Monday, December 26, 2016

HB Publishing’s Top 6 Posts of 2016

*** Will you be podcasting in 2017? Take our InstaPoll and see you stack up to your peers.

From Trump’s surprise election victory to the Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory (ending a 108 year drought), 2016 was anything but a boring, predictable year. One thing we learned from your reaction to our weekly blog Online Marketing B2Beat, is that your desire to keep abreast with the constantly changing landscape in your working lives never strayed far from your subconscious. Your reading patterns revealed strong interest in content marketing strategies, such as incorporating video clips into your articles and posts and using Slideshare to expand the audience for your presentations. From a strategic standpoint, you expressed concern about disruptive factors in the marketplace, building trust within your team, having more work/life balance and turning worry from a negative to a positive. If you missed a popular post, here they are again with a quick summary:

1. Incorporating Video into Articles and Posts (and vice versa).
As far back as 2014, we explained how adding video to your written content can substantially improve engagement and recall. On the flip side, a concise text-based summary that accompanies your video will greatly increase viewership. Our client, Coyle Financial Counsel found that viewership of its twice weekly video blogs increased substantially when it started offering a text-based summary right below its video player. The text summary always includes snappy “Key Takeaways.”

2. Does Your Trust Battery Need a Charge? Tobi Lutke, CEO of the e-commerce software provider, Shopify, described how every new employee starts at Shopify with their “trust battery” charged at the 50 percent level. As time goes on, the charge level goes up (or down) based on interactions with managers and whether the employee becomes more or less trustworthy and whether or not he or she delivers on what they promise.

3. Successful Professionals Use SlideShare If you’re not familiar with Slideshare (now owned by LinkedIn/Microsoft), think of it as a YouTube for professional presentations.
The sharing site gets an estimated 70 million unique visitors per month and an estimated 400,000 new presentations are uploaded daily. Unlike YouTube, SlideShare gives you quality eyeballs, rather than quantity. SlideShare is a favorite hunting ground for journalists, speaker bureaus and conference organizers. Learn why.

4. Not Worried? Maybe You Should Be. 
As a former boxer and wrestler, I’d rather have my guard up all the time than take a haymaker to the chin from seemingly out of nowhere. That’s not negativity or pessimism—that’s good old fashioned pragmatism and one of the most important ingredients for business survival. Some worry is actually good for you,” according to Simon Rego, a cognitive behavioral psychologist. Learn more.

5. Working Out the Changing Nature of Our Work.  Sally Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest outlined five keys for success in the new world of work. She said businesses are changing, pivoting and being disrupted at lightning speed, thanks to “the forces of technology and globalization.” What that means she said is that “what worked for decades won’t be a given any longer.” She believes successful leaders will ditch corner offices, encourage more collaboration, give people time to think things through, embrace intellectual discomfort and a willingness to fail.” What do you think?

6. Is Free Time Overrated? A
Stanford University professor argues that time is a “network good.” In other words, free time is only valuable if others in your schedule also have that time free as well. As Young observed, “We face a problem, of coordination. Work-life balance is not something that you can solve on your own.” Same goes for telecommuting, flex-time, job-sharing, etc. We’re freer than ever to work where we want to work, how we want to work and when we want to work. But if you can’t enjoy that time with others, how much is it really worth? Do you fall into that trap of “bowling alone” or in my case skiing alone?

From all of us here at HB Publishing, have a great 2017. You can work smarter without having to work harder.

Our blog has more as does the FREE Resources page of our website.


Tags: Top posts of 2016, time management, workplace trust, Slideshare, Video with articles, Sally Krawcheck

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Can You Afford NOT to Be Podcasting?

Podcasts. “Sure, I know what they are….I think.” Sound familiar?

Podcasts have been around for over a dozen years, and while adoption is growing by double digits, they’re often overshadowed by social media, videos, infographics and search engine optimization. That said, podcasts are quietly and steadily gaining traction and businesses and financial professionals like you. "The popularity of podcasting for business makes perfect sense,” according to Daryl Plotke, of the Gainesville, Florida-based creative agency DDP. “Not only do podcasts allow the brand to have complete control over its content, but they offer an intimacy that few other media channels provide.”

