Personal Life

29 Jul: Setting the stage

We so often forget the importance of how we begin. How we begin discussions, how we begin meetings, how we begin making decisions.  A couple days ago I was running a workshop with the executive leadership team of a healthcare company and was instantly reminded of this. We were tasked to help them position their company as they burst onto the market place riding the waves of some very interesting clinical data. Right at the beginning of the workshop, the CEO opened by noting a few important points to make sure his executives were fully engaged and understand the significance of this moment and why we were gathered there. Simple words, but highly impactful. It set the tone for the rest of the day and we were engaged throughout the session. An astute leader never misses the chance to raise the performance of the team, and I’m always excited to work…

09 Jul: Hello, how do I do?

Success and contentment are often mutually exclusive, and that’s because we do not truly know ourselves. The path to understanding who we are is often a long and difficult one as we constantly change and we learn a little more every time we face a new situation. Much like how TV or movie characters are presented to us by their reactions to different situations, we come to know ourselves through retrospective self-reflection. Could this mean that an accelerated path towards self enlightenment is only possible by putting ourselves through a diverse set of experiences? Then we can truly see what kind of a person we are? Let’s fight our urge for routine, give in to our need for growth and variety so that we get to know ourselves better and sooner.

05 Jul: Please don’t follow your passion

Passion is a dangerous word. I am absolutely convinced that the word Passion has caused millions of people to be unhappy and unfulfilled (I was one of those people). In the book by Cal Newport: So Good They Can’t Ignore You, he tells us not to follow our passions, instead bring our passions to where ever we are. Deliver rare value instead and build your expertise/ career capital. In fact, when he studied the path of Steve Jobs, who infamously said in his Stanford graduation speech in 2005, “you’ve got to find what you love…”, if Steve actually followed his passions at the very beginning, he would have become a zen priest! The fact is that Jobs did love what he was doing at Apple, but only after years of pursuing what was in front of him. By constantly perfecting our craft, we will come to love what we do. Mike…

09 Jun: What silent films reveal about great storytelling

A recent trip to the Castro Theater during the Silent Film Festival immersed me in a surreal experience. It was simple, delightful and innocent. It was back to the basics of storytelling. We watched movies made by the Amazing Charlie Bowers, a comedian that used animation and invention themes to tell his stories. The single most powerful way great stories are told is allowing the audience to fill in the blanks. Michel Hazanavicius, the French director of the award winning film The Artist, which took home 5 Oscars including best film and director in 2012 said it best in an interview with The Atlantic “The less you do, the more the audience does”. He recounts a film by Fritz Lang called M, where the killer in the movie grabs a girl with a balloon and the camera follows the balloon. There is no violence, just the balloon. What happened? What…

30 May: Storytelling tips #7: Use it to motivate

One of the biggest factor of productivity and retention for employees is feeling connected to the organization. By constantly telling stories from your customers, you help the organization understand their purpose and how each individual contributes to the customer experience. In the medical device industry, patients are often brought into the companies to share how the products have touched their lives through touching and thoughtful stories. Use those stories, we all deserve them.

24 May: Storytelling tip #4: What’s your AIM?

The purpose of a story is to influence. In order to craft a story that can elicit a desired response, work from your audience’s perspective. Who are you talking to? What are their beliefs? What do you want them to do? What do they need to understand in order to take that action? Answer these questions as a foundation to building your story. A clear message means a compelling story. You can find other storytelling resources on the #9story9 page. Enjoy!

29 Nov: Content overload

There is so much content in the world today. Every company wants to publish content, every organization is trying to get your attention. In addition, every person in the world is potentially a media channel. With this much content in the world, how is it even possible to get your word out? From the perspective of a consumer of information, how do you expect to find the stories you care about? With options and a multitude of choices, a paralysis of sorts naturally arises. As humans, we will continue to stick with a few channels that give us information. It used to be the 9 o’clock news, now it’s the twitter and Facebook feed. Do I really want these channels to curate content for me? Perhaps we need to get back to the fundamentals: For organizations: – Spread your word one person at a time, through conviction, emotion and a…

04 Sep: One simple rule for success

Simple rule? Yes. Easy to execute? Most definitely not… unless you see it in a whole new way. This past weekend I was in Portland visiting a friend who is training to become a helicopter instructor. Of course while I was there, I asked for a ride to see the city from up above. Operating an aircraft such as a chopper is no joke, one wrong move, one misstep and the joyride can very quickly become a disaster. I was in the passenger seat (on the left) watching him go through his checklist as we prepare to takeoff. Even though he had done this hundreds and hundreds of times before, and we were just sitting there baking in the sun. He still conscientiously walks through every single step to make sure he has covered everything. Why? Obviously because he not only wanted us to have a great time in the…