The Right People

That’s the secret sauce.


Last year, when asked, I tried to help a good friend fix one of his under-performing Morning Shows. Two other consultants had preceded me.

It was frustrating, and finding insight once again from Seth Godin helped me understand what was happening — and what could not happen.

You can work as hard as you like to create expectations and policies. But the people you begin with–their dreams, their narratives and their habits–are difficult to transform.”

“Successful projects and organizations require more than good intent. They require inputs from committed people who are going where you’re going.”

That very last part of his quote is the key.

What I grew to understand is that I was perceived as a threat to the programmers in charge. They believed they had an existential interest in the failure of the attempt to change their station. It’s almost certainly why the two consultants preceding me had also failed.

I’m not absolving myself. I clearly made mistakes that led to our outcome, and I broke a rule I’d made the very first year I began consulting: If the PD did not want my help, I couldn’t be effective and should decline the job.

I’ve never been, nor wanted to be, the consultant who advised the GM to replace the PD with someone I had a successful history with. I’m not into anyone losing their job because of me, so I withdrew.

The friendship is still strong, which at this point in my life is much more important to me than notching one more success in my career belt by having another person, with a long and successful history in the market, lose their job.

What I hope you’ll remember is none of this nonsense about me. I want you to re-read this: “Successful projects and organizations require more than good intent. They require…committed people who are going where you’re going.”

Like most insight, it may seem obvious.

Ignore it at your peril.