When it comes to TV viewing, it is almost impossible to find any quality on the free to air channels. I'm an unashamed TV snob and I'll only watch dramas like the Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Given my TV snobbery any sojourn into free to air entertainment would be a turn up for the books these days. This is because I almost always find reality TV which dominates the free to air channels to be bordering on asinine. From neighbours fighting over an apricot tree, to Police arresting drunk teens, to the drama of a soufflé not setting, reality TV is in the main cheap and nasty formulaic clap trap.

And watching shows like 'X-Factor' and 'Master Chef' at times can be a marathon because of the almost endless schmaltz which is a bit hard to take. It appears that most of the talent show finalists are either trying to rescue their families from destitution – an increasing factor of life in the economy these days – or it's their "last chance for [my] dream". There's also that interesting 'Americanism' of the involvement of God and Jesus in the progression of contestants through the phases of the show – I'd have thought that assisting people to material wealth and a recording career was low on the list of a deity's priorities.

But through it all, there is a business case behind the tears and running mascara and the search for excellence. The eventual winner of these 'reality game shows' will be someone with something which stands out and sets him or her apart from the rest.

Advertisement

In spite of my growing aversion to the genre, there is a relevant message for today's businesses – "Does your business have an X-Factor?" How does your offering set itself apart from the competition? If you don't know the answer to that question, maybe you should think of something – because your competitors inevitably will.

Like the competitors on the show you might already have that quality, it might be a case of refining it or making time to build on what you already do well. That special quality may reside in a new market or be accentuated by technological advances, as is about to happen.

I guess the one thing I like about the reality show concept is the involvement of experts assisting the contestants to hone their skills – the moulding of that talent into success, which has more than a little to do with the business that I am in.

And this leads to the second message of the week, businesses need to appreciate and foster the talent within their ranks. The days of your staff just turning up for a pay check are long gone, so look ahead to your future and make sure that you build and nurture your team. Because, like the TV based talent shows, the team that can produce the greatest quality performance will win and beat the competition – just as it is for 'master chefs', song & dance and sport, so it can be for you.

*Balance Consulting is a Whanganui consultancy specialising in business strategy, process excellence and leadership mentoring — contact Russell Bell on 021 2442421 or John Taylor on 027 4995872