Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Wit has truth in it; wiscracking is simply calisthenics with words." Dorothy Parker

"The more intelligent a man is, the more originality he discovers in men. Ordinary people see no difference between men." Blaise Pascal

"Our most important thoughts are those which contradict our emotions." Paul Valery

Today's image: untitled by R.E.M. 2. Great shooting. Thanks for sharing.

A Tribute to Amazing: Lili Keller is one of the most amazing people I have the good fortune to know. She's retiring after 28 years with Bonneville.

She took time to take my call today and we laughed, we remembered the wonderful times we had working together at 101.9, what is now one of the most successful radio stations in the nation, WTMX in Chicago. Truth be known I owe the success I enjoyed at Bonneville to the incredible people that were on staff including the amazing and gifted Lili Keller. It's vogue to say you're good at keeping it real but Lili is the world-class champion, a master of that particular meme. The woman has a hardwired BS detector the likes of which are not only exceedingly rare but totally refreshing, it's the stuff of pure unadulterated candor. When I want the unvarnished reality Lili always serves it up straight, no chaser and without reservation. That's how she rolls. She's a rock star that works behind the scenes and makes things happen.

Lili reminded me of something I used to say all those many years ago to wit:

"This is not a life saving hospital, we are not looking for a cure for cancer, this is only a radio station."

Perspective as Gary Hamel reminds is worth ten IQ points.

Too many managers take their jobs so seriously that they are guilty of killing the possible, they beat the life out of the creative process, making it difficult and boring work. Art is a very fragile thing that requires imagination, spirit, encouragement, tireless dedication and love. Greatness demands that you go to work ready and enthusiastic about achieving the impossible. There is a significant difference between being serious about your craft and taking your job (and yourself) too seriously. It's a matter of compassion vs compliance. It's about respecting, honoring, supporting the people that come to play.

Until you are able to have fun on the job nothing exceptional is going to happen.

Until you are able to create the environment that brings out the best in others nothing remarkable is going to happen.

Until you dial the fun up to eleven and have people truly excited about coming to work nothing great is going to happen.

Until you live, breath, sleep and dream the show, the show will have no chance of being a hit.

Until you understand that hits start with attitude and bold decisive action nothing amazing is going to happen. Going for greatness demands sacrifice and pays rewards in tangible and important intangible ways. There is a very special magic in audacity.

Until you dare to put your heart and soul into it nothing even close to breathtaking is going to happen. Nourish the spark, feed the flame.

Until you care about the results and care not at all about who gets the credit nothing memorable is going to happen.

Happy people, people that deeply love their jobs, consistently do the best work. Time does fly when you're having fun. You look up and you've run out of daylight, you're pressing into the night and lovin every minute. When you work harder than you have ever worked, your food tastes better, sleep is refreshing and you deliver killer results. In my experience, working 12 hours a day dramatically improves your luck. The best pressure is the custom pressure that only you can create.

I learned a bunch from Lili Keller. Most importantly, I learned that no one ever really worked for me (especially those said to be "direct reports"). The simple facts are - I worked for them. For me it remains an honor and a privilege to serve the stars of the show. I'm reminded of the legendary maestro Ben Zander who said "The conductor of an orchestra does not make a sound."

Thanks for the great memories and the fun, Lili. Thanks, more than anything, for being Lili. All the best to you and Bob.

Want to read more on leadership? Month after month, the most popular post on this blog is from 2004 and it's all about leadership. Check it out here.

Refresh: Derek Sivers wrote something in 2005 that is making its way around again. If you click on only one link today you should check out Merlin Mann here. Thank me later.

Mel is so, money: Mel is at it again. A man reborn, making good copy and ready to rumble. About his newly super sized pay radio dodge he tells the New York Post "We're going to be the most successful company in radio." We are perhaps witness to the final act of this once close but no cigar mogul. Looks like Mel is all in on this deal. He appears close to owning yet another distinction, being the media underdog people love to hate. His boys downtown don't seem to be liking the dog food. Check out what Goldman had to say, ouch! Coming next the $400 mil in cost savings and knocking at the backstage door those pesky billions in debt. We've got a great seat to watch the media miracle of modern times or the best paid failure since the big three auto makers. Either way, book it for a case study and stay tuned. The Post article here. [FD: On this blog, I called the odds 6 to 5 against the merger. Once upon a time or two I worked for Mel and consider him, warts and all, to be brilliant and consistently over paid]

Congrats & cheers: Radio programming ace Tony Coles named VP programming and operations Clear Channel, Chicago. Uber-mensch and radio legend Dennis Constantine honored by R&R with their Laura Ellen Hopper Visionary Award and a Erica Farber Publisher's Profile here. When I hear Laura's name good things come to mind. I commend R&R for naming an award after Laura and for their wisdom in honoring Dennis. Laura was one of radio's most gifted. Laura was the runaway teen who drifted into KDNA, the bright young woman who went on to work with Jeremy Landsman and Lorenzo Milam. She lived the words of Larry Yurdin "Pose a threat to the normal way things are done." Laura Ellen Hopper made a difference.

Did you not take my suggestion and check out that Merlin Mann link? Here's the take away. The words of Derek Sivers. Please think about it...

"To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed.
They are just a multiplier.
Execution is worth millions."

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