Add leadership to the mix of life’s great balancing act? And It’s a daily game of where to place your time and energy. On today’s episode of the Rebel Leadership Podcast, we’re talking to Michael Diamond, the Academic Director of the Integrated Marketing Communications department at NYU's School of Professional Studies, within its Division of Programs in Business.
Between balancing team dynamic, personal & professional shifts, responsibility and training, unlearning and relearning… The juggle is real.
“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” ― Dr. Seuss said it best.
Allison Minutillo 0:01
The Rebel Leadership Podcast, a refreshing take on Authentic Leadership told through real stories. Let's smash the status quo and change how leaders lead once and for all.
So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life's a great balancing act. And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed (98 and three quarter percent guaranteed). Dr. Seuss said it best. Add leadership to the mix of life's great balancing act, and it's a daily game of where to place your time and energy. On today's episode of the Rebel Leadership Podcast, we're talking to Michael Diamond, the Academic Director of the Integrated Marketing Communications Department of NYU School of Professional Studies. It's within the division of programs and business, between balancing team dynamics, personal and professional shifts, responsibility and training, unlearning and relearning. Let's put it this way, the Juggle is Real. Listen, reflect and embrace your next aha moment.
So last night, I read to my son one of my favorite books of all time, and it was Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. And it reminded me of the conversation we were going to have today. And it was just kind of a funny moment where I sat back and I thought about life's great balancing act, and the curveball that leadership throws into that, and what that means as a leader and an aspiring leader. And I wanted to get your thoughts on, on the perspective of balancing as an educator and deep in the world of higher education at NYU.
Michael Diamond 1:51
Well, I'm absolutely delighted to join you, Allison and your team here. Very happy to be engaged in this conversation. And I think it's a very timely and important discussion. And also ironic and interesting that you prefaced it with a discussion of a book you were reading to your son or your daughter, to your son? Because one of the one of the points, I think, I'd love to emphasize this is my concern, that there is too much of the either or mentality that pervades a lot of leadership, and, and thinking you know, about all sorts of societal issues that there's a right answer and a wrong answer, you know, or there's one, one fad to follow versus another, and actually, literally, in the context of learning to read, which is why what you said was so opposite. There was a study published just yesterday, and was promoted yesterday in the UK, a major study about how church children learn to read. Yep. And there's been a debate waging in the, in the world of learning to read for years between the folks on one side who believe in what are called synthetic phonics, which is where you, you know, you spell out each letter sound, you know, to, you know, and then the other folks who think you should be learning what they call, like a whole language approach, where you're really reading a text or reading a full body book, and you're learning words and their sounds in the context of full text. And this massive study, you know, that they just concluded came out with the answer, which is, well, actually, it's both, you know, and the answer is where they're calling, there's a third category they're calling balanced instruction. And, you know, I find that sort of fascinating, because I think that's sort of symptomatic, or, you know, evidence item, evidence number one for one of the problems we have, with the way we approach problems, or approach challenges as leaders, as business people often, which is that we're looking for, you know, the right answer the one answer that, you know, and more often than not, it's an either or it's not an error, it's, you know, it's an answer, it's an AND as much as it is an OR, and trying to find that sort of balanced, you know, between different approaches, some of which worked for some time, some problems, some people and others, which really don't work. So I think that's sort of my big takeaway right now is this idea of, of, of that capacity to sort of constantly re-examine, you know, what approach makes sense, and more importantly, to have the capacity to invite into your life. What is sometimes called the unbidden, you know, to welcome the unbidden things that you didn't think about, things you didn't believe, or didn't expect to be part of your portfolio, you know, you've got to have that capacity to invite those things in. So.
Allison Minutillo 4:51
How do you find the balance to be a leader in a position as you are in?
