You won’t find me in front of a TV very often, and when you do, one of the last things I’m probably watching is a reality TV series. But (surprise!) a couple of weeks ago I actually watched some reality TV (about glass blowing, of all things!) and it was pretty darn good. The show I watched is called Blown Away and it airs on Netflix. It’s a competition between 10 glass blowers for a grand prize of $60K. I’ve only watched a couple of episodes, but I’ve been intrigued by the grit of the contestants and, of course, their artistic genius. There were even some interesting lessons.
So, here are my takeaways:
- Tenure doesn’t always equal talent
Giving my son some credit for this one. As they introduced the contestants, his immediate reaction was “That’s not fair!” Some of the contestants had decades’ worth of experience, while others were relative newcomers to the craft. However, as the competition began, it was easy to see that there’s not always a correlation between tenure and talent. Are you checking your assumptions about tenure and talent?
- Everyone needs help sometimes
The very nature of the process of glass blowing requires assistance from another person at different points. I appreciate the reminder that even the most talented of the competitors always has help during the creative process. Again, the same holds true for our workplaces. No one does it alone. It’s good to acknowledge our need for help, as well as those who help us.
- A key predictor of success is how one handles failure
Glass is delicate. It’s very common for a piece to get bumped/dropped/cracked as it’s moved from the forming stations to the annealer (where the glass cures). Of course, there are dramatic responses to broken pieces, but the great artists acknowledge the “failure” and immediately consider how to use the remaining time to meet their goal. This continues to be a helpful reminder for me in terms of how I want to lead.
If you’re tempted to tune in to Blown Away, click here or search in your Netflix account. It’s worth a watch.