Thought Leader

"I am glad I don't know."

Marc Ross Weekly February.png

"I am glad I don't know."

Marc Ross Weekly
March 3, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Marc Ross Weekly  = Emerging issues shaping commerce + culture


ROSS RANT

Not knowing is powerful:

I don't really know why Brigadoon Sundance works, and frankly, I am glad I don't know.

All that matters is a diverse group of curious subject matter experts for the seventh time decided to attend, participate, and engage in the Utah mountains.

Brigadoon Sundance is the rare gathering comprised of a cross-section of pros where sharing our diverse talents, having a conversation or three, exchanging insights, and driving creativity are at the top of the agenda.

I will have some more thoughts on the most recent Brigadoon Sundance gathering in next week's weekly email. 

I need to take a few more days to identify the topics, disucssions, and sessions which made the biggest impact on me.

For those that attend this year and those who have participated in the past, thank you - the gathering has made a lot of progress since Brigadoon's modest start in 2013.

In addition to the Sundance gatherings, over the last twelve months, Brigadoon has added a higher level of engagement called Professional, increased consulting services, hosted salon dinners in Annapolis, Detroit, and Cincinnati, launched book and coffee clubs, as well as introduced Brigadoon Radio.

I am humbled by your support and commitment to this idea of creating a platform where entrepreneurs and thought leaders can discuss emerging issues shaping commerce and culture.

In the meantime, please continue to let me know how we can better serve this community and what tools you need to further propel your talents.

Thought leader mindset - a quick fifteen:

I really enjoyed presenting the thought leader mindset at the opening whiteboard session.

In fact, it was the first time I took an active speaking role at any Brigadoon Sundance gathering and it was the first time I executed a flashcard presentation format.

I appreciate Brigadoon Sundance's friendly environment to experiment and try a new presentation format made up of 100 flashcards.

I was pleasantly surprised by the response but would welcome any additional feedback or comments.

To keep the energy flowing about steps you can take to foster a thought leader mindset - here are a quick fifteen to get you going:

  1. Tell > Sell

  2. The audience knows - you can't fake it

  3. What if it works?

  4. Know the business model

  5. There is no perfect time to start

  6. Busy is a decision

  7. Start at the end

  8. Do you want to be a queen or a queen maker?

  9. Form a habit

  10. Be a professional

  11. Surprise yourself

  12. Rational behavior is rare

  13. Be an expert in being curious

  14. SNL is live at 11:30 pm regardless if it is ready or not

  15. Cause > Campaign

If you want - you can send me your response to any of the tidbits listed above and I am happy to critique your answer.

-Marc

Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.
 

FIVE TO READ

In a spin: Brexit spells trouble for UK vinyl industry: DW reports, for vinyl lovers the act of placing the needle on a record and anticipating the crackle before the first bars ring out is a sensory and sensual thrill. A no-deal Brexit could nip that in the (ear)bud. http://bit.ly/2ExZxiH

The importance of letting go of so-called dirty pain: Virginia Heffernan (Brigadoon Sundance 2017 Keynote Speaker) writes, annoyance is a maddeningly complex topic. We all lay claim to being annoyed so often that conversation seems to exist entirely to let us register how bugged we are. The office is too cold. Too humid. My coworker’s flip-flops slap against her soles. It’s gross. In Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman propose that an experience of annoyance implicates the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. http://bit.ly/2EsfOWr

Vivienne Ming: ‘The professional class is about to be blindsided by AI’: Ming creates algorithms that help companies select people more effectively. She has developed bots that trawl the web looking for high-tech programmers who may not even have a degree yet are doing great work. She’s also used AI to tally the “tax on being different”, calculating, for example, that in the technology sector, a Latino worker needs about six years’ more education than a white worker to be considered for the same job — something, given the cost of US tertiary education, that can amount to $500,000 or more. https://on.ft.com/2NRxQoo

Twist and shout: the Rubik’s cube: The Economist reports, there are those who can, with patience, navigate the 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible orientations to solve it. Then there are the professionals. They set speed records one-handed (6.88 seconds), or blindfolded (17.33), or only with their bare feet (20.57). The overall world record stands at just 4.22 seconds.http://bit.ly/2EwzgRQ

Ambidextrous: Seth Godin opines, anthropologists have found that we’re very motivated to divide into teams, and once on a team, we’ll work hard to degrade the other team. Over the smallest differences. For the smallest possible stakes. Even when we get no other benefit than thinking that we won something. We spend a lot of time sorting people into buckets. We label them in order to treat them differently and establish expectations for how they’ll respond. Mostly to figure out which team they’re on. http://bit.ly/2EsDDh5

EVENTS

Brigadoon Sundance 2020: February 23-25 | Sundance, Utah

Brigadoon is organizing its eighth gathering of entrepreneurs and thought leaders at Sundance Mountain Resort next winter. 

