The Business of Authority
The Song Of Significance with Seth Godin
The episode covers the urgency of addressing broken promises and exhaustion in the workplace, the importance of shipping work instead of striving for perfection, the goal of significant work and owning one's reputation, identity and soft skills for soloists, challenging traditional hiring practices and embracing AI, and the power of saying no and prioritizing work.
Significance Comes from Making a Change in the World
The episode emphasizes that significance comes from making a change in the world, and leaders can enroll a team of people who aren't direct employees to achieve this.
'Page 19 Thinking' Embraces Collaboration and Improvement
'Page 19 thinking' encourages collaboration and improvement by allowing everyone to contribute their skills and make the work better.
Distinguish Between Criticism and Feedback
It is important to distinguish between criticism and feedback, with feedback providing useful data points for improvement.
The Goal of Significant Work is Not Reaching the Biggest Possible Audience
The episode highlights that the goal of significant work is not reaching the biggest possible audience, but rather focusing on a smaller, more targeted audience.
Financial Incentives Can Potentially Ruin the Dynamic of Projects
While financial incentives can potentially ruin the dynamic of certain projects, there are ways to create incentives that don't compromise the integrity of the work.
Owning One's Reputation is Crucial in Any Field
The episode emphasizes that owning one's reputation is crucial in any field, as it distinguishes individuals from others and attracts better clients.
Impostor Syndrome Can Be Seen as a Positive Sign
Feeling like an imposter can be seen as a positive sign that one is challenging themselves and doing something difficult and important.
Creators with Distinctive Points of View Will Thrive in the Age of AI
In the age of AI, creators with distinctive points of view and decision-making abilities will thrive by providing value that AI cannot replicate.
'Saying No' is an Important Skill for Professionals
'Saying no' is highlighted as an important skill for professionals to cultivate in order to prioritize their time and energy.
- The Urgency of Talking About Broken Promises and Exhaustion in the Workplace
- Striving for 'Good Enough' and the Importance of Shipping Work
- The Goal of Significant Work and Owning One's Reputation
- Identity and Soft Skills for Soloists
- Challenging Traditional Hiring Practices and Embracing AI
- The Power of Saying No and Prioritizing Work
The Urgency of Talking About Broken Promises and Exhaustion in the Workplace
00:01 - 07:25
- Seth Godin discusses the urgency of talking about the broken promises and exhaustion in the workplace.
- The book, 'The Song of Significance,' provides a worldview for navigating the post-industrial economy.
- The book speaks to individuals who don't have employees but are leading an audience or trying to enroll clients in transformation.
- Business has changed our expectations and culture, making us believe that its purpose is to enable business rather than the other way around.
- Leadership is voluntary and requires enrollment, even without direct control over employees.
- Significance comes from making a change in the world, and your team can be people who aren't your direct employees.
- 'Page 19 thinking' embraces collaboration and improvement, allowing everyone to contribute their skills and make the work better.
- Resolving disagreements among contributors involves focusing on improving the work rather than criticizing individuals.
Striving for 'Good Enough' and the Importance of Shipping Work
07:02 - 13:40
- The leader's second job is to be clear on what 'good enough' is and not strive for perfection.
- The goal is to ship the work and then improve it in the next iteration.
- If a page or sentence is good enough, it should be shipped.
- Missing deadlines or waiting indefinitely for perfection is unprofessional.
- Setting stacked deadlines helps ensure timely completion of tasks.
- As a professional, only make promises you can keep and seek feedback to get better.
- Distinguish between criticism and feedback; feedback provides useful data points for improvement.
The Goal of Significant Work and Owning One's Reputation
13:24 - 20:14
- Published authors should not read their reviews on Amazon because it's not useful feedback and doesn't reflect the quality of the book.
- The goal of significant work is not to reach the biggest possible audience, but to focus on a smaller, more targeted audience.
- The author's books have not achieved a large market share, but that is enough for them.
- The word 'work' in this context refers to something transactional and necessary for survival, while 'art' represents meaningful and fulfilling work.
- Conversations and interactions with peers can be turned into art, while mundane tasks like accounting will never be art.
- Financial incentives can potentially ruin the dynamic of certain projects, but there are ways to create incentives that don't compromise the integrity of the work.
- For soloists, improving their life involves attracting better clients through projects that showcase their skills and contributions to the community.
- Owning one's reputation is crucial in any field, as it distinguishes individuals from others and attracts better clients.
Identity and Soft Skills for Soloists
19:44 - 26:43
- Identity question for soloists: Do I want to be a great musician or a great band leader?
- Joni Mitchell chose to destroy her commercial reputation to create conditions for people to take responsibility for their work
- Demand a team that lets you paint and clients that let you do more than what's on the manual
- Soft skills are honesty, generosity, leadership, connection, charisma, creativity, and sense of humor
- Real skills can be improved upon and are important in deciding if we're happy with something
- False proxies are dangerous and ineffective measures we use in judging others
- Proxies like appearance, interview skills, typos on resumes don't determine someone's usefulness as a contributor
Challenging Traditional Hiring Practices and Embracing AI
26:16 - 33:02
- Traditional hiring practices often rely on proxies like interview skills and resume typos, which may not accurately predict a person's ability to contribute effectively.
- Misogyny, caste systems, and racism can be perpetuated when people with power reinforce these flawed hiring practices.
- Instead of measuring superficial indicators like keystrokes or lines of code, it is more important to evaluate whether an employee is actually solving the problems at hand.
- Impostor syndrome is common among individuals who feel like frauds in their work because they are uncertain about their abilities.
- Feeling like an imposter can be seen as a positive sign that one is challenging themselves and doing something difficult and important.
- Useful imposters are those who show up generously, imagining and describing a future that benefits others.
- Leadership involves bringing doubt with you while earning the benefit of the doubt from others through peace of mind rather than proof.
- AI will have a significant impact on various professions, replacing mediocre practitioners but also creating opportunities for those who can leverage AI effectively.
- Creators with distinctive points of view and decision-making abilities will thrive in the age of AI by providing value that AI cannot replicate.
- Professionals should embrace AI and learn how to use it intelligently while focusing on developing real skills such as leadership and connection.
- AI may be trusted for certain tasks but should not be relied upon for making decisions that require human judgment.
- 'Saying no' is an important skill for professionals to cultivate.
The Power of Saying No and Prioritizing Work
32:45 - 35:10
- Successful soloists know how to say no to gigs that don't align with their goals.
- Saying no is a way of prioritizing one's time and energy.
- It's important to recognize when someone else can better serve a client's needs and refer them accordingly.
- Fear of competition should not prevent professionals from saying no.
- Being clear about one's expertise and referring clients to others who specialize in different areas can lead to better work and peace of mind.