By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you enhance your talent development skills in others.
Who’s your ideal leader? It’s a question I get all the time in my leadership seminars. My answer always stumps a few people in the audience: Ed Sullivan.
Yes, the same Ed Sullivan who brought us the Beatles and various other talents from jugglers to dog acts into our living rooms in the 1960s. Live. On national television Yes, the same Ed Sullivan, who told millions of CBS viewers about the “really, really, really big show” that was in store for them EVERY Sunday evening.
Ed Sullivan was more than a master of ceremonies was. He was an emcee of the highest order: an MC — a Meaningful Connector– who not only brought a variety of talent together but also gave it a focus and a framework that captured the attention of millions.
As the leader, Ed Sullivan emceed excellence by helping the audience (i.e. customers) connect more fully to the product (performance) and by helping the performers (the employees) more fully develop a total quality production.
As the leader, the emcee, Ed Sullivan was the FOCAL point but not the focus. He always turned the spotlight on everyone else.
As the leader, the emcee Ed Sullivan appreciated the performers. And he ignited the audience to recognize the performance and acknowledge the performers (“C’mon let’s hear it for ….”)
As the leader–a.k.a. the emcee — Ed Sullivan added significance and meaning to the program –for both viewers (customers) and performers (employees).
The variety show is an appropriate model for today’s corporations. Variety is everywhere. Corporations are adding new acts (products) appealing to new audiences (customers) more quickly than ever before. And corporations have fewer people wearing many more different hats.
Leaders Set the Stage for Their Employees to Perform
Production is often done with an ensemble of performers brought together quickly for this one project. On deadline –just the way Ed Sullivan brought together a variety of performers for a weekly project that had to be different and exciting enough to delight the same customers week after week.
No wonder leaders have become more like emcees than orchestra conductors. Leaders have to set the stage for their employees; help them understand and accept the “really really big show” that is their company and help them embrace the significance and value of their particular role in the show, and the importance of doing it all again next week. Differently.
No where is the leader’s role changing so quickly as in emceeing rather than conducting the regular department meeting. Gone are the days when the leader would simply corral everyone into a meeting room to go through his or her in-basket or to have each person report on what’s been happening in their areas.
No longer is there a need for department meetings to gurgle like the fountain of information to quench the thirsts of people who need to know. People already know the information in a 24/7 we have it when you need digital mentality. Now they need interpretation.
Becoming an MC — A Master Connector
The department meeting now becomes a stage for the “really big show” where the emcee — leader — helps the performers (employees) better interpret and appreciate the information they have already collected and to better connect that information to the interests and concerns of the audience (customers).
The leader– as the emcee–sees the meeting room as Ed Sullivan saw the stage. His or her job is to be the MC (Master Connector):to make the connection with the performers (employees) more meaningful; to make the connection between the show (company) and the audience (customers) more memorable; to make the total quality experience so engaging, so entertaining, so exciting for all participants that the leader emcees excellence. The “really really really big show” is all yours — if you lead the applause. As the emcee.
Master the role of master of ceremonies to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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