“However you make your living is where your talent lies.” – Ernest Hemingway
I used to worry about whether I could “hit the post” or not. Or if I could come up with something worth hearing. If it was a really good break, sometimes the GM would poke his head in the door and say something. I really loved being on the air.
Now, in a world of continual partial attention, and diminishing interest from the higher ups, I can’t imagine being on-air.
That’s why I admire the people I meet who are dedicated to being the best they can be. They’re just as enthusiastic and having the time of their lives. They care about what they’re doing.
So I just wanted to say thanks, you’re keeping radio alive when ownership and other media have given up on you. I know you feel strongly about creativity in radio. I wish people had a better understanding of the value of talent relative to the music but I’m not sure they do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “It’s all about the music.” Or met on-air people who seem to just be “doing their time.”
But many of you defy that. You’re doing what you know will relate and be relevant, and I admire you more than any media mogul I know of.
Remember becoming a parent for the first time? You likely reacted to everything your child did. I remember standing over my daughter’s crib to make sure she was breathing. Her baby book included the first everything, from baby shower to bath tub to bicycle. By the time the second child comes along we’ve figured some things out. We didn’t wake up at every sound. Some of the little things we fretted over with the first child didn’t seem quite as big a deal.
I’m the youngest of four kids. By the time I came along my mom and dad had seen it all. I don’t even have a baby book!
My travels take me into a variety of situations and personalities. I work with some of the best of the best, and I’m also invited in to mentor those who are just beginning their journey. I see the behavior of those who’ve been through it before and those who are facing a situation for the first time.
Experience gives us maturity. Maturity develops perspective. Perspective leads to wise decisions.
A recent plane ride was unusually turbulent. After several nasty bumps I turned to the young lady sitting next to me and asked if she was scared. She just smiled at me and said,
“My dad is the pilot. He does this all the time.”
What signals are we sending as leaders? Do we react to every challenge as though it’s an unforeseen emergency, a time to panic, and a reason to “do SOMETHING” with READY-FIRE-AIM? Or we do we respond with the experience and calm of a pilot who is trained at navigating the inevitable turbulence, who has been through it before, and who instills confidence to those entrusted to him?
Now don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not against strong leadership. I worked for Bud Paxson for many years, one of the most aggressive leaders I’ve ever seen. But his actions were not RE-actions that sent the troops on an unpredictable tangent, they were pro-actions that motivated the team in a direction the team already understood.
Turbulence will come. Your team is watching how you will lead.