Tuesday, May 31, 2016

64 Shots In New York June 15

Mark the diary: Wednesday June 15, 7pm, KR one-on-one with Alexis Glick for the Academi of Life. A few years ago I took part in an intense conversation about Lovemarks and life with Alexis Glick, former television business anchor and Vice President of Fox Business News, and an audience of 200 or so at Donna Karan’s studio in the West Village. Glick and I are back courtesy of Shirley Moulton’s Academi of Life with a focus on leadership and the new book 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World. Alexis was an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley and began her career at Goldman Sachs. She is currently the CEO of GENYOUth, which specializes in a range of national youth initiatives including the largest in-school wellness program.

Wednesday 7:00 pm June 15, 2016
The Center For Social Innovation (CSI)
601 West 26th Street
3rd Floor, Suite 325
New York 10001

Go here for ticketing information

Image attribute/source: The Academi of Life / twitter.com

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, Bob!

A birthday shout-out to Bob Dylan on the occasion of his 75th birthday on May 24. America’s great artistic shape-shifter, Bob Dylan was generous enough to give his fans a birthday present just the week before: the release of Fallen Angels, his 37th studio album. A follow-up to last year’s Shadows in the Night, the new record finds Dylan in a retrospective mood, tackling twelve classics from the Great American Songbook from the likes of Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn, and Carolyn Leigh. Each of these songs—which include “Young At Heart,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” “Skylarks,” “That Old Black Magic,” “All The Way,” “Melancholy Mood,” “It Had to Be You,” and “Come Rain or Come Shine”—were initially made famous by Frank Sinatra.

While the pairing of crooner and croaker might initially seem unlikely, Dylan at an awards event last year related an anecdote that put his vocal critics in the shade. When Sam Cooke was told he had a beautiful voice, Dylan told the crowd, “He said, ‘Well that's very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.’” And it is that truth—and Dylan’s unerring sense of phrasing—that he shares with Sinatra.

The furthest thing imaginable to an oldies cash-in, Fallen Angels showcases Dylan and his tight combo treating each of these numbers to a wholesale reimagining, with the band leader investing each song with a lifetime’s hard-won yearning, humor, and wisdom. And it is perhaps Dylan’s distinctly American need and ability to reinvent himself—and the license he gave to generations of artists from David Bowie to Prince to Madonna to Lady Gaga to do the same—that will be his greatest legacy.

In 1967 Paul McCartney, perhaps Dylan’s only living peer, wrote a song that asked “Will you still need me/when I’m sixty-four?” At 75 Bob is as young and vital and artist as we have and we need his voice to help us through this crazy world now more than ever... Speaking of how to navigate a crazy world, my new book, 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World, is due out the first day of summer, Tuesday, June 21. Among the heroes, visionaries, leaders, artists, and luminaries I write about in its pages is the subject of this article, the man Bono called “our own Willy Shakespeare in a polka-dot shirt.”

Image attribute/source: Steve Forrest / Twitter

Sunday, May 29, 2016

#NewGeneration All Blacks

The All Blacks have lost over 700 caps with the retirement of the Golden Generation – McCaw, Mealamu, Smith, Nonu and Carter all gone.

A time of vulnerability? A time for rebuilding? No. A time for ‘re-establishment’ is what Coach Steve Hansen calls it.

Succession planning and Inspirational Leadership to the fore. Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden, Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett and Malakai Fekitoa to stand up, take charge and do what’s right. The Northern Hemisphere think we are ‘vulnerable’. But Peak Performance requires not only the BTI (Big Transforming Idea), it requires execution of the Last Detail. And Hansen and his coaches know all about this.

The new All Blacks were selected today. A new era begins in June with three tests against Warren Gatland’s Wales – worthy opponents. But the new All Blacks know ‘No opposition is more intimidating than the legacy’.

Image source: allblacks.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

64 Shots – A Taste

As we gear towards the launch on June 21 of 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World, I’m going to post some extracts and highlights from the book as tasters. I have stood on some mighty shoulders on my own leader’s journey, and today I share some of their wisdom from the text. In order of appearance.

