Hi, I’m Betsy Block (B3 Consults). I’m a coach, facilitator and capacity builder for organizations navigating pivotal strategic questions with authenticity and clarity.
This week, we are focusing on some important lessons from a somewhat unlikely venue. Can you keep a secret? I confess that I am
a little bit of a fan of reality TV. You probably are, too. My guilty pleasure TV time includes home improvement shows, a healthy helping of cooking shows, and a dollop of singing and dancing competitions.
I’m really struck when reality TV offers up important work & lessons – some of this “popcorn TV” can actually bring home some useful messages that apply to a less contrived/produced setting. And I’m super grateful to all of my colleagues who offered up to share their guilty TV watching joys and the wisdom they found in them.
Nailed It has to be one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I’m a good cook, but a terrible baker. And I have a little bit of schadenfreude watching other bakers fail in exactly the same ways I would. Check out the picture of the birthday cake I tried to make for my husband this past January. I am no Martha Stewart (so please don’t peek at what it should have looked like).
Let everyone fumble along.
Jacques Torres, a baker extraordinaire, an expert in confection, never feels the need to jump in and take over from the amateur bakers that he is watching. In fact, Jacques Torres talks about how much he loves working with these bakers. He said of his impact on these willing amateurs in an interview, “If they had to re-do their project after one episode, it would be a lot better because they realize a lot of things.” And he reminded us that when we learned to ride a bicycle, like pretty much everything in life, we failed and failed until we succeeded.
As a trained professional coach, I especially love that he only steps in when requested to give just enough information to let each baker’s individual, experiential learning journey continue!
Failing can be fun.
The show exemplifies a crucial lesson that many of us could take back to evaluation: the joy of failure. I can only recall seeing a contestant be nothing more than momentarily frustrated. Everyone laughs, and more importantly, everyone walks away a better baker for the experience and a deep, abiding love of baking. Did you know you could fail at something and learn to love it more? These bakers celebrate their failures, find the nuggets of good, and laugh.
In fact, Torres’s approach is deeply rooted in organizational development and change management philosophy: find the “bright spots” to generate change.
- Switch, Chip & Dan Heath – an easy read on change management.
- Kolb’s Four Stages of Learning – experimentation is a crucial part of learning.
My advice: watch a little more TV guilt-free while you build your capacity as an evaluator.
This week, AEA365 is hosting Reality TV Lessons Week where contributing authors share lessons learned from their guilty pleasure favorite TV shows. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.