A pawn and a king sit on a chessboard. The pawn looks at the king & thinks,
“I’m going to work hard and become king someday.”
The king smiles, and thinks,
“The harder you work, the longer I get to be king.”
The New Economy has defined a new set of rules governing success in the market-place. These new rules demand a new way of thinking from all of us. Gone are the days of following orders from corporate bosses and "trying not to make waves" in order to climb the ladder of success. The fact of the matter is that the New Economy demands that you do rock the boat or be brushed aside in the new kill-or-be-killed marketplace. White-collar job are being shipped overseas to people who will work twice as long as you for one-third of what you get paid. There are no jobs with "job security" anymore.
The only job security you can have in the next decade is the job security you make for yourself and, come to think of it, that’s the way it should be.
Communism died a long time ago; why do people think the government or their corporation should care for them in their old age? They can’t anymore. Fact of the matter is that you cannot afford to not become successful anymore. You cannot afford to sit back, like our fathers did, punch a card 9—5 and expect to bring home enough bacon to buy a house, a car, and support a wife with three kids. It’s almost the year 2008; get into the eighties, will you?
The last twelve months of my working life have been a wild roller-coaster ride through the ups-and-downs of The Corporate Life. While I was forced to work with people who were still stuck in the old-school mindset, I made the effort everyday to re-educate them and myself. It was a daunting task, but what other option did I have? What other option do you have today? You will re-educate yourself or you will fall by the wayside.
In a previous article, I wrote about the requirements of success that I was luckily self-taught and taught by others. Those guidelines have served me well.
I initially became Chief Music Director of a major Tokyo FM radio station in July of 2006. I was promoted to General Manager in October of 2006. This was when I became the first ever foreign-born General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station in history. I left that job as General Manager in July of 2007
I’ll let you decide if I succeeded or not.
The station I worked for had lost $140 million dollars in ten years. It had never been in The Black even once. It had never once dug itself out of the last-place spot in the ratings sweepstakes in those entire ten years.
As G.M. my assignment was easy to understand, but quite difficult to do. I was given three targets to achieve in the shortest possible time. They were:
- Kill all the Red Ink and make the station profitable.
- Make the stations rating competitive (the other Tokyo stations consistently beat our ratings by a 10 to 1 ratio).
- Create a "Cool" station image by concentrating on the station’s "Branding."
Between corporate restructuring (firing a bunch of incompetent and corrupt employees) and instituting an American-Style database system, we repaired many of our problems in the first 3 months.
By November of 2006, we had killed all of the Red Ink. Even though I was never able to wrestle the control of the weekend shows from the corrupt Good Old Boy network, I was able to easily take control of the weekday time slots. By April of 2007, the stations ratings among 12—29 year-old men and women were #1 across the board from 12 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. In fact, we dominated the ratings; the first time in station history.
By April of 2007, the station actually profited $200,000, also a first.
This probably all sounds rosy, but it wasn’t. This was the most difficult job I have ever had in my life. Every day at that station I faced a massive uphill struggle. The challenges involved being a foreigner in an extremely corrupt, very "good-old-boy," network and, by the mere fact that I am a foreigner, I was handicapped by cultural and language deficiencies. Childish jealousies among the Japanese staff who had worked at that company for all these years — while it was losing money — who wanted to become G.M. themselves — but couldn’t — didn’t help at all as they were constantly and maliciously working to undermine my authority.
Needless to say, about the only thing these people actually did work on was interfering — I couldn’t get most of them to be conscience about their jobs. But in many ways, it didn’t matter. I decided that I was going to put myself in a win-win situation as that was the only hope for me. I knew that if I did a spectacular job that some people would notice whether the company succeeded or failed.
By June of 2007, the parent company was extremely pleased with station progress. So pleased with progress were they that they transferred my boss, the president, to another subsidiary that was doing poorly. In his place, they returned the epitome of a Good Old Boy: a 67-year-old man who had never worked in radio in his entire life.
Meet the new boss, definitely not the same as the old boss — but the same as the old-old boss; same as the former old-old boss who worked the station into massive debt and bad ratings. Since the new boss was a Good Old Boy, that meant he brought in his pals to work with him. The incompetence and corruption returned. With sadness in my heart and bitterness in my mind I knew it was time to get out. Even though I was hurt, I politely wished them well and bid them adieu.
Was I a failure? No. I don’t think so. I did over and above what was asked of me. Never in the history of broadcasting was a station in Japan turned around in such a short span of time; we had a cool image, our ratings were #1 where it mattered the most and, we were finally profitable…
But I was out of a job…
Or was I?
No. Like I said, I strived to do a spectacular job everyday. When word came out that a new president was being brought in to the radio station, I was head-hunted by three different companies even before June arrived. After talking to them all, I took what I thought would be the most challenging and fun job; I elected to become Head of Music Programming for Gotcha Media. Gotcha Media paid me more money than the radio station did and the working conditions are better and it’s a much more exciting place to be. I believe the word young folks use today to describe this sort of situation would be, "Sweet!"
How did this come about? Like I said, everyday at the radio station was a massive uphill struggle. Nevertheless, I decided that I was going to succeed, I was going to stand out; I was going to be flamboyant, and I was going to be a star. I put myself — and my frame of mind — in a win-win situation. It didn’t matter if the station succeeded or failed. I was going to win.