See how we’re turning our own blog posts into podcasts.
It’s surprisingly simple and effective and so can you.
More than one in five Americans over age 12 (21%) have listened to a podcast in the past month and that “ear-share” has increased by about 25 percent in the past year alone. That’s about 57 million people listening to podcasts regularly--about the same number of folks who are tweeting.

Mobile devices are one of the key drivers of podcast growth as 64 percent of podcasts are now listened to on a smartphone or tablet, according to
Edison Research.
Americans spend about 2 percent of their daily share of audio consumption listening to podcasts. That might not seem like much, but that 2 percent accounts for about 15 minutes each day, or one hour and 45 minutes a week. With global smartphone use surpassing the 2 billion mark this year, listening patterns are expected to change as more and more people subscribe to podcasts.

While some media companies are frustrated by the paltry share of the U.S. advertising pie that podcasts attract ($34 million according to Pew Research), that’s part of the appeal—minimal commercial interruption compared to often-annoying commercial radio.

Business professionals and entrepreneurs rank high among podcast aficionados
Time-pressed, information-hungry people who are anxious to get a variety of perspectives and ideas from experts in different business fields are an ideal audience for podcasts. But, they’ll only do so if it’s easy and convenient. You can listen to podcasts as you sit in traffic, exercise, walk your dog or cook dinner. As podcast guru Jay Baer explained, “Increasingly, business people (especially marketers) are using podcasts to stay on top of trends because it’s the most time-efficient way to get educated. You can multi-task your podcast listening in ways you simply cannot with other forms of content.”

Podcasts are easily consumable because they don’t require the listener’s undivided attention like video, TV or books do. For podcasters, the ability to speak to your audience directly, in your own voice, at a time when it’s most convenient for them to listen to you, podcasts help you connect with your audience on a deeper and more personal level.   

Also, podcasts aren’t just for one-way communication with your audience. You can invite an expert or thought leader to be a guest on your “show.” You can interview experts, and even consumers. Podcasting is a great way to put forth the views of people your audience is most likely to trust -- experts, and their peers.

You can distribute podcasts through multiple channels.
While the most common thing to do is to broadcast your podcasts on your website or blog, you can spread their reach across the global audience through services like iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud. You can also use social channels to share your podcasts with your audience.
Ease of creation.

From a technical and cost perspective, podcasts are much easier to create than video and webinars. You don’t need to worry about hair, lighting, makeup, tele-prompters, slides or “freezing up” when the red light goes on. Just get a decent microphone and recording device and read your script calmly (or bring in a narrator to do it for you). OK, there’s a bit more to it, but podcasting should not be one of your 10 biggest tech challenges of 2017. As with writing, blogging, tweeting and video, Plotke said producing
podcasts on a regular and consistent basis do far more for you than just posting sporadic episodes. That takes a little discipline, and there are reasonably-priced professionals who can help you sound great without “dragging your feet into the weeds on every detail.”

Our own blog has more as does the FREE Resources page of our website.


To that end, HB Publishing & Marketing Company now has podcasting expertise on call. Just let us know when you’re ready to stick your toe into this burgeoning thought leadership content platform and we’ll help you connect with a larger audience than you ever thought possible.


Podcasting, Edison Research, Daryl Plotke, Stitcher, SoundCloud

Sunday, December 11, 2016

It’s Great You’re Blogging—Are You Blogging Efficiently?

Many of you are now publishing blogs. That’s great because blogging—if done well—is one of the most impactful thought leadership tools that professionals and businesses can use. According to the 2016 Blogger Research Study from Orbit Media Studios, the typical blogger publishes several posts per week with a typical post averaging 800 words in length. Bloggers write both in the office and at home after work. According to researchers, a typical blog post takes about 2.5 hours to create, with 46 percent of bloggers spending more than two hours per post and only one in six (17.4%) getting their posts done in one hour or less.  

Our Take? 150 minutes is WAY too long to be spending on a short-form post and if you’re running 800 to 1,000 words, you might be spending too much time “clearing your throat” and struggling to get to the point. If you’re not getting your posts done in roughly 60 minutes and getting your thoughts together in 500-600 words, then maybe you should review your thought processes or your internal bench strength.

