The Learning Leader Show

Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that helps creative people and teams be prolific, brilliant and healthy. He regularly speaks and consults with companies about how to develop practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of four books (The Accidental Creative, Louder Than Words, Die Empty, Herding Tigers), speaks internationally on productivity, creativity, leadership and passion for work, and build tools for creative people and teams. In short, he’s an arms dealer for the creative revolution.  His latest book is called Herding Tigers: Leading talented, creative people requires a different skill set than the one many management books offer. As a consultant to creative companies, Todd Henry knows firsthand what prevents creative leaders from guiding their teams to success, and in Herding Tigers he provides a bold new blueprint to help you be the leader your team needs. Learn to lead by influence instead of control. Discover how to create a stable culture that empowers your team to take bold creative risks. And learn how to fight to protect the time, energy, and resources they need to do their best work.  

“Great leaders have great rituals. Great leaders are connected. Great leaders have set questions they ask when they meet someone for the first time.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence =
    • Great leaders have great rituals
      • Disciplined time to study/reflect
      • Well read
      • Go on walks
    • Great leaders are connected to their network
    • Great leaders have set questions they ask someone when they meet for the first time
  • Todd’s rituals
    • Same breakfast everyday, same coffee mug everyday
    • 1 hour of study/read/time to think
    • Writes morning pages (3 full pages long hand)
  • Creating space for yourself
    • Predictable space, a buffer – “I have a ritual of taking a long walk in the middle of my day” — “It helps me get lost in thought”
  • Set questions to ask when you meet someone
    • “What’s the most important thing I should know about you?”
    • What’s inspiring you right now?”
  • Cover bands don’t change the world
    • Go out and present YOUR ideas to the market place
    • “If you want to have a voice in the market place, you have to have a voice” — You can’t just regurgitate what others say: Take what you learn, synthesize it with your own thoughts and have a voice, a point of view
      • “Your synthesis is what is valuable”
  • Writing The Accidental Creative was hard and lonely
  • Leading Creatives – We assume they get it… No, you must be clear that they do.  Walk them through your thought process, what you expect, why you expect it
  • Brian Koppelman (Creator of Billions) – Leading with influence vs being a micro-manager.  The director must own the show… They must have a compelling vision, point of view. Koppelman must create the space to give the director of each episode that ownership (he owns it all)
  • Creative people need two things
    • Stability – Protect them, give them the space they need, be clear
    • Challenge – Cannot allow boredom
    • These two exist is constant tension, push/pull.  You have to know how/when/why to turn the dial on each
    • “Your entire career, up until you’re a manager, you have complete control — As a manager you must shift from control to influence (it’s hard) or the team cannot scale beyond you
  • Your team must understand the WHY behind what you do — If not they just inherit tactics but don’t know why they do it.  It can’t scale without knowing the WHY
  • Need to make certain creative people feel ownership of the work
    • Influence is about principle
  • Why is implementation and execution so hard?
    • Leaders struggle with insecurity
      • “Your area of greatest insecurity can inflict the most damage to your organization… It’s about ego more than confidence”
  • Why write Herding Tigers?
    • “I wrote the book I wish I had… A lot of people don’t have the model of what great leadership is”
  • Here’s what it feels like right now:
    • Action
    • Pause
    • Reflection
    • Redirection
    • Action

“Cover bands don’t change the world.  Find your own voice.”

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More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

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