Archive for the Thoughts on Leadership Category

I Would Never…

Posted in A Note to Directors, Thoughts on Leadership on February 19, 2018 by RobALott

“I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do.”

Yep. That’s pretty good.

“I would never ask you to do anything I haven’t done.”

That’s better.

“I would never ask you to do anything I am not also doing.”

Best.

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More Is Not Always The Answer

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on February 12, 2018 by RobALott

In the early days of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels was brought to the top of the NBC Building to meet with some NBC Executives. They had questions about some of the expansions to the budget and production timelines he had requested.

He explained how he felt that a further developed budget and an increase in the production timeline would help the show keep up with growing audience expectations. He feared the show was losing its edge, and was no longer the challenge to the writers, the cast, or the audience it had set out to be. Essentially, the show was on a collision course, Lorne felt, with mediocrity.

An NBC Executive leaned forward, “Let me explain something. You are contracted to produce an hour and a half of programming from 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM every Saturday night. That’s all. No where in your contract does it say that that hour and a half needs to be any good. It doesn’t. Relax. You’re working too hard.”

Lorne smiled and went back to work, but left the show shortly after that.

Here’s what I know:

More money isn’t always the answer.

More time isn’t always the answer.

But lowering the bar, racing to the bottom, decreasing expectation, these things aren’t always the answer either.

Quality Takes Time

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on February 5, 2018 by RobALott

If quality comes quickly, it’s only because you’ve just arrived and only now have you begun paying attention to the work that’s already been done.

Credibility

Posted in Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on December 26, 2017 by RobALott

“You know, she opened the show.”

“He was on the national tour.”

“He’s done four Broadway shows.”

“You know who she sang back-up for, right?”

We want so badly to establish performance credibility.

Here’s the thing, though:

Most people didn’t read your bio. Most people didn’t go to your website. And most people don’t have your mother sitting behind them before the show starts, talking just loud enough.

Most people only have this show—this performance—this one opportunity to see what you’ve got to give.

Your past experience loses steam more and more everyday. Don’t be too reliant on your past experience to launch you forward.

Be better today than you were yesterday. (And prepare to be better tomorrow than you are today.)

Ownership

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on December 11, 2017 by RobALott

“You might play the role, but the character doesn’t belong to you.”

To whom, then, does it belong?

If you aren’t able to give an actor ownership, then who do you suppose will take responsibility for the performance?

A Word of Caution: Be careful removing ownership of a character from the one closest to it. This is a recipe for dull, heartless, and uninspired performances.

Guide, direct, and influence for what should be most valued in a performance, of course.

But ownership has got to belong to the actor closest to the material, the character, and the performance.

We Are All Experts

Posted in Creativity, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on December 4, 2017 by RobALott

Vic Firth came up with the idea of making a better drumstick while playing timpani for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The sticks he could buy commercially didn’t measure up to the job, so he began making and selling drumsticks from his basement at home. Then one day he dropped a bunch of sticks on the floor and heard all the different pitches. That’s when he began to match up sticks by moisture content, weight, density, and pitch so they were identical pairs. The result became his product’s tagline: “the perfect pair.“ Today, Vic Firth’s factory turns out more than 85,000 drumsticks a day and has a 62% share in the drumstick market.*

We are all experts at something. And we all have ideas as to how to make that thing better.

So, you’re the expert. You’re the most qualified. Pick yourself, and go do it. Make it better. Make the product better. Make the industry better. Raise the bar.

*ReWork by Jason Fried

If You Are a Creative

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on November 27, 2017 by RobALott

If you are a creative who also shows up on time…

If you are a creative who also delivers the project ahead of schedule…

If you are a creative who arrives prepared…

You will get hired more, work more, and be pursued more.

Let’s stop blaming our irresponsibility on our creativity.