I love being romanced. The J. Peterman Co. knows how to sweep me off my feet. I always look through their catalog when it arrives in my mailbox.
Every item in the catalog has a story. As it should be. I opened to the first page and I saw their Philosophy. Oh my, good stuff.
“People want things that are hard to find. Things that have romance, but a factual romance, about them.
I had this proven to me all over again when people actually stopped me in the street (in New York, in Tokyo, in London) to ask me where I got the coat I was wearing.
So many people tried to buy my coat off my back that I started a small company to make them available.
I ran a little ad in The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal and in a few months sold this wonderful coat in cities all over the country and to celebrities and to a mysterious gentleman in Japan who ordered two thousand of them.
I think the giant corporations should start asking themselves if the things they make are really, I mean really, better than ordinary.
Clearly, people want things that make their lives the way they wish they were.”
He took control, but he empowered others. He pushed his players, but not harder than he pushed himself. He communicated his message, but he also listened. He built a following, but he never demanded it. He set the standard, but he put the onus on others to uphold it.
Culture in an organization is not “ethereal.” A “something” that just feels good. “We’ve got such a great culture at company blah blah…I love working here!” Next year, out of business.
The Rams have built a winning culture in LA. Sean McVay brought it. Unwavering in his approach. Bill Walsh and John Wooden taught him well. The ESPN article is worth reading.
I’m preaching these highlights to myself:
- 1. Be On Time; 2. Respect Our Players; 3. Live Our Standards
- More accountability, higher expectations, greater energy.
- Process over results
- Zero tolerance with the rules. You gotta do the rules.
- If it’s not right, re-run it to get it right, make it perfect.
- Uphold the standards that are agreed upon.
- Get guys who are open and willing to be coached
- He wasn’t afraid to admit what he did not know.
- Teaching fundamentals is a priority.
This is a good 19:16 worth a storytellers time:
Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story
These are the notes I took:
- Make me care
- It fundamentally makes a promise. It makes a promise that this story will lead somewhere that is worth your time.
- The audience wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that.
- Your job as a storyteller is that you’re making them work for their meal
- Story is the well-organized absence of information that draws us in
- The unifying theory of 2+2. Don’t give them 4.
- Stories are inevitable but not predictable
- If things stay static, stories die. Because life is never static
- “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty”
- Have you made me want to know what will happen next?
- Have you made me want to know how it will conclude in the long term?
- Have you created honest conflicts?
- Storytelling has guidelines, not hard fast rules
- A strong theme is running through a well-told story
- “Wonder” is the secret sauce. The best stories infuse wonder
- “And that’s the first story lesson I ever learned. Use what you know, draw from it. Doesn’t always mean plot or fact. It means capturing a truth from what you’re experiencing. Expressing values you personally feel deep down in your core.”
Thank you, Andrew!
I’m a sucker for a well-told story. Add in how a successful business navigates the treacherous waters to survive and actually, ok, tell the story. That’s stuff worth passing along to others. The folks at Basecamp created them:
Basecamp spent three years telling the stories of people who run businesses that endured 25 years or more. Have a listen — they’re an inspiration for anyone looking to build a business that goes the distance.
Wailin Wong is the reporter that guides you through these stories. She is well researched, thoughtful, and a colorful storyteller. She brings the goods.
Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Going to the Mattresses
Always Glad You Came
Make It Rain
World’s Largest Laundromat
My wife and I are reading Peggy Noonan’s “When Character Was King”, for the second time. It’s as cozy as hot chocolate in a thunderstorm. The world literally washes away when we open it up at night. On page 246 this excerpt of Ronald Reagan on creativity is certainly worth sharing:
Reagan thought people were smart. He thought they were creative. He thought this in part because in Hollywood he had seen the greatest creativity everyday, and not only from actors and directors but from cinematographers, editors, stuntmen, writers and the producers who made artistic advances possible.
Reagan thought the genius of America was that it was the place where genius was allowed. You could be your weirdly uniquely creative self and be celebrated for it and make a lot of money at it and go on to do creative things with your money or responsible things or silly things, waste it at the track, it’s up to you, that’s what freedom is in part, the freedom to be silly and irresponsible.
And to be creative.
And to imagine.
And so he never saw history as static, as sitting there like a dry and dusty plain. He saw it as something you could change.
Did you hear the thunder crack?
Stories make us more amenable to sharing things with others, and mirroring others’ behavior makes us share even more. This is the value of the story, which BuzzFeed understands implicitly
“What’s the Value of Story” by Kyle Chayka
Most big-time head coaches leave camp duty to assistants—the daylong photo session with every last camper is considered ertion enough—but in Saban’s mind that wouldn’t be right. He has a saying: Right is never wrong. It means, in essence, there is only one way to do things: the correct way. A Nick Saban Football Camp without a great deal of Nick Saban would be something short of entirely right and is therefore, to Saban, unthinkable.
“Nick Saban: Sympathy for the Devil” by Warren St. John