If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
By Dave Henry / August 2017Insights
Each issue of the Harvard Business Review concludes with a column by Alison Beard entitled ” Life’s Work”. In it, Beard recounts an interview she has conducted with a well-known personality. These interviews have been the topic of some of my previous posts and featured the likes of Kevin Spacey, Penn Jillette and Brian Wilson. In the most recent issue, the subject is Alan Alda. Alda, of course, will be forever known as the actor who played Hawkeye Pierce on the television series M*A*S*H. Over the years he has won numerous awards not only for his acting in the show, but also for writing and directing. Following the conclusion of the series, he went on to a distinguished career in acting, writing and directing in television, movies and theater.
The interview this month is unusually long and covers a number of topics. So many, in fact, that it made me realize trying to summarize all of it would take far too long. So, I encourage you to read the entire interview. Much better to enjoy it in its original form. There are many insights relevant to the business world. Several that stood out for me were the notion of active listening to better understand other points of view, and employing the “theory of mind” with team members to become aware of what they are thinking and empathy to recognize what they are feeling. By doing so, individuals will become better leaders. And finally, the importance of laughter in work and in life. It reminded me of what I always told people who worked for me – it’s ok to have fun and laugh, we’re selling groceries not performing brain surgery!
Some of you may be aware that before there was the television series, there was M*A*S*H the movie. Released nearly 50 years ago, and directed by the great Robert Altman, it was considered quite outrageous at the time. I just remember how much I laughed and all the lines people still quote. If you have not seen it, or even if you have, it is worth a “rent”. Here is the trailer.
*PS – the title of the post is also the title of Alda’s new book. Check it out. Well worth the read.
Contributed by Dave Henry, Board Member at Aptaris and Senior Marketing & Advertising Executive. Dave has over 40 years creating successful brands that customers love and companies depend upon. Nationally recognized for building the businesses of several large grocery retail chains, his career includes SVP of Marketing for Winn-Dixie and senior executive at Price Chopper Supermarkets and Star Markets division of Jewel Companies. He has been a leader at organizations such as the Food Marketing Institute and National Grocers Association. Currently Dave also serves on the Boards of the Florida Theatre, SparkShoppe, Origin Marketing and Vioby Media. He also conducts ad agency reviews for companies. You can follow Dave on Twitter at: @d_f_henry or via LinkedIn: Dave Henry.