Every Leader’s Radio Station


radio“The 17th caller now wins.”

Should I call?  I’ve never won anything before.  But maybe this time I’ll win…

Do you remember radio stations?  Ok, I know, radio stations aren’t dead.  However, the golden age of radio stations is past.  With the plethora of media options available to people now a days, and the variety of ways we can choose to listen to music, the listenership of radio stations has been steadily declining.

However, I remember in the 1970s everybody listened to the radio.  At least they did in my high school.  And radio stations often played the “call in to win” type of contests:  “We’ll take the 4th caller now to win 2 tickets to the Bee Gees concert next weekend.”

In North Vancouver in the 1970s the radio station that most of my friends listened to was CKLG FM.  Late one night, alone in my bedroom listening to CKLG and the music of Saturday Night Fever, I heard that invitation to phone in to win.

The 17th caller would win the Bee Gees chart-topping Saturday Night Fever album.  I paused to consider my chances.  After a brief debate with myself I figured the fact that the 17th caller would win gave me a number of chances to be successful.  So, running to my family’s central phone line I began to laboriously “dial” over, and over, and over, and over again the prize line for CKLG.

Busy signal after busy signal dissuaded me from the likelihood of winning the prized album.  I paused in the midst of my quest, preparing to admit defeat and stop dialing.  One more try.  I released the dial after the 7th number expecting to, once again, hear the busy signal, but that didn’t happen.

“Hello – you’re the 17th caller.  Who am I talking to?”

What? Did I actually win?  Am I live on the radio?

“Hello – you’ve won!  Who is this?”, the DJ repeated.

“Ah, this is Dave MacLean.”

“Well Dave, congratulations, you just won Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees!  Stay on the line and I’ll tell you how to claim your prize.  And what’s your favourite radio station Dave?”, he asked.

“CKLG FM!”, was my immediate response – I had been well trained.

I was a frequent CKLG FM listener, and it had just paid off.

There’s a radio station your people still frequently listen to.  In fact, we could argue that this is a station most, if not all, humans listen to.  It’s called WIIFM:

What’s In It For Me.

The lens though which most people see life, and the many daily circumstances we encounter, is to subconsciously ask, “What’s in it for me?  How can I benefit from this situation?  What do I get out of this?”

As humans we seem to be naturally wired to think this way.  However, we can choose to think differently.  We can choose to think about the needs of others before ourselves.  Many people are very adept at doing this.  And great leaders are always adept at doing this.

Leadership is about helping people be better.  Great leaders understand that they are meant to be spent for the benefit of others.  Great leaders’ first position is not to try to figure out how they benefit from situations, what they get out of it.  Great leaders can’t afford to listen to WIIFM.  Great leaders listen to a very different radio station.  They listen to WIIFMP:

What’s In It For My People

The lens through which great leaders see life is determining what’s in it for their people.  “How will my people benefit from this decision?”, is a question that’s forefront in a leader’s mind.  They understand their role is to bring out the best in their people, to maximize their people – not themselves.

So, what about you?  Do you see your leadership through the lens of how you can benefit, or how you can create the greatest benefit for your people?  Do you see your leadership role as helping your people be better, or helping yourself be better?

Are you still listening to WIIFM, or have you trained yourself to listen to WIIFMP?

Great leaders only listen to one radio station.  WIIFMP

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Leading and Living on Purpose.