Michael Diamond 5:00
Well, I, you know, I preface it by saying, you know, with no false humility, I'm not sure I always find the balance, you know that that, I think is a journey that all of us have to constantly be on. You know, and I found, interestingly, I think some of the practices around teaching and learning, sometimes called the science of teaching and learning, are actually probably quite instructive, potentially, for business leaders as well. And, you know, I don't know how much of a introduction, you'll be able to give your listeners but, you know, I spent 30 years in the corporate well, actually nonprofit and for profit before I became an academic and a teacher and academic administrator, you know, but I think that there's lots to learn, you know, from my experience, and generally, and one of them is this idea of constantly trying to recalibrate. And so I, your question was, how do you do that? You know, how do you find that balance? So, it's sort of almost, you know, a mental mode that you have to get into saying, Okay, I've got to think of myself differently. Recalibrate. And I, you know, the easiest one is to say, think of yourself as a teacher, yes. I mean, you're not you, you now have the opportunity to sort of help people around you learn things to grow in their human capacity, you know, it's not, it's not all about control, or, you know, deciding this is right or wrong, or this is the way to do something, and not to do something, you know, and it's, it speaks to this idea that I think, you know, when you and I have chatted in the past, this is a lovely sort of phrase that's emerged in teaching and learning, which is idea of shifting from the idea of being a sage on the stage, to a guide from the sides. Yes. And I think that's probably really good wisdom, that many managers as well, but also, you know, understand that their roles shift. So finding balance, I think is, is, you know, it's not a static state. I think, like many things in life, like willpower doesn't, willpower doesn't just suddenly happen to you, you know, balance doesn't sort of suddenly happen, you're constantly recalibrating to make sure that you're doing it well. And staying on track. Yeah,
Allison Minutillo 7:20
Well, and that's a huge shift that I've seen, aspiring leaders have to make. And I've had to make it myself where you realize you do need to sit off to the side and put everybody else before you. Leadership is a very selfless act, that is filled with constant balance. It's the balancing of emotions, it's balancing of priorities, it's balancing of life infused with business. But it's commonly referred to as delegating. And that is, that term that has such a negative connotation. And it's so difficult to do, because it's not necessarily all about delegating, to me it seems like that black and white extremism that you talked about in the beginning, you don't just give it to somebody else. It's this balance of in business, giving enough direction, to show them what you have in your head and your vision, letting them run with it and fly and then constantly checking in along the way. So it's much more of that push pull than an extreme hand it off to someone else.
Michael Diamond 8:27
Yeah, no, I think I think you make some very good points. And again, I, I come to you, as you know, as a, as a diamond in the rough as they would say, you know, some of myself is still sort of trying to polish that skill set. But I, you know, a couple of things that have been shared with me in the past, I found very instructive. I remember, you know, when I led a team when I was at Time Warner of 250 people. And actually, today, I have a faculty of close to 250 faculty as well, you know, with 1300-1400 students, so you know, large organizations, and a lot of people like to say, would say, you know, I have X 100 people working for me, yeah. And I remember early on in my career, someone said, you should say I support or I serve 400 people or whatever the number is, you know, that you have to sort of redefine yourself in that frame of servant leadership. And I, you know, likewise, I think one of the phrases that I've always sort of tried hard to sort of keep in mind is a lovely phrase from Cornell West. You know, he's a philosopher and theologian, I believe, who's popped between Princeton and Harvard, and he talks about is that you have to love the people to lead the people. You have to serve the people to save the people. And, you know, at least what I take away from that phrase is the first one is a question of authenticity. You know, I think it's very clear to people early on, if you don't care about them, you know, so however hard you might try, you know, to, to coach or to do, you know, guide or whatever, if you really don't care about them, you know, love is obviously a strong word in a professional context. But if you don't care about them, it's very hard to lead them, you know? And the second is, it took me a while a long while to figure this one out as well, which was that, you know, many of us, you know, ambitious people, or, you know, probably successful people who feel they have a sort of solution, should I sometimes call a truth, you know, they're trying to sort of prosecute their truth, you know, this is right, you should understand it, we must do etc, meet a lot of resistance, because they're dealing with people whom you haven't actually yet served their needs. Yes. So you're, you're coming at them, you know, whether these are colleagues or employees or bosses even, you know, with some kind of energy and emotion around an issue and some righteousness around this issue. But you have to serve people first before you can save them. You know, and, and I think I learned a lot from colleagues, when I was at Time Warner, one in particular, you know, a chap called Peter Stone, who has gone on to do wonderful things in the world. And, you know, he was very good at this idea of like, okay, tell me what your problem is, let's see if we can fix it, how we can work on it, you know, I'm here to serve you. And you knew, ultimately, you know, he had an agenda, which was wonderful and positive and, and super, super smart guy. But you know, he was great at this idea of, how do I serve you? How do I figure out your problem? So that, you know, that's certainly one of the things I think is our, you know, the kind of important things, at least the things I keep in mind.
