One of the things you learn when you are running a complex organization — your boss lives fifteen thousand miles away — is that it’s good to have perspective other than your own voice. It’s being able to share observations that are confidential.
With Perry I discovered this notion of emotional intelligence and being aware. I’m now more in tune with it.
You really need to have your antennae out. I think of emotional intelligence as a critical tool like analytical skills or creativity or understanding industry trends. It’s not one most executive would put on their list.
I have a very unique setup here — there’s a board that I answer to. Three executives that serve from National Geographic, three from Fox, and my boss from Australia. I deal with all seven of these individuals. So it’s very much a matrix. Perry and I often talk about how to develop a relationship almost from situational management — a relationship unique to each person. One that happens organically.
There are a lot of subtleties [in these relationships]. Perry will help me reflect on them and make me more aware. I think in terms of “aha” moments, but working with Perry is less about “aha” and more of a discussion, a reflection of how I may have handled something. Like “here was the reaction I got. Was I surprised?” It’s almost creating case studies — trying to give me a better understanding of myself.
I compare working with Perry to a Napa Valley vineyard. It’s nice, relaxing; it’s peaceful, it’s non-stressed. Working with Perry is about being aware. It’s “Ready. Aim. Fire” instead of “Ready. Fire.”— Steve Schiffman