Beware Of Common Sense
February 20, 2015
by John Frost, Goodratings Strategic Service
It's not common sense to warn someone about using common sense. But that's the point.
Successful principles of business, leadership, or programming aren't common. They are the exception. Otherwise, all stations would have high ratings, there would be no leadership challenges, and we'd all have dated the prettiest girl in town.
There are 11,000 business books published each year. I looked it up. If these principles were merely common sense there would be no demand for these ideas.
Recently I had the privilege of sitting with leadership guru John Maxwell when Bill Hybels interviewed former GE CEO Jack Welch for the Willow Creek leadership summit. Nothing he said was common sense. Each morsel of wisdom was counterintuitive and eye opening. And he used himself as an example:
"I was never the smartest guy in the room. From the first person I hired, I was never the smartest guy in the room. And that's a big deal. And if you're going to be a leader - if you're a leader and you're the smartest guy in the world - in the room, you've got real problems." Jack Welch
Success principles often appear to be out of whack or counter-intuitive. Leading is about serving. Programming to reach a wider audience is about focusing narrowly.
I'm told there are stations whose board members or HR directors or cranky e-mail writing listeners influence programming decisions without ever having programmed a radio station. After all, it's just common sense.
Today you will likely face a decision about your radio station where it would make sense to use common sense. Before you react, I suggest you look for a similar situation and try to learn from that success story. Create a culture that values, not resists, expertise and experience that may not be common.
After all, who would want a surgeon who simply strived for consensus from those who had never performed a surgery?