Why Cuomo is a rock star right now

Howard Stern interviewed Gov. Cuomo recently. He asked him what he makes of all the fuss over him right now. 

“Are you shocked by all this unbelievable outpouring of love for you? Are you just blown away by this? You’re on the cover of Rolling Stone. You’re the sexiest man in America.”

Cuomo’s response:  

“I don’t understand it…I’m doing the exact same thing I’ve always done. I’m not doing anything different. It’s who I am. It’s how I operate.”

And then, this:

“I haven’t changed….The public’s appetite has changed. And their desire has changed.” 

THAT. That stuck with me. Why? Because it shows that good ideas and great leadership don’t happen in a vacuum—and depending on what’s happening, what we’re dealing with, and who’s involved, the game can change, and the attention can shift. 

What someone might miss on a perfectly normal Thursday afternoon will earn you a standing ovation on a day when the world changes. 

During a time when everything feels off the rails, we look to consistency, stability, yes, but different things also matter to us now. 

Cuomo has had a reputation for decades as a hard, even ruthless, guy. But right now what people are paying attention? His rare blend of competence and empathy. The country is starved for both. 

We are calmed by his competence, but also, warmed by his stories—of his family, his brother Chris who’s battling COVID, his own recognition of how he looks at life, even his children, differently now. All of that engenders trust. 

While Cuomo may very well be doing what he’s always done, he’s also leaning into where he recognizes need, the appetite as he says, for what people are hungry for. 

So. How are you doing that? In your own work? Where are you recognizing the need and appetite of the people you serve and rising to meet it in a way that only you can? It’s a question worth asking, especially now. 

Because you don’t have to be governor to have an impact on someone else’s life. This isn’t just business as usual, this isn’t just doing work from home if you normally work in an office. We have to see what we do in a new way, to understand, now more than ever, what need we’re serving. 

Remember a few weeks ago when I went on my friend Lisa Nickerson’s daily show #LunchwithLisa? It went so well she’s having me back! 

I’ll be on this Wednesday, April 22 @ 12:15p ET to discuss “Mid-Crisis Management: How to avoid management speak and sound like a leader.” 

(Join us by signing up for that free show here.)

Hope to see you there!