“Leadership is no longer a function of your title or where you sit in the organization; it’s a function of your capacity to get things done with other people. You’re a leader today because you have followers—not the other way around.” – Polly LaBarre
I have a confession to make. In the heart of the recession - I tuned out. Since managing one's attitude is the foundation of success (and sanity), I turned off tv in front of my desk. It stayed off for months! I didn't want to hear the relentless drumbeat of how bad things were from the 24-hour news channels. Similarly, I didn't want to engage in conversations with colleagues about the misery of trying to build business in such a tough economic environment. Yes, things were bad - no, we haven't seen things this bad in forever... yada yada. The impact of those kinds of comments is toxic when you're trying to figure out ways to make good things happen. Shutting out the noise let me manage my attitude and focus clearly on creating a successful strategy for conditions that were less than ideal (ok - big understatement there when we are talking about the recent downturn). Mind you, I did not stick my head in the sand - I simply chose to get my news when I wanted it - on the Internet or in print.
All eyes are on them; everything they do, no matter how insignificant, is taken as a signal, and their people follow their example, for good or ill. Whatever they intend, and no matter what they write in memos or say in speeches, the true quality of their leadership is measured by the example they set.
This week marks the fourth anniversary of the D'Amelio Network. Not "fourth" as in years -- but "fourth" as in months. Starting something from scratch is always a bit daunting - made less so, though, by the great support from those who believe in the value this company can bring to the marketplace. As a result, we are off to a great start. Nonetheless, I'm not one who presumes anything.
Two friends were over for dinner on Saturday - one from the marketing world and another a cultural anthropologist. My marketing friend just got back from a conference in New York and commented on how intense all the attendees were. A shaky economic recovery will do that to you, I suspect. His point was that the mood at this conference, and I suspect most conferences these days, is one of impatience for anything that's not on point.
It's almost a cliché to talk about how dramatically the Internet has changed business. Even so, it bears mentioning how the decision by TED to post its content for free has had a profound impact on the speaking world. TED content has elevated the expectations of event planners and audiences in very significant ways. Those compact 18 minute segments redefine what it means to deliver a talk that matters. Many times, the pure quirky nature of the topic being addressed is so offbeat that it's totally engaging. Imagine my surprise at being transfixed by Robert Lang's talk about origami!