Participants will come from around the globe to exchange insights and drive creativity as well as discuss emerging issues shaping commerce and culture.

Brigadoon Sundance 2020 is moving to a formal invite-only model, but you may apply for an invitation today. 

Invites are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Apply for access here.

COTD

Commercial drones are taking off: Rescue operations, mapping or parcel delivery – there are many applications for commercial drones. Analysts at Tractica are projecting that drones and multicopters will be used at increasing rates in the professional sector. For the current year, they estimate the market volume to be 392,000 drones worth US$1.6 billion. Sales and revenue are set to multiply by 2025. North America is by far the largest market for commercial drones, followed by Asia and Europe.

Drones.jpg

Not knowing is powerful + Thought leader mindset - a quick fifteen

Ross Rant March 2018.png

Not knowing is powerful:

I don't really know why Brigadoon Sundance works, and frankly, I am glad I don't know.

All that matters is a diverse group of curious subject matter experts for the seventh time decided to attend, participate, and engage in the Utah mountains.

Brigadoon Sundance is the rare gathering comprised of a cross-section of pros where sharing our diverse talents, having a conversation or three, exchanging insights, and driving creativity are at the top of the agenda.

I will have some more thoughts on the most recent Brigadoon Sundance gathering in next week's weekly email. 

I need to take a few more days to identify the topics, disucssions, and sessions which made the biggest impact on me.

For those that attend this year and those who have participated in the past, thank you - the gathering has made a lot of progress since Brigadoon's modest start in 2013.

In addition to the Sundance gatherings, over the last twelve months, Brigadoon has added a higher level of engagement called Professional, increased consulting services, hosted salon dinners in Annapolis, Detroit, and Cincinnati, launched book and coffee clubs, as well as introduced Brigadoon Radio.

I am humbled by your support and commitment to this idea of creating a platform where entrepreneurs and thought leaders can discuss emerging issues shaping commerce and culture.

In the meantime, please continue to let me know how we can better serve this community and what tools you need to further propel your talents.

Thought leader mindset - a quick fifteen:

I really enjoyed presenting the thought leader mindset at the opening whiteboard session.

In fact, it was the first time I took an active speaking role at any Brigadoon Sundance gathering and it was the first time I executed a flashcard presentation format.

I appreciate Brigadoon Sundance's friendly environment to experiment and try a new presentation format made up of 100 flashcards.

I was pleasantly surprised by the response but would welcome any additional feedback or comments.

To keep the energy flowing about steps you can take to foster a thought leader mindset - here are a quick fifteen to get you going:

  1. Tell > Sell

  2. The audience knows - you can't fake it

  3. What if it works?

  4. Know the business model

  5. There is no perfect time to start

  6. Busy is a decision

  7. Start at the end

  8. Do you want to be a queen or a queen maker?

  9. Form a habit

  10. Be a professional

  11. Surprise yourself

  12. Rational behavior is rare

  13. Be an expert in being curious

  14. SNL is live at 11:30 pm regardless if it is ready or not

  15. Cause > Campaign

If you want - you can send me your response to any of the tidbits listed above and I am happy to critique your answer.

-Marc

Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Does a Coach or CEO matter?

When it comes to management, the answer is an unequivocal no.

Soccernomics, the beautiful book written by Financial Times Columnist Simon Kuper and University of Michigan Professor Stefan Szymanski, makes the convincing case that "it turns out that coaches and managers simply don't make that much difference."

When studying years of soccer matches, the authors conclude that "the vast bulk of managers appear to have almost no impact on their teams' performance and do not last very long in the job. They seem to add so little value that is tempting to think they could be replaced by their secretaries, or the chairman, or by stuffed teddy bears, without the club's league position changing. The importance of managers is vastly overestimated."

How can this be?

