The Digital Secret: 0-1-2-3

I had an incredible opportunity a few years ago to speak to business leaders in Singapore at the Eagles Leadership Conference. After my keynote talk, I was able to partner with Lucas Chow, former CEO of the Singapore mobile phone company Singtel Mobile to lead a workshop on how the digital revolution has changed the way we live. During that session, he taught a principle from his days at Singtel that I’ve never forgotten:

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The Power of Staying in a Difficult Situation

In the worlds of business, nonprofit, church, and universities there are plenty difficult and frankly terrible places to be. I know people working in situations where they are regularly threatened, criticized, belittled, and ignored. In my experience, it’s not so much about physical violence, but incredibly poor leaders who have no clue how to inspire their team. As a result,

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How Taylor Swift Beat Apple

To launch it’s new Apple Music streaming service, Apple recently offered a three-month trial to the public. Great idea. But Apple (who incidentially is worth about $729 billion) planned to not pay the artists for their music during the trial period, which means that Apple would essentially be having the artists themselves underwrite the promotion.  As many of you already know, Taylor Swift was the most vocal artist objecting to the idea, and her criticism was the strongest reason Apple finally backed down. How she did it is a great lesson in protesting anything you consider an injustice. Here’s what we can learn:

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Creative Advice You Need to Hear

One of my favorite writers has always been John Gardner, author of Grendel, October Light, Mickelsson’s Ghosts, and others.  His books, The Art of Fiction, On Becoming a Novelist, and On Moral Fiction are required reading for serious writers.  In his book The Art of Fiction he gives some advice that, although it’s primarily for writers, it’s just as true for other creative endeavors.  In a world of puffy, cheesy creative quotes, this is some of the best, most realistic, and encouraging advice I’ve ever heard:

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The Power of a Leader’s Vision

What are the most important attributes you need as a leader?   The Creative Group did a poll that indicated that 34% of executives felt strategic vision is the most essential quality for successful leadership.  That poll was taken a few years ago, but I think it’s still worth thinking about today.  In the poll, advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, which single quality among the following is the most essential for effective leadership?”  Their responses:

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Goals Are Dreams with Deadlines

Success coach Brian Tracy said it this way: “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”  Whenever I feel my dreams losing steam, I always think of Booker T. Washington. Born a slave in 1858, his childhood years were anything but pleasant. The family’s farm cabin had no glass windows, and any opening to let in light also let in the freezing wind in the winter.  The floor of the cabin was dirt. The life of slave was back-breaking work that started before the sun came up and continued long after it went down again. His childhood was also lived out during the Civil War, which created turmoil, fear, and uncertainty in the lives of Southern slaves and added additional pressure to an already hopeless state of affairs.  But in spite of that desperate situation,

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Want to Be More Creative? Try Boredom

Looking back over the history of my ideas, the best ones didn’t happen surrounded by a creative team, in a cool environment, or working for a great organization. The ugly truth is – while I believe in all those things – my best ideas usually happen when I’m bored to death.  Listening to a really bad sermon at church, driving across town, waiting for a movie to start, or sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. For whatever reason, when I’m bored, my mind starts to

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