hiring success rate from 50% to 90%
  2. The 3 key areas that full-powered leaders master (Priorities, Who, Relationships)
  3. How to say “no” perfectly

About Randy

Randy Street is the Managing Partner of ghSMART, a leadership advisory firm whose mission is to help great leaders amplify their positive impact on the world.  In collaboration with founder Geoff Smart, Randy co-authored the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, Who: The A Method for Hiring and Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success.  Who remains the #1 book on hiring on Amazon.

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

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Jun 27, 2016

Professor, author, and consultant Michael Watkins shares best practice strategies and tactics for getting the optimal start in a new role at work.

You’ll learn:

  1. The most critical ingredient for a successful transition
  2. How to accelerate your arrival at the “breakeven point” for your new role
  3. The key questions to discover what you REALLY need to know quickly

About Michael

Dr. Michael D. Watkins is a Co-founder of Genesis Advisers and Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at the IMD business school. Previously, he was on the faculty at the Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Dr. Watkins wrote The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Smarter and Faster, which The Economist recognized as “the on- boarding bible.” The enduring classic has sold more than a million English copies and has been translated into 24 languages. The revised and expanded 10th Anniversary Edition released in 2013. At IMD, he is the Director of the "Transition to Business Leader" program. At Genesis Advisers, he leads a team that designs enterprise transition acceleration solutions for client organizations. Dr. Watkins is the author of numerous additional books and articles on leadership & transitions published in the Harvard Business Review and other top publications.

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Copyright © Optimality

Jun 24, 2016

Human Resources uber-guru Rita Trehan shares anecdotes from her years of experience helping HR professionals grow and succeed, and talks about how we can maximize our full potential at work.

You’ll learn

1) The positive benefits of acknowledging the ‘elephant in the room’

2) Tips for giving effective and constructive feedback to others

3) The truth about what goes on in the HR department at the office

About Rita

Ranked among the Top 100 Human Resources Officers, Rita has helped improve performance at organizations such as Honeywell, AES Corporation, Coca-Cola and the World Bank. She’s a regular contributor to the Washington Post and numerous journals including Forbes magazine. She recently authored the book Unleashing Capacity: The Hidden Human Resources.

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Jun 22, 2016

Author and consultant James Sudakow takes a sledgehammer of silliness to corporate jargon to help boost your credibility and relatability in corporate communications.

You’ll learn:
1) Why do we do this jargon in the first place?
2) How the use of such jargon can actually damage our credibility and make people take us less seriously
3) Some key phrases to avoid right away--and what to use in their place

James Sudakow is author of Picking the Low-Hanging Fruit… and Other Stupid Stuff We Say in the Corporate World (Purple Squirrel Media, February 2016). He serves as the principal of CH Consulting, Inc., a boutique management and organizational effectiveness consulting practice he founded in 2010. Sudakow specializes in helping companies manage organizational transformation, create talent management strategies and programs that maximize employee capabilities and improve business performance. Before starting his own consultancy, James held leadership roles in several global multibillion-dollar organizations across the technology and health care industries.

To view show notes, transcript, links and more, visit:

Jun 20, 2016

Master facilitator Tim Hurson shares some of his favorite insights and approaches for creativity and problem-solving.

You’ll learn:
1) The know-wonder and GPS tools for sparking additional creative ideas
2) The mighty benefits of the “third third” when coming up with creative ideas
3) A wonderfully obvious secret of productivity

Tim Hurson is a founding partner of thinkx intellectual capital (, a firm that provides global corporations with training, facilitation, and consultation in productive thinking and innovation. He's both a faculty member and Trustee of the Creative Education Foundation, and a founding director of Facilitators Without Borders.

Tim thinks the phrase “out of the box thinking” should be put back in the box and buried in a deep hole.

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Jun 17, 2016

“Competition” within an organization is often frowned upon, but “workplace provocateur” Dan Rust discusses the benefits and tactics associated with competition, politics and more.

 You’ll learn:

  • When internal competitiveness can be positive for an organization
  • A secret tip for crushing your next yearly performance review
  • The massive benefits of bringing just a little bit more energy to each work day

About Dan
Dan Rust is the founder of Frontline Learning, an international publisher of corporate training resources. His award-winning keynote speeches and workshops focus on employee engagement, productivity, and career management. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s the author of Workplace Poker: Are You Playing the Game, or Just Getting Played?

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

Jun 15, 2016

Entrepreneur and app developer Anshul Bhagi introduces Ummo, a powerful app for public speakers, and the lessons learned along the process of making it.

You’ll learn:

  1. How the new speech-coaching appUmmo can enhance your speaking
  2. When the use of filler words is helpful
  3. What is “upspeak” and its implications on how you’re perceived

About Anshul

Anshul Bhagi is a 2017 Harvard MBA with an undergrad and Masters in Computer Science from MIT. Previously, Anshul did PM and development at Microsoft / Apple / Google, spent two years at McKinsey & Company, and founded education startup CampK12 to teach kids in India to code. Together with his Harvard / MIT classmates Yasmin, Andrea, Sam, Damola, and Sinchan, he is building Ummo, a personalized speech coaching app (available for download here).

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at


Jun 13, 2016

Michael Kerr shows us how to see the humor in our daily work frustrations, and the benefits it brings for long-term success.

You’ll learn:

1) The critical link between humor and creativity
2) How to turn a stressful situation into something humorous with the three R’s (reframe, reward, relax)
3) Approaches to building a humor “first-aid” kit

About Michael
Michael is listed as one of Canada’s most in-demand speakers. He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), best-selling author, and one of only 22 speakers to be inducted into the Canadian Speakers’ Hall of Fame. Building on his experience as a “recovering senior manager,” Michael travels the world researching, writing, and speaking about what makes a great workplace,well…great! He is known as one of North America’s leading authorities on how to create a more positive and inspiring workplace: the kind of workplace that drives phenomenal success.

View transcript, show notes, links, and more at

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