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What Margin Call teaches us about leadership

There's a point in every founder's career where they need to let go in order to gain control of their business. A point where being too hands-on becomes an impediment to their personal and business success.

This is beautifully captured in the movie Margin Call, in a scene involving Jeremy Irons' character John Tuld. It starts with Tuld addressing a risk analyst, in front of the senior partners:

Let me tell you something Mr Sullivan. Do you care to know why I'm in this chair with you all? I mean why I earn the big bucks? I'm here for one reason and one reason alone. I'm here to guess what the music might do a week, a month, a year from now. That's it. Nothing more. And standing here tonight I'm afraid that I don't ... hear ... a ... thing. Just ... silence ... So. Now that we know the music has stopped, what are we going to do about it?

It's a great scene in a fantastic movie, which I highly recommend. Great leaders — even managers — don't spend their day in the weeds. They focus on the big picture things that move the dial for their business and their people. Analyzing market trends, articulating corporate vision, and defining company culture might not sound like fun, but it's the work that needs to be done.

If you're making this transition from doer to leader, I highly recommend Michael Lopp's blog Rands In Repose. Few people in Silicon Valley explain leadership better.

RobC

RobC

Marketing. Tech. Tunes. Words. Don't believe everything you think.

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