* A nationally-known morning personality recently confided to me that years ago when he was a part of a major market-leading wake-up crew their program director at the time preferred to take all of the remotes, talent fee appearances and concert emcee duties for himself rather than letting his morning show (and, hopefully, other personalities too) have a share of those cherished, high-profile, well-compensated duties.
I was about to tell him to forget about it. It was all water over the dam and besides, his salary was among the highest in the format, but then I realized that the hurt behind the complaint that he was still nursing today wasn’t about money.
* A programmer I have known for many years, competed with in hard-fought battles in multiple cities, now work directly with as aclient and whom I greatly respect just confided in me that he’s been quietly pursuing an exciting position.
Before I could even begin to mourn the potential loss of an awesome programmer at a client where I know he’s greatly valued, he told me that the person interviewing candidates for his dream gig informed him that he wasn’t going to make even the “short list” of interviewees.
I breathed a sigh of relief, even as I felt his pain, knowing that I would be doing the interviewing, also creating a short list, aware that I’d have a very hard time finding a programmer as wise a team leader, talented on the air and experienced. The short-sighted executive recruiter’s loss was my gain.
* Finally, let me share a little secret about the consulting business. At the end of the day, companies and radio stations hire us, but we also “hire” our clients as well. Good consultants sell our ideas and the best ones - at least this is true for me - do not pursue business where we don’t “absolutely know” for sure that our approach will improve situations, make a positive difference. When you feel that way, it’s easy to “sell” yourself, but making that happen depends on being able to motivate the people to do things differently than they had in the past, encouraging them to buy into a new way of doing things.
When talent, marketing and management all work together to change audience behavior it’s a beautiful thing. We can all share in the pride of having made a positive difference together.
But, with some folks, that doesn’t happen. The teaching methods, the communication skills, the personal presentation just don’t get through to some individuals and at those times I blame myself, wondering what I’ve done wrong, since I know how hard I work for my clients and am proud of how unique the tools our company provides. It hurts, as much as I know “it’s just business, it’s not personal” and “you can lead a horse to water..”
Ultimately, of course, it all is personal. That’s what makes the high achievers among us good at what they do. We care a little too much, we judge ourselves a little too harshly and take it all quite seriously.
Ego drives this highly competitive and rapidly-changing business. It’s what draws us into it and when an ego gets bruised there’s seldom a caring, sensitive person there at the time to say, “I am sorry, it’s not about you, it’s about situations and people you can’t control.”
Taking work personally is what radio is all about. Your “show,” your relationships or the radio station you are a part of is a reflection of who you are, your values, your priorities, your choices, your goals. When things don’t go precisely as you’d like, it’s next to impossible not to take an undesirable, unexpected, outcome as rejection of who you are and what you stand for.
At those times, remind yourself that “pride” can drive high performance (and doesn’t always go before a fall). Celebrate that aspect of your “ego.” Accept that sometimes what happens isn’t about you, as painful as life’s lessons can occasionally be.
It’s truly amazing when a leader is able to get everyone to buy into a “team ego,” putting aside all personal agendas, but those situations are rare in all professional areas of endeavor, so when you hear from a coworker or friend that s/he is going through one of those tough times life deals out which hit directly in their self-esteem, gently reach out and let them know that the key to team spirit is celebrating the victories and also gaining insight from loss too.