Friday, June 7, 2024


Last fall, I featured an inspiring series here on my blog called, "Fall Back to Reading Series." Nearly 30 leadership, marketing, and customer experience experts participated and shared their favorite books and their thoughts about the importance of reading.

Joseph Lalonde, one participant, wrote a book entitled, REEL LEADERSHIP, which focuses on nontraditional ways to think about leadership. After I read the book, the seeds for this "Spring Leadership Series" were planted. Today, I’d like to introduce Melanie Bell, and following a brief introduction, Melanie shares some nontraditional ways to think about leadership!

Melanie Bell is the Co-Founder of Strategic Piece, a company that helps B2B businesses generate outstanding revenue growth by bringing together their marketing, sales, and service teams around an information-driven customer experience. However, Melanie is not only about marketing. She founded Leaders Who Fiction, a virtual monthly book club (where we met!), while running Strategic Piece. Through Leaders Who Fiction, Melanie helps people develop leadership skills by reading fiction and participating in intellectual, business-oriented conversations centered around a selected novel. Prior to Strategic Piece, Melanie was President of Marketing Interface, which she founded in 2014, after serving as Director of Marketing at SURGE Accelerator/SURGE Ventures. Melanie earned a BA in International Development from McGill University in Montreal and an MBA from Rice University in Houston.

QUESTION: Which TV show or TV series showcases leadership in a memorable way? This could be due to a specific character and their actions, a series of events, the plot of one or several episodes, or a specific time reflected in history.
MELANIE BELL: How could I not call out the charming series of TED LASSO? I was late to the game in watching it, but I'm so glad I did. There are all sorts of leadership dynamics between the team owner and her employees (I love her story line), the head coach and his assistant coaches, the coaches and players, aging team captains and new hotshots. I could go on; it's absolutely FULL of leadership lessons, plus it's hilarious if you don't mind some salty language.

Humor has such a unique way of reaching us. Actually, one of the first leadership skills presentations that I attended included humor as one of the top ten skills a leader should have.

SHARE THIS: Humor is one of the top ten skills a leader should have. ~@bell_melanie_a #SpringLeadershipSeries #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Which film showcases leadership in a memorable way?
MELANIE BELL: Reaching a few years back with this reference, but TITANIC is it for me. I realize what happens in the movie is based on historical facts, but perhaps, that makes it all the more gut-wrenching when the man who made the call to push the limits of the boat and ignore safety warnings gets into one of the lifeboats when the ship was sinking. It showcases leadership in a way of what not to do. Talk about lack of integrity!

(Note: The designer of the Titanic went down with his ship, whereas, the man whose company owned the Titanic left on the last lifeboat.)

QUESTION: Which work of fiction showcases leadership in a memorable way?
MELANIE BELL: I'm a little biased answering this question because most works of fiction have leadership takeaways. For Leaders Who Fiction, we read THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL AND NEV by Dawnie Walton. One of the most liked characters is the band's former manager, but he's one of the reasons that the band fell apart. He had no spine, he cared more about being liked and appeasing tough personalities than he did about making sure that the group was set up for long-term success. That balance of being liked and being respected is something that I've struggled with in leadership roles, so that resonated with me on a personal level.

Okay, I can't pick only one! So, I'm going to cheat and also highlight ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card because I read it after finishing my MBA and thought, "This is what we should have been reading in leadership classes in business school."

QUESTION: Which product, or product line, stands out as a symbol of leadership?
MELANIE BELL: The first product that came to my mind was SAMSONITE luggage because I associate it with business travel and with quality. I'm not even sure how much their luggage costs compared to the competition, but my perception links their product to leadership and things that leaders do.

QUESTION: Lastly, which brand is the best embodiment of an industry leader, and why?
MELANIE BELL: As I think about this question, the following criteria come to mind: who creates the best customer experience, who is innovative in ways that competitors either copycat or react to, and who takes risks that don't always pay off.

I considered Google, Apple, both Canva and Adobe, and Disney when thinking about this question, but for me, STARBUCKS wins this competition. I'm not saying Starbucks has the best coffee (it's not great, in my opinion), but they have had a major impact on our consumption patterns and have created an addictive customer experience.

Did these questions open your eyes to thinking about leadership in nontraditional ways? That was the hope. My gratitude to Melanie for appearing on my blog, and for sharing her leadership insights.

Image Credits: Debbie Laskey, iStockphoto, Amazon, and Classroom Clipart.

Connect with Melanie at these links:

Check out Melanie’s LEADERS WHO FICTION's appearance on my blog:

The Best Book I Read in 2023 (February 2024)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!