Work Like a Genius

Work Like a Genius is a science-based program designed to transform your way of working. It’s the result of over three decades of working in the trenches with leaders and teams to help them achieve what was once unachievable.


My entire career has been a path to discover what makes ordinary people extraordinarily effective. 35 years ago I packed my young family into a station wagon and drove 1,000 miles to start a new business with a college professor named Stephen Covey. Like all start ups, it wasn’t easy but with enough grit and persistence we eventually brought the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to millions around the world. Stephen was my first mentor in the study of leadership and human performance.

My second mentor was Alan Fine, a tennis and golf coach who was taught the principles of the “inner game” by the renowned Timothy Gallwey. Together we created Insideout Coaching so we could teach mindfulness and flow to the new knowledge workers at the dawn of the Internet.

The renowned French anthropologist and marketing expert Clotaire Rapaille was my third mentor. He introduced me to brain science, how human habits are formed, blind spots are overcome, and the dangers of linear thinking.

My fourth mentor was Dr. Robert Kinsel Smith who conducted research on over 250,000 managers and executives to understand our prime motivations and how we create thinking shortcuts that can either strengthen or weaken our effectiveness.

My fifth mentor was Dr. Jim Loehr the founder of the Human Performance Institute (HPI) and a pioneer in stress and performance research and the personal coach of sixteen #1 athletes in the world.  As the leader of HPI’s Advisory Board I was able to help Jim bring his revolutionary approach to increasing leadership energy to thousands of senior executives of global corporations.

Dr. Joe Folkman literally co-wrote the book on Extraordinary Leadership. I first worked with Joe 30 years ago to create a 360° survey for the Seven Habits.  In the meantime he conducted tens of thousands of executive 360s and has an evidence-based model of the critical behaviors that leaders must excel at to be excellent. Joe’s research on high–impact leadership behavior stimulated the insights of how leaders can bring out the latent genius that resides in each of us.

The result of this lifetime of learning is Work Like a Genius – a program designed to generate new daily habits that ignite your creative potential, expand your performance capacity, and develop your leadership power.

What’s Not Working 

Today, as I consult with senior executives who are increasingly frustrated with a lack of innovation and problematic execution and it is clear that something new is required.  It’s not surprising. Now there is clear scientific evidence that the stress pressures of 21st century work are diluting our creativity, reducing our productivity and attacking our health. Traditional strategies for solving these problems are based on 20-year-old ideas for creating “great places to work.” However these old techniques that are used to create optimal work environments are failing because they are rooted in conditions of stability, steady growth and high profitability…good luck with that.

Today most organizations face fiercely disruptive competition, rapidly changing customer expectations, and a relentless demand for game changing innovation. To succeed organizations have to become more agile, innovative and collaborative. This requires high levels of emotional intelligence, mental creativity and physical stamina. This means employees must be at their best most of the time.

Yet, the overwhelming evidence is that they are not. In fact, recent research confirms that end-of-workday levels of the stress hormone cortisol of both workers and executives have skyrocketed since they were first measured two decades ago. High levels of cortisol not only cause heart disease and diabetes, it also inhibits creative thinking and sustained focus.  Simply put, too much sustained stress makes us stupid and causes us to behave badly.

Since employees cannot be successfully shielded from external business threats this problem requires a fundamentally new solution driven from the sciences of performance psychology and positive well-being.

What is Working

Performance psychology looks to find ways to optimize human behavior under relentless stress. The science studies high-demand professions ranging from military Special Forces to athletes to software engineers. Research on positive well-being has dramatically accelerated as it synthesizes findings from brain research, nutrition, sleep, exercise and work pace.

When this new research is combined with case studies of the daily lives of world-changing geniuses ranging from Aristotle to Edison to Jobs a set of distinct daily practices emerges.  The result is a startling clear picture of a daily pattern of living and working that promotes innovation, productivity, resilience and life satisfaction that can be adopted by anyone who is committed to work and live a high-level. 

These practices are the foundation of a program I’ve developed called Work Like a Genius,and it’s based on these 3 principles:

  1. You are responsible for creating your own great place to work every day.
  2. You need to develop your own career by developing a unique value proposition that combines your highly valued, relevant expertise with a passion for making your difference.
  3. Living by a daily, science-based schedule of reflecting, innovating, learning, problem solving and collaborating combined with optimal sleep, nutrition, and exercise will increase both creativity and productivity–which will provide both achievement and enjoyment at work.

Work Like a Genius has 3 program elements:

  1. 3½ hour live workshop in which clear goals for growth are developed.
  2. 21-day challenge in which new daily habits are formed.
  3. 40 weeks of learning in which highly engaging 3-5 minute “Shortcuts to Genius” videos are delivered via e-mail.

For a video introduction to Work Like a Genius click here.