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Leadership Development
H is for Heroes and other leadership lessons from Seth Godin
Jeanne Bliss
December 13, 2020

I was honored to bring to you, our audience, a live conversation with the incredible Seth Godin, leadership guide for the ages, influential writer, and author of 19 books, for a candid conversation about what he’s seeing in the world at this time.

He shared with us some key takeaways from his new ABC book for adults, V is for Vulnerable, which I loved. In addition, he answered questions from our live audience.

Here are just a few of the takeaways from the conversation with Seth Godin.

1. Make a Generous Ruckus: Make Change Happen Together

“What it means is that you are showing up in a way to make things better. And if you’re gonna make things better, it means you’re going to change things. If you’re going to change things, that’s going to make some people a little uncomfortable, because change—in addition to making things better—presents the chance that because they’re not going to be the same, it might not be exactly what you want it. So to make a generous ruckus means to show up with right intent on behalf of the people you seek to serve, but to make a change happen and go together.”

2. Heroes Influence Us When They’re Not Even in the Room

“You know, heroes and mentors are different. A lot of people wish they had a mentor, you’re not going to get a mentor. Mentoring doesn’t scale. Heroes. Heroes are people that can influence you when they’re not even in the room, when they’re not even on the call. They are models for us simply by the way they live their lives. And if you don’t have good heroes, it’s gonna be hard for you to decide what to do in those moments when your choices really matter.”

3. Ask: How Do You Contribute?

“One way to tell if you matter is if people would miss you if you didn’t show up tomorrow to do it again. Right? And the thing is, when hotels come back, the person at the front desk of the hotel is likely going to be replaced by something that looks like an automatic teller machine. Because the people who run the hotel chain will save money by doing that. The question is: will you miss the front desk person?

Well, most hotel experiences the answer is no. Because they’ve been pushed to be cogs in a system get you in get you out as little interaction as possible. But there are definitely some front desk people I will miss because after a long flight and a long hassle and I get there, they’re glad to see me. They’re doing emotional labor. They’re showing up as a human, even though it’s not in the playbook. They’re going out of their way to make me feel seen. And if you put an ATM in to take their place, I’ll switch to a different hotel. I agree.

So the question is: what will you, as a contributor, do so that your job can’t be easily replaced? Because if you can be replaced by someone cheaper than you, or by a piece of software, you will be.”

4. The Next Big Thing is Still the Privilege of Trust and Connection

“Twenty years ago, I told people the next big thing was going to be email—that the ability to connect to people around the world with a click when they wanted to hear from you—was the next big thing. That is still the next big thing. It is going to be the next big thing for the foreseeable future. I am not worried about the things after that thing. First, earn the privilege of trust and connection and use it to make things better. That’s the next big thing.”

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