Leaders, Learn from a Magician’s Mistake and Limiting Beliefs

A world famous magician and master showman,

Harry Houdini advertised many of his shows himself.

He did this by setting up shows in local jails.

Before coming into town, he contacted the local officials to put on his demonstration in a jail and invited local reports and photographers to capture the drama and excitement on paper and film.

Houdini would have himself locked in the jail cell, shackled in handcuffs, wearing not much more than a mischievous smile.

The consummate showman, Houdini would make a grand show of the task of freeing himself from his shackles, unlocking the cell door, and escaping at the final moment on the countdown clock.

Once freed to excited applause, he let the crowd and reporters know which in which theater he’d be performing even more exciting feats than these.

Because of this show, Houdini routinely played to packed houses.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

Continue Reading »

Leadership Lessons from Apollo 13

What happened on Apollo 13 wasn’t supposed to happen.

apollo spacecraft rocketLaunched from the Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 and her three astronauts’ mission was to be the United States’ third lunar landing.

Three days into their journey to the moon, an explosion on board the spacecraft drastically cut their oxygen supply and electrical power.

Immediately after seeing that the original mission was impossible, Flight Director Gene Kranz changed the mission from lunar landing to the safe return of Apollo 13’s three astronauts.

As carbon dioxide reached dangerous level, ground control had to quickly invent a new way to make the command module’s square filters work in the lunar module’s round receptacles.

They had to figure out how to fit a square peg into a round hole.

If you’ve had a chance to see Ron Howard’s film about this riveting, real life drama, this is the scene where a lead engineer brings his team together and dumps onto the table in front of them a box full of the tools and resources aboard the spacecraft.

Continue Reading »

1% is Leads to Big Wins

Leaders: Want BIG improvements in your department and on your team?

Think small.


leader Tour de France race Dave Brailsford did. And it paid off in a HUGE way.

In 2010, Brailsford took over as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky, Great Britain’s cycling team.

Team Sky had never won the Tour de France. Brailsford had a plan to change that.

Change everything by 1%, and Team Sky would win the Tour de France in five years.

They didn’t win in five years. They won in less than three!

Continue Reading »

Business Owners and Execs – Need more leaders?

5 Ways to Get Talent On-Hand to Step Up to Leadership

Bottom line up front:Leadership Talent Potential

  1. Recognize what stops people from applying for promotion
  2. Sponsor high potentials
  3. Be real – but relatable
  4. Support “growth mindset”
  5. Ditch that “impossible dream” job description.


As “The Employee Performance Optimizer,” I’m often asked by business owners and execs for help in developing high potentials. A frequently asked question is “How do I fill future leadership positions?”

Your most cost effective, time sensitive answer is: Start from where you are right now. Cultivate the talent you have on hand, and give them the support they need to move up into leadership positions in your company.

Here are 5 ways to get your talent on-hand to step up to the challenge of leadership.

Continue Reading »

Boost Productivity and Focus

Regain energy, power and focus with these 5 tips

Boost your focus and productivity.Want to regain energy, power and focus?

Get your mojo back and boost your productivity at the same time by applying these five tips.

Crystal Clear Pre-cap: (Spoiler alert: Bottom line up front, details follow.)

  1. Bring just enough energy and intensity to the task.
  2. Listen to your guilt, don’t just try to make it go away.
  3. Stop “throwing good money after bad.”
  4. Allow sufficient recovery. Key word: sufficient.
  5. Have realistic expectations. 

    Add your own best practices in the comments!#1. Bring just enough energy and intensity to the task.

Of course, like all responsible people, you start each workday with a short, prioritized success list. If you don’t yet do this, is now a good time to start that proven success habit

Continue Reading »

Leadership Lessons from 2017 Oscars Best Picture Error

What Great Leaders Do About Mistakes

Leaders, you can learn from 2017 Oscar for Best Picture Mistake“What we have here is failure to communicate.”

~ Captain in the movie “Cool Hand Luke”

Crystal Clear Pre-cap:

  1. Create a culture where people aren’t afraid to admit mistakes.
  2. Have the team discuss together where the task derailed.
  3. Let team determine areas for improvement.
  4. Encourage the team to create alternative plans if Plan A misfires.

Great leaders aren’t interested in making fun of people who have made a mistake.

Learn from it, and move on, smarter than before.

ICYMI, and, I doubt you did, here’s what happened. When Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were to read the card for Best Picture, Beatty had the wrong card.

Continue Reading »

5 Crazy Ideas That Violate Everything You Know About Confident Leadership

And, They Work


Be more confident in leadership.Have you recently taken on more responsibility at work, gotten a new leadership job or a promotion to manager?


Has the self-doubt set in yet? Feeling as though any day, the people who believe in you will discover you’re not the leader they thought you were?

