Recently, I’ve been watching TV, reading the tabloids and scanning the socials with a degree of professional curiosity. All about understanding the comings and goings in TV land. My spare time (and working from home time, if i am honest) has been spent avidly reading between the lines, scrutinising the verbal and non-verbal language, and analysing those super-slick presentation skills projected to viewers at home, all across the morning schedule. I have found there have been deliberate, scripted and overt behaviours, as well as covert and unconscious messages for those of interested in the world of people and work.
Why the interest – you ask? Well, there has been something going on in TV land. Allegedly.
For a few weeks we’ve been led to believe key TV presenting partnerships have deteriorated, former friendships have dissolved, feuds have been fuelled to a fiery heat, patterns of old and new behaviour have been exposed, and circles of trust have been broken. Sounds more like a drama serial than an entertainment programme, it all feels more like a deconstructed reality show. The sparkle and polish has become tarnished, and all things have unravelled.
Something had to happen. Time had run out. Decades long tenures on the sofa have come to an end. I don’t really know what has happened, I have revealed my sources above. But it hasn’t stopped me thinking. Because it has flagged several management issues and lessons that we should all listen to.
Commercially it is important. All of this dysfunction of the ‘on-screen chemistry’ that TV executives have long demonstrated is worth millions to them and their paymasters in the form of their advertisers. When things go wrong, viewer numbers go down, adverting sales take a hit, and share prices plummet. But how could this have been allowed to have happened to HR (human resources), PR (public relations) and SV (share value)?
Longevity in the workplace is a great thing, as is experience. I am proud that we still have some of the founder members of our business working with us almost 25 years on. Of equal importance are new team members, and those that stay for a while before their career journeys find new challenges and opportunities. Bringing in and nurturing new talent, experience, approaches, and ideas in the workplace gives the opportunity for diversity and difference in every way.
Leaders need to facilitate the bringing together of established team members, and the new ones, so the best of both is harnessed. Leaders also need to know when and how to share power and opportunity with others. That is good succession planning, by over-lapping and layering the capacity and capability of the team. Otherwise, one day, that long established team will simply not be there anymore, and no one will be present or able to take over in their place.
Knowing when to go can be a problematic dilemma. Leaving a great team and a positive environment can be hard if opportunity awaits elsewhere. ‘Clinging on’ when the time is up, the culture has broken down (toxic even), relationships are irreparable, and power has shifted, and trust is lost is more than messy. There are no winners when this happens for individuals, teams, organisations, end-users nor shareholders.
There will always be losers, especially if the decision is made by someone else in urgent and clumsy ways, and all hope of a positive ending slips between one’s fingers. It is an indicator of management failure, laziness, and impotence across many levels. Instead, leaders and managers should help their organisations, teams, and individuals through all of this thinking to hold everyone to account in a safe space where values and culture, open and honest dialogues, power and opportunity, and transitions and choices are open to all and result in positive experiences for all, for now, and for the future.
Now, how I do I pop all that study onto my timesheet?