Business Lessons From the Avengers (pt 1)
I have a fondness for old time radio podcasts. Indeed, one of the big advantages of the iPod is that it created a whole slew of opportunities for those of us who want to listen to such things. One of my discoveries was a podcast of the Avengers radio show. Yes, there was one, although it didn’t really come from the Golden Age of radio, rather being adapted from the TV show. Nonetheless, listening to episodes of the Avengers pointed up four very important points:
1. Russian accents are only the second most villainous sounding accents. British accents are the most villainous, probably because they always sound like they have anti-social personality disorder.
2. British accents also sound heroic, at least when they aren’t the villains.
3. Old time commercials in a British accent sound like something out of Monty Python.
4. When word “helpless” is said immediately before “Emma Peel” you know someone is in for a very nasty surprise.
I’m not entirely sure what this means, although the first might reflect my image of Boris Badenov as the quintessential Russian villain. Since this year is the 50th anniversary of Rocky and Bullwinkle, perhaps Russian accented villains will make a comeback. I’ll leave that to James Bond (or Moose and Squirrel). What is more interesting is how well a 1960s cold-war espionage show holds up half a century later. Despite all our changes in technology and politics, and the much touted generational shift in the workplace, it should come as no big surprise that human nature hasn’t changed at all: people are still, basically, people, and John Steed and Emma Peel are just as suave and sophisticated today as they were fifty years ago. Despite all the noise about Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y, there are also some things about the workplace that simply haven’t changed, although our perception and understanding of them might have.
In my book, “The 36-Hour Course in Organizational Development,” I discuss the twelve key elements of building a successful business. These elements are, in many ways, as timeless as John Steed and Mrs. Peel, if not always quite so sexy. They are, however, the key points that any entrepreneur needs to work with if you want to maximize your chances of creating a successful business.