The Mother of Dragons

Spoiler Alert! (if you haven’t caught up on GOT, stop reading and JUMP to “SPOILER START” below)

Wow. How incredible that the woman who built her career on kindness and empathy turned every heartfelt follower to ash this week. The power of the loyalty that she built was, prior to this week, unstoppable. Her motives pure and sincere, and those that fought for her bravely, often died for the causes that all of us can relate to: humanity, love, mercy, equality, freedom. We watched her in absolute awe – struck by her beauty, mostly exuding from within. She gave us hope, for leadership and the human experience. Perhaps if she takes the Iron Throne, the world will be a better place – both inside the show and outside.

But, this week, as we held our breath and watched in horror, she brought us all to our knees. We begged her: please don’t do as your father. Please remember the children. Please don’t do it, Khaleesi. We know you have morals and can help right the wrongs of injustice.


In the world of business, we follow all sorts of leaders. Some are powerful through fear, aligning their troops through dictatorship and directives. Some leaders can command based on manipulation, using toxic weapons of peer pressure, cliques, politics and even bullying. Some are very clever – they hide until the work is done, and push their way to the front for the credit, looking to world as the master of production.

On the other hand, we’ve hopefully all had the pleasure of following leaders that had the special spark of what led us further, much further…driven by the ideal, the goal, the vision of a deeper value or cause. These leaders show humanity – understanding the art and science of mixing the human experience into daily work. These leaders can give more of themselves, because they believe that we are all humans at the core.

These leaders are firm, but fair. They don’t carry themselves ABOVE us; they carry themselves as ONE OF US. They help us realize our mistakes are necessary, in order to innovate and adapt. They have the long-game in mind, and therefore nurture and cherish relationships because relationships feed esteem, team-building and collaboration…because these are at the core of winning long-term. They invest in people, not things. These leaders are confident, kind, and they get results because they are fierce in their drive to win, but not willing to win in a single instance at the detriment of others. They liberate their teams to be free to think outside the box and take risks that are necessary to winning. They rule with a firm hand that is encouraging, not based in fear.

And, these, the leaders that we’d follow through the Red Waste, are not ruthless, and never willing to mow down all of the people in their path.

So the lesson to us is clear: It is in our toughest moments…in the moment of truth, the moment when your teams need you the most…that the character of leadership will be the most impressive. Those leaders who retreat to the dark shadows of fear, insecurity, and selfishness will never prevail as a leader in the end. But those who act with courage, compassion…and bring forth the guiding light of the shared vision, will continue to build throngs of people ready to serve, battle, and support.

Be the type of leader who sincerely rallies for a better future. Remain the beacon of light for which the team will see the virtuous possibilities of the future. Or torch your followers and end up a Mad King or Queen.”

Read More

New Thinking for the New Era of Business

Albert Einstein famously noted, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them.” In our post-COVID world of ...

When an Astronaut Needs a Pen

Ever get stuck on a problem, only to realize you're solving for the wrong thing? That's exactly what happened when the rocket scientists at NASA ...

How Shake Shack Drives Innovation

Do you prefer the crispy mozzarella, tempura watercress, and black garlic mayonnaise cheeseburger or the pumpkin mustard, bacon, cranberries, and sage hot dog? For something ...

Lady Gaga’s Secret to Creativity

Just before she won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, I watched Lady Gaga dazzle the live audience with a pitch perfect performance of ...

Creativity: Does Size Matter?

For some reason, we’ve been taught that for creativity and innovation to count they need to have a magnitude the size of the 1989 San ...

The Lexicon of Creativity

There’s more confusion around the meaning of the word innovation than the chaos at the airline ticket counter after a cancelled flight. Is there a difference between ...

The Brain Science of Becoming More Creative

When we hear stories about iconic leaders like’s founder Marc Benioff, or widely celebrated virtuosos like Lin-Manuel Miranda for that matter, we immediately think ...

Correct the Overcorrect

When the misguided leaders at Enron, Tyco and Worldcom committed fraud and marred their shareholders with huge losses, the Securities and Exchange Commission rightfully swooped ...

Learning to Color

Fact: Creativity has become the most needed skill in business. It’s gone from a nice-to-have to becoming mission-critical. Fact: Creativity is a learnable skill. All humans have ...