Reality TV takes on business performing badly

I put down my Design Week on Wednesday evening to watch BBC2’s showing of I’ll Show Them Who’s Boss: Too Hot to Handle. This intriguing programme depicts Gerry Robinson (ex-Granada chief executive officer) going in cold to companies and giving them a goin

I put down my Design Week on Wednesday evening to watch BBC2’s showing of I’ll Show Them Who’s Boss: Too Hot to Handle.

This intriguing programme depicts Gerry Robinson (ex-Granada chief executive officer) going in cold to companies and giving them a going-over. This week’s tough assignment was sorting out AMT, the coffee business, and deciding which of three argumentative brothers should be managing director.

There is clearly great value in getting an outside expert to look at your business in this way. As the programme depicts, the process can be very painful and yet hugely energising and enlightening for those running the business.

This is particularly pertinent for self-taught leaders that have always worked for themselves and run their own business using gut instinct and intuition to guide them. The business review often provides nothing short of revelation for these leaders.

On Wednesday evening, while Robinson adeptly put his finger right on the problem, he failed to take advantage of it and move to a successful conclusion. He swept in, delivered his words of wisdom and then disappeared to his next assignment leaving management shaken and reeling.

This makes great television, but is bad business in my view. The crucial next stage, following on from revelation, is to capture the energy wave and to ensure that change swiftly follows. This requires working with and nurturing the top team over a period of time, providing objectivity, clarity and reassurance.

Drinking an AMT cappuccino at Marylebone will never be quite the same now.

Ian Cochrane

Change consultant and coach

Ticegroup

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