Is Great Leadership Just About Intelligence?

I’m all for brains.  We need smarter people in all walks of life.  I worked hard to get a Ph.D. because I believe in the power of intelligence.  But I wonder if we sometimes get so distracted by trying to be the “smartest guy in the room” that we forget real leadership isn’t all about brains.   Look at the people around you right now – chances are, if the building caught on fire, the person who stepped up to keep everyone calm, organize them, and lead them safely out won’t be the

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Why “People Skills” Matter

Every day, gifted and talented people fail because they aren’t good at dealing with other people. I just finished a conversation with a CEO who has a creative director who’s dedicated and talented – but he just can’t get along with anyone. He alienates everyone, and as a result, people won’t listen to his ideas. No matter how great your thinking is, if you can’t communicate it to people who can help make it happen, then you’re heading toward failure. Social skills matter – especially in today’s digital, connected world. I see it in Hollywood everyday. Even in the entertainment industry, where it sometimes seems

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Don’t Neglect The Assistant!

At the start of my career, I worked for a large production company in the Midwest.  It didn’t take me long to discover that although the President of the company had a great title, it was his assistant that really made things happen.  So I became her friend.  She was a very nice professional woman, and I bought her flowers on her birthday, and sent her gifts at Christmas.  As a result, she gave me enormous favor.  She mentored me in how a big organization works.  I learned that if she sent out a memo, it had the same authority as the company president himself.  During those early years in my career, she made a huge difference for me.   Which is why I’ve been so baffled over the years when some people call and completely disregard my assistant.  They

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Can You Take the Heat When it Gets Tough?

This week a major political candidate dropped out of the race because of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.  I don’t know the man, and we can’t know right now if the allegations are truthful.  But whatever the case, it derailed his political dreams.  Whatever you think of this or other candidates, there’s two very obvious lessons here:

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Unrealistic Expectations

Whenever you produce advertising, entertainment, or media projects, you have to think about audience or customer expectations.  I was reminded of that recently when the latest statistics come out about airline versus automobile deaths in America.  Far more people die of car crashes every year, but generally, the public is far more terrified of dying in an airplane accident.  The expectation of the public totally overwhelms reality.  As a result, the government has to

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Influence in a Hostile Culture

An interesting question for me is how a young Hebrew guy named Joseph, who started in prison, worked “inside” a foreign, hostile culture to rise to a #2 position of authority.  So many Christian leaders whine today about the hostile culture here in the United States and how it keeps Christians from having any significant influence.  They claim you’d have to “sell out” to rise in politics or cultural influence.  But the truth is,

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