Greetings.  It's Monday morning, and if you happened to stay up to watch the 82nd Academy Awards you were once again treated to this annual display of the latest genius and innovation in the film industry.  With films as inspiring and diverse as The Hurt Locker, Avatar, The Blind Side, The Cove, Precious, Up, Inglorious Basterds, Crazy Heart, Music by Prudence and El Secreto de Sus Ojos, the evening showcased the famous and not-so-famous stars who use the medium of film to deepen our understanding of the world we share.  The familiar faces of actors and actresses we have grown to know and love through long careers and amazing first performances.  The familiar faces of directors whose unique vision has captivated us through their body of work or a breakthrough first film.  And the unfamiliar faces of many remarkable people who toil behind the screen–making long and short documentaries, reinventing the art of cinematography, editing films, designing costumes, creating makeup, writing music, editing and mixing sound, and inventing unbelievable visual effects.   

Amid the high profile acceptance speeches, you might not have noticed the words of Michael Giacchino who won the Oscar for Original Score in the movie Up.  But if you had, you would have been privileged to hear words that should be at the very heart of your life and the life of your company or organization.  Here's what he had to say:

"When I was nine I asked my dad: Can I have your movie camera, that old wind-up 8mm camera that was in your drawer?  And he goes, 'Sure take it.'  And I took it and I started making movies with it, and I started being as creative as I could and never once in my life did my parents ever say what you're doing is a waste of time.  Never." 

"And I grew up and I had teachers, I had colleagues, people who I worked with all through my life who always told me that what you're doing is not a waste of time.  So that was normal to me that it was okay to do that."

"I know that there are kids out there that don't have that support system.  So if you're out there and you're listening, listen to me.  If you want to be creative get out there and do it.  It's not a waste of time.  Do it."

And I suspect that too many of our companies and organizations don't provide that support system either.

In an important way, the Oscars are here to remind of everything it takes to create a successful and meaningful business, organization, career, and life.  Support, encouragement, passion, vision, hard work, a special genius that resides in every one of us, timing, a bit of luck, true collaboration, diversity of perspectives, and a keen appreciation for everyone's role.  Ideas and ideals that are sometimes hard to follow in the pressure to get things done.  And at the heart of it all is a compelling belief in the creative potential of every human being.


We win in business and in life when we take the time to nurture and recognize everyone who makes a difference.  Not just the big stars on the biggest stage.  But the folks whose quiet role is just as vital to our success.  What genius will you recognize in the year ahead?  And, what will you do differently to unlock and support even more creativity and brilliance in the days and months ahead?