Yesterday I met Scott Ginsberg.
Scott is a leader who has defined his own arena of expertise having worn a name tag every day of his life for 5,430 days and counting. He is the World Record Holder for this particular accomplishment and what started as a gimmick to make friends has turned into a messaging and product platform to promote his particular brand of leadership centered on approachability.
Think about it. If you wore a name tag all day, what might be different?
You might try it for just one day to see what happens. Scott found that people began using his name, struck up conversations and he ended up creating new friends (which for Scott is really something as he is most certainly an introvert).
Here are some things about leadership I learned from Scott through his stories and personal illustrations:
Leadership involves courage and getting outside your comfort zone. Consider your reaction when I suggested you try wearing a name tag for just one day. What was your reaction? Were you afraid of what people might think about you? You may be one of my executive readers and thinking it would look foolish to do such a thing. But at the same time, how many of those that you lead are thinking you aren’t approachable, aren’t fun, and don’t really want to be bothered with a conversation? Scott found his name tag practice has dramatically increased and expanded his influence nationally and internationally.
Leaders aren’t afraid of failure. Scott has tried a number of business ideas since initiating his name tag venture and some have been big failures. For example when YouTube was just starting, he tried to out-YouTube them by creating his own channel: NametagTV.com. After he had spent thousands of dollars and hours of his time, he found that his vision of what was possible eventually happened easily through YouTube by subscription. Scott has had product failures but views them as stepping-stones in building his brand by doing what he is good at and doing what he loves.
As a leader, what are you not doing because you are afraid to fail?
Leadership focus should come from our identity. From a business and branding standpoint, I learned from Scott that we have the greatest impact when we focus on two things:
- Doing what we are passionate and good at
- Making our leadership niche ourselves and doing everything we can to improve our difference-making capacity. In a nutshell: be unique and work at it.
Being clear about who we are, why we are here, and why we do what we do reveals key information about our identity. In fact Scott is so serious about this he suggests we keep asking ourselves these three questions until we really get it:
- Who am I?
- What do I do?
- Why do I do what I do?
Keep asking it. Out loud. Over and over. See what happens.
Scott told me to tell you that he believes in starting to do something, keep doing it and then see what happens. He has been wearing a name tag 24/7 for 5,430 days. He knows what he is talking about.
PS: I recommend watching Scott’s TED Talk. I think you will learn more from him directly. You can click here to view it.