Ascending The Career Ladder By Having Others Tell Your Story

When Peter Guber arrived in Hollywood, he wanted a fast track ascension up the career ladder. His challenge was finding a way to distinguish himself from the other young executives. He solved his problem by solving an industry problem.

One day Guber was horrified to discover that the studio chiefs were choosing a director for a new movie based on a serendipitous lunch encounter where they consumed a tuna fish sandwich together and learned that a particular director was available. Was this any criteria to choose a filmmaker?!

In these pre-internet days, Guber had a sense that information was currency, so he organized the data about Hollywood directors on a color-coded corkboard in his office so everyone could add to it and take from it. Guber listened in the executive hallways to identify the types of information that would be most useful, making categories on the board for each type of data.

One person told another and his star steadily rose. Then, one day, guess who’s coming to his office? Sidney Poitier! Poitier had broken the Hollywood color barrier with leading roles in big-budget films ranging from Porgy and Bess and A Raisin in the Sun to A Patch of Blue and In the Heat of the Night.

“This is cool,” Poitier said as he surveyed the board. “I’m looking for someone who might be a good filmmaker for a project I’m considering.” He made his pick and thanked Guber. Then he went around and told everybody in town about the kid with the board of directors in the bowels of Columbia.

Having others tell Guber’s professional story propelled his career.



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.