My great friend, Chris Cuomo, journalist and news anchor on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, has some ideas about a concept I use in my coaching. I call it “showtime.” What it means to me is exemplified by some of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met. These great leaders show up rain or shine. They don’t complain and whine, but like a kid on Broadway show up and do their part.
I was curious to hear what Chris has to say about this concept and thought you might be too, so below is a brief excerpt from our discussion.
Marshall: Chris, I love your show, Cuomo Prime Time. I’d like you to talk to my viewers about a concept that I use in my coaching. I want to get your views on it. You know, sometimes I think people forget it’s show time. The greatest leaders I’ve ever met don’t whine or complain. They don’t say, “poor me, my foot hurts,” When I hear a leader, especially at the CEO level whining and complaining, I call them out on it. I ask them, “Have you ever been to a Broadway play? That kid out there on stage, do you hear him say my foot hurts or I have a headache. Or my aunt died last week? No, it’s show time.” I tell the CEOS, “you’re making about 1000 times what that kid is making. If that kid can go out there night after night, so can you.”
You know what, Chris, you’re on the show day after day, and my guess is some days you have a headache. Some days your foot might hurt, and maybe your aunt died last week. How do you keep that attitude of “show time”?
Chris: It’s about the job. That’s the key.
It’s about the job. You have a role. You have a responsibility, and it’s always bigger than you. No matter what organization you’re working with, there’s so many people who are relying on you that you have to divorce yourself from whatever baggage you’re carrying in that moment, and surrender to your cause. The red light goes on (literally for me) and it’s no longer about those you carried in. While I may be dealing with them, but right now, in this moment, where I am present, I have to be about the responsibility to the job.
This becomes acutely important when you’re in live, breaking coverage. There’s something terrible going on, you’re in the midst of it. Everything in you is telling you to process it personally. The death, the destruction, the pain, the emotion. It’s not about “me”. It’s about the victims, the survivors, who was lost, and why. So, in the moment, when the red light goes on, you have to remember your responsibility to your devotion to that thing that is bigger than you. Your company, your show, your team. When the red light goes on, that’s what you’re about. That’s who you are. When the red light goes off, you process like anybody else.
Marshall: You know, I love that. If you don’t mind, I’m going to steal this in my coaching.
Marshall: Because what I love about it is that phrase, when the red light goes on. If you’re in the leadership role, anytime you’re around those people you’re leading, the red light is on. That is such a positive and healthy way to look at life. Thank you.
Chris: Thank you.
On June 20th, I was honored to be inducted into the Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame – whose members include the top management thinkers of our time.