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Eurovision Song Contest lessons for managers

The Eurovision Song Contest is by far the most amazing and exciting night of the year. And amongst all that razzle-dazzle are dazzling lessons for managers, especially within the two songs that won the competition as well as the two that should have won.

First Place – Norway:
Cute is what this entry was all about. The pre-pubescent-looking 23-year old singer was cute. The lyrics were cute. His melody was cute. It won the cuteness factor and subsequently won the contest, not by a whisker, but by a mile. The management lesson lies in the comments the judges made as country after country awarded their highest score of 12-points to the Norwegians. Countless of them acknowledged the cuteness of the singer and songwriter, Alexander Rybak. I don’t suggest you acknowledge the cuteness of your employees. There are laws against that. But there must be something that you can recognise in your employees today.

Second Place – Iceland:
Boring is what this entry was all about. It was tough to watch and even tougher to watch it climb up the ladder during the 90-minutes of voting. I sat and sulked with contempt as Iceland outshone my favourites. The management lesson is tolerance. And even more so, acceptance. Tolerating an employee’s opinions, talents, and diversity isn’t the same as accepting them. When you tolerate something, you still appear like an Ice Maiden. When you accept it, you become Icelandic. Triumphant.

But Eurovision is often more famous for the countries that were robbed of victory.  So, let’s move on to my personal top two favourites.

First Place – Greece:
I have to be honest. The Greek entry could have come out singing a Chinese rap version of Baa Baa Black Sheep and I still would have said with a straight face that they should have won. It’s because I’m Greek – and obviously biased. The management lesson is to watch your prejudices. Often they’re wrong and cloud your judgement, although in this case Greece really should have won.  It was a perfect entry.

Second Place – Turkey: What I loved the most about the Turkish entry was that for a nation that’s predominantly Islamic, there was more skin shown in this act than the open-minded Dutch, and there was dirtier dirty dancing than the ordinarily sensual Spanish. The management lesson here is to be brave. Try new employee initiatives that challenge the norm and which might make you feel a little uncomfortable.