Three in five bloggers (61%) are writing posts averaging 500 to 1000 words, which according to researchers makes 800 words “seem like an unstated, but agreed-upon standard length for blog posts.” Again, we’ve found you are better off writing on the briefer end of that 500-1,000 word scale.

Length Of A Typical Blog Post
Length of Post
% of Respondents
Less than 500 words
500-1,000 words
2,000+ words
Source: Orbitmedia, November 2016

How long it takes to write a typical blog post?

  Time to Write
% of Respondents
Less than 1 hour
1-2 hours
6+ hours
Source: Orbitmedia, November 2016

Part of the reason that blogs are taking many so long to write is that three in four bloggers (73%) act as their own editors, according to the Orbitmedia survey. Only 15 percent of bloggers use a formal editorial process. Nine in ten (90.6%) survey respondents said they either edit their own work or use an informal process. What’s more, researchers found that most blog posts have never been seen by anyone but the author before they go live. Ouch!

Bloggers Use Of Editors
Use Of Editor
% of Respondents
Edit own work
“Show it to a person or two”
Formal editor
More than one editor
Source: Orbitmedia, November 2016

Researchers also found that social media is by far the most common promotion tactic, typically used by 94 percent of bloggers since it’s fast and easy for most bloggers. The Orbit folks also note that best practices for SEO are so well known that most bloggers now produce search optimized content, adding that only 5 percent of bloggers are paying to drive traffic to their posts.

How Bloggers Are Driving Traffic To Their Posts
Traffic Acquisition
% of Respondents
Social media marketing
Search engine optimization
Email marketing
Influencer outreach
Paid services
Source: Orbitmedia, November 2016

Our own blog has more as does the FREE Resources page of our website.


Credit: The New York Times
On a personal note, I wanted to mention the recent passing of John Glenn, American astronaut, U.S. senator and all-around hero who died on Thursday at the age of 95. I never met Glenn personally, flew or served in the military, but I have long since felt a special affinity for Glenn. Here is an iconic photo from the New York Times on the day after I was born, March 1, 1962. You see Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth 9 days earlier—basking in the glow of the first of his two Canyon of Heroes parades in New York City. I learned many years later that my parents almost gave me the first name of “John” or “Glenn” but that decision was later nixed for reasons to lengthy to discuss here. Now scroll down the page to the side by side photos of the front page of the Times on 3/2/62.

For most Americans, Glenn’s ticker tape parade overshadowed an unfolding tragedy just 16 miles away in what is now known as JFK International Airport. That same morning (March 1, 1962), American Airlines Flight 1 crashed in Jamaica Bay, killing all 87 passengers and eight crew members. It was the deadliest commercial airline crash in United States history at that point.

As so often happens in life, exhilarating highs are mixed with agonizing lows. Give The Times credit for devoting equal space to both stories in 1962—in today’s media environment by contrast, that ratio would probably have been 90 percent tragedy/10 percent celebration. I’m sure many miss those days.


Tags: Blogging, thought leadership, John Glenn, Orbit Media Studios, blog length

Sunday, December 04, 2016

So You Think You Know LinkedIn?

Whether you’re a sole practitioner or a partner in a global firm, it’s no secret that your online presence matters more than ever today. And since most of you are experienced professionals, nowhere else does your online presence matter more than LinkedIn. It’s not just for job seekers and recruiters.

According to Sandra Long, a longtime Pitney Bowes executive and now a trainer, entrepreneur and author of the new book, LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide, many professionals make the common mistakes of:

  • Taking a set-it and forget-it approach to their LinkedIn profiles.
  • Having too many endorsements for their less-than-core skills.
  • Listing their job title at the top of their profile rather their personal brand and unique value proposition.
  • Not synching their personal brand with their firm’s or company’s brand.
  • Not having a professional headshot—“If you don’t have a headshot, you’re not in the game.”
  • Listing every single job and responsibility they’ve had during their career, rather than “weaving together common themes.”
  • Repurposing their resume online rather than being a “story teller.”
I spoke with Long after her presentation last week at the Fairfield County, CT chapter of the American Marketing Association. She told me that for experienced professionals, one of the most important things you can use the platform for is establishing yourself as a thought leader. Sharing content, uploading presentations to Slideshare (now owned by LinkedIn) and publishing articles and blog posts on LinkedIn’s new publishing tool will give you “very high authority” on Google and other search engines.

