They are the heroes, the icons, the legends. They are the leaders in sports, science, and business who “rise to the occasion.” The ones who “do their best work under pressure.” People write books and make movies about these singular luminaries.
The only problem is that it’s not true.
Despite what we’d like to believe (because it makes for a great story), people do not “rise to the occasion.” “Rising to the occasion” implies that some people do their best work under ...
How do you measure success? Money? Fame? Applause?
As a leader, how do your team members measure success?
It’s a deceptively difficult question, but one that’s critical to keeping your team productive, loyal, and engaged.
The question is deceptively difficult because it seems there would be as many answers as there are people on your team, or in your organization, or even in the world. Surely every person has his or her own criteria for success, right?
Wimps don’t like pressure, and leadership is all about pressure. When I was leading my TV team to over 100 Emmy Awards and 10 straight years of #1 ratings, there wasn’t a single week where I didn’t feel pressure—sometimes extreme pressure!
It’s probably the same for you too, isn’t it?
Now, your specific pressures may not be the same as ...
What do you do when your plans are falling apart, the clock is ticking, and everyone is looking at you for decisions, answers, and leadership?
Have you been there?
That was my world, every week, for fifteen years. For fifteen years, I was the Executive Producer of a hit comedy TV show in Seattle, Washington. Think Saturday Night Live, but on a local level. Granted, the stakes weren’t as high as if I’d been, for example, a military general or a heart ...
There’s a very real chance that you’re not hearing your team’s best ideas.
I wonder what that’s costing you.
Many years ago, I was the president of a local non-profit association. Among my eight or so board members was a woman whom I’ll call Chanel because it sounds exotic. Chanel was someone whom you might call a “placeholder” on the board. She dutifully showed up at every board meeting, but she didn’t really contribute anything. She sat quietly and voted on things that ...
Maybe you’ve had it too. It’s the dream where you’ve got a final exam coming up, but you haven’t been to a single class all year.
Have you had that one?
For me, it’s typically a math test, and I have to try to read (and understand) the entire textbook in one night. Usually, I wake up before the actual exam (and it generally takes me a panicked moment or two before I realize that it ...
It was during a focus group that I realized my customers were lying to me.
I was working at a TV station in Portland, Oregon, and we were developing a new, nightly game show. Part of that development involved focus groups.
Maybe you’ve participated in a focus group. In our case, the process went like this. Our focus group research company somehow found several groups of likely viewers, paid them twenty bucks or so to come to a meeting room, and then ...
I don’t mean physically. We all catch colds, we all have occasional aches and pains—particularly as we get older. No, I mean are you better at what you do? Are you better at your job? Are you better with your customers? Are you better with your team? Are you a better leader?
And, by the way, if you’re already a superstar—if you’re already at the top of your game—well, sorry. You can’t hide behind ...
If you have any cats in your life, you know that the adage “Curiosity kills the cat” is not just a saying; it’s a fact. Cats have an insatiable curiosity that overrides their instinct for self-preservation. And it can get them into life-threatening danger, over and over again.
Fortunately, though, you are not a cat. You are a leader. And leaders need a healthy amount of curiosity in order to be effective.