I admit it: I'm hooked on Project Runway. Each Wednesday night, I'm glued to the TV at 10:00 PM eastern time to find out about the latest challenges, and to see who will be Auf'd next .
At first I was a little embarrassed by my curiosity about the success or demise of these individual designers. What, me liking a reality show? Perish the thought!
Now, I have begun to see two distinct themes playing out: 1) real-time guidance to professional service practitioners about the importance of listening to clients in their eventual success, coupled with: 2) the judge's requirement that each designer must incorporate into each outfit his or her own distinctiveness in a forward-thinking way.
Both of these guidelines are entirely appropriate for professional service practitioners, whether they are engineers and architects, actuaries or risk management consultants, lawyers, accountants, you name it.
In this week's final scene, two designers are left standing. The judges remarked that one did not listen to his client carefully enough, thus leaving her disappointed in the final outcome. He was allowed to stay until the next round, and hopefully he'll have learned his lesson about meeting -- if not exceeding -- the client's expectations. The eventual loser, a designer named Robert Best, had been warned in previous episodes to increase the distinctiveness of his designs -- a reminder of the importance of differentiation if I ever heard one.
There are elements of the program that I don't like, especially the sniping between designers, and Heidi Klum's voice drives me up a wall. But, little by little, you can see each designer growing professionally, and becoming a better client servant who offers uniquely valuable creations. What a great lesson for professional service practitioners!
Do I hear a call for "Project Runway: the MBA's"? Or how about "Project Runway: IT Services Consulting Challenge!" Hmm . . . . might not be such a bad idea. . . .