I admit it. I am guilty of a plethora of guilty pleasures. At the top of my list is my addiction to Reality TV. I believe I can defend this addiction. Then again, most addicts believe they can defend their addiction. My defense sounds something like the following. I watch Reality TV for the lessons in Communication and Leadership one can learn. The lesson in Dancing With the Stars is that the best dancer rarely wins. The dancer who communicates their over-all value most effectively usually wins.
The call came last spring to ask me if I wanted to be on a team for a Chamber of Commerce contest. I reluctantly said YES. I said YES for one reason. It would give me the opportunity to conjure up and apply my Reality TV lessons.
I watch The Apprentice for the Boardroom scene at the end of each show.
One competition on Celebrity Apprentice had the celebrities vying to raise the most money for their non-profit cause. Some contestants called individual after individual. Even among the rich that’s a tough way to raise a substantial amount of money. The celebrities that fared the best in the boardroom were the ones that thought “Big” and implemented “Big”.
So I decided that if I was going to be on this team, I was going to win. And after watching Celebrity Apprentice I knew that winning meant thinking Big. In this particular contest, each team got credit for giving names to the local chamber of non-members who would entertain the idea of becoming a chamber member. The chamber would then contact them and sell them on the benefits of becoming a member. Teams got points for names and more points for any name who became a member.
The traditional course of action was for each team member to ask people they knew if they could send in their name for the contest. That is an old-fashioned 20th century piece meal way of doing business. Just the time alone! So I kept thinking of the lessons learned on celebrity apprentice. Think Big I said to myself. Think Big. How do I apply that thinking to this contest?
So I came up with my BIG plan. I have 3000 people on my newsletter list. Each week I selected 50 names. I sent them an email. In the email I TOLD THEM that I was in a contest and I would send in their name UNLESS they replied and asked me not to submit their name. Most people would have done the opposite if they followed this path. They would have only sent in names that gave permission rather than use this non-permission strategy.
Four weeks before the official end of the contest I was declared the winner. I was so far ahead of the second place person that the contest was ended prematurely. Truly, I would have never adopted my BIG strategy if not for Donald Trump and the Celebrity Apprentice.
In full disclosure I do have to tell you that after the first week some of my competitors tried to call “foul”. They said I was not following the rules. At closer review, there were few rules and my strategy did not break any. In fact, the CEO of the chamber adopted the same take-no-prisoner strategy in his own development plan.
LESSONS LEARNED AND APPLIED FROM TRUMP’S CELEBRITY APPRENTICE
1. Think Big and do Big
Big wins take big plans. The winners in the 21st century will be those who think strategically. The last century was for the tacticians. This century is for the visionaries. Those who have a vision and can communicate that vision to get the buy-in to move forward will get the rewards.
2. Keep Your Blinders On and Don’t Worry About the Competition
Everyone has competition. If you keep your eye on the competition rather than your plan, you will definitely give your competition an edge. Have you ever driven past an accident and slowed down? Sometimes the people slowing down become more of a problem than the original accident. Make sure you are not watching the competition unfold rather than participating.
3. Win for Winning Sake Not Because of the Prize
When this contest began the prizes were unknown. As the contest developed, prizes were announced. Sometimes you compete first and figure the rewards will come later.
Lessons learned in Reality TV did not fail me. I learned from The Apprentice to think Big and I won. Are you thinking in a 20th century piece meal way or are you thinking in a 21st century strategic way? What can you win when you learn how to think Big?