How Leadership is like Call Of Duty

call of duty

“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that’s what courage is.” ~ Norman Schwarzkopf

The latest version of Call Of Duty is coming out, and you can hardly wait.  Finally, you get your copy and rush off to play. It gets you out of the real world and into one where you have control.  Or does it?

At this point there are several things you can be assured of when the new version comes out.:

1.  You’re going to get shot.  It’s a new game and you don’t know it as well as others, so it’s going to happen.  Just like in real life leadership.  Unfortunately, like COD, it’s ever evolving and becoming more difficult.  The higher you go (the difficulty settings) the more challenging it gets.  If you accept these setbacks as short term, rather than fatal, you’ll be better.

2.  It’s easier with allies.  People to watch your back and be a team of people with a common goal.  We all do better as a part of a team than we do as a leadership maverick.  That stirs emotion in the souls of those who always have to win, and thereby never learn.  They probably operate in single player mode anyway.

3.  There’s always something new.  If there weren’t new features there’d be no sales.  You’ll run into road blocks in leadership too.  You’ll encounter tough areas and new challenges on a regular basis. But players don’t give up or ignore them, they keep learning and trying until they master them.

4.  There are do-overs.  Like the game, you can try again when you have a real life setback.  It doesn’t have to be the end of your life or your career.  You may have to go back to the beginning of that scene, but with renewed information about how not to die.

5.  You’ll never be done.  After you’ve worked your way up from novice, a new version of the game comes out, and you start all over again.

Alright, let’s go play.

Living In A Bubble

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”  – Abraham Lincoln

protective_bubble

I realized recently how success…or failure…can change your perspective.  But especially when you’re successful, you can begin living in a bubble.  Suddenly everything is seen through the lens of your success, which tends to lead you to see anything and everything in a way that reinforces that last success.  No need to examine alternatives or a wider perspective on the world, just where you are and where you’ve been.  It’s one of those “if I close my eyes no one can see me” strategies.

It’s calm inside the bubble because there’s never anything bigger to wrestle with. You’re the most successful person in the bubble, but it’s such a small part of the world around you.  The bubble keeps you from growing and expanding, and you don’t realize how small you seem to those outside of it.  Until one day the bubble bursts, and you feel the full force of reality.

How do you know if you’re in a bubble?  Ask yourself these questions:

Am I pretty much doing the same thing over and over, enjoying the celebration around me?  Are you doing those things with essentially the same people who, being inside the bubble with you, are the only ones who have your trust?  Do you fight new ideas that are nearby, but outside your sphere of influence?  Do you spend more time on managing to keep things outside the bubble from breaking in than you do scanning the horizon for new ideas?

Here’s a thought from the Crosby Retreat I attended in New York recently:  Somewhere someone’s planning something that will disrupt your success.  Or maybe burst your bubble.

 

Beyond Just The Games

 “Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” – Andy Law

Pandora-Xbox-One-WC-640x479

Pandora now has an app for the Microsoft XBOX system.

Not really earth shaking…or is it?

Gaming is huge, which draws people to XBOX, and then XBOX provides them an entrée into movies, the web, and music.

Pandora uses Kinect to allow people to listen, vote, and change songs with just a gesture. So Pandora has now integrated themselves into yet another popular distribution channel. Have you heard the old story about finding a parade getting in front of it?

But both may soon be rendered obsolete as Virtual Reality achieves broad acceptance over the next five years.  Change is a fact of life.

My point here is to show how unimaginative and lame most of our radio apps are. Radio will not continue to succeed by being “good enough,” at a time when the life cycle of an app becomes shorter and shorter.  Let’s do something different that really intrigues the listener/consumer, and be prepared to understand that change is faster and more constant than ever.

A Gift From Pearl Harbor

The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.” – Simon Sinek

Every year on December 7th we hear about the attack on Pearl Harbor, “A date that will live in infamy.”  Our lives changed in that day…yes, each and every one of us, irrespective of age.  For that is the moment that drove us to superpower status.  Before December 7, 1941, the United States had the 14th largest military in the world and was a country going through a time of isolationism.  The war produced “the greatest generation,” and they, in turn, produced the next generations.

But that’s not the end of the gifts.  On CBS Sunday Morning, in an interview with some of the remaining survivors of Pearl Harbor, one of them said something we’ve heard many times before, but rarely pay much attention to.

“I live every day as if it were my last.”

That concept doesn’t get much long term traction because the activities of life take over, and we think of it from our own perspective.  But what if, as leaders, we looked at today as our last day through the lens of how our leadership looks to the people around us?   Would others see us as the leader Sinek talked about?

How would you lead differently if tomorrow were your last day?  Would you be irritated as often?  Would you talk about the people around you any differently?  If you had only the one day, would you think about your legacy?  Conversely, would you be more honest with people if it were your last day?  Would you still kick the “I have to talk with them about that challenge someday” can down the road once again, or deal with difficult issues when they come up?  Would you be more grateful for the opportunity your team gives you?

We all have the gift of this kind of foresight available, and we all can sacrifice at least some self-interest if we choose to.

This Side Toward Enemy

The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.”– General Colin Powell

setting-up-a-claymore-mine

When the team is together, everyone talks teamwork.  When it’s public, we’re all aware that people are watching.  But when in pairs, or by themselves, when they think no one is around, it’s sometimes different.  They’re not leaders, I’m not even sure they’re managers, but I know they are toxic.

There’s a reason the military has “This side toward enemy” printed on the front of claymore mines.  They know that sometimes people are in a hurry, not paying attention, or just don’t understand the ramifications of which way it needs to go.  I’m sure in the early days there were cases of those devices being planted in the wrong direction.  But in the business world, a backfire is a glitch.  People aren’t killed.  Harmed maybe, but not killed.

The difference is you, and your leadership.  When you’re complaining about your boss, or another leader, when you’re rolling your eyes at their comments, or when you try to create an alliance to ensure you win, you’re planting a leadership claymore in the wrong direction