Unlocking productivity with Don Khouri

Jun 15, 2021

Even the most deft of jugglers have a limit to how many plates they can keep spinning—they could have ten going all at once, but if just one more is added, they’ll all come crashing down. The same holds true for responsibilities. Too many, and we risk burnout, performance issues, or mistakes.

That’s where Don Khouri comes in. Throughout his career, Don has nurtured a passion for uncovering the secrets of productivity, from his time as Vice President at Fidelity Investments to his PhD in Human and Organization Systems, to his work as a speaker and executive coach.

We are thrilled to be publishing his book, When to Say Yes: The Five Steps to Protect Your Time, this fall.

In When to Say Yes, Don shares his valuable method for managing your goals and actions by determining what to take on in the first place.

Read on to learn more about Don, his insights, and his inspirations.


Which three words best describe you?
Always on time.

What is your book about?
It’s about evaluating requests for your time, and deciding when to say yes.

What is the last book you read?
Helping People Change by Richard Boyatzis, Melvin L. Smith, and Ellen Van Oosten. I enjoyed the science behind the importance of coaching people towards their vision, versus coaching people for compliance or troubleshooting the problem of the day.

Who is your favorite author?
There are so many great authors. If I had to choose one, I would say Daniel Pink. He provides the perfect balance of science, stories, and thoughtful ideas to engage readers.

What do you think everyone should do at least once in their lifetime?
Write a book. Everyone has a book in them, and we all have something important to share with the world.

What is your personal motto?
See others as their best possible selves.

Who would be your dream dinner guest?
I can imagine a small dinner party with some of the most successful tech innovators of our time: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and maybe one or two others. I would ask them all about their productivity habits. Okay, I admit it may not sound like fun for everyone, but that’s my idea of a fun dinner party.

Where do you find inspiration?
America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzers. I love to see those performers have their dreams come true. It’s inspiring. I also read, or listen to, two to three books per month, and am inspired by new ideas or a different way of thinking about old ideas.