The greatest things in the world rely on incredible work behind the scenes. That’s true when you’re talking about Cirque du Soleil, Disneyland, or a great restaurant. But it’s equally true for people. For every person out there who’s changing the world, there’s a team of amazing people working with them to accomplish the unthinkable.
I’ve had the good fortune to spend a fair bit of time with some of the most successful people in the world. The most surprising thing to me is the great diversity of character at the highest levels of any discipline. Some leaders are warm and caring. Some are ruthless and driven. But beyond that, there remain a special few that manage to draw you in and make you feel comfortable and inspired. They are magnetic.
For a long time, I wasn’t sure what it was about these individuals that made them more compelling than their peers. Recently though, it became clear.
Magnetic people share three somewhat counterintuitive traits.
We live and work in a world where five years is an eternity. When Undercurrent was founded in 2007, Facebook was for college kids. Twitter was the toast of SXSW. The original iPhone was under lock and key at Apple. Obama had just announced that he’d run for President. If technological potential was behind a dam, it was about to spring a leak.
Today, virtually every corner of our lives has been impacted by social, mobile, and open-source movements. The time from zero to a million users/customers/members/
The predominant model for managing digital products and services today could be aptly described as “command and control.” Annual planning and top down decision-making structures are the rule rather than the exception. As a result, large groups of people move slowly in lockstep toward a shared vision, while startups run circles around them. It’s an approach I’ve been loosely referring to as “redcoat digital.”