Leadership

Are You Ready for the High Winds?

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Hurricane level winds.

That’s what they’re telling us here in the Pacific Northwest. As I write this, there’s a storm coming, and they’re telling us to prepare for hurricane level winds. So I prepared. I bought extra food and water. I put fresh batteries in my flashlights and smoke detectors (my power almost always goes out in high winds). I made sure I had candles. And wine. Because, you know, high winds.

Now, what if the forecasts prove wrong? What ...

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Are You Playing “Monkey See, Monkey Do” Leadership?

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“Bill’s been to a seminar!”

I was a new leader, barely into my twenties, and the TV station I worked for had sent me to a leadership seminar. I eagerly returned to the office the next day, head and notebook brimming with ideas, recommendations, and “best practices.” In a classic mistake, I just as eagerly shared nearly all of these ideas with my staff, excitedly telling them about all the great changes we can now make.

Silence.

They all just looked ...

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Why Coming Up With a Great Idea is Worthless

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“I hate coming up with a great sketch idea.”

That’s what Bob Nelson told me when he was one of the writers on Almost Live!, the comedy TV show that I executive produced in Seattle for 15 years. (For the record, Bob Nelson went on to earn a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for the movie Nebraska.)

“I hate coming up with a great sketch idea.”

Now, why would he say something like that?

Because coming up with the idea is the fun part. ...

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Stop Whining About “Change”!

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As I look out my office window, I see the leaves on the trees are starting to change color. Believe it or not, I’m not shocked by this. Nor am I wailing about the fact that the temperature is dropping and that dusk is coming earlier than it did a month ago.

Am I superhuman? Perhaps, but not because of this. The simple truth is that, if you’ve been alive on the planet (Earth) for more than a few ...

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Profitable Creativity May Be Closer Than You Think!

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Would you like to find a creative solution to your current challenge du jour? It may be as close as the morning newspaper. (Note to younger readers: the “morning newspaper” used to be an actual thing. It was truly a marvelous invention. It appeared magically on your doorstep, required no scrolling, and never needed to be recharged.)

old-newspaper-350376_1920

I was ...

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What’s Going to Move Your Needle?

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Options, options, too many options!

Don’t you feel like that sometimes?

·      Which of these hundred mayonnaises should I buy?

·      Which of these hundred TV series should I Netflix?

·      Which of these hundred Kardashians should I ignore?

For those of us fortunate enough to live in the developed world, we’re faced with a mind-boggling number of options every day. But, for the moment, let’s leave mayonnaise, Netflix, and the Kardashians out of it.

Let’s just focus on business.

Whether you’re a solopreneur, a ...

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How Are You Filling Your Idea Pipeline?

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I’ve just been reading a terrific new book called High-Profit Prospecting by my friend and colleague Mark Hunter. Mark is a consummate sales professional, and his book is about how to keep your sales pipeline full so that you never run out of valuable prospects.

I’m not a sales professional, but I am an idea professional. And, just like I think it’s vital for people in the sales business to keep their sales pipelines full, I think it’s ...

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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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