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From Decapitated Dolls to Sotheby’s: Alice Cooper’s Lesson in Leadership

Recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the hard rock band Alice Cooper, super popular in the 60’s and 70’s, was known for its stage antics and its use of props such as guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa constrictors, and  decapitated dolls.  Alice Cooper is credited with helping to shape the sound and look of heavy metal and, as noted in Rolling Stone, is regarded as being the group who “first introduced horror imagery to rock’n'roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Sotheby’s Real Estate is a luxury real estate brokerage organization that specializes in prestigious homes for sale worldwide.  Their parcels include multi-multimillion dollar mansions, impressive waterfront properties, golf or ski luxury homes and massive estates.

You probably imagine those two worlds would never have anything in common!  Wrong!  Meet Neal Smith.  He was the drummer in the Alice Cooper group. While performing throughout Alice Cooper’s decade-plus of fame, Smith was dabbling in real estate and he soon realized that he really enjoyed it. When the band split up in the late 70’s, Smith decided to make real estate his primary focus.  Before long, he earned his license to sell real estate and from that point on it has been his total focus.  His success caused Sotheby’s to invite Smith to join them, which he did.  Here is Smith’s advice regarding career changes, which he discussed recently in Fortune Magazine:

1.) Follow Your Passion:  You will be a lot more successful if what you are doing is really fun for you.  Also, don’t be afraid to make a dramatic change if you see something that can really excite you.

2.) Be Patient: When you go into something new, don’t think that you are going to be immediately successful.  You have to learn the ropes and build your confidence.

3.) Play the Long Game: Always play by the rules, be honest, and totally objective.  Those values plus hard work will serve you very well in the long term.

Net, don’t be afraid to think about a big career change.  I suspect the jump you may be considering can’t be nearly as large as going from heavy metal rock, boa constrictors and decapitated dolls to one of the most prestigious real estate firms on the planet!

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