Pinball Wizard - Leadership SHIFT Tip

I was totally into bowling growing up. I had my own monogrammed bowling balls, shoes, and shirts. I even watched the Pro Bowlers Tour every week on T.V. 

Hmmm - that may have been too much information. 

Well anywho, after my Saturday morning league, I would spend my time feeding quarters into video games like Galaga and the pinball machines at the bowling alley’s arcade. Hey, nothing says healthy like a few more hours in a smoke filled bowling hall. 

I loved the frenetic dinging and pinging sounds of pinball. The faster the pace, the better the game in my book.  Throw in a little of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” and I thought I had full control of the ball’s movement through my two little flippers and exaggerated body language.  But I didn’t - the ball went where it wanted to go.  To be honest, I wasn’t that great at it - but I had enthusiasm. 

To me, pinball was fun, but it’s chaos as a communication strategy.

As a leader, you may think that an email, town hall meeting, or media interview will give you all the message control you need. But staying in front of your message is hard work.

If you don’t control your message, the message will control you.

It will ding and ping its way through your peloton. Ultimately going where it wants to go. Its frenetic pace will leave your team, stakeholders, and customers confused.

Then, when it’s too late, you realize you need to gain control of your message. So you try to shake it to where you want it to go, but end up tilting the machine.  Then it’s “Game Over.”

The good news is that you have more control over your message than playing pinball. As a leader, every event is a change event. It gives you another opportunity to play at your best so long as you plan. Corporate communication like story-telling and takes more thoughtfulness than just dropping another quarter into the slot. 

This Thursday’s recommendation is to check out the beautiful work of World Bicycle Relief. They use the bicycle to promote freedom. It’s a wonderful story.  

Have Fun Storming the Castle!

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