I'm watching a show called Project Greenlight these days on HBO. The arc of this reality series is Matt Damon and Ben Affleck run a contest to pick a amateur director to make a movie in Hollywood. The Director is then given a team and a couple of million dollars to make a movie.
The rookie is then thrust in to the chaos of making a movie in 20 days with a limited budget and everything about the process is filmed for dissection. Turns out, making a movie is a lot like the political cesspool that happens daily at your company. See the trailer for this season below (email subscribers click through for the clip):
This season is the best one yet. A couple of key things have happened. First, in the lead up to the selection of the director - a artsy fartsy prima donna named Jason Mann, Matt Damon proceeds to lecture a black woman - who's going to be a producer on the project - about diversity. Wow.
But the real drama is in the selection of Mann. By selecting Mann, the PG team has basically ensured conflict throughout the series because he's unwilling to bend on anything he wants as a director. He's an artist, not a business person. He's never had a real job or worked with other people's money.
So the story arc is about someone who wants to be an artist getting hired, and those responsible for results trying to manage him. Art vs getting #### done. Here's what I learned, most of which I already knew, but it's a good reminder:
1. When artists in any position refuse to compromise on anything, they look like punks.
2. When the same artist can go to sponsors like Damon and Affleck, they have more power than they should in your organization.
3. People who are responsible for results in your organization start hating someone that's an artist, but unwilling to compromise on anything.
4. The results people actually start rooting for the artist to fail.
5. If the sponsors were smart, they'd be brokers for compromise - not enablers of the artist.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. The secret to being a great artist is knowing when to compromise, so you can keep the 90% of what you want that's most important to you. Fail to compromise on anything, and even the folks on your team start rooting for you to fail.
Go check out the series - pretty good workplace drama.