William Liao

January 27, 2022

figuring it out

Whether you revel in the process of figuring things out or are intimidated by it, here are some operating principles that will help facilitate the process. Ask for help According to Dr. Wayne Baker, Professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, most people are willing to help, but most people don’t ask for what the...
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January 26, 2022

Did I solve your problem?

At the end of every customer service interaction, Amazon customers are asked the same question: "Did I solve your problem?" Screenshot from a chat with an Amazon Customer Service bot a few weeks ago This question captures the heart of what customer service is intended to do — solve problems — and allows customers to provide a pass-or-f...
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January 22, 2022

growth lifecycle

To grow is to have your comfort zone expanded. Your comfort zone expands any time you perturb the edges of it by participating in situations that are challenging and at least somewhat unfamiliar. Sometimes you’ll actively do this on your own; other times life will force it upon you. Either way, by definition, the experience will be unc...
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January 21, 2022

are you interested or committed?

The notion of ‘committed’ and ‘interested’ are abstract and nuanced concepts that defy precise definition yet contain distinct qualities that are generally understood. Commitment involves a vested interest. It’s mandatory, not optional. It asks that one regularly show up — even when it’s not convenient. Interest is exhibited before any...
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January 21, 2022

risk & possibility

Maybe you’re not inclined to try something because you’re not comfortable risking failure. Maybe you’re not inclined to speak up because you’re not comfortable risking your reputation. Maybe you’re not inclined to take a new job because you’re not comfortable risking the current set of opportunities your job affords you for the potenti...
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January 20, 2022

There's a problem and

It’s easy to acknowledge that a problem exists: Our users are churning. This business process is broken. Our partnership isn’t as successful as we thought it would be. The thing is, merely saying “there’s a problem” doesn’t bring you any closer to a solution. It’s a declarative statement with zero momentum. You can effectively say thes...
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January 19, 2022

imagine failure to potentiate success

Contrary to popular advice, visualizing success is a poor predictor of success (Oettingen & Mayer, 2002; Oettingen & Wadden, 1991). To investigate why this might be the case, Dr. Heather Kappes and Dr. Gabriele Oettingen ran a series of studies that compared the energy levels of participants who visualized positive, neutral, and negati...
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January 17, 2022

exchanging 'and' for 'but'

“But” is the quickest way to introduce resistance and get stuck in your mind. I’m working on a project, but there’s a roadblock. I’m looking forward to the weekend, but I have this challenge at work is on my mind. I’m on vacation, but it’s raining. By saying ‘but’, Rosamund Zander suggests in her book The Art of Possibility that “you m...
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January 16, 2022

impossible versus undiscovered

““The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” — Clarke’s second law” There’s a profound difference between impossible and undiscovered. Impossible means it can’t happen. Undiscovered means it hasn’t happened yet. The default for undiscovered things is to masquerade a...
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January 15, 2022

when will you decide?

“You will never be 100% ready.” That’s the sage advice that my first boss gave me that has proven to be true time and time again. Most decisions involve some level of risk that cannot be completely accounted for: Pivoting into a new career does not guarantee that you will thrive. Taking a new job does not guarantee that all of your exp...
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