“Your business is all about your career, your brand and your network,” said Long. “The No. 1 activity on LinkedIn is look at profiles. Take the time to think about what’s unique about you professionally, personally and what makes you a thought leader.”

Long's book provides a comprehensive view of personal branding using LinkedIn's profile, content sharing, and thought leadership capabilities. Additionally, Long has assembled a useful set of "How To" advice links that are available on a companion website. The website provides many resource pages and links related to each chapter.

Our blog has more as well as the FREE Resources page of our website.


Many of you preach the importance of regularly updating your portfolio, estate plan, business plan and IT procedures. Those are not one-and-done exercises. Same goes for your online presence, particularly your LinkedIn profile (and your organization’s).


Tags: LinkedIn tips, Sandra Long, LinkedIn for Personal Branding, Slideshare, thought leadership

Friday, November 18, 2016

Now Is the Time for You (and Clients) to Test Out New Year’s Resolutions

I spent most of Wednesday in midtown Manhattan meeting with clients and strategic partners. It was the first time I felt like a 1 Percenter—i.e. in the small minority of people actually trying to work. It was an unseasonably warm work day in mid-November, but you would have thought it was the week before Christmas based on the frantic energy and size of the crowds perusing the display windows at Macy’s, skating at Bryant Park or clogging the rails of Rockefeller Center.

If you think the Holiday ads and catalogs are hitting you earlier than ever, you’re not alone. Even my subway shuttle between Grand Central and Times Square was already decked out in Christmas gift wrapping. If we’re going to keep pushing the envelope on when the Holiday season officially starts, I don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s good for the economy and help’s people people’s psyche. But if we’re going to push up the start of  the Holiday’s we should also push up the start of your New Year’s resolutions because now is an excellent time to “pilot test” your 2017 resolutions to see what you can realistically stick with and what’s just a pipe dream.

Research suggests that approximately half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions yet only one out of twelve of them (8%) actually achieve them. We all know behavior modification is hard, whether you’re trying to lose weight, get organized, get published, revamp your IT processes or make your website mobile friendly. Experts say we also tend to set the bar too high and then beat ourselves up when we don’t reach it. But there has to be more to the high rate of Resolution Failure.

Dr. Paul Marciano, author of Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work specializes in the area of behavior modification and motivation. Marciano’s book offers seven key pieces of advice.

1. Clearly define your goals. Many people in the spirit of New Year’s loudly proclaim, “This is the year I’m going to finally get in shape.” But what does that mean? Do you intend to lose a certain number of pounds? Reach a body-fat percentage goal? Run three miles without rest? Bang out 10 pull-ups? Marciano advocates SMART goals—objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. In other words “own it” and be accountable.

2. Track your progress. Countless studies show that individuals, teams and organizations are much more likely to reach a goal (and stay with it) if progress can be measured along the way. Experts such as Marciano say measurement can also help you and your team identify bottlenecks in your progress.

3. Have patience. OK. I admit this isn’t my strong suit, but experts say must set realistic goals and realize that progress is never linear. Sometimes you experience rapid gains only to hit resistance later. Other times, initial progress may be painfully slow but then they suddenly achieve rapid breakthroughs. Making lasting changes takes time.

4. Publicize your goals to friends, family and co-workers. This is about “owning it.” High performing sports teams, companies and military units understand this. You can too. Don’t be shy about announcing your specific resolution to the world, but support from colleagues, friends and family members is key.

5. Put resolutions on your schedule. That’s another flavor of “owning it.” How often do you hear people say they can’t “find the time” to do something? Experts argue that nobody finds time to do something. We all choose to spend our time the way we do—whether that’s eating junk food, binging on NetFlix shows or hitting the gym. Make your new goals a priority and actually schedule them into your calendar. If you want to declutter you office, schedule time to clean out your files, desk and online calendar in the evening or on weekends when you’re not at the beck and call of clients. Think of these “time blocks” as important appointments with yourself—and make sure you’re penalized for cancelling on short notice.

