The Essence of Influence


“The Future of Media Project” …The Results of My Work & Many Others

Broadcast Does Have A Future ! and you are living it NOW…

Over the past year and a half I have been an adviser to the FCC on the state of radio. Recently, the commission launched a new initiative called the “Future of Media Project”. The massive disruption of traditional media has turned the commission’s charter and regulatory priorities on its head. This project was designed to help the Commission through a rigorous process of self-inspection and to acquire a better grasp of the competitive pressures impacting the medium it was charged to regulate.

The Project has received a fair amount of press and today was the unveiling of the study. The Commission selected me as one of 12 industry advisers on this project and I was happy to me part of it. Our role was to advise the Commission on the state of media today and offer recommendations toward a healthier future for broadcast. The Project had four areas of focus: Commercial Media (I represented Radio), Non-profit Media, Non-Media Institutions, and Key Cross-Cutting Issues. Each adviser was asked to share his/her views with the Commission over time and then summarize their positions with a white paper.

Today The FCC released the full report including the work of all 12 advisers. Attached, check out the link to The FCC’s live presentation recorded on June 9, 2011. I hope you will find it helpful. We believe it is an eye-opening work.

Yours for better media,



Our presentation was the third item on the agenda of Chairman Julius Genachowski . Feel free to skip through the first half hour to the time mark at 29:10. There you will find our spot on the agenda.


Let me know what YOU think…

The Most Powerful Question You Could Ask a New Employee


You are across the desk from what you hope is your future rainmaker. So what is the one question you should ask that has the power to predict rain?

The Right Question Reveals a True RainMaker

On their first day, or final interview, ask your new hire, or promising prospect, to describe the last day the two of you work together. That’s right, start talking about the end of your working relationship from day one. Whether you are the one that is leaving or if it is the employee moving on is irrelevant. Find out what they would like that last day together to look like. What had they accomplished by that day? The position they hold, what they achieved by then, the new skills they developed along the way, the money they are making, and even what their office looks like at the time.

When I am hiring a new employee, I have found this to be one of the most powerful questions I ask. At a particularly comfortable moment in the interview, or first meeting, I would switch gears and tell them “I want to discuss that inevitable day in our future when we stop working together”…their last day working with me. This question, delivered properly, can be disarming to say the least but very revealing.

People who answer this question with certainty are giving you a powerful insight into their “focus preference” and “belief system”….and they trust you!  Unfortunately, not everyone will have a lucid response to this question.

Does Your Candidate Visualize A Compelling Future?

One reason some people have difficultly handling this simple question is they are not comfortable with you and they do not trust you enough to share their dreams and aspirations, if they have any at all.  The other reason is, they do not have an answer at all.  They do not sort their world in future terms, but rather in the present or past tense. Either reason suggests you may be staring at a first classic under-performer who interviewed well enough to get to this point.

So why is this “future focus” so telling? Because people who naturally sort the worlds sensory inputs “for the future first” tend to better adapt to new challenges and opportunities than those who drive their careers by looking through their rear view mirror. The fact that they have a clear, crisp, three-dimensional color picture of their future state gives their subconscious mind a bright shiny target to hit.  In short, they have firm goals that drive them to successful activity much better than any contest, threat, or pep talk a boss can possibly throw at them. Their road map to success is embedded in them at the DNA level. This person has stayed up late many nights painting that bright mental picture. Their “future state” is fused to their identity and they must realize that vision at all cost. To them it is not an option.

On the other hand, you may be across the desk from Mr. or Ms. Yesterday and peering into the future for them

Asking Them To Detail Their Future Should Never Draw A Blank Stare

is a vague morass of wishful ideas. In some cases, you may only find a blank stare.   Either answer requires the same response.NO WAY. Alarm bells should be going off at this point because you are about to make a classic hiring mistake. It would be fine if the potential employee, who is hard-wired to focusing on the present or the past, is interviewing for an accounting position and not a rain-making job. Great sellers easily see things that do not exist yet…great accountants see things they should not.

So be easy on yourself, ask the “last day” question. Your future depends on it.


                                 IF YOU LIKED  MUST#1 YOU WILL LOVE MUST #3…COMING UP NEXT ! 

How to Hire A “Major League” Sales Person… and Relieve the Pressure!

Your business will experience pressure points along the way. Hiring the right people who know how to power through them on their own is essential to sustainable success.


All businesses, all sales teams have headwinds to progress. Your company’s ability to sail through the storms of adversity is directly related to your team’s deep set beliefs as of this moment and what your team is focuses on consistently each day. What you and your team believe and focuses on today compared to their past pressures will affect the quality of their current actions and future results. Your ability to focus on the right things in the interview process will determine the success of your next hire.

