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This week, I (Alison, that is), took part in a BurrellesLuce webinar titled “The 12 Essential Talents of Marketing Communications Leadership... and other Lessons Learned from Harry Potter.”

The program was moderated by Johna Burke and hosted by Alan Cohen, who actually worked on the initial promotion for the Harry Potter books in the United States.

Some key insights I learned as a result:

  • Kids can read! Kidding. But one of the main reasons I joined into this webinar was my absolute kudos that one literary phenomenon could prove that people do still, indeed, have imaginations.
  • Who we are and what we’re made of is as much about choices as abilities. Even Dumbledore said so!
  • Dumbledore is key. Turns out, almost every single talent is something Dumbledore does, not Harry, as I assumed when I signed up. I love a good twist in my webinars as well as my books.
  • Social media is like Harry Potter wizardry (thanks to Johna for asking this question)! Everyone has a voice and has the power to influence and inspire – no wand required.
  • Much like the evil Lord Voldemort at Hogwarts, there is a deadly character spreading around businesses – disengagement!

And, of course, the 12 Essential Talents:

  1. Acute awareness of self and others. Treat others as creative, trustworthy and responsible just as Harry did so many times with Hermione, and others…
  2. Challenge perceptions and interpretations – Dumbledore was a great wizard but kept and open mind. Those scared of feedback make mistakes.
  3. Think like a visionary. Help people see and touch your values. Be clear and concise. For Alan, his PR team shared a vision to make that book a success and saw everything as an opportunity. Gave them ability to constantly move forward
  4. Creating alignment as it creates a North Star to set compasses by. Let small steps and victories, like winning a Quidditch match, keep you aligned toward the bigger goal.
  5. Act decisively. Decision making is shared leadership quality. Make sure people have enough information so they can also make decisions. Share decision making!
  6. Engage others! You do not do it alone. The more you serve the more impact you have on your team. Go deeper. Go under the stairs. Learn about people – you may have a Harry Potter in your midst
  7. Possess powerful energy. Dumbledore looked about a million years old but was such a force, he was a great leader to all ages. Lord Voldemort had energy too, but it was intimidating and he lost in the end.
  8. Emotional intelligence. It’s a bigger predictor of success than IQ! Create space between stimulus and response and remain calm as Dumbledore often did. Look at how you react versus how you want to react. Often, you need to just slow down a bit and ensure you are not leading with fear.
  9. Communicate dynamically! It isn’t just about what you say, but how you say. And, it’s also about actually very much about listening – within and between the lines. Be present. Care. Try to understand. How do you use your words? Seek clarity.
  10. See patterns and trends. Left brain is where verbal, rational thoughts turn to numbers and words. Right brain is all about the visual. Try using both sides – see the full story!
  11. Create high-energy teams. You need your Harry’s, Ron’s and Hermione’s. Everyone has a gift. Everyone has weaknesses. Leverage the good stuff to fight the bad!
  12. Display integrity through consistency and authority.

The white paper on the topic is also available by clicking here.

So, is Dumbledore the world’s greatest leader?

And how can you “Potterize” your leadership role among your friends, colleagues and family?

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

3 Comments

  1. Who knew one of my favorite series could teach me so much about leadership and business. I saw an interview last week with JK Rowling — made me fall in love with these books even more.

  2. Alan Cohen says:

    Thanks for this fantastic commentary. You are right! Dumbledore is an amazing example of collaborative leadership – Harry, under his great coaching and mentoring, learns much about how to be an exemplary leader.

  3. Johna Burke says:

    Thanks for the GREAT recap of the BurrellesLuce webinar. We really appreciate your insights.

    Best,
    @gojohnab

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