Management Principles: The Success Factor of Pure Perseverance

What keeps you going during difficult times?


Over the past decade of leading teams in developing television and movie projects, Brian Wells has established a set of management principles that includes recognizing the power of perseverance. He discusses the balancing act of talent and perseverance, and which he feels has a higher rate of success in the long run.

Brian is also a huge proponent of the leadership principle, “speaking truth to power.” He says he makes it a point to lean into those around him who offer an authentic, honest perspective—even if it’s one he would rather not hear.

Watch this video to learn how perseverance pays off.

We have now been doing this, whether it's movies or television production, for about eight years now. I would say my biggest learning in the whole thing is the absolute, critical aspect of perseverance in the whole mix. And I know that sounds like some kind of cliché that some high school coach would tell you or something. It's a cliché because it's just absolutely, stinking true. I've come to the place where, you know, whether it's a director, it's a writer, it's an actor, if I have two of them in a room on a project and one of them clearly has A level talent and B level perseverance, and the other one clearly has B level talent and A level perseverance, if I'm a betting man, I put my money on that B level talent, A perseverance guy every time.

It's not that you don't need a baseline of talent in anything that you're doing, absolutely, and you have to be honest with yourself about that. But it's not people with A level talent that are really the ones that end up getting things done. They're not the ones that really end up succeeding long term. It's that you have that level of talent, maybe at about a B level, but you persevere, because you're going to fall down. You're going to get knocked down. You're going to get pushed back way more many times than you succeed. And I see a lot of A level talent people who give up probably on the third strike.

So for me, when I'm at one of those absolute times where it's just, "Man, this isn't worth it," and sometimes it's not worth it. You have to also be willing to kind of shut down and move on to something else as well. But for me, one of the things that I do, it's a question of, "Okay, am I just wanting to pack up my stuff because it's just getting too hard? Or is this just really not the right direction for me and I need to kind of pursue somewhere else, where there's going to be a lot more fruit?"

The only answer I have found in that is to have close community around me that can speak truth to me. So I need to have a few people in my life that I know, one, have been through hard stuff before and come out on the other side stronger and, two, have my best interest at heart. Have those people around me to help me process what I'm going through. And I've had times with people like that where they've said, "No, you know what, Brian, you're just kind of getting soft. You need to suck it up here, and I think that you're really on to the right thing." And I've had other times when they've said, "No, you know what, you need to kind of focus elsewhere. You need to kind of cut bait and move on."

The only answer I've found when you're in the fog of war is to have a couple people in your life who you can lean into for perspective. And that's one of the reasons why I think we see so many A level talents flame out, because they think that they're going to be able to just lean into themselves the whole time. Any kind of leader worth being around for the long haul is somebody that is going to respect and have community around them.

Brian Wells

Brian Wells’ entrepreneurial ventures kicked off at the age of nine when his mom caught him selling his deceased grandfather’s belongings to the neighbor kids out of the family garage. It was Brian’s first lesson in how even the most ...

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