End Runs? Don’t Do Them

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Last week I was in a meeting with Michael Solomon, former Chairman of Lorimar Telepictures (the largest TV production and distribution company in the world at the time), and then President of Warner Brothers International Television.  Now he’s the founder and CEO of the online Christian network Truli.  We were meeting at his house with a friend discussing an idea for a new TV program. At one point, the friend had a concern about a previous production relationship and wondered if it was worth going around them and using another company. With Michael’s long experience in the media business, I was fascinated with his answer:

The 5 Stages of Innovation

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My friend Josh Craft showed me this chart of the steps people go through with innovation and I have to admit, it’s spot on.  I’ve seen this exact sequence play out so many times it’s not funny, but it’s worth repeating.  The next time you want to make real change happen in your organization, get ready to experience this sequence:

This is the Age of Nimble

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Bureaucracy is dead. This is the age of “nimble.” Trust me on this – if your organization has silos, turf battles, or is overwhelmed by policy manuals, you’re about to get squashed by smaller, nimbler, and hungrier organizations. You see bureaucracy everywhere today – the government can’t even pass a budget because of the number of special interests they have to please. Hostess, the maker of Twinkies is out of business because among other things, their Union rules required cake and bread to travel in separate trucks, and barred drivers from loading and unloading. Nimbler firms were

Making Leadership Transitions Work

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While writing my book “Unique:  Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media,” I discovered that far too many businesses and nonprofits struggle with leadership transitions, especially moving from founders to what I call “second generation” leadership.  Whatever transition you’re in (or see coming up), this short video is worth watching.  The stakes are too high to fail:

 

Five Keys to Successfully Working from Home

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At 37 years old, I was fired from my job. So after nearly 15 years of working in a conventional office, my wife and I made the decision to launch into a freelance career working from home. The transition wasn’t easy. Suddenly I didn’t have access to the copy machine, the office phone system, the conference room, and all the other resources a company makes available to employees. As a result, I needed to switch to guerilla mode and switch fast. Here’s a few of the key changes I made that not only allowed me to increase my productivity, but helped me eventually build my own business:

What Do You Have to Trade To Be a Success?

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The highest levels of performance in sports, the workplace, school, or the nonprofit world, never happen without trade-offs and sacrifice.  The extra hour an Olympic athletic spends training is an hour less he or she can spend with their family.  The extra effort it takes to win that major client project means chipping away at your personal life.  For most people, the illusive idea of work/life balance is an illusive ideal, because in reality, it’s one of the most difficult goals you can achieve.  That’s why I moved from

The Destructive Power of Ego

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I live and work in Hollywood, so believe me when I say the ego can be a very destructive thing. I’ve met people who lie for a living, just to support their ego. Even in situations where it wouldn’t matter, they still lie because they’re so used to it. And that’s exactly the horrifying power of ego: to save face, we will often do anything. Go back to the Cain and Abel story in the Old Testament to see the power of unchecked ego at work. That story ended in murder.  But in most

Are You a Creative Leader?

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From Business Week Magazine: “According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, CEOs identify ‘creativity’ as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.”  Talk to many leaders I’ve worked with over the years about the most important leadership competency, and you’ll usually hear about financial expertise, organizational skill, or motivational ability. But the truth is – especially during this disruptive economy today,

Why The “Expert from Afar” Principle Works

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Time after time, I’ve consulted with various clients, who energetically take my media advice. Afterwards, a frustrated employee will tell me he’d been saying something similar for years, but leadership refused to listen. But now that they pay me to come in, suddenly they’re all ears. I’ve been on both sides of the equation and experienced it from both sides and understand the frustration. Very often, it really does seem that being an “expert from afar” has a mysterious