“To lead is to listen, to pay attention to every detail, to decide.”
Shimon Peres

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
Peter Drucker

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winston Churchill

“My army won because they knew what they were fighting for and loved what they knew.”
Oliver Cromwell, British leader, soldier, politician

“Look, don’t see, listen, don’t hear.
The more you engage, the longer you survive.”
Jack Reacher

“Enthusiasm is the emotion that offers us the greatest happiness, the only one that offers it to us, the only one able to sustain human destiny in whatever situation destiny places us.”
Madame de Staël

“I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.”
Spanish Emperor Charles V

"Nothing succeeds like excess."
Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 23, 2016

Meet The Nowhere Man

It takes a lot of time to establish a continuing character kind of fictional hero. One who you feel you know, one you’d like to have a beer with, one you’d trust your life to. Over the past decade or more, I’ve kept company with Gabriel Allon and Jack Reacher – both of whom have new books – The Black Widow coming on July 12, and Night School due November 16. Now there may be a newcomer surfacing.

Brother-in-law Colin introduced me to The Nowhere Man. Evan Smoak, aka Orphan X – a creation of Gregg Hurwitz.

A good man who follows 10 Commandments:
  1. Demand ironclad proof
  2. Master your surroundings
  3. Never make it personal
  4. Question orders
  5. One mission at a time
  6. Always play offense
  7. Never let an innocent die
Let’s see how he develops – and what the other three commandments are.

Image attribute/source: amazonaws.com / Gregg Hurwitz / ytimg.com

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Top New People At Top World Sports

Sport is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Two of the world’s leading sports organizations – World Rugby and FIFA – have new people at the helm, with both appointments coming at a time when sport has never been more popular, or problematic. The challenges range from money – not the lack of it but where it comes from and where it goes – transparency, trust and match integrity through to new formats and player welfare, concussions and anti-doping.

My mate from Lancashire, Bill Beaumont, the former barn-storming and somewhat menacing lock who captained both England to a grand slam and the British Lions to a series win, was elected last week as chairman of World Rugby (formerly the International Rugby Board). There are not a lot of things in business and life that get unanimous backing, but that is what Beaumont received from the voting countries to elevate him to the leadership.

Billy is a Red Rose man through and through; born in Preston, educated in Kirby Lonsdale, with the family textile firm in Chorley a stalwart of Fylde RUFC as player, captain, chairman and Father of England player Josh. Writing in The Guardian, Robert Kitson noted “there is no one on planet rugby who has been trusted with more senior roles as both a player and an official than the 64-year-old Beaumont,” noting his innate rugby knowledge and first-hand awareness of the issues. “His positive relationships with virtually all the sport’s great and good will be a valuable asset.”

Beaumont’s priorities for World Rugby are “continuing to protect players, preserving integrity, enhancing global competition, optimising partnerships and empowering and strengthening unions." Following a wildly successful Rugby World Cup in England in 2015, rugby’s international focus switches to the Olympic sevens tournament in Rio, with the 2019 World Cup in Japan also seen as crucial in terms of promoting the game to new markets. (And a red letter day for USA Rugby at the moment of Bill’s election – with the US being elected as permanent member of the Global Executive Committee… giving the US a voice in the development of the game for the first time.)

In the other football code, for the first time ever a woman and a non-European has been appointed FIFA Secretary General. Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura from Senegal is a 21 year veteran of the United Nations, currently the UN Development Programme’s representative in Nigeria, coordinating the activities of 2,000 staff members, and evaluating the security, political and socio-economic situation and trends in Africa’s most populous country. FIFA have sought new perspectives and skills from outside the traditional pool of football managers – a wise move given the turmoil in the sport at the top level. Notes FIFA President Gianni Infantino, “Fatma is a woman with international experience and vision who has worked on some of the most challenging issues of our time. She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organisations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organisation.”

Guy Clark, Texas Troubadour (1941-2016)

Andy Murray wrote me today that Guy Clark had passed.

“He's one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith. Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.“

My friend Robin Dyke introduced me to Guy Clark. Have been playing his Songs & Stories Live album all morning.

“I loved you from the git go
and I’ll love you till I die,
I loved you on the Spanish steps,
the day you said goodbye.”

And I’m with him – and Robin:
“Now, he’s old and gray …
And he’s still jumpin’ off the garage …
All these years the people said, he was actin’ like a kid
He did not know he could not fly
And so he did.”