6. Stop “all or nothing” thinking; it’s better do something than nothing. I admit I’m often guilty of “all or nothing” thinking? For instance, “I didn’t get my proposal in on time, so I might as well forget about landing that client.” Or, “I might as well have a couple more beers and some fries since I blew my diet last night.” The difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge. If you don’t have a full hour to workout at the gym, just decide to make it the best 20-minutes you can. If you have a slight cold or minor injury, decide to just walk the track for a couple miles. If a client has a financial emergency and can’t save the usual 10 percent this month, just tell them to save what you can. Any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.

7. Get up, when you slip up. None of us are perfect. As the football coaching legend Vince Lombardi famously said, “It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” Resiliency is the key. Don’t turn relapses or temporary failures into total meltdowns or excuses for giving up. Instead, just acknowledge the mistake and recommit to the path.

Our blog has more as well as the FREE Resources page of our website.


Dr. Marciano and other experts believe achieving our goals isn’t about willpower. It’s about developing the right skills and strategies that, with patience, will lead to success. Use this time between now and January 1, 2017 to test out your planned resolutions—both the type of resolution and the degree to which you’re hoping to change your behavior. Make adjustments and then re-commit. Read points #6 and #7 above.

You’re already in the 1-percent who were working last Wednesday.  Join the Elite 8 percent who will be celebrating their success later in the year.

Wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving.

Best HB


Tags: Making New Year’s Resolutions stick, Dr. Paul Marciano

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Read This First if You (or Key Clients) Are Considering Cashing Out

So many of you with successful businesses or practices dream of the day you can cash out. Wouldn’t it be great to sell the enterprise you worked so hard to build for a ton of dough and then sit back and travel, play golf, serve on a few boards and support a few of your favorite charitable causes? Not so fast.

If you haven’t taken the time to prepare properly for a liquidity event, you could find yourself financially and emotionally disrupted to the point that you aren’t enjoying life and you aren’t preserving your hard-earned wealth.

Before you move on to your next venture or to a life away from the daily grind, here are five key principles that one of our clients advises his clients to follow and they’re likely to work for you:

1. Ignore what made you successful.
2. Take a household view.
3. Understand different forms of risk.
4. Don’t gamble. Invest.
5. Control what you can control.

Read here for more about these five principles. As we have discussed in recent posts, writing a relevant eBook, blog or regular column can position you as a thought leader in your niche and garner you national media attention. Last week, another of our clients Blake Christian, CPA, a tax partner of Long Beach, CA-based HCVT was featured in a US News & World Report story How to Create a Foolproof Withdrawal Plan for Retirement Assets.

We typically our outreach efforts at least three months prior to release date and several of our clients have landed new business just by sending out pre-release chapters to their centers of influence for review.
Our blog and website has more.


While it may not be in your DNA to take your foot off the gas pedal, capital preservation, not growth is your primary concern in the new chapter of your life. And the same goes for your next book, presentation or article. Begin with the end in mind or you may find yourself sharing all your accumulated smarts and expertise with the world without being ready for Act 2, or getting anything of value in return.


TAGS: Blake Christian, preparing for liquidity events, cashing out

Friday, October 28, 2016

Todya's Markets Are a Zoo. Which Exhibits Are Worth Checking Out?

As we discussed last week, writing a relevant eBook, blog or regular column can position you as a thought leader in your niche and garner you national media attention. Last week, our client Blake Christian, CPA, a tax partner of Long Beach, CA-based HCVT was featured in a US News & World Report story How to Create a Foolproof Withdrawal Plan for Retirement Assets.
We typically start our outreach efforts at least three months prior to release date and several of our clients have landed new business just by sending out pre-release chapters to their centers of influence for review.

