Garrison Wynn
Speaker, Consultant, Author

Garrison Wynn

Founder of Wynn Solutions, this keynote speaker is a former stand-up comedian and author of "The Real Truth About Success


Is Leno a Loser?

Q: NBC's bold decision to move Jay Leno into prime time has been a ratings disaster. How often does a roll of the dice hurt instead of help? Are gamblers more likely to succeed than those who are cautious by nature?

If you are a gambler, you have a shot at the big time; if you are not, then you really don't. Taking calculated risks allows you to get good results with consistency and often leads to the American Dream, which, oddly enough, seems to consist of German cars, Italian clothes and French food.

As a professional motivational speaker, I can tell you that when it comes to risk, it's like driving on the freeway. If you go the speed limit, you won't get pulled over, but you won't really get anywhere either. As my 90-year-old grandmother said to the police officer who pulled her over, "Going the speed limit feels like pedaling." (Of course, she was pulled over for doing 7 miles per hour.)

If you go 80 miles an hour, you will arrive ahead of a lot of people, but if you're caught, you'll get a ticket and pay a fine. If you go 150 miles an hour, you will beat everyone -- you'll be the first person in the market and win ... but if you're caught, you're going to jail!

So when it comes to risk, the question is this: How fast do you want to go and can you survive the consequences of your failure?

Most can't, and that's why we have only a finite number of really successful people. Beware of people like Warren Buffett who give success advice based on where they are in life now. If you have a few billion, of course you play it safe! But if you look at how they got there, it's a different story; they took some chances.

Jay Leno took a chance and lost, and he might not recover unless he gets his old time slot back. What does that mean for Conan O'Brien? Will he take a chance with Fox when his numbers are not that great to begin with?

Moving Leno to 10 o'clock was a bad decision in general. In that time slot, people want to see phony CSI stuff (you do know the lab guys don't actually go in the field armed and dangerous, right?) and other scripted shows.

Talk shows have not worked very well in prime time slots in the past 25 years. Leno and his people (only successful people have people) believed he was good enough to do well in a doomed time slot for his format.They rolled the dice and came up snake eyes (that means they lost, for you nongamblers), but it's better than doing nothing or, in the case of most people, actually being afraid of the dice, much less rolling them.

By Garrison Wynn  |  January 14, 2010; 12:04 AM ET  | Category:  taking chances Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Smart risks, dumb risks | Next: Leadership on Leno


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It's hard to call a guy whose name is a household word, and who is one of the most watched talking heads on the planet a loser, even if he did bomb in his prime-time slot. If that's losing, I'll take it!

Posted by: Tim_Johnson_Coactive_Brand_Lab | January 26, 2010 4:12 PM
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