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Sunday Musings #8

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Augusta National Archive(Last two days of yet another amazing Masters. Looking forward to getting back home, though.)

An old post from 2006 has me thinking about people management. It started with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The most basic need is Physiological – check. The third need (since it is basically a relatively linear theory) is Love/Belonging – check. The top need, the highest of the “growth” needs is self actualization – check. Issue – The basic concept here is that the higher needs only come into focus once all the needs that are lower down in the pyramid are mainly or entirely satisfied. Well, why is self actualization not a more basic need? What happens to the few people who are circuited so that Love/Belonging is flip-flopped with Self Actualization? Is this not a “healthier” line of development?? I’m beginning to ask myself these questions again, pondering what would happen if we flipped the theory on its head and managed our people – colleagues, direct reports, friends, project teams – this way. We’ve evolved, as have the tools we use on a daily basis. (Though we’re always fighting lizard brain.)

Brands are confusing in the most awesome way possible. What is Red Bull? An energy drink, right? Wait, but also a media company and documentary maker, yeah? A start-up accelerator, too? Jay-Z is one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. Oh, and a sports team investor / owner. And clothing mogul. And former brand director. Oh snap, he’s a talent agent, as well! Michelin makes pretty great tires. And is the authority on killer restaurants?! A bit confusing, yes. But dynamic, interesting, and best of all, valuable to the consumer“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”

Forgive my cheesiness, but I’m about to drop a couple business / life metaphors. There’s plenty of picture-worthy natural scenery down here in Augusta, and one sight tripped me up real good yesterday.  Right off the 10th fairway, in front of a member’s cabin, stands a beautiful tree with another vine-like tree planted right next to it. The vine-like tree (can you tell I’m lacking a green thumb?!) is slowly wrapping itself around the large tree, though I assume in a safe and intentional manner. That’s a good ol’ business lesson right there on launching and growing. You study up, do the research, mine the data, so that you (think you) know exactly what will happen in the marketplace. Then you plant your seed, you cultivate it, you bend sunshine and distribute water and mulch and nutrients. But then there’s always a phase of it’s-no-longer-in-my-control, where patience and courage and trust simply have to take the lead. All the books and friends and experience tell you the second tree will indeed wrap around the other…but you simply won’t know until it does (or doesn’t).

Cheeseball metaphor #2…and, oh shit…it’s a sports one. I’ve been watching a ton of basketball lately, including some old clips of classic games. And while I’ve always known this, it jumped out at me for some reason the other day (maybe b/c I’m chasing a few new biz concepts right now) – you play your ass off for 45 minutes (in the NBA, at least) just for the right to play the last 3 minutes. It’s all about those last few minutes, crunch time, when clutch moves are needed, where champions are made. Everyone remembers the series-winning shot made by Michael Jordan in Game 5 of the ’89 Eastern Conference first round against Cleveland (video below), but his 44 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists were just as important. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” (This is THE GRIND that Chris Brogan always talks about.)



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Growth obsessed startup co-founder (MusicBox) and strategist-for-hire.

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