Don’t Cancel Your Own Show


cancelledtvI watch too much TV.  From my morning dose of sports and news to my evening schedule of news and comedy, the part of my day not spent at work is often spent in a familiar bluish glow. My wife has her dramas, I have my comedies, and with three kids we also have to endure our fair share of animation. So you probably think this blog is about my moment of clarity and a thoughtful effort to break this addiction to TV. Nope. Not a chance. BACK OFF.

At a recent dinner with friends, we saw a commercial advertising the premier of one of the fall’s new shows. Each fall TV schedule brings a few original ideas and a lot of garbage, and unfortunately the show we saw advertised fell into the latter group. So we started talking about how a few bona fide gems make it to air amidst a tidal wave of the mediocre and downright awful, and I considered what role personality and leadership play in this puzzle.

As with any industry, some television execs see their purpose as advancing their own agenda.  When this self-centered view is combined with a lack of self-awareness about one’s personality, what ultimately appears on millions of televisions is often uninteresting, dated, and quickly cancelled. However, when executives focus on creating and sustaining high performing teams and on proactively managing their own personalities, the products they create can be truly creative, thought-provoking, and starkly original.

Few of us work in jobs where our products are viewed and judged by millions of people, but each of us is responsible for producing something. Once we prove that we are able to meet the technical demands of our jobs, what determines our success or failure is our personalities and how we lead others. If we are actively involved in managing our personalities at work, we are better prepared to produce the next big hit in our own jobs. If not, we may create the next big miss.