Michael Lesker

My name: Michael Lesker

My company: SiriusXM Satellite Radio

My title: Senior Director, Listener Care Learning

My location: New York City


Best business advice I ever received: It’s not about you. It’s about them. As a facilitator, nobody cares what you’d like them to do. Nobody cares what you think. Nobody cares about your product or service.

What they care about, for the most part, are themselves. (That’s not to say they’re not interested in what you had for breakfast or what kind of car you drive. Of course they are. And so are you, or you wouldn’t be reading this profile!)

It simply means that when you’re standing there at the front of the room or sitting at the head of the conference table, try introducing an activity by saying “We’re going to do this,” rather than “I would like (or need) you to do this.” Nobody cares about your wants or needs. It’s truly about them and their shared experience with others in the room. Or, at least, it should be.

Not to minimize the very important role you play as a facilitator, but you’re just the host of a potluck learning party where everybody is invited to bring their best casserole. The same thing applies to eLearning! It should be about learners going on their own voyages of self-discovery through your content. It shouldn’t be about what you want them to learn.

Most daring personal career move: Saying no to people accustomed to hearing yes.

What I’m most proud of: My failures. I didn’t realize it at the time, but each became a pivotal, transformational moment on the way to something bigger and invariably much better. All my greatest successes and best ideas have sprung from the ashes of the monumental and crushing failures that preceded them. It’s a cliché to say so, but you learn from your mistakes and you grow from them.

I suppose that’s why clichés have become clichés: They speak to fundamental truths. And the truth is this: Rarely does a program or an initiative hit the mark right away. That’s why restaurants have soft openings and why Broadway shows have previews, and why I went on a lot of really bad dates before I met my wife.

Current workplace challenge: We create learning solutions for our call center agents, but we rely upon a team of third-party trainers to deliver that training. Auditing their performance and ensuring curriculum compliance is our biggest challenge, along with devising innovative ways to motivate, mentor, and coach other people’s employees.

Something people don’t know about me: I may never be able to use this again when playing Three Truths and a Lie, but I held Gwyneth Paltrow in my arms. It’s true! I was an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival at the time, and her mom (Blythe Danner) was a featured artist. One of the apprentices’ primary roles (in addition to building sets and staffing the box office) was to babysit Gwyneth on the theater’s lawn while Mom was in rehearsal. Of course, Gwyneth was just five or six years old at the time and probably has no recollection of this, and would likely deny ever having met me. (And that’s OK; I wasn’t crazy about Iron Man 3, so I think we’re even!)