As a culture, we laud coaches and CEOs for their superior management skills. Give them diety-worth reverence. Put them on the covers of magazines, see them interviewed on television repeatedly, and even some nations elect them to the top government job. 

The Great Man Theory of History happening in real-time.

What really matters are the players and the employees. The market makes this clear.

Johan Cruyff, the famous Dutch international soccer player who went on coach FC Barcelona to four straight La Liga titles and a Champions League title, said simply, "If your players are better than your opponent, 90 percent of the time you will win."

Those that can perform a specific task repeatedly, with few flaws and consistent enthusiasm are treasured and well compensated by the market. Often there is a shortage of the best talent, and there is massive competition to secure their services. 

You see, soccer teams have perfect market information on thousands of players. It is clear who on the pitch can play and who can't. Either you can play soccer, or you can't play soccer. Either you can perform the task at hand, or you can't.

Soccer players more or less get the job they deserve.

However, when it comes to coaching this is not the case. The market for managers does not work well. Many of the best managers rarely get proper attention while numerous managers who add no real positive value continue to get promoted to better-paying jobs.

You see this off the pitch as well.

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from MyLogIQ LLC and Institutional Shareholder Services, among S&P 500 CEOs who got raises last year, the 10% who received the most significant pay increases scored—as a group—in the middle of the pack in terms of total shareholder return.

Similarly, the 10% of companies posting the best total returns to shareholders scored in the middle of the pack in terms of CEO pay, the data show.

Quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Herman Aguinis, a professor of management at George Washington University School of Business, reinforces this point, “Stars are often underpaid, while average performers are often overpaid.” 

The disparity between CEO compensation and performance appears to persist over more extended periods as well. Professor Aguinis analyzed the earnings of more than 4,000 CEOs over the course of their tenures against several performance metrics and found virtually no overlap between the top 1% of CEOs in terms of performance and the top 1% of highest earners. Among the top 10% of performers, only a fifth were in the top 10% in terms of pay.

On and off the field more coaches and CEOs are more sun god and head of public relations, less visionary executive. 

The forte of best-paid coaches and CEOs is often not winning matches or generating more revenue, something frankly they have little control over, but keeping all the various constituencies united behind them. Hence why as a culture we frequently prize charisma over competence.

Chris Tomlinson, a business columnist for the Houston Chronicle, penned recently, "There is also no shortage of CEO candidates and little competition for them. Few companies need CEOs with unique skills, and boards tend to buy charisma rather than skills anyway. The general economy and market forces within an industrial sector are far more accurate predictors of a company’s performance, regardless of how much the CEO earns."

All of that being said, I do think thought leadership and vision matter immensely, regardless of how it pays.

Leadership is different from management, but that's for a separate post.

-Marc

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications, thought leader management, and event production at the intersection of international politics, policy, and profits. Working with senior executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and American politics.

Take the time to get your 50 mission cap

Ross Rant March 2018.png

A fifty mission cap was a stiff cloth cap with a visor issued to Allied bomber pilots in World War II when they had completed fifty missions. 

After fifty missions, the pilots were known to weather and beat their cap into a more rugged and worn look. Cheating death and pushing the envelope makes one want to display a roughness and not wear a stiffer and newly issued flight cap.  

These worn and personalized hats obviously made these pilots more identifiable and therefore more respected by the rookies. 

The cap was thus a status symbol.

A symbol that you had the knowledge.

A symbol that you had the experience.

A symbol that you had the professionalism.

Junior pilots were known to work in their caps to look like a fifty mission cap. They too wanted to appear that they had more than they did.

Sure you may have the cap, you can work it in to look like that, but that doesn't mean you have the knowledge, experience, and professionalism.

Not all us can have a fifty mission cap for the simple reason such a cap requires, time, experience, and commitment.

Most of us want the cap as soon as possible.

But why?

The journey is needed. 

Most overnight successes take decades. Most artistry is gained by failure. Most skills are gathered by doing the reps.

Sure the journey has stress. Sure the journey has unknowns. Sure the journey has complications.

But at the end, you're a different person. You get the fifty mission cap. You earned it.

The journey takes you beyond, propels you to achieve more, and contribute to others along the way. 

The journey is needed.

The challenge as entrepreneurs and thought leaders is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.

That's when you want to put the cap on.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications and thought leader management at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with boardrooms and C-Suite executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps leaders create compelling communications, focused content, and winning commerce.