Allison Minutillo 11:38
Absolutely. And in and around all those stories you just shared as balance of how do you get things, get the right things out of people, but balance, the emotional EQ and the intelligence you bring to the table and the foresight that you bring that you, you may already have the answer, but you can't reveal it yet, you need the person around you, your peer, your direct report, your boss, even to arrive at it themselves, so that you aren't that bulldog, in the room forcing your opinion on others.
Michael Diamond 12:08
One of the things that's fascinating, you know, there's some parallels here, between business and academics, or teaching at least, is this idea. You know, I think I remember, even as a student always being frustrated by the questions, I could guess what's in the teacher's mind, you know, so the teacher would ask you a question. And, you know, all he or she was interested in, are you saying exactly what was in their mind? You know, and it was frustrating, because, you know, you'd say something, and they'd say, now, not quite, you know, and you go on and on. And at some point, you kind of say, just tell me the answer, you know, so that's a very bad way to teach, obviously, you know, and when you and in the same way, I think that it's not a great way to manage, you know, if you, if you, so I think your questions are very valuable, and what they, what they teach you, for example, when you're teaching case studies, you know, which is something I've been trained in and have said, wonderful programs to train people up at Harvard. And the thing is, you know, often when students are going through case studies they have, they'll talk about things in the case using their own language. And they'll say things like, well, you know, there's something very, you know, unique and distinct about this product that you know, consumers are, and you want to just say, say value proposition, say value proposition, because you kind of know, that's what they're talking about. But what you have to do is, you just have to reflect back to them exactly what you heard you write that on the board, you know, later, you'll have a chance to go back and say, hey, look, if we take all these ideas together, you know, maybe we have something bigger, and, you know, you know, and that becomes a teachable moment and things like that. So I think, I think, you know, at least where I tried, or where I was, my better self, I think, as a manager is to sort of describe the end goal, to describe what we're trying to broadly achieve, and then allow people to, to be creative and have some autonomy. And, you know, when that happened, it was typically when you got the very best results, you know, I can think of many marketing campaigns I, I worked on with my team at Time Warner, and, you know, just fabulous, creative and innovative things that came out of it. Because I kind of said that, I don't necessarily understand that. But you know, if that works, that works, you know, you bring those ideas and nurture those ideas, but, but the tension is very hard, especially for people who I think many executives sort of, Oh, certainly, I shouldn't speak for many executives. I started my career sort of as an analyst, so to speak, or very, was an individual general manager of a small theatre company. So I sort of did everything myself. And then you're trained as an analyst, you know, where you're supposed to be smart and figure things out. So you start early on in your career to develop almost like a hero culture, a little bit of, you know, like, I got to figure this out. And it's very important, obviously, when you get to become a manager and a leader, to sort of suppress that ego, you know, and allow others to bring their creativity and talents and energy forward.
Allison Minutillo 15:04
Because you know, the people who are behind the scenes fueling, you don't need to say it. And the best leaders don't take that credit. And it's hard. You know, we all have it in us to say like, we just like it. Did you know I did that thing? But you do, you really have to take that back seat and show your support behind the scenes. Yeah, give everybody else the stage that they deserve.
Michael Diamond 15:29
Well, apparently, I don't know if this is apocryphal or not. But I'm gonna forget the chaps and Woodruff, I think Woodruff, who was the CEO of Coca Cola, had a sign on his desk that said, famously, it's, it's amazing. It's amazing how far you can go, if no one is worried about taking credit for it. And, and I, it's something I'm probably paraphrasing terribly there, but it's this idea, you know, and I think that's less of an issue for me, which is about, you know, taking credit for things, it's more about, you know, a humanity of, of the intellect, you know, to say, hey, others might have really good ideas. And your idea is just one of one of many, you know, the notion, I forget what they call it, but, you know, the, they call that the sort of the most important person in the room problem, you know, like, just because Person A spoke, and they are the most highly titled doesn't mean, their idea is any, in any way necessarily better. And, you know, I think I tried to encourage that, actually, among people that work with me, which is, and maybe it's been, you know, in getting you into trouble, which is to speak truth to power. You know, I think that's a very important thing, it's a very hard thing for a person earlier in their career to develop that skill, because they worry about, you know, longevity, and, and political capital, and all sorts of things. But, you know, there are many situations, I think, where you need to find the muscle, to really speak truth to power, and that would be the right thing to do all around, you know, for yourself, your clients, your company, whatever.
