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Organizational Development

How To Improve Your Business IQ By Watching TV

By September 15, 2015No Comments

Want to improve your business practice, increase revenues and widen margins? Then watch more TV. Not just anything on TV, specifically The Profit.

The Profit falls on a continuum somewhere between a historical reenactment and a Harvard Business School Case Study. For those of us who prefer a text book with a story line, this 1-hour show that airs on CNBC is a must. Its great viewing for the business leader of a large corporation, all the way down to the individual that’s just leading a small mom and pop enterprise.

The show’s star is Marcus Lemonis. In each episode, the forty-one year old Lebanese-born Lemonis sets out to rescue a small business that has the potential to be highly productive, but for whatever reason, is currently floundering and headed for disaster.

But before you discount the value of watching a “reality TV show” to learn how to grow your business, you should consider the following about Lemonis:

  • He’s the Chairman and CEO of Camping World, a privately held company that operates 95 facilities in 30 states, with annual revenues in excess of $1.4 billion
  • He grew up in the automobile business – his grandfather owned two of the largest Chevrolet dealers in the United States
  • Lee Iacocca was a family friend and later became a personal mentor to Lemonis

Lemonis analyzes each business through the lens of the “3 P’s”, (people, process and product), a phrase that was first used by Motorola in their development of Six Sigma, and later adopted by Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric.  Welch used this as one of the core principals in building GE into one of the most valued and admired companies of the late ‘90s and early 2000’s.

After he does his analysis of the business in each episode, Lemonis offers the owner an opportunity to partner with him for the purpose of turning the business around. He invests his own money and always requires that his new partners give him complete control of the business. This mandate allows him to make the decisions that all too often, due to their emotional investment, the business owner cannot make. As you might imagine, this leads to conflict in every episode that adds to the entertainment value of the program.

Here’s how you can take the show from just being amusing to practical application in your business. Watch an episode and ask yourself these 4 questions:

  • What are the issues that are preventing maximum productivity and profitability for this business?
  • Do I have any of the same issues in my work group or business that is holding back my/our productivity and profitability?
  • If I were Marcus, what would need changing for me to invest in this business?
  • If I were Marcus, what would need to change for me to invest in my business?

Want to grow? Watch more TV!  But you don’t have to tell your colleagues that you’re not getting all your wisdom from The Harvard Business Review.  Just tell them you have a mentor that you work with for an hour each week who runs a $1.4 billion business.

And if you’re still looking for another reason to try to develop your business acumen from the television, remember what the great philosopher Yogi Berra said: “You can learn a lot just by watching.”

Watch.  You might learn something.

Happy viewing!

Click to link directly to “The Profit” official webpage

Have you seen the show?  What do you think?  Please share your comments.


Bill Edmonds is an “Outside-Insider” (an Executive Coach and Consultant), who works with leaders to help them reach their full potential in the areas of organizational and personal development. He spent 24 years with Merrill Lynch until his retirement in 2014, where he led a $100+ million per year revenue wealth management business unit as a Director with the firm.


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