Change

The Smartest Thing You Can Do as a Leader

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As a leader, the smartest thing I ever did was hire people better than me.

For 15 years, I was the Executive Producer of a comedy TV show in Seattle. I was also a writer and performer for the show, but my main job was being “the boss.” And as the boss, I was responsible for hiring the rest of the team.

Now, let’s understand something. When you’re on TV, there’s generally a fair amount of ego involved. I don’t ...

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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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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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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 Killing the Creativity in Your Business?

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“Creativity” is one of those things (like its close cousin “risk-taking”) that nearly all leaders love to hail, praise, and rhapsodize over. So why is actual creativity in the workplace so rare?

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It’s because hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing are free and have no consequences. (Although, actually, they do; more on that later.) It’s kind of like hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing ...

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Are You Setting Your Future Leaders Up For Failure?

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You’ve got a star performer in your organization. Let’s call her Amanda. Amanda is brilliant at her job. She’s so good, in fact, that you begin to think, “Amanda is fantastic! Imagine how valuable she’d be in management! Why I’ll bet she could turn her entire department around!”

So you promote Amanda to a leadership position. And you wait. And, slowly but surely, you watch as Amanda and her department start to die. (Figuratively speaking, of course. This isn’t that kind ...

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