The morning email was urgent.
It was a request written by a trusted, talented TV station general manager. Someone I knew, liked and very much respected.
Moments later I put in a phone call to him back East. The GM explained that he had just had a conversation with the Executive Director of a very worthy humanitarian group. The organization was becoming well known for great, compassionate aid to hurting people, both home and overseas. My friend the GM and the Director had started brainstorming about creating and airing a new TV series that would feature the unselfish work of this up-and-coming charity group. The series would raise awareness, create new donors…and bring fresh opportunities.
The GM explained the show concept to me over the phone, also detailing how he had recommended me as the TV series’ potential producer. (One of my portfolios is producing media featuring humanitarian & charity projects.) I was asked to call the humanitarian group’s director the next day, because the leader was traveling to the Midwest at that moment.
Over the course of a week or so, that humanitarian leader (a gifted executive) and I talked at length about the show he wanted produced, including what would be portrayed and what my involvement entailed. Wonderful discussions with lots of creative buzz. Then he asked me to call his group’s director of media to get that person on-board and involved too.
That’s where the idea died.
I made the requested, introductory phone call to the media director, and within 5 minutes the series was scuttled and I was off any possible project.
Despite my enthusiasm, there was a chill in the air.
Why? Because the brilliant idea I was describing – even if it came from the boss – had not originated with the media director first. He asked how the idea had came about, how long I’d been talking to the boss, what was the potential budget and exactly WHAT WOULD I BE DOING?
It was over before it even started.
I heard responses like “well, I don’t know if the timing is quite right.”
“We’ll have to see where this goes.”
“Don’t know if we really have the budget for this right now.”
There’s another reason why the GRAND TV SERIES IDEA was killed: Insecurity. The media director, who also was a producer, felt threatened by my very presence…because my résumé was thicker than his. (Secure leaders hire people who are savvy at their skills, even more talented than the leader. Why? Because EVERYONE looks good when the plan comes together and succeeds.)
Sadly, a good, creative, promising, workable idea was strangled in the crib. Where it’s buried – in a file? – no one knows.
The show never happened. No phone calls or emails ever were returned. Messages to the CEO were tossed. The media director quietly did his job to kill the baby.
Yes, SUCCESS has many fathers. FAILURE is often an orphan. But don’t kill a GOOD IDEA before it’s had time to stand up on its own two legs.