Sad day but we know where he has gone to carry on -

"When I die, don't bury me
In a box in a cemetary
Out in the garden would be much better
And I could be pushin' up homegrown tomatoes."

RIP Guy.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For

I am blessed that two parts of the world in which I live – New Zealand and northwest Arizona – have significant indigenous cultures and traditions. Both Maori and Hopi Indian cultures have deep spiritual dimensions associated with the environment, family, life and death. For Maori, the life force is known as Mauri, the essential essence of being, an energy which permeates through all living things. Being Hopi involves a state of total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of Maasaw, the Creator or Caretaker of Earth. The Hopi observe their traditional ceremonies for the benefit of the entire world.

On a wall in my house in Carefree AZ I have a prophesy from the Hopi Elders, purportedly an open letter of advice on how to get through the year 2001. It could not be more prescient in 2016:

To my fellow swimmers:
here is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift,
that there are those who will be afraid,
who will try to hold on to the shore,
they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
and keep our heads above water.
And I say see who is there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history we are to take nothing personally,
least of all ourselves, for the moment we do,
our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
For we are the ones we have been waiting for.

So Act Now!

Image attribute: Brian Joseph

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Talking TED

Speaking in public to an audience is the most terrifying experience many – most – people will have. Yet when you master the skills, have a story worth sharing, and deliver a great performance, the experience can be like skyrockets going off in your mind. The TED movement – originally for Technology, Entertainment and Design – has advanced the art of presentation giving (and receiving) to a widely celebrated art form. TED was founded in 1984 by the garrulous impresario Richard Saul Wurman, and for many years it was the greatest private club in the world. Chris Anderson bought TED in 2001 and threw the doors open. Today TED Talks have been viewed several billion times and the brand has become synonymous with brainy stuff that changes the world and makes it better.

Chris Anderson has just released The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking to help not only TED speakers prepare, but also to help everyone who has had one of those “I’d rather swallow a tarantula than get up in front of a room full of people” moments. Here are his top tips:
  • A speaker’s job is to give, not take
  • Slash back your topics to a single idea and connect every point to that theme
  • Get personal
  • Knowledge can’t be pushed into a brain, it has to be pulled in
  • Start strong, end stronger
  • Everyone can learn to give an effective talk
Plus, I would add: practice. You all know the line about the visitor to Manhattan asking a local how to get to Carnegie Hall, and the local answered “practice practice practice.” A mate did a TEDx talk at the biggest TED event in the world – 2500 people in Auckland NZ. He told me he locked himself in a hotel room for five days, wrote a script, and learnt it line by line, pause by pause, para by para, page by page. Practised it dozens of times, standing in front of a mirror, with the phone on record mode. He had a skyrocket moment.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Foxes Have It

I’m a diehard Man City mad man who bleeds light blue. All football allegiances give way this week to the extraordinary achievement of the Foxes. Fist pumping congratulations to Claudio Ranieri and his extraordinary Leicester City for pulling off the coup of the century (and also to music maestro Rich Robinson whose love for Leicester knows no bounds).

Leicester were almost relegated last season. They began this season as 5,000-1 outsiders for the Premier League Title they have won (the bookies are reeling to the tune of £25 million). The record book has been shredded and lies in tatters.

Underdog, turnaround stories like this beauty make sporting competition the greatest show on earth. It took Leicester 132 years but they got there. The cost of assembling the squad was what my team spent on a single player. Here’s to Claudio, Jamie, Riyad and the boys. Dilly ding, dilly dong.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

When I’m 64

“Before 70 we are merely respected, at best, and we have to behave all the time but after 70 we are respected, esteemed, admired, revered, and don’t have to behave unless we want to"… so said Mark Twain. Thanks to Lennon and McCartney, 70 has now become 64… (another reason why 64 Shots) so permission to misbehave is granted.

Hillary Clinton (68) and Bernie Sanders (74) are living the dream. Imagine if they were in the same Democratic ticket… a combined 142 years leading the Free World. Rebel all you millennials… and quickly please!!! People younger than 35 are too young to be legally elected President (an ageist prejudice in reverse) and it looks as though people between the ages of 35 and 63 are “in betweeners”, too young to misbehave, and too old to excite.

We’re left with the over 64’s… So much for Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey’s ‘My Generation'.


P.s How old is the Donald?

Image source: europe.newsweek.com