Adam Carolla on Adversaries

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The following is from guest writer, Ed Russo.

As a leader, you have a team of loyal followers and possibly some who oppose you. Internal and external forces can work against you to undermine your efforts. Knowing your enemy(s) will help ensure you have prepared for antagonists and strengthen your defenses. One man who knows his enemies is Adam Corolla.

Since co-hosting Love Line with Dr. Drew, Adam Corolla has been a staple on the radio. He’s hosted a number of other shows around the country including his own morning talk show. After his last venture on terrestrial radio (the common AM/FM channels), Adam created an independent online radio network in the form of a podcast. While there are tens of thousands of podcast, Adam has remained the most downloaded and listened to podcast in the country for over five years. As nice as it is to be on top, popularity has had it’s inconveniences.

Adam is the target of a group he calls, the “Patent Trolls.” They claim to own the patent on podcasting (in addition to the delivery of all media over the Internet). This group is suing The Adam Carolla Show forpatent infringement and is seeking compensation.

Adam estimates it will cost $1.5 million to defend himself. In doing so he is waging an attack on Patent Trolls that, if successful, will benefit all podcasting entrepreneurs. According to Adam, “They’ll just find the top 100 most popular podcasts on iTunes. They’ll start with me and just work down the line.”

Adam is a high profile entertainer with (perceived) deep pockets. It makes sense that he might have an adversary threatening a lawsuit. But, as a leader, you also have adversaries. So what have you done to protect yourself and prepare for your Patent Trolls? Start with identifying people who work with you and for your competitors.

  • Know your friends
  • Know your allies
  • Know your enemies
  • Know your adversaries

Within the last eighteen months, can you think of a time when this person was supportive or advanced your objectives? If the answer is “Yes, but she had an ulterior motivate all along,” then consider the person is an Adversary.  If the answer is “No,” then consider that this person is an Enemy. – Larry Stybel

Once you know who your adversaries are, it’s time to start planning. Plan A is to put your efforts into removing them from your organization. This may be effective in the short term, but there will always be people who disagree with you. Let’s concentrate on Plan B, figuring out how to work with them.

Let’s begin with realistic expectations – the goal is not to make them your friend, it’s to develop a productive working relationship. In Bob Burg’s book Adversaries into Allies, he suggests using persuasion or what he calls your Ultimate Influence to change behaviors.

You’ll see that when you begin to control your emotions, consider others’ points of view and ego, create a positive atmosphere, and communicate tactfully and with empathy, you will get what you want in your personal interactions and relationships. Additionally, you will be able to make the other person feel genuinely good as well, so you both come away winner.

Our adversaries may not be as pronounced as Adam’s Patent Trolls, but they are all around. We each have our own agendas with egos and personalities that are not always easy to work with. You can spend your time fighting those who oppose you, or you can attack issues by working with them.  Either way, Adam can find a way to rant about it.


Ed Russo is the Program Manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Mr. Russo works with educators, law enforcement, community leaders, and government officials to implement child safety resources into schools and communities across the country. Through presentations and trainings, Mr. Russo provides participants with information about how safety resources can help prevent the victimization of children. Prior to joining the Center he was a Human Resources Manager in a Florida County Clerk’s Office and has over 18 years of teaching experience. Mr. Russo is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a BS degree in Education.

Mr. Russo can be contacted through Twitter and LinkedIn.

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