Frost Advisory #224 – Beware of Common Sense

It is not common sense to warn someone about using common sense.  But that, my friends, is the very point.

Successful principles of business, leadership, programming, or ministry aren’t common.  They are the exception.  Otherwise, all businesses would be successful, there would be no leadership challenges, churches would be full every week, all radio stations would have high ratings and we’d all have dated the sexiest girl in school.  (Sorry, just threw in sex to keep you interested.)There are 11,000 business books published each year.  I looked it up.  If these principles were merely common sense there would not be the demand for these lessons learned.

At first glance successful principles can seem out of whack or counter-intuitive.

Leading is really about serving.

The more you try to impress someone, the less they will like you.

The more you learn, the less you know. The more you learn about something, the more your horizons broaden and you see the limits of your own understanding.

Hundreds of general managers and program directors around the planet read these Frost Advisories each week, I’m told.  Today you will likely face a decision about your radio station where it would make sense to use common sense.  Before you react, consider:

“We are quick to jump to conclusions because we give too much weight to the information that is right in front of us, while failing to consider the information that’s just offstage.   It’s called ‘the spotlight effect.’   The spotlight only lights one spot.  Everything outside it is obscured.  When we begin to shift the spotlight from side to side the situation starts to look very different.   And that, in essence, is the core difficulty in decision making.   What’s in the spotlight will rarely be everything we need to make a good decision, but we won’t always remember to shift the light.   Sometimes, in fact, we’ll forget there’s a spotlight at all, dwelling so long in the tiny circle of light that we forget there’s a broader landscape beyond it.” – Chip and Dan Heath, “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work”

Managing Process Is Not Leading People

“You manage things, you lead people.  We went overboard on management and forgot about leadership. It might help if we ran the MBAs out of Washington. – Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, USN

Every day, otherwise smart people confuse leadership with management.  By enforcing rules, giving orders or correcting the way things happen, they think they’re leading.  Leadership is about influencing people, getting things done through them.   Take a look at this comparison from the Clemmer Group:

Management Leadership
Systems, processes, and technology People — context and culture
Goals, standards, and measurements Preferred future, principles, and purpose
Control Commitment
Strategic planning Strategic opportunism
A way of doing A way of being
Directing Serving
Responding and reacting Initiating and originating
Continuous improvement of what is Innovative breakthroughs to what could be

If this were the reality of management vs. leadership, how much time are you putting into leadership?

Tommy Kramer Tip #69 – Pandering

I hear a lot of pandering to the audience lately.

Here are a couple of examples:

“Here’s the forecast for your Tuesday…” (It’s not “my” Tuesday. It doesn’t belong to anyone. Remember, the Weather app on my iPhone can give me the weather, and has a map of what’s going on right above my house.)

This one came from a morning show – a bumper that said “Call your show now…” (It’s not MY show. And if it were, I’d want that sidekick fired that still thinks “That’s what SHE said” is funny.)

There are lots of others, each more tedious than the next. There’s a word for this. It’s obsequious. It means “fawning” – slathering someone with phony-baloney praise. (Street meaning: kissing butt.)

Just be real. No one believes this horse hockey. Take it off your station now.

If you want to have a conversation with an adult, treat ’em like an adult.

If you want to have a conversation with a teenager, treat ’em like an adult.

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

“Management is nothing more than motivating other people.” – Lee Iacocca

It all depends on your perspective on motivation. Consider this real-life happening:

(Open Door) “I have the greatest, most hard working team ever!”

(Closed Door) “What’s wrong with these yahoos, why aren’t they communicating with me?”

There are so many problems with this that I don’t know where to start.

First, you can’t really hide your closed door feelings, they always show through in your daily activities.

Second, there are no secrets any more. If you made the closed door comments in front of more than one person there’s a good chance it’s going to get around.

Third, if that’s how you really feel about your team you need to shut up and start acting. Get rid of the yahoos and find people you can trust.

But often we don’t, we just continue the duality of attitude as if we’re the Wizard of Oz and no one can see us pulling levers and pushing buttons. We just keep going, not realizing that every closed door comment that isn’t the same as the open door comment makes us look silly, inept, and duplicitous.

Don’t be one of those people. Chances are you’re not a wizard, and the people around you need to see you in a steady, positive, confirming way. Cowboy up and handle your issues honestly, and celebrate the good people on your team.

Check The Facts Before You Freak Out

“Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.” – Jim Rohn

A few weeks ago I had a lot of people calling and asking about the Radio Ink article suggesting the sale of Disney’s radio station in favor of the Internet.  Did it really mean the beginning of the end for radio?  Does Disney know something we don’t?

I countered with some questions.

First, how many stations does Disney Radio have?  Answer 23.

How many of them are FM?  Answer: 1.

22 of their stations are on the AM band.  In many markets there are AM station that have less traffic than the police band.  That they shifted from those AM radio stations to the Internet makes all the sense in the world, because the Internet – in it’s many forms – is growing more than AM radio.

It’s bad enough that you’re anxious about what other people say.  Don’t let fear prompted by other people control your future.