Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in December, 2015

Leading Teams Toward Success Using People, Products and Profits

By on Dec 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve written the words People, Products, Profits (In That Order!) so many times over the years it would be easy to think of them as simply a slogan I use, a catchphrase meant to pique your interest. I assure you this is no more the case than Apple using the words Think Different as a clever tagline. Like the words Think Different, People-Products-Profits is part management philosophy, part rallying cry, and in an aspirational context, part religion. When I invoke these words to set the table for embarking on the outrageous, it is with the full knowledge that I could sound silly, fail miserably, fall on my face, or possibly convince you that relentless pursuit of the extraordinary is within your grasp. That’s a lot to bite off in a very few words. It’s meant to be. In my new book, Endless Encores, a veteran CEO named Daphne spends an evening talking with an up-and-coming executive named Paul, helping him come to terms with the potential first failure he could be facing following a huge initial success. They are stuck in an airport, passing the hours. She is a leader and he is leader, only at the moment he is too obsessed with his own personal exposure to realize that he is failing to be a leader by trying to duck out of the way of his own mishap. By worrying more about what he has done than what he has learned, he has shifted the weight of his problem from marginal to endemic. In truth, the failure he might be facing is not so much a setback as it is an opportunity. By the end of the story, he has embraced that and reset his sights on the long game. Save for the guidance from Daphne, Paul might have missed the boat. And the plane. And all that might have been ahead of him in the form of material reward, passionate accomplishment, intellectual richness, and emotional fulfillment. It’s a close call, but he makes it over the coals. You can, too, if either you have a Daphne in your corner and you’re willing to listen, or if you otherwise come to acknowledge your role as a leader is more about the long-term example...

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TSO in the Front Row

By on Dec 6, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Christmas time And the moment’s just beginning From last night When we’d wished upon a star If our kindness This day is just pretending If we pretend long enough Never giving up It just might be who we are From “Promises to Keep” by Paul O’Neill & Robert Kinkel It’s getting late. Or early. Depends on where you are. Music of the Night. I’m just back from my almost annual two-and-a-half hours with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was different this year. For the first time ever my wife and I sat in the front row. I didn’t pay any special price and TSO does not sell VIP packages. We just got lucky ordering the millisecond tickets went on sale to fans. Incredibly lucky. Staggeringly lucky. Not an ordinary occurrence for yours truly. Last night’s show at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California was as good as any and every show we’ve seen TSO perform since we began following them around the turn of the Millennium. The difference was the intensity of, well, being in the front row. I’ve been going to rock concerts like this for over forty years now, and the few times I’ve found my way to the front row, there’s just nothing like it. When there is nothing between you and the musicians but a wee bit of inner space, you connect. It’s indescribable. It’s metaphysical. It’s what rock and roll is meant to be, the lines between audience and performers erased. You feel the experience in a different way. There is a pure intensity that sinks through your sensory inputs and temporarily commands possession of your emotional framework. Ideas become visceral. Passion becomes tangible. You wish it could last forever. At least I do. Then reality returns. It has to return, so you can take the music with you and do something with it. Inspiration is a spark, not an engine. If you find a way for the spark to ignite, you carry the torch with a reason and do something with it. Moments like the front row keep me young, but my work is still my work. Part of that is sharing this stuff with you, to bring us together in the service of something productive, something...

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The Most Terrifying Job Interview Question of All

By on Dec 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

We’ve all been there, on one side of the desk or the other, possibly both. You’re making the turn on the final few minutes of a later stage job interview. You’ve covered background, work history, strengths, interests, team compatibility, maybe even a few unnecessary logic problems tossed in so the interviewer can show you how clever he or she is. You’ve answered the all too predictable homestretch inquiry: Where do you see yourself in five years? You’ve even managed to answer it well, mixing ambition, humility, and a tiny dose of self-effacing humor. And then it comes, that one ugly question you thought surely the interviewer had forgotten to ask, but you knew was loaded deep in the cannon ready to be fired: What would you consider some of your areas for improvement? Gasp! There it is, unmistakable in its clarity, a full-blown cliché in its entrance, unforgiving in its existential presence. You must answer. Let’s play it out three ways that could happen and see what might land. Scenario 1: I’m Okay, You’re a Meddling Schmoe Interviewer: Are there any areas of personal development you’d like to improve on in your next position? Applicant: Uh, no, not really. Interviewer: None at all? Surely there is something you’d like to do better at this job than you demonstrated at another job. Applicant: No, can’t say there is. Maybe when I was younger there were some issues, but I think I’ve long since put those to bed. Interviewer: I’m curious, tell me about some of those areas that needed polish when you were younger. Applicant: To tell you the truth, I can’t much remember. That was a long time ago, before I figured things out. Buzzer sounds. End of interview. Applicant loses on the counts of defensiveness, dishonestly, being unprepared, and shutting down the conversation. Interviewer also loses, may have eliminated a decent candidate from the queue by being strident and intrusive. Scenario 2: I’m Not Okay, You Busted Me in Open Court Interviewer: You really do seem well-qualified and a potentially excellent fit for this position. I was wondering, are there any areas of improvement you want to focus on that we haven’t covered that might be worth discussing? Applicant: Well, to be honest, I...

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