Daniel Pink – ranked one of the most influential business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 in 2011 – had three key messages in his lively keynote presentation at Vistage International’s recent Chair and Member Conference:
1. Passion is overrated
This seems an odd message for an audience steeped in the value of treating passion as a fundamental building block. However, Pink observed that when he was at a career crossroad, people kept asking him “what is your passion?” and he hated the question. A better question for him was “what do you do (by choice)?” It was his wife who re-framed this question, eventually guiding him on the path to becoming a writer and presenter.
2. Questions beat answers
As someone who is transitioning from a consultant to a Chair role, this sits well with me. Effectiveness is about asking challenging, thoughtful, insightful questions, not providing answers. Pink argued that in preparing for an important sales presentation you are better served by asking yourself searching questions than repeating a mantra like “I can do this.”
3. Make it purposeful and make it personal
People need a purpose; they need to know they are making a contribution. The role of a leader is to find one simple sentence that defines their own purpose and then ask each team member to find their purpose within the organization. It’s a bit like the old elevator pitch but only going up one floor.
What was impressive about Pink, apart from an excellent presentation, was that he had taken time to research his audience and craft his message accordingly.
His presentation was so well received that they sold out of his new book, To Sell is Human, at the show and I had to buy a copy at the DFW airport. In the book he makes a compelling case that everyone is in sales these days and the best sales people are what he calls “Ambiverts” (somewhere between Extroverts and Introverts on the Myers Briggs scale). The book is sprinkled with anecdotes, insights and research evidence and is an easy read. Like his presentation it is entertaining, well informed and rich in material for members and Chairs of TEC’s CEO forums, and any business executives interested in improving their leadership.
For more from Pink, visit:
His website >
TEC Chair Tim Redpath is a senior marketing executive based in Ottawa, ON. President and founder of marketing consulting firm Train of Thoughts, Tim works with senior management teams in a wide range of both public and private organizations including Elections Canada, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health, Franklin University, Sun Microsystems and many more. For more information on Tim Redpath, visit: www.tec-canada.com/chairs-Tim-Redpath.