Allison Minutillo 17:25
Let's talk a little bit about balancing a team dynamic. So with corporations, companies, educational teams that are 250 people in size, I can imagine the team dynamic is a tricky one to balance as the leader of that group. How have you found ways that are something that you can replicate regardless of the organization that allows you to get the best team dynamic formed and gelled?
Michael Diamond 17:58
Yeah, I think that there's sort of two ways to think about that. Yes, in the sense that, I believe that there are certain shared competencies, which most folks on the team need to have, or should be, at least working towards, yes, they're almost sort of like meta skills or some baseline skills. And we can talk about some of those, if you want. And then I think there are then these, I almost don't want to say they're different, because I think teaming skills are part of those baseline skills that we all need. But I think perhaps as a manager, there are a different set of things you can do to ensure you get that balance in the team. So I mean, just to talk a little bit about some of the core skills, because that may be interesting. And it may also be sort of reflective of how I think about these things, because I think, to some extent, teams work well. And this, I guess, is a more direct answer to your question. If they share a certain common vocabulary, for example, you know, a language of or they share, specifically an understanding of what the definition of good is, you know, and whether a project is done and thing. So there's certain things you need to have in common, including certain common skills. The critical thing, at least I found in the industries and areas I've worked in, is this idea of structured problem solving. And I think it's probably I think it's sometimes called critical thinking. And it's certainly related, but the idea that we are not as well trained, perhaps as we should be, in really taking the whole process, you know, from framing questions through, you know, all the way through developing actionable insights and leveraging along the way. It may be more creative, it might be brainstorming, it might be design thinking, it might be analytics, it doesn't really matter how you get there, but you're using some form of structured process to take problems and challenges and issues and arrive at a set of solutions or potential solutions. That structured problem solving, I think if people don't share that in the group, the capacity to do that, that's very challenging. What, what you can do in the team, though, is to have people who do it differently? Yeah. So I had the pleasure of working when I was at Time Warner, with colleagues who, I think before I was acting CMO, I, I was leaving sort of insights and analytics, but there was another colleague who was leading Marissa Freeman, who was leading sort of brand and creative, you know, and, and, and we came at things very differently. But as a team, we work well together, you know, so it's this idea of, you know, I think we're both. And, you know, what I like to try and do with the teams, again, is get them focused on common goals, but they might bring different approaches to that problem solving. Communication skills, you know, which sounds super generic, and I hate generics. But I think of it as sort of like persuasion, presentation and translation. That's sort of how I've been starting to frame it a little bit. And I'll come back to persuasion because I'm sure to some people's ears persuasion will sound very aggressive. I want to come back to that, but I think, you know, it's very hard for me to see how most teams can be effective, especially kind of small teams and big organizations, or what have you, if they don't have some capacity to really sort of persuade, you make a strong argument that's backed up by facts, you know, it has to be ethically derived, you don't want people hiding things, you want a strong, you know, you want integrity, but you want to be persuasive. You know, I'm always fascinated by people's ability to present information, you know, stand up, open with a slide deck, you know, animate ideas and insights, use data, use charts, etc. And do that in impactful ways. And I think that's a very trainable skill. And then this idea of translation, which I think has probably become much more apparent recently, which is, you know, we live in such a complex world. And we're often as managers, or leaders, or even team players, you know, in a position where we have to explain complex ideas, to non technical or non expert audiences, you know, so your ability to simplify things, I use the word translation, but your ability to simplify things is very critical. So, you know, that's the second big bucket is this sort of idea of communication skills. And then I think, you know, there's this idea of self direction, you know, you want every member of your team to carry some sense of accountability, and intellectual curiosity, you know, you want to know that when you leave the room, you know, the the thinking and the energy keeps going, that it doesn't require you as a team leader to prime the pump all the time. And then and then I think, you know, more germane, perhaps to your question directly, is all of the various teaming skills. I can't think of a better term right now. But you know, I think of this as teaming skills, and it's all wrapped, it's all grounded in this idea of empathy and understanding, and active listening. So while I'm a big fan of persuasion and persuasive rhetoric, I also recognize, you know, when you're working as a team, you have to do active listening. And I've had occasions, you know, I had a wonderful group of people who have many opportunities to work with really high performing teams, or, or at the very least, you know, full of very high performing individuals. Let's put it that way. And I found one of the one of the most powerful things sometimes, and I think it comes from the language of marriage therapy and couples therapy and things like that, is really to slow everything down and say, hey, before you comment, just repeat back to the person exactly what you heard them say, yeah. Not with any judgment, not with any, but you know, and it just causes your, whatever it is your wishes at the limbic system, whatever caused it