Friday 24 August 2007

Who deserves the boot?

I’m a nice guy, I am, honestly. I do my best to be tolerant of other’s mistakes, occasional lapses in judgment and absence of common sense. Usually.

This is also something we should do in business and at work. Our employees, our colleagues and even our managers will make mistakes sometimes and it’s our job not to over-react but to accept the situation, help them to recover from the aftermath and all learn from the experience.

I make a habit whenever I interview people to ask them about their greatest professional success. Then, after telling me how clever they are, how I should hire them and give them a huge salary and when they are feeling all good about themselves, I throw them a curve ball. “What was your greatest professional failure?”

Most of the time the interviewee will come clean about some ghastly experience, some appalling disaster and will then talk at length about how they dealt with failure, learned something from it and how it can’t happen again.

We’ve all had disasters and frankly anyone who says they haven’t is either very young, a liar or a dangerous psychopath.

The same goes for companies when dealing with customers. Mistakes will happen and a decent company will learn from the mistakes and do their best to make sure they never happen again.

However, why am I on about this?

Because this week I’ve seen a series of disasters, some trivial, some appalling.

Let’s start with the obvious. Multichoice and the English Premier League fiasco. After a huge level of expectation amongst Multichoice subscribers we all found out that we’re only going to see a small proportion of the matches.

Meanwhile there’s the supposed new player, GTV, who appear to have won the much larger proportion of the matches and will be broadcasting them any moment now. So they say. The trouble is I can’t help but think about Black Earth Satellite TV, the people that claimed they would be here ages ago with amazingly competitive packages. You know, the ones that have disappeared off the radar except from the occasional comment that it’s all the fault of the BBC and the Queen. No, I’m not making that up.

It’s easy for me, a non-soccer fan to spout about this but I’m not convinced that Multichoice are actually the villains here. They lost a competition to win the right to broadcast the major proportion of the Premier League matches. GTV won it. GTV offered more money and won. Yes, perhaps Multichoice should have offered more but that’s just the nature of the business. You win some, you lose some.

I’m just intrigued to see what GTV have to offer. I checked their web site and unfortunately it’s not exactly clear. It suggests we might have Sky News, Al-Jazeera, BBC World, E!, TV5 Monde (tres bien si vous parlez Francais), a movie channel, a kid’s channel and, best of all a channel called “God” to play with but it’s not clear. Dear GTV, give us a call…

Those crying for the head of Multichoice are going a bit far. I’m probably going to incur the wrath of football fans by saying this but we don’t have a right to watch football. We certainly don’t have a right to see specific matches from particular foreign leagues. It’s a treat if someone offers us the opportunity to buy it but that doesn’t mean we have a right to it. The only right I DO think we have is the right to take our hard-earned money where we want it. If EPL matches are worth it to you then try out GTV but you’ll lose other choices. You could always have both or switch between them as you need them. August GTV, September Multichoice and so on.

So let’s get real. Rarely to people deserve to be fired for not winning a competition. However they DO seem to have cocked up the communication side of things. Let’s make them suffer a little more for that, purely because it’s fun?

So who DOES deserve to be fired? Who deserves the boot, to be ceremoniously stripped of his or her rank insignia and publicly disgraced? Where should I begin?

Two specific cases. The driver of the BX Peugeot Boxer who was driving between Palapye and Mahalapye last week at speeds in excess of 160kph, overtaking in the path of incoming trucks and generally behaving like a lunatic on the road. Don’t ask how I know he was driving at that specific speed, just trust me, I know but I can’t confirm it without incriminating myself.

When he reached Mahalapye he was forced to stop at some red lights and who did I see in the back of the vehicle? 10 children. He was genuinely lucky to get there alive and so were his unfortunate passengers.

Then a few minutes later the driver of the BX Volvo S40 driving south of Mahalapye, whose obviously very important passenger could be seen encouraging him to overtake everyone in his path.

So, to both the drivers, here’s a present from the Watchdog. By the time you read this the Director of CTO, his Permanent Secretary and his Minister will all know the registration numbers, dates, times and locations involved. They’ll probably even know your names as well. Look forward to getting a call from them!

This week’s stars!

  • Nicholas from Botswana Railways and Lee from Red Guard Security for looking after visitors to BR HQ with courtesy and friendliness.

No comments: