Archive for March, 2015

Raise Your Hand

Posted in A Note to Directors, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on March 30, 2015 by RobALott

When we are young, we are trained to raise our hand when we have a question. But then we are rewarded when we raise our hand with an answer. 

Thus, a pattern begins. 

We stop raising our hand when we have questions, and we begin raising our hands only when we have answers. 

Nothing halts creativity and ingenuity faster in an organization than valuing and rewarding good answers over great questions.

Bring Your Energy

Posted in A Note to Directors, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on March 27, 2015 by RobALott

The best thing you can bring to your team is your energy. 

No one is impressed with a tired leader. Being tired due to a full schedule is not a badge of honor, but rather a symptom of inefficient and mismanaged use of time. 

Bring your energy. Take a quick nap. Take a brisk walk. Drink a cup of coffee. Do whatever it takes to bring your energy. Then, be patient and wait for your team to discover how energetic you are in spite of your full schedule.

Change Isn’t Bad

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on March 23, 2015 by RobALott

People don’t mind change as much as we think they do. Change is good. Most people actually welcome the “new and improved” that comes with change. 

But with all change comes loss. That’s where we tend to get tripped up. 

Loss of control. Loss of familiarity. Loss of attention. 

Loss is actually what keeps people from embracing change, not change itself. 

Are you facing a change that does not have your full support?  Have you looked at what loss that change is creating? What you are losing, and can you get it back? If you can’t get it back, then did you really need it, or did you ever really have it to begin with?

There’s a Reason It’s Called “The Lead”

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on March 20, 2015 by RobALott

And it’s not because she has the most lines. 

Only Add Value

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on March 16, 2015 by RobALott

Most companies know they can not keep track and police everything that is said by their employees when it comes to social media. 

I do some work for one such company that knows it would be impossible to stay on top of everything that might be said by their employees on the ever growing tree of social networks. 

So, they have implemented a simple request:

“Only add value.”

Their social media policy is that all their employees only add value to their reaches of influence. 

Before clicking the post button, employees are urged to ask themselves, “Is what I am about to post, link, or share adding value?”

As artists, if our name and our ideas are the product, then as owners, what is our creative and productive policy around what we are putting out into the world?

What if we all made the commitment ahead of time, 

in our art, 

on our stages, 

in the direction we give, 

the performances we produce, 

the scenes we write, 

and the stories we tell, 

what if we decided, even before being asked, that our policy would be that we only add value?

How might that change things?

A Director’s Voice

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Thoughts on Leadership on March 13, 2015 by RobALott

We can get all the cheers, ovations, and applause an audience has to give, but it takes a director’s voice telling us we did a good job to know for sure that we did.

There’s A Reason They’re Called Classics

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on March 9, 2015 by RobALott

And you’ll never get in trouble for knowing them. 

Being in the know on the latest and greatest is fun. It’s fun to be up on the latest thing. It’s fun to be the first to like a Tweet, or to be among the first to share a video. I get it. “I liked this thing before you ever knew about it.” It’s a great person to be, and an intoxicating way to feel. 

But we can get so wrapped up in looking for the new that we forget to look back and recognize the established, the significant, and the time-tested. 

I organize my non-fiction books, not in title order or by author, but rather, in the order of the year they were published. 

This way, I can easily go from one end of the shelf to read the latest that everyone is talking about, then jump to the other end of the shelf to hear what an author may have said on the same subject twenty, fifty, or in some cases, a hundred years ago. 

It’s funny how the same ideas reemerge with new titles and chapter headings every generation or so. 

But it’s also fun to look back and see where those ideas started and how they have been perfected, or, thwarted over time. 

Take time for the classics. 

No one will fault you for it. 

Just Telling Vs. Experiencing

Posted in A Note to Directors, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on March 6, 2015 by RobALott


Rather than just telling the cast what to do, create and communicate a vision for what you want the audience to experience.

Why I Wear Argyle Socks

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on March 2, 2015 by RobALott

I have an ever growing collection of argyle socks. It’s a somewhat silly thing to collect, I suppose. But I figure, (taking a note from Doc Brown) if I have to wear socks I might as well wear some with style.

While I do like the whimsical diamond pattern and the timeless style it implies, there’s a somewhat secret but very real reason I wear argyle socks.

(Don’t tell anyone. Let’s try and keep this between us.)

I wear argyle socks because, as the legend goes, Walt Disney wore argyle socks.

Let’s be clear. I’m not looking to emulate Mr. Disney’s fashion sense. It’s bigger than that.

It is undeniable the outstanding effect Walt Disney and what would become the Walt Disney Company has had on the world.

His dedication to excellence and a continual effort to do the next thing, whatever that may have been, is legendary.

So, when I’m in a creative meeting, or a production meeting, or a rehearsal that’s not going necessarily well, it’s often in those moments that a splash of color will show itself peeking out from just above my shoe.

It’s a quick reminder to keep going, to ignore the setbacks, to keep my bar high, to ask good questions, to challenge myself and those around me to find what’s next and to execute that thing the best way we know how.

That’s why I wear argyle socks.

Do you have a symbol, a reminder, a built in nudge that keeps you on track?