Communication

3 Steps to a More Collaborative Team

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I was just listening to an interview with one of the world’s top leadership experts, my friend and colleague Mark Sanborn. He was asked how leadership has changed over the past several years. Here’s what he said:

“The biggest change I’ve seen in leadership is not among leaders but among followers…. The principles by and large haven’t changed, but the people whom we lead really don’t think of themselves as followers. They think of themselves as team members or collaborators.

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Stop Treating Creativity as an Option

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Turning creativity into money.

That’s how I sometimes described my job as the Executive Producer of a hit comedy TV show in Seattle.

Turning creativity into money.

See, our job, week after week, was to be creative—on demand. BUT, that creativity had to lead to profit. If what we created—jokes, comedy sketches, parodies—didn’t draw an audience that advertisers would pay to reach, our creativity would have gone nowhere (and our careers would have quickly followed). But we did draw that audience, ...

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Are You Solving the Right Problem?

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Albert Einstein once said, “If I only had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” And while I don’t necessarily agree with Mr. Einstein about the ratio, I think his quotation does highlight a common mistake that leaders and their teams make in the creative thinking process, and it’s this:

If you jump to solutions too quickly, you may find you’re solving the wrong problem.

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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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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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