or to slow down for you to be a bit more thoughtful, and to start to sort of empathize and understand and you know, so those kinds of those kinds of skills, those sort of emotionally resonant skills, but then I also think under teaming is a little bit of this idea of understanding the - I used to call it systems thinking, but what I meant by that was probably nothing as elaborate systems thinking, I just simply meant, you need to understand, you know, who and what is upstream of you and downstream of you in the team, you know, so when you ask, you know, so at one point I was running, I guess both strategy and analytics and insights are sort of fairly broad team. And you'd have people sort of saying, oh, I need data on the customers. Well, you know, that's not fair. You know, that's not fair to the analytics team. You know, you've got to understand what they need to do there. job well, you know, and similarly, if you send something upstream or downstream, always get the analogy wrong. So if you send him down the river, you know, and you say, here's the report, you know, you've got to give people we're going to read it some context, some way to navigate, you know, you got to give them what they need to do their jobs, you know. So I think that sort of idea of systems thinking, or I know what it is probably got some fancy term in psychology, you know, some kind of social awareness. So you, you understand that the job you do is in the context of a much broader set of things. I think that the more I can help encourage that with teams and, you know, putting themselves in the shoes of others, I think that's a really important, teaming skills.
Allison Minutillo 25:55
There's another balancing act that leaders have had to face, especially over the past two years of the pandemic, which is this this shift from, what can I do for my employer to what can you do for me, employer, and a lot of that has resulted in how much the leaders the organization is on the hook for training that individual to do the job they need to do, versus how much that individual brings to the table naturally. And I found this to be so difficult to balance because you start to forget what it was like before then when employers weren't the educators. And then there's the side of this conversation, that is the role of higher education and ensuring prepared students are coming out of college. And I was curious about your perspective of that, of what the role of both leaders in organizations are on training and the constant evolution of gaining knowledge and higher education in the system perspective.
Michael Diamond 27:03
Yeah. Well, it's a fantastic question, you know, and I think it's probably one of the area's that's, you know, more radically changing in this space around, you know, the demands of work and the expectations of work and, and the development of education and training, you know, more generally, I have a wonderful colleague at NYU called Anna Teva, who's who sort of studies this a lot, and we're often in conversations about these things, but I think that the, you know, one of the things I hope that the education system is teaching people, and I always worry a little, you know, what's happening is, is the capacity to take some ownership and control for their lifelong education. Yes, there is to build the capacity to be a learner I guess, is a way to think about it, you know, so you can, you can teach, you know, it's like the old adage isn't about teach a person, you know, to fish and they'll fish for the rest of their lives, you know, so, I think that our jobs to some extent are to teach people you know, how to think critically, how to reflect, you know, how to apply their knowledge, that's, that's very important to you know, how to join things up that they learn, you know, all of these kind of, you know, cognitive skills, I guess, most of it just goes to show that I do think education when done well has a still a very powerful role to play. It's one of the reasons I'm more sanguine about universities than some people are, you know, because clearly you can learn how to code somewhere else or you can you know, you can learn how to write copy in a six hour workshop with some wonderful person from Madison Avenue, you know, there's, there's also skills, very core skills you can learn outside of the classic education system and I you know, and I think that we can learn from some of those in terms of the modality and the nature of learning and things like that. But I think this opportunity to invest in yourself both when you're young, but then also constantly throughout your life to reflect on you know, what am I learning how am I learning? You know, what surprised me today? What do I need to know more? You know, that sort of thing. I think that's a very critical role that universities can play again, early in, in a in a person's professional, personal professional journey. And increasingly, you see universities wanting to be part of that lifelong educational journey, you know that you stay affiliated with a school you know, you started with or it doesn't have to be the one you started with. But you know that these scores offer opportunities and interventions and experiences all throughout your career, and your personal life, arguably that makes sense. I think that makes sense. But there's definitely to your question about your original question, which I think was about how much do I take that responsibility on myself versus, you know, needing to be taught in the context of a business? I think that it's hard for me to say, I mean, it's always your responsibility at some level. Yes. I mean, it seems to me that a company when they hire you clearly should ensure that you have the right tools to do your job, that you're trained in how to use those tools, you know, through some wonderful process of osmosis. You get to learn the culture and the expectations. You know, your capacity to move forward in that organization or up in that organization. Or to fill I would argue to feel fulfilled, will be driven as much by your own, you know, intellectual curiosity, professional, curious, the capacity to put yourself into situations where you are a bit uncomfortable and you don't know the answers, you know, and those kinds of things, I think, are, you know, they're on your shoulders.
