Quickly now—what do these things all have in common:
- The iPhone
- The Taj Mahal
- Gluten-free bread
- Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- The Golden Retriever
They are all outcomes of creative thinking.
[You: “Wait a minute. The Golden Retriever is a dog, not the result of a creative idea!” Me: “Not so fast there, Sporty. The Golden Retriever was the result of a creative thinker saying, ‘If I breed a yellow Labrador Retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel, I might get an ... Continue Reading →
You’ve felt the pressure, haven’t you?
There’s the clock. Just hanging up there on the wall, silently mocking you with its impending deadline.
There’s your team, watching you, judging you, wondering if you’re going to save the day…or blow it in spectacular fashion.
There’s your boss, ever critical, with her unrealistic expectations and her long list of other highly qualified people who want your job.
These are some of the external pressures that you’ve faced in the past, may be facing right now, and ... Continue Reading →
Your business is dying.
Okay, that may not technically be true. It was meant to be a “grabber.” That said, it might be true.
You see, any business that isn’t continually coming up with creative solutions to business challenges is slowly dying. If it’s lucky. If it’s not lucky, it’s quickly dying.
There are three questions I like to use that will help you and your team unlock your creative brilliance and apply it directly to the challenge at hand. The three questions, ... Continue Reading →
“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…
Continue Reading →
- …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 their wallets for IDs and arrange for Ubers to take them home, where a nice Pinot will bring them back to consciousness.
For those of us ... 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 →