Some time ago, I had the opportunity to sit with one of the Top acting coaches in Los Angeles. He lived next door to a close friend of mine and we just happen to both show up at my friends’ place at the same time.
We sat and talked about creativity, development, and coaching. When I first met him, I didn't think we had much in common.
Yet how often is it the case that once you get into a conversation with someone, you realize how much you actually do have in common?
Craig Archibald has coached actors that you have seen in films. Some have been nominated for major awards. Some have won them.
I say this because Craig has a reliable approach - he has produced graduates who have gone on to excel.
This is also the role of an executive. I shared a story about one of my clients; when applying for a new job, he put at the Top of his resume: “I promoted over 30 people.”
There is tremendous power in being able to say, and there is tremendous satisfaction in having done it.
These two experiences (and these two people) connected things in my mind when I started pursuing Structured Thinking™ as a process.
One thing that amazes me about film and television work (on the part of actors) is the inordinate amount of time that they sit around waiting, then - on command - have got to emote.
They have to be in the moment. They must bring someone else's words to life.
Facial expressions, their tone of voice, their movement; all of it specifically controlled. All of it brought to the surface.
I started to understand (and have a greater appreciation for) the work that goes on behind the scenes after my first conversation with Craig.
He shared with me that as his brand grew in stature, he was approached more and more by struggling actors as well as people new to the LA scene. He had to be very firm in turning some of those people away. Sometimes because he did not sense talent. Sometimes because it was clear to him that the person did not have discipline. Ultimately though, he said that people that cannot do the work for the sake of the work with the intent of improving over time; would reveal themselves very quickly.
This would make him wonder whether or not it made sense for him to invest further time with that actor.
His consistent refrain is: “Lean into the long road.”
He has very little patience for people that show up and say: “I want to win awards.” or “I want to be famous.”
While both of those are honorable (and certainly exciting) prospects to consider, Craig wants people to be in love with the art.
And the art requires discipline. It requires practice. It requires focus.
As an executive, it is up to you to lean into the long road.
To be able to point to how many people you have promoted because you have inspired and developed them. To be able to freely, openly, at a moment's notice discuss your vision for your group, team, organization or division.
Leaning into the long road is great advice.
As someone who is written multiple books, I can tell you the books are not written in a day. Movies are not made in a day.
Building and running a team of people is not about you making a statement once and hoping that everyone jumps up on board.
Your consistent elevation of language, your Structured Thinking™ and your commitment to inspiring others means that you are ready to lean into the long road.
You will do more thinking as an executive than doing.
I encourage anyone interested in pursuing an executive role to;
“THINK more. DO Less.”
Think about where you think your people can go. Think about what you think you can help them accomplish.
This is leaning into the long road, and THIS is where you are headed… As an Executive.