- 35 years in interactive entertainment starting and operating successful publisher/development companies and corporate divisions
- Professor at University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and Simon Fraser University on The Business and Management of Interactive Entertainment
- Founder/CEO/GM of EA Partners, Three-Sixty Pacific and Accolade Entertainment
- Game of the Year awards for Journey, Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield 2
- All 7 Best Practices
- Pre-Call Discovery Process
- One-on-One Call with Expert
- Session Summary Report
- Post-Session Engagement
- First-time leaders struggle with their new responsibilities.
- This change often happens to line managers who are in their mid-30s or near 40. They are promoted or start a new enterprise in which they are the leader. For example, a new division manager who has a number of direct reports who in turn have subordinates working for them. These direct reports usually number four to 10.
In a startup, the risks rise dramatically for first time leaders who are using their and others' capital to build something from the ground up. It’s a very hard thing for people to do successfully even if they have natural talents for it.
- Leaders allow their egos to interfere with the openness required to explore staff dynamics.
- Leaders with ego or control issues are the least likely to seek help because they always will be in protection mode for fear that the process will uncover something that will embarrass them or make them feel less powerful. That, normally, can be weeded out in a 30- or 60-minute discussion. Such leaders struggle to see how opening up can serve the group good and will have a difficult time appreciating what a better functioning team can accomplish.
Too many times in companies the attitude is me first, my team second and the company third. Encourage people to follow the credo of company first, team second. If the company and the team are getting their needs met, you, as the individual, are going to be a star, and you going to be very inspired and very well rewarded. When your attitude subtracts from either the company or the team success, regardless of how good you are, your company is not going to succeed, and subsequently neither will you.
- Startups experience a period in which acceleration slows dramatically, and the company risks decline and failure.
- A business slow-down could be caused by economic conditions, competition or business management decisions. In many cases, though, it is because the leader is not capable of leading, making good hires and mustering everybody toward executing on an agreed-upon, solid objective.
That’s when the Board gets scared, as it very well should. Because if nothing changes in the next year or two that company is destined to fail as competitors pass them and Board members lose faith in the investment and consequently withdraw from future funding.
- An increased pace and level of work can mask important staff dynamics.
- In today's work environment, people never stop working. The millennials, people between 18 and 33, pack a stunning amount of intelligence in their computer-like brains. It is amazing how much they can absorb and keep straight and how hard they can work without getting tired. Generation X workers, from about 35 to 50, also work hard and long.
Today's workers have less time to think about why there has been an inharmonious atmosphere in their working group that makes them not as productive as they could be. They don’t make the time to think about this, but there's always something in the air they can feel that is not right.
They are too busy trying to be proactive and productive. And that can harm the working environment, the quality of the work and staff productivity in hidden ways.
- Inexperienced leaders hire friends to make them feel more secure.
- Hiring friends is a mistake made by those who are nervous and fearful. When someone is undertaking a big job, especially early in a career, they often feel they need people there who know them and will support them. That probably is not a conscious pattern of thought, but a feeling of comfort for those friends to be there.
It's a very common human reaction to a stressful situation, especially among startup neophytes. They are bringing their own insecurities into the workplace and multiplying them.
It can sow disharmony on staff, it can ruin your valued personal relationships and it can disrupt the working environment and the business itself.