Originally posted 2/13/2014, revised 4/2/2022.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of the great comedian Sid Caesar, he was one of my favorites. While reading the obituary in my local newspaper, I had a Blinding Flash of the Obvious (BFO). I realized that one of Sid Caesar’s major pioneering milestones led to a business problem that business owners and leaders can learn an important lesson from.
On January 28, 1949 Sid Caesar’s first TV comedy-variety show, “The Admiral Broadway Revue,” premiered. The show was sponsored by Admiral Corp., a manufacturer of home appliances, including TV sets. Sadly, the show only lasted until June 3, 1949. The show was a victim of its own success, cancelled mostly because Admiral could not keep up with the demand for its TV sets generated by the show.
So what is this important business lesson? While coaching my clients who are planning a new initiative, be it a marketing campaign or a product introduction for example, I often ask “Are you prepared for this to work?” Is your team prepared for the additional volume? Are your factory and distribution channels prepared? And so on. It is often said that business is all about managing risk, and so many business owners and executives I find, focus only on the negative risks of business. “What if this doesn’t work?” “What if we fall short of our target?” The lesson here it that there are also positive risks that need to be considered when planning anything in business. “What if this works?” is one of my best coaching questions. You should be asking yourself as many positive “What if this works?” questions as negative “What if this doesn’t work?” questions.
Sid Caesar, thanks for the laughs, and thanks for your tremendous legacy in entertainment. The entertainers who were influenced by you continue to make us laugh and smile.
By the way, while researching this blog post, I found the following link to videos of “The Admiral Broadway Revue.” https://archive.org/details/AdmiralBroadwayRevue