Improve Your Business with Lessons
from Reality TV
By Jon Wee and Owen Morse
Think you can’t improve your business by
watching primetime television? Think again. Even the world of
reality TV has nuggets of gold hidden within each episode. So while
any business would benefit from having an extra million dollars
infused into it, when you master these five lessons, you will have
the keys that will help you earn that million dollars.
Lesson #1: Listen to criticism: If there’s one thing judges do
on a reality TV show, it’s criticize. Sure, some of the criticism is
done just to get ratings, but most of the criticism has some
merit…if you really listen to it.
business world, this does not mean you ask everyone you see for
their opinion. However, if your boss or a key client offers a
suggestion or criticizes something you do, don’t get defensive.
Instead, listen to what the other person is saying. Does their
comment have some validity? What part of their suggestion can you
implement? Step into their shoes and try to understand why they’re
offering the comment. Even if you determine that the person’s
criticism will not improve your performance, at least show respect
to the person as he or she is offering the suggestion.
listen to and use criticism constructively, you make changes for the
better and will go a lot further.
Lesson #2: Do what you do best: We all have certain things we’re
very good at doing. However, in the quest to win, some contestants
have tried to come up with something totally new and different to
wow the judges. Unfortunately, they weren’t comfortable performing
the new material on stage, and it showed. After all, with ten
million people watching you on live TV, and with three quasi-famous
and sometimes ruthless judges scrutinizing your every move, it’s
hard to perform well when you’re out of your comfort zone.
business, it’s all too easy to be tempted to go with the masses. For
example, if a hot new product or service suddenly storms the
marketplace, it’s natural to want to offer that same product or
service to your customers. After all, if so many people want the hot
new “thing,” why not be the one to supply it to your existing
new product or service complements what you currently offer, and if
it is something you know you can do well, then perhaps it is a good
idea to offer it. However, that great new offering may be outside
your area of expertise. And if you attempt to offer that product or
service to your customers simply on a whim, your lack of knowledge
or experience will show.
you are certain you can retain your company’s high standards, stick
with what you do best, whether that’s juggling flaming torches,
providing financial services, or producing the highest quality
automotive parts. The more you do what you know and concentrate on
your strengths, the more success you’ll have down the line.
Lesson #3: Always be professional: On reality television, the
voters at home only know what the editors and producers choose to
show them. They can include your good moments or your bad, and that
definitely helps determine who the finalists will be.
applies to business. You never know how the person you’re
interacting with right now can impact your future. You never know
when or where you’ll see that “annoying” client again. You never
know when your boss will retire and need to promote someone to take
his or her position. Because of all these unknowns, treat every
single person (even those you’re not crazy about) the way you want
to be treated. Everyone deserves your respect, and everyone likes to
work with people who do their job well and conduct themselves
professionally. Display an air of business sophistication and a
positive attitude at all times. In the end, it will pay off.
Lesson #4: Have a strategy: Everything about a reality TV show
is strategic. Smart business professionals plan diligently. In
fact, they plan so much that they make business success look easy.
Have you ever wondered why juggling chainsaws looks easy when
professional jugglers do it? It’s because they know the mechanics of
what they must do, and they actively prepare their strategy (they
practice). The same is true in business. When you have a clear
strategy of what you need to do, and you know the steps you must
take to get there, not only do you accomplish your objective, but
you also make it look easy.
Lesson #5: Don’t spend the million dollars until you’ve actually won
it: In the business world, sales projections and anticipated
clients won’t pay your bills. You need the actual sale to impact
your bottom line. So just because you thought the sales presentation
went great, don’t celebrate that new client until you receive the
signed contract. You never know how something will turn out, and
often things don’t work out exactly as you had planned. Always be
smart and realistic in your approach; that’s the only true way to
win in the end.
Big: While being on a reality TV show was fun, it’s not nearly
as fun as the thrill of winning in business every day. To get that
“thrill of victory” on a regular basis, take these five lessons to
heart. Before you know it, you’ll have that million dollars, and you
won’t have sing, dance, or juggle to get it.
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Wee and Owen Morse.
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