Category Archives: Tough Love

Luck = Preparation + Opportunity (and 5 hours of cross country flight tedium)


Luck was sitting a row behind me, Monday, on a transcon flight to DC. Luck’s name shall remain undisclosed, but Mr Luck is the CEO of one of the largest media/entertainment companies in the world. No, really. Like, for reals reals. Ok, fine, I’ll give you a clue. RG3 was on the cover of one of their “products” last year.

Luckily, I have previously made his acquaintance. We exchanged greetings somewhere over the Rockies, chatted for a few minutes, then I let him be about his bizness.

Inspired by the grand 30,000 foot view of our nation’s beauty, I wrote an exec summary of the Offwins Playbook posted in the previous blog for your pleasure. I got done somewhere over Ohio. Or was it Nebraska? The states had all looked the same for a while after the Rockies.

Inspiration struck again, and I decided to email Mr Luck the write up. He bit:

Interesting you write this to me today.

Just last night I was writing one of my key leaders. He was having a
hard time with some tough calls. I explained how path A, being a nice guy
does no one any favors. It just delays the inevitable. And that hard
calls, made when they first arise, are about being the right combo of
tough and winning.

I would argue there is a right way to be tough though. I insist on me or
another top exec responsible and known to visit each location where we cut
a number of staff on a failed project to be there to explain why and to
take Q&A in a direct way. Ducking and hiding is a coward’s way out. Just
one example.

My view is that winning at everyone’s expense usually is a long term
failure in game biz because there are so many critical long term
partnerships. Winning short term while screwing MSFT or Sony might gain
me a $1 now, but cost me $10 later. Winning no matter what, with a long
term view, is what we try to do. Sometimes we lack the courage, but
experience suggests that those that lack the courage for tough calls
usually fail.

Happy to chat but your you seem to have someone napping in 1D.

A couple of my themes appeared to have resonated with him: Nice Guys Suck, Nice Guys Need Courage, Winning Together, Tough Love is the Only True Love.

Unfortunately we were unable to chat, as he references, due to my napping seat partner. That someone happened to be one of my two Cali Senators, Barbara Boxer. While she was nice to me on the flight, her bulldog reputation precedes her. I let that sleeping, ummm, bulldog, lie.

Anyway, Mr Lucky’s people talked to my people, and soon I’ll be meeting with his head of HR, and running a coaching session for his HiPos (High Potential Jr Execs with Upward Mobility Written All Over Them but Need a Lil Extra SumnSumn).

And you, dear readers, be not hearers of my words only but also doers, and you too may one day fly in Row 1 with Senators and CEOs.


Filed under Tough Love