Previous month:
June 2009
Next month:
August 2009

WYSIWYG: A Most Important Leader Attribute

WYSIWYG, or What You See Is What You Get, is most commonly an acronym referring to web content displayed during editing that appears very similar to the final output (as defined in Wikipedia).

I like "WYSIWYG" kind of people.  The personal attribute that comes closest to this acronym is  TRANSPARENCY.  I've been thinking a lot about this quality WYSIWYGlately.  Transparency, I believe, is one of the most prevalent characteristics in great leaders, yesterday and today.  It sprung to mind again this weekend with the passing of Walter Cronkite.  His iconic "That's the way it was..." nightly sign-off embodied an entire day, or a human story, or an experience in one simple sentence.  Mr. Cronkite was known and loved for being the real thing.  He took his job as a reporter seriously in his straight up, this-is-what-you-need-to-know style of imparting the world's news.  But, it was his most human, uncensored, and off-guard moments that made us trust him and allowed us to experience those milestones as Uncle Walter did on camera, in his most personal and embracing way.  As a kid of the 60's many of my young historical memories began by watching him appear in my family room every night and hearing his rendition of the "way it was."  And, it was his transparency that made him brilliant and real. 

The most effective leaders I have known and worked with over the years have been open and transparent, easily inviting others to take part in the conversation. 

Here are some tips on how to be an effective, transparent leader and communicator:

  • Regular Updates - be consistent in keeping team members and employees abreast of company/team news. Be thorough and open to feedback.
  • Encourage Talk - invite others to brainstorm and then champion their ideas and opinions.
  • Express Enthusiasm - it's okay to show some emotion over victories along the way.  It humanizes the situation and you.
  • Hold up a Mirror - it allows others to be transparent as well.
  • Keep an Open Door Policy - when people are comfortable, they trust you.
  • Know where your Integrity lies and Lead with it - integrity is the back bone of transparency.


Cronkite So, in honor of Uncle Walter, who also said:

"Our job is only to hold up the mirror - to tell and show the public what has happened..."

Show us your best WYSIWYG self!


Here's a piece of news that may surprise you.  Some of our best and most Award-winning actors are indeed methodical planners, contrary to wide-spread belief, and the way they get to the performance is through a careful, tried and true method of breaking down a script and peeling back the layers of their character.  They break it apart scientifically and then put it together in a way that is unique to them and them alone.  Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day Lewis & Meryl Streep are three brilliant examples of analytical actors who dissect their roles like a med student to a cadaver.  And, their performances are renowned.  Who can forget Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lector's chilling persona in "Silence of the Lambs?"    That came from studied analysis and rehearsal.
Thinking like an actor will enable you to make bolder, more interesting and enticing presentations or pitches. This goes for an audience of one or 500 and is works particularly well for pitch teams as well as solo fliers!  Here are some tips on how:
  • Break down your "script" into beats - divide your presentation into separate, distinct thoughts.
  • Define the objective or goal of each beat - what are you trying to say in one or two sentences?
  • Define the roles in the script - what is your primary persona in each section or thought?  Teacher, peer, expert, persuader, closer?
  • Re-format each beat focusing on the specific intention of your defined "roles."
Now, put it all together and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  Videotape it, show it to others, really get it into your bones so you can be present in the room.  Then, get ready for the accolades and sales for your award-worthy presentation not to mention making the sale, getting the job or motivating the audience!