Friday, March 17, 2006

Acts of kindness

Just my opinion, and I don't mean to preach.

I was watching " The Apprentice" the other day. It is a programme based on an American idea in which Alan Sugar, the founder of Amstrad, and a hugely successful businessman, mentors a group of young adults. They are all competing for the prize of a job working with him as his "right hand man" for a "6 figure salary". I believe in the US the programme features Donald Trump. Now, as a business person I have watched The Apprentice on and off. It is a reality show. I hate reality shows. Therefore I have a bit of a fundamental problem with it. I know it is a generalisation to say I hate reality shows but I can't stand the way they get their viewers addicted to watching ,and that is a common feature to all of them. So I actually feel comfortable to generalise and say I hate them.

As if to prove my own theory I watched a couple of the episodes of The Apprentice and now I am well and truly hooked. Hence my problem. Alan Sugar is a business hero, an entrepreneur with incredible success. I am sure that I could learn more from spending half an hour with him than I have learnt in the last 5 years. But, the whole programme seems to be built around the concept of Alan Sugar being a fearsome, aggressive leader who scares and intimidates people. Why? Because it makes good TV!!

That's shallow and false. In my limited experience I have found that there are more successful business people who appear to be totally decent and pleasant people than there are "bastards". By airing programmes made in this manner I think we encourage the attitude amongst younger people that you have to be a bastard to succeed in business, and all the stereotypes that go with that.

Come here, listen to what I am saying. Go out in the world, be good to people, be nice to people, say "good Morning", hold the door open for people and smile. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated. Why? I hear you ask. Because they will be nice to you? Because you might need them sometime? No. Just do it because you want to. Don't expect anything back, just make yourself feel good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you when you suggest The Apprentice risks giving young people the impression they must be intimidating to succeed in business. Through my work I have met many successful business people, and (apart from a few exceptions) they were all extremely mild-mannered and courteous. In my view, what set them apart was their single-mindedness and perseverance, combined, I might also add, with a dose of luck.