On Lemons, Lemonade ... And Growing an Orchard
February 11, 2014
By Success Tips Guest Columnist Scott Kosak
My friend Scott Kosak was recently a "Radio victim" of change. Or was he? Read his powerful success story and his refusal to play the victim role by seizing his future. Scott turns lemons not only into lemonade, but into an entire new orchard!
You've all heard the saying, and I'm sorry I don't know who exactly gets the quote, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Well, if you have chosen to work in radio, you've probably also heard something to the effect of "You're not an industry veteran until you've lost at least one job."
Well, after just over 12 years after my entry into the world of radio, I can finally declare veteran status as I have finally been directed toward the opportunity to make some incredible homemade lemonade!
THE POWER TO CHANGE
The reality of the situation is that my assignment to the job I was in was ending with the end of one company and it was being assumed by someone else as the new company takes over. Although that's not the best news I've ever gotten, it is what it is ... and I have no power to change it, so life must continue! Shortly after I learned this would be the case, someone uttered that "lemons and lemonade" statement to me. That's when it hit me! Ultimately, the lemon orchard I had helped to cultivate was now in demand as a part of a much bigger set of orchards. What an honor to have your orchard seen as something of value by someone else!
Ultimately, whenever one business acquires another, there are changes that happen, so let's take this analogy a little further. In this case, the new farmers have their own ideas about how they'd like to tend to that orchard. Those methods have led them to success in other groups of orchards as well. So while some asked me if I was angry, the reality is, how could I ever hold that against someone who has the same amount of pride in their work as I have in the work that I've done for the past two-and-a-half years?
THE NEW FARMER ARRIVES
This actually drove me to want to make sure that the orchard I was handing over to the new designated farmer (who also happens to be and will continue to be a friend of mine) was in the best shape possible to be taken over. As one employee after another told me how "sorry" they were for me, that it "wasn't fair," etc., I looked at them and said something to the effect of, "Don't be sorry for me .... Be proud of what's here that will continue on with you as a part of it!" I embraced the challenge of being able to hand over the orchard to the next farmer and did everything I could to make sure the transition was as smooth as possible. I even learned a few things during that process.
I was able to step back and see how much I accomplished in a couple of brief years ... and it was A LOT! I got to watch a great team of contractors and engineers rebuild the radio station into a state-of-the-art digital facility with everyone in one place. I oversaw a period of revenue growth that was driven by a large group of professional salespeople who are great at what they do. I got to watch as a group of passionate radio professionals learned how things that were old habits could be done differently and better.
PAVING THE PATH FORWARD
Now, those were all the positive things I learned, but I also learned that, indeed, there were some things I could have done better! That's right. In a time of transition, I saw things that made me realize, "Wow ... I probably could have done that a little better!" The fact is that those lessons of humility in not just seeing, but acknowledging things that could have been done better, are what will drive me to be an even more successful professional in the future!
The path forward for this former radio executive will be paved over time. In the short term, I am fortunate to own an Internet property (RacingIn.com, For Fans of Fast) that will connect over one million race fans with great racing across the U.S. in 2014. I now have a chance to grow that into an actual business. At the same time, I will gladly embrace the chance to talk with other radio executives about what I've seen happen in this industry over the past 12 years, where I think the opportunities lie, and share my knowledge with whoever feels it may be helpful.
To finish off the analogy, I guess you could say that I'm not just taking lemons and turning them into lemonade, I'm also going to use the seeds as I move onward and upward to grow my own orchard!
Thanks to Dave Robbins for maintaining this 'portal of positivity' and if you'd like to connect with me, you can do so at LeftTurnMarketing@comcast.net