To that end, my friend Andrew Berkin, Director of Research for Houston-based Bridgeway Capital Management, has received tremendous advance publicity for his now-released book Your Complete Guide to Factor Based Investing that he co-authored with the legendary Larry Swedroe of Buckingham Asset Management (BAM). We didn’t help Andy with this particular book, but we’ve edited many of his articles and we know he always writes with the marketing end goal in mind. Andy’s a “quant” but he has a knack for taking the wonky math, science and jargon out of evidence-based investing and helps everyone from individual stock players to large-scale institutional investors isolate the true factors you need to make intelligent and repeatable investment decisions.

While some advisors tend to have “smartest kid in the class syndrome,” Berkin, Christian and Glomski do the opposite. They work very hard to make difficult concepts simple for clients, prospects (and journalists) to understand—and that’s why they have the following they do.

A zoo of factors

I caught up with Berkin last week and he told me the term “zoo of factors” comes from a speech that University of Chicago’s John Cochrane gave at the American Finance Association. His point: only a small handful of investment factors, from among the mountains of data, are really required to make highly impactful investment decisions and that the rest is just noise.

Berkin said much of the book is based on long-term analysis that he and Swedroe did on a myriad of investment performance factors—both individually and in combination. The key was taking that analysis from “academic research to practical benefits.”

When asked what investors, including professionals and wealth managers still don’t get about today’s markets Berkin said he is still surprised at how many fail to realize that markets go through cycles. “What has worked in the very recent past may continue to work for a while as other investors pile in,” Berkin said. “But, following the latest fad all too often ends badly as folks buy high and subsequently sell low,” he added. Instead, he said you should set a long-term plan and look for factors that are “persistent over long time periods, pervasive across geographies and sectors, robust to various definitions, investable and intuitive.”
Berkin said many investors are worried about uncertainty in what they view as a very volatile and fragile environment. But, he said there will always be uncertainty with investing; “we don’t have laws in investing like we do in science. And that is one way that an evidence-based factor approach to investing proves invaluable.” Berkin added that there are no guarantees, but by applying the scientific method to investing, “we can better understand what drives the returns of securities, how those returns interact, what their likelihood of success will be and how to combine them into an overall portfolio. “

Our blog and website has more.

Advisors seemed to be scared too. Why? “For some advisors,” said Berkin, “there is a feeling that the lowest hanging fruit has been picked. Getting new clients and growing is tougher. There is a need to spend more on everything. And there is pressure on fees. Clients want more for less. It won’t be easy. But keep staying nimble and things will turn up,” he added for good measure.


TAGS: Andrew Berkin, Larry Swedroe, Blake Christian, market factors

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

HB Publishing eBook Authors Gain National Exposure (pre-publish)

As many of you know, we help wealth advisors, estate planners, CPAs and other professionals build their thought leadership status through a variety of channels, including eBooks. Sure, there is some blood, sweat and tears involved in the process, but you don’t have to wait until your book is completed to start building the buzz and reaping the benefits.

Today, Blake Christian, CPA, a tax partner of Long Beach, CA-based HCVT was featured in a US News & World Report story How to Create a Foolproof Withdrawal Plan for Retirement Assets. Earlier this month, another client was featured in a Yahoo Tech story about investing in the app market--also picked up in US News. Our outreach efforts to the national media are working, because journalists know that HB authors (a) know their stuff and (b) come to interviews well-prepared to deliver comments in a concise, media-friendly format. We’re not talking superficial soundbites, but economical, carefully crafted responses that invite future discussion.

Christian’s book, which is focused on helping professional service providers become more entrepreneurial without being reckless is due to be released in January 2017. Another of our clients, who prefers to remain anonymous due to her work with recent widows and divorcees, picked up at least one new client last year (before publication) with each new chapter she sent out to her trusted network for review.


As with investing, past performance does not guarantee future results. But by starting with your end goals in mind, you’ll significantly increase your chances of attracting the right kinds of clients and media exposure—and keep your supply closet free of boxes full of dusty, unread copies of your book.

Our blog and website has more.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Performing Under Pressure.

Lessons from Joe Maddon, Carson Wentz and Christopher Columbus

Last week, we talked about the benefits of worrying productively. Here we’ll talk about preparation and staying cool under pressure. Global explorer Christopher Columbus wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what was possible 500 years ago--and he had less navigational technology than you have in your car today. “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions,” he famously said, “one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.”