Allison Minutillo 31:12
Absolutely. It's so interesting from the periphery of higher education, to see the poking holes of liberal arts as an example, of the past five years, 10 years, and the questioning of the value of a degree, especially the liberal arts degree and in reality, now we're swinging back in the opposite direction where those core skills are the most lacking skills in a business setting, the emotional EQ, the the communication, the effective listening, the listening before you speak all the things you talked about in building a dynamic team. Well, those are arguably those soft skills that you would learn in liberal arts and it's just so fascinating how things swing so extreme to the very, very first point of our conversation. It's not black and white, there is a middle ground.
Michael Diamond 32:08
Yeah, no, I think that's a very astute observation, you know, that you know, it's funny, I've been part of lots of different kinds of domains. You know, I think when you and I first chatted, I shared with you I, I worked in the theater as my first career you know, I studied English Literature at university and then went on to study theater management, you know, and work to that. And then every three or four years, you would read an article called "The Death of Theater", you know, you know, the idea that the theater was irrelevant was disappearing, you know, and you know, and you hear the same with the death of liberal arts, you know, things like that. And I think you're right, I think that you know, we all understand and perhaps increasingly so, in a in a time of pandemic, you know, how important it is to have that capacity to, you know, can empathize and, you know, relate and sort of be conscious of other people's, you know, lived experiences and things like that, you know, to sort of live inside of other people's heads. And you know, a good study of literature teaches you that good study of philosophy helps you, you know, think through complex arguments without jumping to conclusions, you know, a better understanding of psychology and what's now called sort of behavioral economics helps you understand, you know, why you're making certain choices. Or why others might make certain choices and, and all of those things, I think, humanize us, you know, that's what humanizes us. And I, you know, I worry, I worry too much. I mean, the more general sort of area that I've been intrigued about recently, a colleague from Ogilvy shared the story with me about this idea of warmth and compassion. Sorry, warmth and competence you know, and the context in which he shared it was, you know, as a consultant, you know, you're not necessarily always hired for your competence. You're often hired for your warmth, you know, you're hired because of your capacity to fit in and understand and empathize and things like that. Obviously, you can't be incompetent, but you certainly, you know, you certainly need to be hired the second time and the third time and things like that. So, you know, I think these are very tough balancing acts back to this idea of balancing. But I do think that liberal arts has a very important role play, I mean, education more broadly, I would say, the liberal arts, you know, it's probably, it's probably, hopefully not pompous, to quote Cicero, you know, the Roman orator and, you know, member of the Senate but you know, I, I love this quote, he has this quote, which is the effect is in the affect. Yeah. So his argument basically, is, the impact is through the emotions. Yes, the effect is in the affect. And I think that's what we have to constantly remind ourselves of you know, that, you know, what's the lovely phrase, they say, you know, people won't remember necessarily what you did, but how you made them feel, you know, that's, and those are things I'm not saying they're the exclusive domains of literature or humanities or, or but you know, they're clearly things which are more enlivened and engaged when you're studying a painting or a piece of music or a work of, of literature, you know, or passing through, you know, a challenging philosophical argument or something like that. You know, I mean, those are the kinds of things I think you tend to sort of, you know, energize yourself around or you yourself are creating, I think we shouldn't we shouldn't underestimate the actual capacity for us as individuals ourselves to create and get in touch with that sort of artistic sensibility. You know, those are, those are powerful lessons in life. You know, and I think you know, that so a lot of that, a lot of that, interestingly, does feed back into education now. And, you know, I'm always worried I sit on various boards of, you know, industry associations where CMOs and CCOs get, you know, Chief Marketing Officers and chief communications officers get together and always at some point says, that problem is the universities, you know, the universities just aren't teaching this stuff. And, and I think, you know, I say what I'm, I think you're probably thinking about universities 10,15,20 years ago, or certainly not