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Original + Unique = Risk = Some failure

conference-tableBy now, you know that the Sunday NY Times Corner Office series is oft-quoted here to highlight varying aspects of leadership that flow from Adam Bryant’s conversations with notable CEOs and business leaders.

This week he interviewed Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation SKG.

Perhaps Katzenberg inhabits an industry that is prone to more risk than others …  but I doubt it. I agree with his equation, too, because if you’re not original and unique … and if you don’t make failure  acceptable, no one will take the risks that ensure that your value proposition is fresh and creative. He believes that showing your employees that they’re expected to take risks is the single most important quality of an organization.

Katzenberg also stresses that the most important aspect of leadership is earning respect … not getting respect. He’s right that the best way to earn respect is to pay respect and that by extending that to everyone around you, you’ll like earn the respect you seek … almost by accident.

He’s also a big believer in the value of coaching. While he believes he is an accomplished student of human behavior, he also realizes that he is much better at observing certain qualities in others than in himself. He doesn’t believe you can be objective about your own mistakes … which validates the intrinsic value of working with a good business coach who can provide objective, unbiased feedback.

Here’s a short checklist of several other important concepts he follows:

  • Time is our most valuable commodity. Keep that in mind ALL THE TIME.
  • The best lessons come from the WORST bosses … NOT the best ones
  • It’s important to tell your team that we’re “safe” so they feel secure
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