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Why Agile Leadership means letting your standards slip 19 May 2019

Here’s an idea that might make you wince, but might help you and your business get more done and make more money.  Once in a while, after some thought, let your standards slip a bit. 

I’ve observed it over the past thirty years in the TV Newsrooms I still work in at the BBC.  But in a good way. 

Twenty years ago, it was bit of a gamble to allow reporters on the road to film their own material.  Professional cameramen did that (and they were all men, as far as I could tell.)  At first the difference in quality was noticeable.  But then the quality of the video cameras improved, and it was harder to tell.   These days, I can’t tell myself. 

Ten years ago, interviewing a contributor for a news report by Skype, and using that clip on air, would make some producers gasp.  We do it all the time now.  We can’t get one of our crews to the scene of a breaking news story?  No problem, somebody’s bound to have filmed it on their phone and put it on Twitter or Facebook.  We contact them, get their permission, give them an on-screen credit.  Job done.  

Whisper it, but it saves us an awful lot of money, and means we get a lot more stories to a lot more viewers. 

I had one of these ‘let your standards slip’ moments a few months ago.  Until then, I’d always used my big Sony Z5 news camera to interview business leaders for my Cut the Crap Soundbite Club But now I often just use my phone.  (Yes, I’ve invested in an Osmo gimbal, a small bit of kit that keeps the lens still, and a decent microphone.  But the quality of the image is every bit as good as the Sony.)  Nobody’s complained yet. 

It made it easy-peasy to interview the COO of EasyJet, Chris Browne OBE, on a plane in Glasgow the other day.   (Her hilariously blunt take on avoiding a culture of corporate bollocks has had more than 21,000 views on Linked In — worth a peek — and if you’d like to join my list of potential contributors, get in touch!)   My clients in the aviation industry tell me they like my newsroom insights, because their industry, too, is evolving so fast. 

How do you evolve your business?  What suggestion to achieve agility would make your team gasp?  In ten years’ time, you might be glad you let your standards slip a bit. 

If you’d like me to reveal how news teams are so agile — maybe during a staff awayday workshop or as a Keynote Speaker? — do get in touch here .     Or, what the heck , just give me a call — 07850 188620 or 01273 606246.  If I’m not about to go live on air, I’m always happy to talk! 

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