What Does it REALLY Mean to Be a Producer?

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“So, what does a producer really do?”

During my 15 years as the Executive Producer of Seattle’s hit comedy TV show Almost Live!, I was asked that question a lot. Many times by members of my own staff.

“What does a producer really do?”

I used to answer that question from a very specific, TV-centric focus. Made sense, right? I mean, I was a TV producer, after all.

But after working with thousands of leaders in hundreds of industries, I’ve realized that what I ...

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The Benefits of Informal Get-Togethers

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I just spent a delightful morning with a colleague of mine (Ron, another speaker) who was in from out of town and gave me a call. And yes, I realize I just used the word “delightful,” when the more manly, chainsaw, Hemi word would be something like “awesome,” “radical,” or “killer,” but dammit, it was delightful.

Anyway, as I was leaving this killer get-together, I found myself wondering, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Granted, in this case ...

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Are You About to Lose One of Your Best Employees?

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I’m angry at Janie’s boss.

I don’t know Janie’s boss. I’ve never met Janie’s boss. But I do know Janie. Janie is one of the most diligent, hard-working, eager-to-learn people I’ve ever met. But because Janie’s boss doesn’t understand one of the basic rules of leadership, Janie is being made to feel like a failure in her job, and is thinking about leaving. So what’s the rule that Janie’s boss doesn’t understand? It’s this:

It’s a leader’s job to create an environment ...

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Great Teams Focus on the Mission, Not the Squabbles

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This weekend I was lucky enough to have VIP seats to see a performance by the U.S. Navy’s precision flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels. They are, by any standard, an incredible team. They fly 18 inches apart at 400 miles per hour, while simultaneously doing coordinated turns and maneuvers — all of this in a plane that costs $56 million. And if you don’t think that’s a big deal, think about how mad you were when you got that ...

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3 Ways to Practice Intentional Creativity

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According to Fast Company, creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business. Why is it, then, that so few leaders do little (or nothing) to make creative thinking a conscious part of their personal development?

In short, why do so few leaders practice intentional creativity?

connect-20333_1920When I was producing my multiple Emmy® Award winning comedy TV ...

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Will They Be Sorry To See You Leave?

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“Some people brighten a room when they enter it; others when they leave.”

You’ve probably heard this quotation or some variation of it. I have no idea who said it originally, but it certainly is true. I’m sure you know people on both sides of the semicolon. Today I’d like you to consider a slight variation, this one mine:

“Some leaders brighten a workplace when they enter it; others when they leave.”

The question, of course, is: which ...

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Why Your Workplace Needs to Be a Classroom

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I’ve written quite a bit about how and why leaders need to be continuous learners. I believe that, as a leader, if you’re not continuously — and intentionally — learning, then you’re not really a leader.

I mean, c’mon — would a real leader ever think, “Well, that’s it. I’ve learned everything I need to. My brain is full, so I’m done.” Outside of Congress, that is.

But let’s leave aside for a moment the question of whether ...

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An Open Letter to Would-Be Leaders

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Leadership doesn’t begin when you get the job.

Whether you aspire to lead a department, a sports team, a company, or a country, if you think that leadership begins once you get the job, you’ve got the equation backwards.

“Put me in charge, and I’ll show you what real leadership is!”

Nope. Show me what real leadership is, and maybe I’ll put you in charge. Show me that I can trust you with my department, my sports team, my company, my country. Don’t ...

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10 Books to Boost Your Creativity

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Last week I posed the question, “What Are You Reading?” In case your answer was, “Nuthin’,” I wanted to — as a public service — both give you some ideas on where to start and spur your creativity at the same time! By the way, I was going to call this article My 10 Favorite Books About Creativity, but I realized that I’ve got about 25 that belong in my Top 10. So you see, the math doesn’t work ...

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What Are You Reading?

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Quick quiz: What do all of the following people have in common?

  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffett
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Elon Musk
  • Mark Cuban
  • Oprah Winfrey

Here are some possible answers:

  • They’re all financially set for life, as long as they die before their 25,732nd birthday (although Bill Gates could probably make it another 250,000 years if he budgeted).
  • They’re all wicked smart.
  • They all like coffee ice cream. [Full disclosure: I don’t know if this last one is correct. And anyway, I said these were possible answers, not necessarily accurate]

But here’s ...

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