A program director I work with constantly challenges his talent to grow. He patiently encourages them with positive feedback while gently applying pressure to improve. His message to the team is that we’re already good, but we need to go from good to great.
It’s highly effective for motivated talent. The key question is whether you are willing to do what it takes to go from good to great.
Going From Good To Great
There was a time when air personalities could get by and even thrive by being consistently good:
- Deliver a high-quality performance in every break.
- Perform with an upbeat, bright delivery.
- Promote the station with enthusiasm.
- Don’t screw up!
For many stations, becoming well-known, good-sounding DJs was good enough. In some cases, it created stars.
But times have changed. Being “good” is no longer “good enough”. The audience has unlimited choices. Today, only great talent and great performances stand out.
Recently, I was shocked when arriving at a station for a 10 am meeting with the programming team. At 9:59, I entered the lobby at the same time as the midday personality. Her “show” started at 10. She’s good, for sure. But can you really stroll in at showtime and be great? A moment later, I met the morning show, leaving just two minutes after their show ended.
Just being at the station earlier or staying longer won’t make these personalities great, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone could reach their potential without putting in more time and effort.
Going from being good to great takes a combination of factors, including dedication, hard work, and the ability to continuously improve and adapt. It doesn’t happen by accident.
What It Takes
First, it is important to have a clear understanding of what it means to be “good” and what it means to be “great”. This will serve as a benchmark and guide for your progress.
- Dedication is crucial in the journey from good to great. Every personality should constantly be working on growth. Anyone not moving forward is falling behind. Never be satisfied with today’s performance. The show that was good enough today is not good enough tomorrow. What do you need to work on? Dedicate yourself to mastering the skills that will help you reach the next level. It’s easy to identify talent that isn’t dedicated. They’re the ones making excuses like, “You caught me in a bad break” or “We usually don’t do that. This was unusual”. Maybe so, but does the listener care why that break was boring or you were just going through the motions with low-hanging fruit content?
- Hard work is essential to achieving greatness. This means putting in the time and effort necessary to improve your skills and knowledge, even when it is difficult or uncomfortable. It may be possible to perform a show that’s good enough with little prep. But it’s not possible to do a great show without putting in the effort. Show prep is a grind. It’s hard to finish a show on Tuesday morning and realize you have to start over again in less than 24 hours. But that’s what it takes. Learn to love the grind the way Stephen Colbert learned to appreciate the process of creating his show as much as the actual performance.
- Continuous improvement is a common trait of winners. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but the only way he has his team in the playoffs at age 43 is by constantly adapting to a league that is getting younger, stronger, and faster. How have you grown with new information, skills, and expertise to stay relevant in a world with ever-changing and always-expanding choices for entertainment?
- Getting help is not a weakness, but a strength. Everyone needs a coach. Maybe you’re not getting it from your manager or program director. Or maybe you’re not seeking it because you don’t want it enough. Earlier this week, I spoke with a tremendous personality that is #1 in her market. She’s truly a star in every way. Yet all she wanted to talk about is how I can help her improve. to her, good enough was not good enough. The point: Always be open to feedback, both positive and negative. Use it to make changes and adjustments.
There are many good personalities but being good is not enough. “Good” is the price of admission. It’s expected. Just being good will not make your show top of mind. It is not enough to be noticed. Rewards go to those who go from good to great.
It takes a combination of self-awareness, resilience, and humility to excel. It also helps to surround yourself with people who will support and inspire you. This can be mentors, role models, talent coaches, or colleagues who share your passion and drive.
Achieving greatness is a long-term process that requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn.
If you’re satisfied with being good, hang onto your gig as long as possible. I don’t want to scare you, but broadcasters are waking up and realizing the future of the industry is all about great personalities.
They are looking for great talent. Not good talent. Great. Good enough is not good enough. And if you’re a great talent or truly have the desire to go from good to great, contact me. There are endless opportunities for you.