I have to admit that Ron Tite is a new name for me in the field of leadership and he was an enthusiastic and motivating speaker! He has written a book called Everyone’s an Artist and combines his experience as a stand up comic (Second City) with advertising and creativity. He had the audience laughing and is a fabulous speaker.
He began by talking about Steve Martin – we all laugh thinking of him as The Jerk, The Father of the Bride, in roles on Saturday Night Live. Tite had the audience reflect on how this 70 year old has “completely and constantly reinvented himself” going from roles as a stand up comic, to television, to movies, to writing books and screenplays and most recently, to curating the Lawrence Harris exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Tite reinforces that this reinvention has “lead to an amazing career” and that reinventing themselves “is what great leaders do”. He spoke of the Top 10 brands and provided examples of how they have reinvented themselves including Apple, Google and Microsoft. He even used the example of Barbie, saying that if “Barbie can change, you can change”!
Tite identified some key areas for the leaders in the room to consider:
Focus on Your Art – which he expanded to finding out what your “art” is.
Eliminate Time Sucking Maggots – don’t just eliminate these maggots but reinvest your time into your “art”. This suggestion garnered many chuckles and I am sure that the audience was considering all the things that they could reduce – for me, I need to tame my inbox!
Mindless Accept Syndrome (MAS) – reconsider blindly accepting those meetings that pop into your calendar. He did not show the following TED talk but referenced the works of David Grady. The video is worth a view and certainly made me laugh as he mimicked the teleconference issues we experience EVERYDAY!!
Be a Rebel with a Cause – follow a higher order belief by leading with your values and considering “purpose before profit”. He said that this is “why you do what you do” and gave the example of the CBC giving up the profits of other programming to broadcast The Tragically Hip’s last performance.
“I don’t care about your values – I shouldn’t read them, I should experience them”
Be a Rockstar – Starting with a video of 1000 individuals performing the Foo Fighter’s Learn to fly video in a small town in Italy, he shared the importance of face to face interaction. Instead of management by walking around, he feels that many of us practice with “management by reply all” and stressed how essential connection with our teams is. Telling stories, reinforces behaviours and “the stories we are passionate about, we tell over and over again”. Leaders need to consider “what is the story I have to tell and write?” and need to “write the stories of where we want to get to”.
Be Anti-establishment – Stick it to the man, even if you are the man – Tite says it takes courage to be anti-establishment and to consider new ideas and yet successful “disrupters are companies that are solving the problems the establishment can’t or won’t”. He shared examples of Virgin Hotels and Dyson who have been revolutionary with new ideas.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Gil Scott Heron) – sometimes no one sees change coming and organizations such as Uber, AirBNB, Square and Tesla show up and have no other competition.
The World Needs Originals, Not Sequels – He showed a picture of Donald Trump and Rob Ford, sharing that these two have followers because some people believe in them because of the fact that they do not look like politicians. The room laughed when Tite talked about the “presidential haircut” which clearly Trump has not received! He spoke of WestJet and their originality which has brought them success and a strong reputation.
Ron Tite was a great speaker and the audience was very engaged. I am looking forward to reading my copy of Everyone’s an Artist.