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18 November 2016
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Overcoming being overwhelmed

By Dave Ulrich

This article is part of the Contemporary leadership series

I recently did a workshop for high performing and high potential medical doctors in the United States. They were the budding elite in their profession – exceptional surgeons, diagnosticians, and clinicians. They published papers pushing the boundaries of their specialties; they met with patients and literally saved lives; they actively served the medical profession (e.g. American Medical Association volunteers); and they taught in medical school and mentored residents. They were also trying to manage the complexity of their professional lives with family (parents, spouses, partners, children), friends, personal wellbeing (hobbies, exercise, investing). They were involved in so many good causes as their professional training made the world a much better place. And they were overwhelmed. 

Dave Ulrich is one of the world’s leading experts on HR and leadership. He is Rensis Likert Professor of Business, University of Michigan and a Partner at the consulting firm the RBL Group dou [at] He has a prodigious output of HR, leadership, and organisation related publications. These include more than 20 books. In The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organisations That Win (2011), Ulrich, with his psychologist wife Wendy, examines people’s motivation for working and what they get out of work. He was No. 27 in the 2015 Thinkers50, the ranking of the world’s most influential management thinkers.

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