Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Photo: Summer Flowers by Fred Winston. Beautiful. Thank you.

"The law of work does seem utterly unfair - but there it is, and nothing can change it; the higher the pay in enjoyment the worker gets out of it, the higher shall be his pay in money also." Mark Twain

"There's no thrill in easy sailing when the skies are clear and blue, there's no joy in merely doing things which any one can do. But there is some satisfaction that is mighty sweet to take, when you reach a destination that you thought you'd never make." Spirella

"The practical man is the adventurer, the investigator, the believer in research, the asker of questions, the man who refuses to believe that perfection has been attained...There is no thrill or joy in merely doing that which any one can do...It is always safe to assume, not that the old way is wrong, but that there may be a better way." Henry Harrower

Catch them doing something right!

One of the trade secrets of my day job. We coach performance and we coach directors on coaching performance. The secret is to bring out the best in others. The most effective approach is to catch them doing something right. It's actually very simple. We catch performers doing something right and we recognize and encourage that behavior, that performance. The reward.

The exact wrong way to deal with creative people is to catch them doing something wrong. The penalty.

William James perhaps said it best: "What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise although the philosophers generally call it recognition."

#1 and #2 complaints of talent

1. Too little, if any, feedback
2. When feedback is given it's almost always negative

For over twenty years we have been asking talent the same question and we keep getting the same answers. Market after market. Talent after talent. Talent is not the problem, leadership is the problem.

Managers, group executives and owners all share a similar reaction. When we first suggest working differently with the talent before searching for their replacements the typical response is "the ratings tell the story, we've worked with them, they've had more than a fair chance here and they're just not making it, time for a change." We agree. It is time for a change. First, let's change our approach. The record is clear on this issue. We have been able to turn around TV and radio ratings (in some cases dramatic worst to first changes) working with the same performers. As a manager an important part of your job is to bring out the best in others.

Watch and listen for what's not there

Second day job trade secret. We watch and listen for what's not there. This is the beginning of a creative collaboration with talent. We turn these into questions that may be answered, discovered, with hard data. How many times do we include the names of communities in our prime on the hour show teases? How many times are we saying "good morning?" How many times are we using you, your, our and we? Reviewing each segment, putting ourselves on the viewer/listener side of the show, how would we grade ourselves using the standards "so what?" "what's new?" and "what's in it for me?"

Coming tomorrow: Stop the search, do not hire a consultant. The solution to being #1 is now in your building, honest, no kidding, scout's honor, promise, no...really, already right there... in your
building. Tune in tomorrow.