Work hard, lend a hand, expect nothing, respect everyone and love what you do. Reputation will follow.
Tag Archives: Leadership
Only when something is broken can you truly see what it is made out of.
Transparency and Trust
When it comes to daily life, transparency may be the easiest and most genuine way to build trust. If you have nothing to hide, others will take comfort in believing you and run out of good reasons to hide things from you.
Throughout my entire management career, I have struggled with shielding information from my team to keep the machine running. Secrets don’t make friends, especially in business. As a common example, most managers pad deadlines so that their final deliveries can be met. In many cases, the real deadlines surface and proactive fake deadlines lose credibility. Why not admit final deadlines up front and set padded expectations for your team? Most people understand the truth and will respect you for being honest with them. They will deliver accordingly. Trust me.
Sometimes you need to keep secrets. If that is the case, at least be honest about the reason why (a security clearance or NDA contract are perfectly viable excuses). As hard as it may be for some people to accept, the honest explanation goes a long way. Don’t hide, don’t ignore, don’t dodge the question. Be as honest as you can when you can.
Product First, Everything Else Second
There are several problems with this. First, you’re spending a ton of time doing work that is not relevant until you have something to show for it. Time spent on “extras” means time not spent developing great content, executing ideas, and bringing your vision to life. Product is at the core of every great business and must come first (pray tell me one organism that grows from the shell inward?).
Moreover, the execution of ideas seldom aligns with the vision outlined in the first place. After facing obstacles and discovering new approaches to the same problem, the end result may look or feel nothing like the thing you set out to build. Any time you spend marketing, filing papers, and chasing investor deals for your project before you realize it will most likely be a complete waste of time. There will be a major disconnect between the core and the shell trying to promote it. Everything you did outside the lab will be invalidated by the discoveries within.
If you don’t have a product or story to tell, nothing else matters. Forget all the extra bullshit and get to the real work.
The Common Denominator of Success
Down To The Wire
If you want to get something done, impose a deadline and have others hold you accountable. Simple.
Leaders blame themselves for not finding inspiration within.
Which one are you?
10 Verbs for Leading a Healthy Film Production
2. Anticipate. Production is like doing a jigsaw puzzle on a waterbed – plan for the worst. Identify at least five things that could go wrong during each scene and plan for them. No shoot is impregnable.
3. Name. A person’s name is the sweetest sound to them in the world. Know everyone’s name. Say it to him or her often and always embed it in every request.
4. Smile. From the bottom of your heart. It’s contagious. A happy set is an efficient set.
5. Listen. Let each person do the talking. Collect as much information as possible. Know everything.
6. Forgive. Never criticize, condemn or complain. If someone made a mistake, he or she already knows and should not have to hear it again. If he or she doesn’t know or makes the mistake a second time, call attention to it indirectly.
7. Assure. Encourage crew by making every fault or mishap seem easy to correct. Be confident. If you are not confident, be confident about not being confident. Get people to feel confident about you.
8. Request. Ask questions instead of directly giving orders. Let the other person feel like the idea is his or hers. Nobody likes being told what to do. And nobody likes being yelled at. Do you?
9. Pacify. Avoid arguments. Never tell someone he or she is wrong. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. If you cannot avoid an argument (or cannot resolve other people’s arguments), do not let the crew see it – move ugly out of the way.
10. Praise. Make each person feel important and necessary. Reward good work with honest and sincere appreciation. Acknowledge what each person is doing right. Commend every improvement.
Film School: The Super Degree
I learned a hell of a lot more than just camerawork at film school. In what other degree do you learn to actively lead teams, coordinate logistics, start businesses, tell stories, embrace technology, manage budgets, engage in philosophy, write both fiction and non-fiction, design advertising campaigns, engineer software, study history, direct talent, interface with contemporary culture, carpenter sets, raise money, play with toys, draw pictures, play music, review law briefs, curate content, and express yourself? That’s right, I can’t think of another degree either.
Film school is an all-inclusive wrapper for a cumulative degree in storytelling, business, marketing, management, design, communication, technology, law, twentieth-century history, and cultural studies. In even the smallest film trade schools, you must learn to lead teams through creative and technical projects while coordinating schedules and money to do so. Few MBA programs I’ve heard of are half as hands-on.
At the University of Southern California‘s School of Cinematic Arts, I had the pleasure of studying under studio executives, A-list producers, active professionals, and trendsetting innovators; I produced over 280 minutes of content and coordinated more than a cumulative 200 students and professionals to do so; and I interfaced directly with current and impending trends in the film industry. I moved to Hollywood to study from within the belly of the beast and learned more than I could have ever imagined.
Am I bastardizing my cinema degree by jumping industries? Absolutely not. If anything, I am honoring it. And I would recommend it to absolutely anyone looking to master important entrepreneurial skills, engage his or her creative side, solve complicated human puzzles, and have some fun.
You Look Stupid With Too Many Hats On
As a leader, wearing many hats earns you more control. You can have your finger in everything, stay involved, and have your say. But be very careful – spreading yourself too thin will hurt the work and hurt you. I don’t care who you think you are; there are physical limitations to what you can do with your time. Whether you believe it or not, you cannot do everything. Too many hats will weigh your head down. You must learn to delegate and trust others. If you do not, the quality of work done by you and others will suffer dramatically.
Don’t look like a fool for wearing too many hats. Give a few away.