Some of you may already know I am long time American Idol fan. I even admit I started voting season six when the, untalented Sanjaya, kept moving on week after week. I felt it was my duty as an American TV viewer to make sure he was voted off and to make sure a like tragedy would never happen again. Being an American Idol fan isn’t something I’m super proud of, nor embarrassed by, but at least I can say I haven’t been to one of their concerts or bought an album. However, I know of several people who work on the same floor as me can’t say that! Hey, I even admit I read the entire Twlight series and I’ll add I enjoyed them all. Alright, the self-disclosure is over and it is time for me to get to my point.
I hear lots of people say they can’t stand American Idol because the judges are so “mean” to the poor contestants. In particular they complained Simon Cowell, the sarcastic British music producer, was far too harsh in his assessment of the singers. While I agree Simon could improve his use of the management skill of “maintaining and enhancing self-esteem” while coaching, we must remember he gets paid in excess of $30 million a year for his witty put downs and frank remarks. Yet, I challenge his critiques to take an honest look at the feedback he provides contestants. While he is truly frank, he undoubtedly is honest in his comments and as a 10-year viewing veteran I am convinced he has the best interest at heart for each performer.
It became kind of sport for Ryan Seacrest to spar with Simon after his coaching. While it is entertaining as a third-party to observe, it doesn’t serve the performer well to completely ignore Simon’s candor because he tends to have a pretty good pulse on what the American Idol viewing audience wants in its winners. So week after week contestants have to ask themselves the million dollar question, “Am I willing to be influenced?”
According to Wayne Bennett, president of Teamworx Team Building, “Am I willing to be influenced?” is the single most important question each member of a potential team must ask themselves. If their honest answer is “no” then it is a total waste of time and energy attempting to build a team with the person. Stephen Covey describes this same need in one of his eight habits: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Bennett argues all team members have three blind spots which need to be figured out before any great teamwork can take place.
- I may be wrong even when I think I am 100 percent correct.
- We humans do not “naturally” collaborate.
- Active listening is not how we “naturally” listen.
So just like the contestants on American Idol do each week, we must ask ourselves routinely during our coaching sessions, sales meetings and daily interactions, “Am I willing to be influenced?” Truly great ideas generally come from the combining of seemingly unrelated ideas which is only possible if we answer yes to our willingness to be influenced by others. As a person who has self-assurance as one of his top five strengths according to Now Discover Your Strength, it is a question I struggle with all the time. – do you?