“Imposter Syndrome” is common among high achievers. You might find yourself experiencing it firsthand.

As a leader, you know how important it is to have a solid foundation of confidence, because if you don’t believe in you, you can’t expect your people to believe in you.

Let’s get your self-image where it needs to be.

It’s time to challenge everything you’ve ever heard about building confidence.

You know if you want what you’ve never had, you need to do what you’ve never done. Let’s take old ideas that don’t work, and leave them in the past where they belong.
Time to shake up assumptions, rethink your thinking and start developing confidence that lasts.

   Crystal clear precap: CrystalJonas.com 

5 Wild ideas, wisely applied, to boost your confidence:

  1. Practice backwards thinking
  2. Get on the fast track to failure
  3. Lower your standards
  4. Think small
  5. Compare yourself to others

Crazy, right? These 5 ideas probably go against everything you’ve ever heard about success. Funny thing is, they work.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can gain confidence as a leader by taking these 5 ideas to heart.

1) Practice backward thinking.

Continue Reading »

5 1/2 Embarrassing Mistakes Leaders Make

And how you can avoid them!

Leaders, don't be embarrassed by these mistakesWhether you’ve been a leader for a while, recently promoted to a new leadership role at your current job, or just accepted a position as leader in a new company, take a moment to check to see that you aren’t making these distressing blunders.

Crystal clear precap:

5 ½ Embarrassing Mistakes Leaders Make

  1. Focused solely on work, not connecting
  2. Misunderstanding the “Open Door Policy”
  3. Lack of following through
  4. Giving unclear instructions
  5. Not delegating
    5 ½. Continuing to do old job

1. Focused solely on work, not connecting

It would seem at first glance that the smartest action a leader can take is to concentrate solely on how focused you are about setting and achieving goals.

Continue Reading »

Got Promoted? 5 Ways to Feel Confident Fast as a New Leader

Let go of Imposter Syndrome

How to have more confidence as a leaderPromoted to be a leader? Congratulations!

Now, make sure you’re off to a confident start, and feel as sure of yourself as the people who promoted you are!

While your team will assume that you know what you’re doing because, well, you’re the boss, it’s important that you internalize confidence so you can be a great leader.

It’s natural if you doubt your abilities, or think that it won’t be long before others “find out” that you’re not as smart as they think you are.

This feeling is so widespread, it’s even got a name: “Imposter Syndrome.”

Continue Reading »

Leadership of Self and Others – In ONE Word

Focus your energy, attention and actions this year

Leadership of others, and leading yourself to success takes focusIf you’re all about self leadership, or you’re a leader at work (or both!) it’s fun and powerful to chose a word to describe your theme for the year.

Do you have a word for 2017?

One word helps focus your attention and serves as a touchstone to get you back on track when life and work get crazy.

My word for this year is UPWARD.

[bctt tweet=”Word for ’17: UPWARD: even as you fall, you’ll rise again, your path ever onward, ever UPWARD. ~ @CrystalMJonas” via=”no”]

I chose that word because I’m doing some planning and implementation this year in my biz, and using a new priority management approach to make it all happen.

Continue Reading »

“Career Success: The Best Kept Secret That Will Fast Track Your Career”

Here's how women can get promoted faster


How to get promoted? Here's how you can get promoted

“It’s not what you know. It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.”

~ A Wise Person

“Sponsorship is about the fast track. It’s about who gets promoted.”

~ Sylvia Ann Hewlett
Author of “(Forget a Mentor) Find a Sponsor The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career”


As a leadership trainer and consultant, I’m often asked how to develop the next generation of leaders.

Bottom Line Up Front

People companies want to promote need more than mentors. They need sponsors and a transparent, simple path for getting them.

The Surprising Reason Women Aren’t Promoted More Often

[bctt tweet=”Hard work isn’t enough to get promoted. You need a sponsor! ~ @CrystalMJonas #career” via=”no”]

Women tend to believe that hard work alone is enough to get promoted. Think about that for a moment. If hard work alone were enough to elevate women through the ranks, the Fortune 500 would have more than 4.2% of CEOs as women.

And you’d have had more women bosses.

The “Hidden Brain Drain Task Force” determined the role and impact of sponsorship and why more women don’t make better use of it.

Continue Reading »

What People Like About You: 5 Qualities You Probably Have Already

Develop these habits that build relationships

Bet you’re better at building relationships than you give yourself credit for.

The key is to recognize in yourself the behaviors that people find naturally attractive and to be willing to build these likable qualities, and bring them out more often.

How many of these qualities do you have, and which could you cultivate even more?

1. You (wisely) mirror and match. To the extent that it makes sense, you mirror the other person’s body language and match her vocal quality.

This is important for two reasons. Reason #1: We like people we perceive to be like us, and when you mirror and match others, they feel you’re a kindred spirit.

Continue Reading »