Tag Archives: influencer

What being a punk rocker taught me about leadership

matt and todd

I grew up listening to punk music. During my high school years, I spent much of my free time playing bass for various punk bands.

As a 16 year old kid playing my bass guitar, I knew I couldn’t be picky about the shows I chose to play at, the bands I played in, and the “fans” I talked to… so I played shows quite literally everywhere. My bands played in clubs, high school gyms, garages, basements, backyards, graduation parties, and living rooms. There was even one time that my band, Tearsome, played a show with another band, Solid State, that featured both bands wrestling each other during the show “intermission.” I wasn’t choosy… I just wanted to play punk music.

Here’s the funny thing. Some of those bands I was in were actually pretty ok. Others were kinda terrible. But people constantly showed up to shows to see us play. Even when the music was awful, the venue was terrible, the sound system was rag-tag…people came. People were drawn to our shows, to that scene, because we were incredibly passionate about what we were doing.

People can sense passion in others. People are drawn to passion.

As a leader, I am always looking for more things to be passionate about. What I am passionate about comes out in my daily actions and my interactions with others. Last night, after I closed down the store for the night, I led a brief huddle on this totally awesome new headlamp that Petzl just put out (it adjusts its light output based on what you’re looking at!). It’s super nerdy but totally cool to me. I had 6 staff with me for the huddle, who were a bit tired from a hard days’ work and from the Christmas shopping season. However, after geeking out about a headlamp for 3 minutes (a freakin’ headlamp!),  I witnessed my employees laughing, conversing, and coming alive again.

Passion is contagious. Find something that you are passionate about and – be passionate! Pursue that, let others see your passion, and share your enthusiasm! Whether it’s punk rock or headlamps, others will take notice and be intrigued.

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Filed under communication, leadership

4 Ways To Lead Change


There are many ways to bring about change in an organization, team, company, or other group. Here are 4!

1. Highlight the bright spots! It is easy for a leader to feel like they have to reinvent the wheel when major change is the goal. However, usually there are some employees or people already performing the desired behavior, at least to some degree. Highlight this, focus on this, reward this, validate this! Focus on why this is happening in some people and what intrinsic motivation is perpetuating this behavior.

2. Shrink the change! If I asked you to eat a whole pie right now, it would seem intimidating. However, if we divided a pie up into slices, the pie would be easier to consume. Chip and Dan Heath bring this into a context in their book “Switch,” where small victories perpetuate more small victories… instead of just focusing on one huge victory.

3. Choose your tasks wisely! In Kerry Patterson’s book “Influencer,” she urges her readers to focus on changing a maximum of 3 or 4 things. Think of the image of a person spinning a bunch of plates at a time, something that you may have seen on Letterman or in a circus. As the person spins 3 or 4 plates, the task seems relatively easy. However, as more plates are spun simultaneously, the first plates start to wobble. As more and more plates are added, more plates wobble, some may fall, and the plate spinner sweats like crazy trying to make them all spin at once. When you set out to change, spin a few plates and spin them well!

4. Lead from the front! It is one thing to talk about change and another to demonstrate change. Today, my wife and I went to the beach and read for a couple of hours. While at the beach, we saw a bunch of dolphins jumping 30 feet off the shoreline. It is one thing to tell you about this or to even show you a picture, but it’d be a bit more impactful for me to bring you along to the beach so you could see it with your own eyes. Being alongside people to experience change – or to model the behavior to your cohorts around you – shows that you walk the talk that you bring. People follow leaders who lead from the front and experience change alongside their teams. Oh yeah – by the way – leading from the front is a lot more fun than watching from the sidelines!

This list can easily go on to include multiple other things. What do you think? What else would you add? What has worked for you?


Filed under change management, lists, motivation, Uncategorized