“Is it safe?”
If you’ve ever seen the movie Marathon Man starring Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier, you know just how scary this question can be.
It can be a scary question for your team as well (although without the unpleasant dental work—watch the movie if you’re confused).
When you’re leading your team through a high-pressure situation, they’re looking to you (I’ve written about this before). They’re looking to you…
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- …to see what you’re going to do (how you’re going to solve the ...
“Your engine just quit. Where are you going to land?”
The voice came from the right-hand seat—the co-pilot’s seat.
Sounds dramatic, right? Actually, it was quite routine. The person in the right-hand seat was my flight instructor, and it was, like, the thousandth time he’d asked that question over the past few months. If you’ve ever had any flight instruction, you’ve probably heard this question as well. And probably more than once.
See, in flight training, you’re always preparing for the worst. (And, ... Continue Reading →
“The confused mind says no.”
You’ve heard this before, right? It means that, when faced with too many options, the brain doesn’t make any decision and simply shuts down. This is why you will often see well-dressed people standing, zombie-like, in front of the mustards section of Whole Foods. Eventually, a Whole Foods employee will check the zombies’ wallets for IDs and arrange for Ubers to take them home, where a nice Pinot will bring them back to consciousness.
For those of ... Continue Reading →
According to the traditional rules, I could never run for public office.
Not that I want to run for public office. I don’t! I’d be terrible at it. But my point is that, according to the traditional rules (which may not even be a thing anymore), I couldn’t run. That’s because, at some point during my campaign, some reporter would begin a question with:
“Mr. Stainton, isn’t it true that you once said…”
And my honest answer, even without hearing the rest of ... Continue Reading →
Spoiler Alert: We’re all going to die.
Not today (hopefully). But sometime. And when that time comes, many of us—many leaders—will have retired from our work.
Which begs the question: Where will the next generation of leaders come from?
As a person who speaks about, writes about, and researches leadership, I’m being asked that question more and more. As the Baby Boomers retire, they’re concerned about the future of their companies (not to mention their own legacies).
And so they ask me, “Where can ... Continue Reading →
I’m going to let you in on a secret.
But before I do, I need to give you some facts:
- Fact One: I’ve won 29 Emmy Awards for my work in television.
- Fact Two: I led my team to more than 100 Emmy Awards of their own.
- Fact Three: Virtually everyone who knows me is sick of hearing about Facts One and Two.
Now, keeping these facts (well…Facts One and Two) in mind, here’s the secret:
I had no idea what I was doing.
At least, in ... Continue Reading →
I’m currently learning a new piece on the piano (Bumble Boogie by Jack Fina). It’s a challenge for me because, 1) it requires a fair amount of technique, 2) it’s fast, and 3) I’m not very good at the piano.
Don’t get me wrong—I’ll get it down! After a month and a half of working on it, I’m actually pretty close to performance level. But at this point, it’s still slightly beyond my current abilities.
That’s a phrase I want you to ... Continue Reading →
My piano is being tuned as I’m writing this. Don’t get me wrong…it didn’t sound out of tune. But it’s a valuable instrument, and I care about it. So I get it tuned twice a year, without fail. Now, I have this friend who I’ll call “George” (although his real name is Alan). “George” also has a nice piano. Mine’s a Steinway, his is a Baldwin. “George,” however, only gets his piano tuned when he thinks it sounds out of ... Continue Reading →
Have you ever felt overwhelmed when you’re under pressure?
I know—stupid question, right? Of course you’ve felt overwhelmed under pressure! The two kind of go hand in hand. That’s because when you’re in the middle of a high-pressure situation, it can sometimes be difficult to determine where the pressure’s coming from; it can seem like it’s coming from all around—from everywhere.
And, in fact, the pressure is often coming from multiple sources. You may, simultaneously, be under pressure from ... Continue Reading →
Have you ever felt pressure to produce, even when you know you’ve got what it takes?
I was just talking with a friend of mine—Bruce—who is also, like me, an amateur musician. Don’t get me wrong—we’ve both played professionally in the past. But now we each have full-time careers outside of music, although we still play with bands whenever we get the chance.
Bruce was telling me about a time a few years ago when he was visiting a friend of his, ... Continue Reading →