If the station failed, I was still going to come out looking good because everyone would know that, "Mike Rogers made that station cool." If the station were a success, and it was, then everyone would say, "Mike Rogers performed miracles."
When the president of Gotcha Media hired me he said, "Everyone knows it was you who turned the radio station around. Everyone knows that the president was never there." It’s true that everyone knew that the president was never there. I found it quite flattering that he felt that everyone knew that the success was due to me. I had often felt that I was the only one who thought that way.
How did I, how do you, put yourself into a win-win situation at work, no matter the circumstances? It is very difficult and few people seem to do it. But the way things are going now how can you afford not to? How can you afford to not re-create yourself into a positive force to be reckoned with? How can you not afford to make yourself into your own boss that stands out among the crowd, someone who everyone notices and thinks about hiring?
How can you not think about these things when the stock market dives, the American dollar loses 40% of its value against a foreign currency, and gold prices climb to ever higher and higher prices? You can’t.
You will make yourself successful or you will not succeed. It’s that simple. No one else is going to help you anymore. And, come to think of it, I can’t think of anything more American than the idea that you are going to be independent (even if you work for a company) and do this by yourself — and you are not going to depend on anyone else to help you do it either.
Whether you are a company employee or self-employed or thinking about joining the work-force, you must understand that today, you are your product. Your product is you. You must sell yourself as being a can-do person; a person who is sincere, truthful, dedicated, focused, driven, obsessive, and will do anything to fill your client’s needs. Your clients must know this to be true and to trust you with their money. My clients love me because they know that they can’t find anyone else who will take care of them like I do. My clients know that I always do top-class work and my product is always spectacular. I am my product.
The results? Your clients will follow you whereever you go. Actually, this shouldn’t be any surprise, this has always been true in the past; it will be true in the future.
We all must understand that there’s a big difference between doing something and a new product and doing something meticulously planned with a great attitude, an aggressive can-do dedication to be the best; an obsession towards success, and a road map with a great new product.
You don’t have a great new product? Yes, you do. It’s you. You are your product.
Let me tell you a bit about my new company: Gotcha Media is the future of broadcasting. We are a P2P Broadband TV station. We can deliver HDTV quality, digital content, full screen to your computer right now. There’s no buffering, no downloading, no streaming, no waiting. You just click it and it’s on and it’s all free. We are much faster than a regular TV signal as we are digital quality right on your monitor, your plasma screen, or even your TV monitor.
While Gotcha Media has the technology and is operating in a vacuum — new ideas and products just love vacuums — Gotcha Media may or may not succeed: it’s a high-risk game. I fully believe that we will; for one they have me, and around me are a group of the most elite, professional, motivated people I have ever met in my life. Nevertheless, succeed or fail, I’m in a win-win situation. It’s the same win-win situation I put myself in at the radio station — and the critical piece of truth that all of us must understand if we are to make it rich.
When Gotcha Media succeeds, I win real big. If, by our own fault, it fails (it would have to be by our own fault because what we have is amazing), then that’s okay too, because this sort of digital business will succeed. If another company comes along and succeeds where Gotcha Media couldn’t, I’m going to win then too. Why? Because I always do a spectacular job wherever I go and the next company will know my name.
If Gotcha Media doesn’t succeed the next company will know who I am, because of my reputation. They will hire me and pay me even more. The next company that comes along in this business will know that I am a force to be reckoned with and they will head-hunt me. That’s the way it is — especially in the digital age. I have absolute confidence in this part of what I’m doing. This is how I put myself in a win-win situation.
The truth of the matter is I believe that you can make much more money than you do now, but first, you have to change your thinking. All of us can make much more money together. It’s a win-win for me, win-win for you, and win-win for us.
A win-win situation is not just the best way, it’s obviously the only way (but most people haven’t figured that out).
Are you ready to make big money? Are you willing to strive to make a fantastic new product? Are you ready for the new you? Great! Let’s get started on your new product. Buy this book and read it immediately: The Brand You 50: Or: Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an ‘Employee’ into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion!
The Brand You 50 will show you why you are your product and why 70% of what you do is un-cool, therefore you should stop doing that 70% and concentrate on the 30% that is cool. Your product is you.
Also buy this book: The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable.
The Big Moo will show you why being "safe" in your career and business is actually a very risky road to take. Everybody is safe, every product’s promotional plan is safe. As the world gets more and more turbulent, people want to eliminate as much risk from their business and their careers as possible, so they play it safe. People mistakenly believe that the way to eliminate risk is by playing it safe… Play it safe like everyone else does, right? Wrong.
Think about it, how can you possibly risk your future by being like everyone else? You can’t. You had better be noticed and you had better be remarkable. And you cannot be remarkable by playing it safe.
These books will show you why you are your product and why your product has to be remarkable in this day and age. They will help you to better your product. They will stop you from being "comfortable" and to start you being remarkable. They’ll teach you to know that you can never compromise yourself because you are all you’ve got!
I’ll make the effort to write again soon and recommended some other necessary books, but for now, I’ve got the future with Gotcha Media right in my hands. I’ve also got a product that needs to be polished everyday and sold: Me! You do too. Let’s get cracking.
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He is the president of a mass-media production company and also runs a talent agency in Japan. He is now the Music Director of Gotcha Media. His book, Schizophrenic in Japan, went on sale in 2005.