The year of Daniel Pink

Little did he know it, but in January of 2012 famed author Daniel Pink was already applying some of the tools he talks about in his latest book (out today!), “To Sell is Human“.

I’ll explain. It was December of 2011 when I finished reading his earlier work, “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” . I was enamored with the material, and overjoyed that his words seemed to validate my career path, and passion.

On a whim I sent Mr. Pink an email. I complimented him, pointed out our mutual connection (Go ‘Cats!), and…well, asked if he had some time to talk. I may have even quoted Oprah?! Silly me, I thought. But, I had nothing to lose.

I was sitting in a quiet cafe on Polk Street in San Francisco when I received his prompt response:

“hi, lindsey. thanks for the note.

i’m happy to talk, but only on the condition you share with me one or two tips for getting better at improvisation. (as it happens, i’m doing some research that’s kinda, sorta on that topic right now.)”

I screamed. There were some odd looks. I didn’t care – to me, Daniel Pink is a rock star and this was the equivalent of a backstage pass.

Almost a year later Daniel Pink finished the project he alluded to and released “To Sell is Human”. It is a fascinating, thought-provoking read that I highly recommend.

Pink devotes an entire chapter to Improvisation and the tools we use as Improvisers to improve communication, presentation and even, authenticity. Just like in “A Whole New Mind”, Pink has validated, supported, and encouraged the use and application of these tools to a broader base and signals the growth of this field for years to come.

Our conversation in January was one of the highlights of my year. Daniel Pink said “Yes, and” to my request to talk and it is something I will never forget.

In December of 2012 I was chosen to be a part of a small group that would serve as a launch team for “To Sell is Human”.

Small actions (to say “Yes, And”, to help make someone else look good, to practice generosity and taking risks) help to create memories and connections that we don’t soon forget.

Here’s to a new year of saying “Yes, And”,  and to being uncertain but taking a risk anyway. You never know where it will lead.

The Three Ingredients of a Successful Team

Is there a secret recipe for a successful team? A little of this, a little of that and BOOM! Can it be that easy?

The latest HBR post suggests these 3 must-have ingredients in your recipe for a successful team. And, well…how much you add of each gives something for leadership to chew on.

1. A big challenge: How big is the goal you are chasing? Is it big, a bit scary but abundantly clear what the mission is? Do you have the support you need?

2. People with a passion to perform: Do you have passion to find answers to the big problems and challenges? It’s the passion and excitement that keeps your team pushing through and keeps you engaged during the frustrating times.

3. Space to excel, space to create and innovate: The freedom to fail, room for experimentation to help ignite the power of passion and kick around the big problems.

These ingredients (challenge, passion, and space to create) nicely compliment Daniel Pink’s research on workplace motivation. His 3 ingredients: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

These food analogies are making me hungry. What is your recipe?