Speaking of breaking barriers, we know a number of you on this distribution list hail from Chicago and Philadelphia. Go to any game in those towns—or listen to local talk radio—and you’ll experience both the vitriol and eternal optimism of each city’s diehard sports fans.

Let’s start with the 2016 Chicago Cubs who put together the best regular season record in Major League Baseball this season. They’ve won each of their playoff games so far and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs, putting  them in prime position to win the World Series for the first time in 108 years.

Meanwhile in the National Football League, the surprising Philadelphia Eagles, a long struggling franchise that’s NEVER won the Super Bowl and which was widely expected to go nowhere fast this year, is off to a 3-1 start (one point away from 4-0), led by a brand new head coach, a brand new offensive coordinator and a rookie quarterback out of North Dakota State. That’s right, North Dakota State—not exactly an NFL breeding ground for talent.

What do Chicago and Philly fans have in common? They know not to get their hopes up too high, no matter what the stats, odds makers and TV pundits indicate about the strength of their teams.
Wentz became the only rookie ever to win his first three regular season games without throwing an interception. He finally allowed a pick in his fourth professional game last weekend, but still managed to rally the team from deep deficits several times, before falling short by a point. He has become so popular in the Philadelphia metro area that there is already a clothing brand bearing his name and billboards all over the tri-state area announcing, “Welcome to Wentzylvania!”
Maddon, the bearded, heavily be-speckled 62 year-old manager of the Cubs, is no fluke, either. Earlier in his career he guided the usually woeful Tampa Bay Rays to the 2008 World Series—where they lost to guess who? The Philadelphia Phillies, That right, the Fightin’ Phils, who won only the second world title in their 134 year history.
In Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Maddon placed a sign on the wall between the team’s clubhouse and the dugout that reads—“Don’t let the pressure exceed the pleasure.” Unlike most head coaches, Maddon doesn’t impose dress codes, penalize players for being late or issue military-issue rule books about how to conduct themselves or manage their time—“What can you really be late for in the grand scheme of things” he once famously said. “All that stuff is nonsensical.” As he told The New York Times last weekend, he has only two rules—batters must always run hard to first base and pitchers must do more than simply throw—they need to field their positions too. “The word pressure should be an absolute positive and not a negative.” Why does he say that? “Because if people are throwing that pressure at you, that means there’s really something good attached to whatever you’re trying to accomplish.”

Different approaches; same goal

Maddon’s seemingly laid-back approach to winning disguises his decades of experience and his obsessive attention to the nuances of the game. Wentz is a 23 year-old, whose intelligence and single-minded preparation make him seem abnormally mature for his age. In a
recent interview Wentz said it’s easy to block out all the distractions and media attention because he has to work so hard just to learn the new system. He and his coaches, break Wentz’s day into tiny micro-assignments and tasks, with the single goal of getting ready for just one thing—the next game. “Have a routine, get involved in the process. Commit to the process,” said new offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, who brought in a precise weekly routine to follow in which every scenario is covered separately, in the film room and on the practice field. They even gave Wentz precise times of day for arriving at practice and eating his meals.

Wentz, who didn’t have the same kind of routine in high school or college, welcomed the regimen according to reports. Rather than feeling micromanaged, Wentz believes the regimen helps him avoid feeling overwhelmed, which is what has ruined so many highly drafted college quarterbacks trying to succeed in the high-pressure NFL.

Maddon and Wentz each have different ways of dealing with the relentless pressure of their “win or else” professions. They each have different ways of shouldering the burden of their sports obsessed cities’ hopes and dreams.

blog and website has more


“Pressure lives in the future, not the present tense,” Maddon quipped. “If you can live in the moment, then you can enjoy the pleasure of it.” Wentz said he’s simply too busy preparing to worry about the pressure. It works for them.

Keep that in mind the next time you get ready to deliver a big presentation, speak to the national media or pitch a very large client. It’s far better to try and occasionally fail than to continue down the straight and narrow where your horizon remains perpetually flat.
Happy Columbus Day.