Genius versus Persistence

world class way“I wish I could promise you genius but most days all I have to offer is persistence.”

I don’t remember who said it – I think I read it in an unsolicited email from someone, actually – but the point gave me pause.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘genius’ is a good thing. But the problem with ‘genius’ is that it can be pretty unreliable. It’s like it’s more like something that ‘just happens’ rather than something you can intentionally induce.

‘Persistence’ on the other hand, is totally within our control – and often yields consistently stronger results, if you let it. Consider: Read more

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TED Talks

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work.
We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. (Length: 12:18)

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability.
Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. (Length:20:16)

Bobby McFerrin: Expectations
In this fun, 3-min performance from the World Science Festival, musician Bobby McFerrin uses the pentatonic scale to reveal one surprising result of the way our brains are wired. (Length:3:05)


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Elevators, Creativity, Collaboration, and Leadership

Perhaps you’ve seen this video of Arcade Fire performing Neon Bible … live … in an elevator. Good stuff. Did you notice the percussionist, though? Since an elevator is obviously too small a place for a full drum set (along with 7 people and all their assorted instruments) he’s there banging on the elevator ceiling and ripping pages out of a magazine … to the beat! Magnificent! It all got me thinking about how being a leader today requires a creative flair not unlike that of the guy ripping pages to the beat in that crowded elevator. To wit:

  • Limitations in Resources – What boss isn’t being asked to do more and more with less and less?!
  • Consistently Unchartered Territories – What boss is still able to rely on yesterday’s solutions’ to today’s (and tomorrow’s) problems?!
  • Increasingly Complexities – What boss only gets routine/familiar assignments to grapple with anymore?!
  • Self-Management Challenges – What boss doesn’t have to effectively manage tempo, tone, and timbre regardless of whatever is or is not happening?!
  •  Conflicting Priorities – What boss doesn’t have to simultaneously manage multiple challenges and generate meaningful business-impacting results for each?
  • Self/Other Dynamics – What boss doesn’t need to stand out in the crowd without undermining teamwork, collaboration, or one’s reputation?!

Today’s leaders need an agility and readiness to deal with … whatever … whenever. Sometimes that may mean ‘banging on the ceiling’; sometimes that may mean tearing things up and starting anew. Regardless, it’s a boss’s job to insure that all parties – including themselves – ‘keep the beat’ and all ‘play nicely’ together. Now go ride that elevator to the very top floor!

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