A “Fixer Upper” For Your Station

“The most seductive thing about art is the personality of the artist himself.” – Paul Cezanne


You’ve probably heard of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” where husband and wife Chip and Johanna Gaines rehab houses in the Waco, TX area. There’s a lot of talk about the show, how talented Johanna is…and how crazy Chip is.  That’s true, but what really makes it work is the stark differentiation between the two hosts. Dare I say role definition?
Two people who are exactly alike, or even closely alike, rarely generate the kind of passion seen on “Fixer Upper.” She’s smart, creative and more of a “driver,” he’s a total expressive, and a lovable clown. If it were just Johanna or just Chip it would wear out quickly. But that’ll never happen since both people are uniquely different, yet oddly compatible.
So how about your team shows? Are they similar in personality and approach, or do they create stark differentiation? By stark I mean…well you’ll just have to see the show and how much they play up on the differentiation. They stand out from each other, and the result is a ton of entertainment.  Even “serial” entertainment, where they’ll want to come back day after day.

It’s the personality of the two of them that creates the “art” that’s made them so successful.

P.S.  Yes, I know part of the show is fake, but the two people in it are very real.

Servant Leadership?

These terms do not fit together-Servant & Leader … It’s just another way poor leaders attempt to elevate themselves above those they ‘serve’… an entirely unhealthy approach for a leader to take… Our need to be led well is far more important than our need to be served. The more correct notion is that of a ‘Serving Leader’ … (with) many ‘masters’… when Richard Greenleaf coined this phrase … he was talking entirely about how leaders serve, not about leaders being servants.” – Mark Stanley, from a Harvard Business School article

ServantSometimes it seems like we live in a world where so many people want to see themselves as Steve Jobs or Sir Richard Branson, strong individuals who chased their own unique vision. The challenge is that those individuals are few and far between.  Few understand there is only one Steve Jobs and one Richard Branson.   So we create a class of smart people who could otherwise make great leaders but instead allow them to become self-centered micro-managers.

Servant leadership is providing your people the right tools, giving them collaborative coaching and direction, and inspiring them.  It’s not a leadership style or technique as such, rather it’s a way of behaving that you adopt over the long term.

Servant leadership is also about sharing, allowing them the opportunity to participate and giving credit when it’s due.  Those who turn into Steve Jobs clones never understand the joy of helping others succeed, or understand that when your people succeed under your leadership, it reflects back on you.

Sorry to say that most managers will never understand servant leadership, and instead will live a lonely, tug-of-war life of attempting dominance.  Don’t let it be you.

Don’t Let Anything Stop Us

I’ve tried to make the men around me feel, as I do, that we are embarked as pioneers upon a new science and industry in which our problems are so new and unusual that it behooves no one to dismiss any novel idea with the statement that ‘it can’t be done!’ … Our job is to keep everlastingly at research and experiment, to let no new improvement in flying and flying equipment pass us by.” – William Boeing, 1929


When Boeing was still located in Seattle, I used to love driving by on I-5 to see what was new.  The latest, and experimental aircraft were always parked out on the north side of Boeing Field, painted in Boeing Colors.  It was a company that had been in their industry early on, and worked to stay ahead of the curve.  Innovation was a part of their DNA.

I moved from Seattle, and then so did they, but I never forgot the lesson of continual innovation. Labor Day Evening I landed in Orlando, on a Boeing 737, to speak at a radio gathering focused on tomorrow.  Boeing’s innovations are still with me.

I’m particularly struck by the leadership example Boeing showed too, full of inspiration and encouragement.  With that example of leadership and innovation, no wonder they accomplished so much change in the airline industry.  I can’t imagine William Boeing telling his people that the propeller motor was just fine, and trying to add motors, rather than exploring the new jet engine, can you?

Radio’s future is grounded in innovation.  Even though we’ve mostly become an industry that wants everyone else to take the chances that come with innovation, we will adapt, innovate, or fail.

Hello future, let’s be friends.

Measuring Success

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” ― Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

damian-lillard-chandler-parsons-nba-playoffs-houston-rockets-portland-trail-blazers1Today I was helping a friend write a job description, and I encountered the term “measurable.”  It was something her organization was asking for, and while I understood the term and intent, I’m not sure that’s the real answer.

Success isn’t about whether you can have “measurable,” it’s about whether you’re accomplishing anything.  I always substitute the term “goal” for measurable and it changes everything.

A measurable is something you can measure, a goal is something you’ve accomplished.  Too often “measurable” is measuring activity, and not accomplishment. It doesn’t matter if you can supply a score to a basketball game without a hoop, it matters whether you score enough points to win.

That’s what goals are about, not measuring activity but measuring accomplishment.

Who’s Creative?

“But there’s a difference between having artistic interests and being psychotic. That’s more than a fine line of differentiation, and I do see that a bit too much.” – Crispin Glover


I hear so much about creativity, and I see so little of it.

The world seems to be divided into four groups:

  1. Those who think they’re creative and really aren’t.
  2. Those who really are creative.
  3. Those who think they’re not creative.

You can see my point, perhaps.  I believe God blessed everyone with the ability to be creative in some way, and I think many of the people who think they’re creative really aren’t.  They may be good synthesizers, or good connectors, but they don’t really create.  But if you challenge them on it you’ll be surprised at the vehemence of response!

This is the kind of thing you really only admit to yourself in the dark of night when no one else is around.

My experience is the people who go psycho aren’t the truly creative, but those who think they are but really aren’t.  They’ll go to any length to build an argument about how their creativity is the reason an organization is successful.  They take one crayon from the box and deem that this color is creativity and everything else isn’t.  They’ll pound their square version of creativity into the round hole whatever it takes.  And some of us believe it.

But they’re not the people I really want us to think about.  I’m more interested in the people who think they’re not creative because they don’t understand the universal law. Everyone is creative in their own area in their own way.  Your color is in the crayon box if you’ll just look for it!

I’ve seen a lot of people who misinterpret what creativity is, and continue to believe they’re not, and because that’s their belief they become what they think.  They can’t be creative because everyone has always told them they weren’t, or held them back from playing around, or simply reinforced their belief system.

You, my friend, are creative.  I don’t know in what way, and I don’t know how, but you are. God has blessed us all with creativity, not just a chosen few.  If you don’t give up on it, you’ll find your creativity when the opportunity comes along.  As long as you haven’t shut that door.