The Idol-Makers

read ( words)

The end of the television season in May included the usual array of cliffhangers on shows like "Alias," the departure of Noah Wylie from "ER" and the finale of the highly-rated "Everybody Loves Raymond" after 210 episodes. On the last day of "Sweeps," more than 29 million people tuned in to see the crowning of the fourth "American Idol."

With a recording contract and the key to a private jet in hand, Carrie Underwood, a 22-year-old college student from Oklahoma, said her victory was "the best night of my life." Next week her first single debuts, most likely near the top of the charts. From there, she'll take her shot at stardom, hoping to match the multi-platinum album sales of the first "Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson and second-year runner-up Clay Aiken.

In terms of total viewers, "American Idol" ranked first this season, and fans cast nearly 500 million votes during the competition. If your franchise business was like "American Idol," a celebrity panel and national television audience would soon be judging your employees "on stage." As an Idol-Maker, it is your role to give them the guidance they need to perform at their highest level, so you get the outcome you seek.

Success Handler Action: If Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell called today and said they will be in town next month to review your employees, what steps would you need to take to get them ready for their big moment? Even if the phone doesn't ring, preparing your employees for being the best in their jobs will make your small business soar. After you finish reading this E-Newsletter, use these questions to identify your biggest employee training opportunities:

~ Who is having the most difficult time executing their jobs in the manner you would like?

~ What are some of the things that keep happening frequently without improvement?

~ Where are areas you find yourself saying, "If only someone would ________?"

~ When mistakes occur, which individuals struggle to take responsibility?

~ Why are some of you employees not achieving the growth you expected this year?

"American Idol" had a big snafu this season when "pure human error" led to the wrong voting phone numbers appearing on the screen, and Fox had to throw out the results that night. While errors in your small business are not necessarily apparent to millions, they still impede your progress. Communicating the right way to do things and redirecting your employees' efforts when needed is essential to improving your results.

Success Handler Action: Effective leadership begins in your recruiting and hiring, and continues through training and motivation. This means you have to regularly mold and polish your employees in order to prosper. Here are five ideas for turning them into outstanding performers:

1. Make sure your employees understand the vision you have for your small business.

2. Clarify your expectations, and how you will measure each person's role.

3. Act like a director?leading them back on track when they stray off script.

4. Use "The Oreo Cookie Approach" to feedback ? Compliment / Confront / Compliment.

5. Treat every day like an entertainer would: the joy is in the performance.

Carrie Underwood is the survivor among more than 100,000 wannabes who auditioned for this season's "American Idol." The show is a cultural phenomenon that creates a celebrity and makes a lot of money for a lot of people. While your employees may never sing on national television or receive a million-dollar talent contract, if you dedicate time, energy and resources to helping them develop their skills and shoot for the stars, you will be the big winner.

Copyright ? 2005 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Coach, David Handler, is the founder of Success Handler, (, and specializes in helping small business leaders find clarity and take action. He understands the challenges of running a business, because he's been there ? as a small business owner, franchisee, franchisor, corporate leader and trainer. Much like sports coaches, his coaching will show you how to compete on a level playing field in your industry.

Rate this article
Current Rating 0 stars (0 ratings)
Click the star above that marks your rating