thinking about NYU in the School of Professional Studies where I, where I teach, you know, because we are thinking about these things, you know, we are trying to integrate those things. So, it's I think it's, you know, but there's but it's also, I think, all wonderfully sort of started to be both popularized and taken seriously. So what I mean by that is, you know, this, these are these books these wonderful books like grit, you know, all these are these great sort of popular books that are pushing us to think through, you know, the, the emotional side or the affective side of what we do versus these sort of very, you know, sort of cut and dry more technical approaches to life. And then on the other side, I think is is a broader discussion, which is incredibly healthy about mental health, you know, and I just, I think, to me, that's one of the biggest new things I mean, news is relative, but you know, when you see a Simone Biles, or or us you see Naomi Osaka, you know, when you see, folks say, You know what, this is an extraordinary tough job. I'm under a lot of pressure and you know what, I need some rest and recuperation or I need, you know, I need time for me or I need you know, I think or you know, whether it's Harry and William, you know, talking about it in the UK. That's a really important thing, because that will break, I think, the last stigma, that's been a challenge for leaders and managers, which is this idea that you have to be sort of infallible and, you know, you know, so mentally tough that you'd never cracked and all that I think is really, really important that we're all having these conversations about humanizing you know, the role of leader or business person or, or whatever, you know.
Allison Minutillo 38:24
I couldn't agree more, could not agree more. Lastly, what do you struggle with most when it comes to balancing life and leadership?
Michael Diamond 38:36
I think my family will probably tell you that, you know, it would be sort of saying stuff at the front, you know, like putting work down and, and not carrying work home with you, you know, literally and metaphorically. And I guess, you know, during COVID we've all been obliged to do that by force, you know. So I think it's, you know, I think this idea of some level, ensuring that you are personally fulfilled, the way I always looked at it was I don't have that compartmentalization that some people do. So, I think there are folks who can say, That's my work life. This is my life-life. I respect them for that. I do not have that capacity. Yep. And so I guess, then if that's true of me, then I need to ensure that the work I do brings me some form of fulfillment. Yes, that through my work, you know, Khalil Gibran said work is love. I'm not sure I would go there. I think that's too strong a statement, but you know, I do want to find meaning in my work, you know, there's a Philip Larkin, who's one of my favorite English boats. He has his phone and he says work squats on my back like a toad. So somewhere between work squats on my back like a toad, and work is love. So between Larkin and Khalil Gibran, I think you've got to find that place where work brings you some kind of natural you know, some kind of fulfillment some kind of, you know, productive place to put your energies a place certainly you feel ethical and you have some integrity, you know, but you know, work is a good balance to life. I've always maintained - because work tends to be more objective, you know, you, you tend to know if you're doing a good job, as an advertising agency leader, or as, you know, a scientist in a research lab or something like that, then you do when you're at home, as a partner, you know, or as a father or as a son or whatever, you know, those jobs, not jobs, but you know, those roles in knives are much grayer and tougher to sort of say I did a good job, you know, but you know, when you go to work, you have typically some form of validation. At minimum you have a salary and you know, it goes up or it doesn't or you know, so you know, not to beggar or in any way, you know, disrespect. These enormous disruptions have happened in life, you know, in our economy over the last several years, which are entirely exogenous, you know, they're not because someone did a bad job or someone didn't do something. But you know, in general work is a more measurable thing with a more measurable outcome. And, you know, life tends to be a little bit more messy. So, I think those are probably healthy balances for us. You know, today, it's not an error of my expertise. You know, I'm sure there's some wonderful work done about that, but, but, you know, at least personally, I think if I can, if I can find meaning in my work, and then not treat my life like my job, you know, I think that's, that's probably a good balance.
Allison Minutillo 41:54
Absolutely brilliant perspective. Appreciate all of your time today and all of the quotes and references I will be sure to look up more and learn more. Thank you so much, Michael.
Michael Diamond 42:04
It's my pleasure to spend time with you