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Seeking a Promotion

Dear Crucial Skills, I’m a cofounder of a company that recently brought in a new CEO who I don’t know well. I want to talk to the CEO about taking an executive role in the company and obtaining his mentorship. The problem is I feel very strongly about this position […]

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My Favorite Gift

One brisk December morning as my five-year-old son Taylor and I skittered across the local mall’s icy parking lot in search of gifts for his two older sisters, Taylor turned to me and asked, “What was your bestest and most favorite Christmas present ever?” I have contemplated the answer to […]

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Christmas Relationships

The following article was first published on December 21, 2005. Dear Crucial Skills, I am a divorced father of two young children. The separation occurred two years ago. We are doing a very good job of co-parenting. My ex-wife, “Sue,” and I had agreed from early on that we would […]

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Does Santa Make You Selfish?

In our newly released video, Santa’s Elf holds out two tantalizing foil-wrapped chocolate Christmas bears to Emma and Alex. One chocolate bear is a wonderfully chubby eight inches tall. The other is tiny—the size and girth of a clothespin. “Sorry,” the Elf says, “we only have one big bear left.” […]

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Framing the Holidays

New research by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield shows that a few small changes in how parents talk about Christmas makes a huge difference in whether Christmas traditions make kids selfish or generous. “We wanted to find out whether parents were unwittingly undermining their own goals,” said Maxfield. “Specifically, we […]

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The Law of the Hog

When David Maxfield and I pulled up to the plywood mill, we were surprised to see an ambulance parked out front. We had come to study the impact of an upcoming leadership training program, but I must admit it was difficult to think about research as we walked by a […]

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