Finding the funny in a speaker’s life
Just Keep Talking!
On a trip to Dubai, I was invited to speak on CNBC-TV for a 15-minute business segment about he leader’s role in strat- egy implementation. My
latest book, Beyond Strategy, had just
been published by John Wiley & Sons.
I happily accepted this opportunity to
promote my message and my book.
Initially, all went well in the green
room. The producer explained that
because the show was in Arabic, I’d
have an earpiece so I could hear the
translated questions from the host.
As usual, I had 120 seconds to enter
the set, nod at the cameraman, say “hi”
to the Arabic-speaking hosts, and get
connected with a microphone and earpiece. I settled in with ease as one of
the hosts asked the first question about
why so many strategies in business fail.
I’d heard half the first question in Arabic
when my earpiece fell out! No worries.
I had quickly grasped its gist. Calmly,
I explained the problem of leaders
underestimating the complexity of
implementing strategy, which was why
nine out of 10 implementations fail.
As one of the hosts asked the second
question, I calmly placed the earpiece
for the translation back in my ear and
. . . nothing. (I learned later it had a
loose connection.) He continued asking
the second question, unaware I couldn’t
hear the translation. In the meantime, I
fiddled with the earpiece, placing it up
to my left ear with my left hand while
the camera focused on my right side.
Suddenly, the set went quiet. I
realized the Arabic-speaking host had
finished asking his next question. What
do I do?
Fiddling in My Ear
During the next question, someone
realized I’d lost sound in my earpiece so
a technician was sent on the set while
the camera focused on the hosts. A wee
man was fiddling with my ear when
everything went quiet again. Both hosts
sat there staring at me. I simply continued, “Well, what I find most important
for leaders is …” and I reeled off my
three key messages while the technician
Robin Speculand specializes in
worldwide. His book, Beyond
Strategy: The Leader’s Role
in Successful Implementation,
identifies actions leaders must take to deliver
on their strategy promises. Speculand’s
pioneering work has been featured in BBC
Global, CNBC and Financial Times. He
heads Bridges Business Consultancy in
Singapore at www.bridgesconsultancy.com