If you, as the leader, are easy on your business today, your business will be hard on you down the road. IF YOU ARE HARD ON YOUR BUSINESS TODAY, YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE EASY ON YOU TOMORROW. If you are hard on your business practices now your business operations will be sailing in the future. That includes the sales people you hire and their long-term results.

When I say HARD, I do not mean unfairly difficult or extreme. I mean hard as cut a diamond, unmovable, totally committed to a specific form and function for a specific tomorrow. I mean focused on consistent growth towards peak performance. I mean taking the time to form a success road map for each employee, and above all…make sure it is crystal clear to everyone.

Moreover, its easy to do…it is just so much easier NOT to do it.

Oh but I can hear you now…”we are committed now”. Look at how busy we are! If we really drilled down on your daily actions and the core beliefs that drive them, we will discover that you aren’t really committed. You are not married to peak performance, just dating it.


Take hiring, for example, if you have ever made a panic hire or just a bad hire then it is likely you have already experienced this cutting truth. If you had only taken the time to ready yourself with a more effective hiring strategy, and began the process with a more compelling belief, your hiring batting average would have put you in the major leagues of your industry. Or at least, helped you achieve your revenue goals. If you made sure, you knew what to look for and knew what those success behaviors looked like in their raw “pre-hired” state you would have never hired that “walking disaster” you thought was a super-star when you hired him. The truth is the employee did not fail…you did.

Take the time to know what to look for in a super performer, the super performer that is ideal for you, your culture, and your mission. Study the telltale signs of peak performance. Make your hiring standards, policies, and procedures HARD, CLEAR and TOTALLY CONSISTENT with your true business values. Then you are likely to have a performer that will be easy on your business down the road.

The candidate you are excited about hiring may be a chronic underperformer and is most likely emitting the tell-tail clues of mediocrity like a glowing neon sign throughout the entire interview process on. Unfortunately, you just did not see them. Many managers are blind to the clues because they get lulled to sleep by their candidates’ acting performance in the interview. Pay the price to know what the signs of mediocrity look like before you hire them…not after. It is a lot less expensive that way. You are going to pay a high price for a bad decision if you do not. Knowing what to look for will lead you to a much higher success rate with lower turnover and an easier business for you to run.

Do and believe the right things about your business up front. If you don’t do right and believe right you will pay a much heavier price. You are probably paying that premium right now!


Here’s Number One…

(sorry lefty’s…left-handed too)

Your best candidates are obsessed with a compelling future for themselves and they can see it in Technicolor. This person dwells on where they are going more than where they have been.


We all have a “hard wired” preference to how we sort the world around us. Some like to live in the present with their sensory acuity entrenched in the moment. They rarely focus on tomorrow’s possibilities, nor have they learned many lessons from the past. Their language pattern is a tell tale sign. What do they naturally gravitate to in their conversation, their past experiences, the present circumstances, or future possibilities? Spend the extra time and effort to find out. Listen to them over time. This is a core reason why you need to conduct several interviews and in different locations…not just in your office. Make sure they naturally focus on growth and possibility verse the challenges of yesterday. If your candidate does not have a three-dimensional color picture of their best future, ready for publication, move on. They either do not have one or do not trust you enough to share it. Neither is acceptable.

In today’s stressed out world we all suffer from a degree of “attention deficient disorder”. There is so much to focus on out there and so little time to focus on it. Even if we are not over loaded with sensory stimulation our minds were designed to only focus on one thing at a time. We can only manage a small cluster of thoughts at any given period of time and only one per moment. That is why Ma Bell decided years ago on only seven digits in our phone number. She knew that after seven or eight digits our memory begins to disintegrate.


Our brains are wonderfully made. We are designed to sort the world in small sections at a time and focus on just certain preferred parts while screening out everything else. That is how we cope with it all. We all have a preference on how we want to see the world around us while we screen out everything else. We all have a preferred way to reach out to our surrounding just as we have a preferred hand for more complex tasks.

We are all, or most of us anyway, right handed or left. Just as we have a preferred hand, we have a preferred way we sort the world. Some of us sort for the past first. Some of us live within our memory on a consistent basis. Engage them in conversation and they immediately refer to their personal history book to form a response. Some live in the present most of the time where immediate gratification is their primary driver, and then there are those who sort the world through their imagination. They cannot help but fantasize about the world as they envision it to be in the future. They immediately default to a “future state” conversation, first time, every time. They cannot help it. It is how they are wired.

The candidate that naturally defaults to their compelling future is a major clue that you may be in the presence of a future super-performer. Top performing sales people all sort for a future state of mind first. Whether they were born that way or acquired a learned behavior over time, either way the result is the same. They have been blessed with an essential ingredient of sales success. Make sure this personality trait is present with your top candidates and your hiring batting average is sure to rise.


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