Of Olympic Coverage and Failure to Satisfy …

Everyone All the Time

Poor NBC, couldn’t win for losing. After taking heat for airing tape-delayed coverage from the London Olympics opening ceremonies, rather than offering them live, the network responded by amping up live streaming via its various websites, as well as through very robust phone and tablet applications. Trust me, as someone who had the games on pretty much 24/7 through one media channel or another, it looked as though the network was doing a pretty good job of getting the coverage done after some early hiccups.

Then came the closing ceremonies. The commercial interruptions were fairly frequent (if I never see Ryan Lochte swim to London again on AT&T’s behalf, it’ll be too soon), and to lop off coverage during the show, and before the ceremonies were concluded? To make us miss The Who and more? All to preview a new sitcom? To my mind, the howls of outrage were more justified this time around.

This is what can happen when sometimes you listen, and sometimes you don’t. And whether it’s a multibillion-dollar, 16-day global broadcasting spectacle or your company’s social-media or print product, it’s never a good idea to take advice only up to a point.

If you are launching or overhauling a website, ask for input — and be prepared to evaluate everything you get. The same goes for beginning or retooling a social-media presence, or newsletter, or employee magazine.  If you do any or all of these things with just a few people (worse still, just a few managers), you run the risk of alienating the very people you’ll need to make the endeavor successful. When you bring in everyone, the initial noise may be deafening, but you’ll get plenty of good suggestions and ways to move forward once you sift through the clutter.

Can you incorporate every idea? Of course not. Can you let everyone who offered input know that they’ve been heard and, if their suggestion wasn’t acted upon, why not? Certainly.

In trying to please everyone you run the risk of pleasing no one. When it comes to communication, though, you have to make the effort. No one will point fingers if they know that they were included in the process, if not the final product.