The New Reality TV Show EVERY Business Leader Needs to Watch

April 27, 2011


So, the series premier for “The Voice” wasn’t even half-way over last night and my life had been changed somehow. I’m not positive how just yet but I feel like I just had an epiphany with a side dish of enlightenment.  An “ah ha” moment, if you will.

Typically, I despise reality TV contest shows. And, to top that off, I am a horrific singer. So horrific, in fact, that I was the only girl in my fifth grade class that was not invited to join the chorus for our class play. I assumed this show would have just a little entertainment factor (I mean, c’mon Adam Levine is delicious looking, at least) but even less inspiration factor for me. But here I am, writing a blog post about “The Voice”.

For those of you who do not know what this show is about, here’s a brief description: Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine compete to create a team of eight contestants each – who audition with the celebs backs to them, thanks to swiveling chairs – deciding if they want a contestant on their team based by voice alone. Finally, a contest show based on talent rather than appearance and marketability, right? Yay! Sure. Cooler even, if more than one of the celebs wants a contestant on their team, the contestant gets to choose which of them they want to work with! The creative control in the hands of the contestant? Hot diggity damn! The bigger paradigm shift still: the celeb “judges” are not judges. They will be *coaching* their teams to greatness as they compete for a record contract and $100,000 to start their career. There are still weekly eliminations by the coaches and eventually, the audience will do some voting until a winner is found.

Different from American Idol, America’s Got Talent, America’s Next Top Model and all the other “search for the star” shows is this: The coaching comes from the celebrity panel throughout the entire show – it IS the show. It’s not just a few encouraging or guiding words at a judge’s table and a later decision on whether the candidate “has it” or not. This show is about the journey – not what happens at the judging table.

This is ground breaking in the reality TV contest circuit. This is what blows my mind and has set it on fire and doused it in gasoline. This makes me excited.

In the intro of the show, Cee Lo Green says “It’s not about the judgement. It’s about the journey.” It is awesomely obvious that the show has been designed to cultivate talent, provide mentoring, establish a professional relationship between superceleb and novice pipes rather than expert judges passing critiques.

But what if business turned to this format? Think for a moment on that. I’ll wait.

Seriously. Rather than job interviews serving as a qualification checklist; rather than promotions being based on an annual review of a person’s performance checklist; rather than products coming to life in the market based on a viability checklist – we KICK the checklist/evaluation process to the curb and we listen to “the voice” behind it all. What if conference tables were no longer judge’s tables and leaders were all coaches instead?

At an interview, we would think “What kind of superstar can I turn this candidate into?” rather than “I wonder if she can handle the invoicing and the phones at the same time?”

At the annual review, we would say “You are great at this. How can we make you a force to be reckoned with in this company? In this industry? How can we turn great into unstoppable?”

At the product evaluation meeting, we would say “I believe in this project. I believe it has the all the parts to be market-changing. How do we get there? What do we do to skyrocket and soar?”

Xtina and Cee Lo are changing lives. Adam and Blake are making dreams come true. No complaints about petty issues like a pitchy spot in the song (or a missed TPS report) and no judgement about *how* you deliver your talent but pure pride, inspiration, and investment into creating amazingness.

The business world’s leaders need to do this. Managers and HR reps need to do this when hiring and evaluating employees. CEOs need to do this when strategizing for the future. Community leaders need to do this when organizing for change. This needs to happen in order to continue creating opportunities for innovation, new perspectives, collaboration, and for the sake of humanity as a whole.

Heaven knows we need more greatness. More action. More support. More passion. More movement. More dream makers. We need MORE to be great in this economy. Fewer checklists and judgment, more empowerment and cultivating of amazingness.

Leaders, you need to watch “The Voice” and start hearing the voices in your organizations.

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8 Comments on “The New Reality TV Show EVERY Business Leader Needs to Watch”

  1. Coach Jennie Says:

    Wowza! I’m not typically a reality tv watcher, but you’ve convinced me to tune in.

    Great post!!


  2. Noel Says:

    Such a great post! I think your thoughts could really make a huge difference in the future. It would address the problems we see so many college grads facing today: lots of education, lots of debt, little experience in the real world, so that get caught in that Catch-22 of “you need experience to get a job.” This mentality would go a long way in fixing that problem.


  3. Mark W. Says:

    Thanks for this write-up Megan.
    I watched about 2 minutes of this show before it went to an ad while I was clicking through the channels last night. It looked interesting but I dismissed it as another reality show. I just watched 45 of 89 minutes of this show at and liked it. I noticed it’s produced by Mark Burnett (The Apprentice) so it’s the real deal with big bucks and experience backing. You really hit the nail on the head with the following statement – “Different from American Idol, America’s Got Talent, America’s Next Top Model and all the other “search for the star” shows is this: The coaching comes from the celebrity panel throughout the entire show – it IS the show.”
    I’m looking forward to see how this show develops through the season even though I’m not a weekly TV series viewer. Maybe I can make an exception here … or if I’m lucky I can catch the shows on the NBC site if they decide to continue to post them. I liked and found very interesting the background bios of the performers before they sang.


    • Madam Energy Says:

      I’m glad it caught your eye, Mark. I really hope the website continues with full episodes, too. I really like Javier Colon!


      • Mark W. Says:

        Javier was good and actually he was the singer that I caught as I was clicking through the channels. I remember him asking Christina (The Ag as my brother calls her) what took her so long to press her button to swivel her chair around. My favorite was Patrick Thomas. I liked his voice and he sang one of my favorite songs by Tim McGraw – Live Like You Were Dying.

  4. Peggy Titus-Hall Says:

    What a wonderful world it would be if businesses would approach the selection process as they do on “The Voice.” I believe the challenge lies in convincing our coaching clients to realize the power in their experience, skills, and talents. I was especially taken with the comment, “What kind of superstar can I turn this candidate into?” What beautiful thought! Imagine what employers could achieve if they focused on what they could do to maximize their employees’ capabilities and belief in themselves. Add that to the equation. What a wonderful world it would be!



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