I heard a fascinating conversation between music writer Bob Lefsetz and Michael Rapino, the CEO of Live Nation.
With no concerts to produce, their stock in the toilet and thousands of employees on the payroll, Live Nation was on the ropes. So, Rapino had to make some tough choices.
And he made them fast.
Most companies get bogged down by a methodical process of analyzing data and endlessly debating the details. Not Rapino. He trusts his team’s judgement, considers his options – then busts a move.
With speed comes not letting perfection slow the path to greatness. Rapino insists this isn’t a ready-fire-aim approach. “Employees want decisive leaders who’ll make tough calls. With great people advising me, I’ll be right 70% of the time.”
As for the other 30%, Rapino either adjusts his course, or bails out of the deal…quickly.
Here’s my take. Of course, not everyone should work fast. Brain surgeons come to mind.
But recently, an unlikely team of engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab heard that hospitals were in dire need of ventilators. So, the rocket scientists rushed to the rescue. By day, these folks build robots that explore other planets. But as the pandemic raged, they adapted their skills to create life-saving ventilators. Speed-to-market was critical. So, teams worked around-the-clock. They used off-the shelf parts, tested and retested, then scrambled to get FDA approval.
I’m reminded of the late Tommy Lasorda who said, “there are those who make things happen, those to watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”
So, here’s to the return of live music. And big props to the JPL engineers who designed, built and delivered a ventilator prototype…in just 37 days.