The Eurovision Song Contest will be presented on May 10th, 12th and 14th of 2016. For those of us outside Europe, you can stream the contest in real time or watch it again after its conclusion via the Eurovision website and their WebTV page.
The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC for short) is a giant production; it is one of the best examples I can think of for the dictionary definition of the world spectacle. Each year, the contest is hosted by the country who won the contest in the prior year. The economic benefits of hosting the contest can be huge; The 2013 contest in Malmo, Sweden brought in 1.1 Billion in advertising alone, not to mention the economic benefits of the thousands of people who participated in the show or attended the contest in person and had to utilize hotels, travel facilities, restaurants and the like. It might even get you a new arena.
The ESC is also a contest, and as such there is certain pressure on the acts attending to place well in the contest, if not win. Winning ensures you get the benefits of hosting, but it also saddles you with the not insignificant responsibilities of hosting as well. Because of that, you will see varying levels of commitment and dedication to winning the competition among the contestants.
In 2012, Ell & Nikki, a duo from Azerbaijan won the contest with a perfect-for-mainstream radio entry titled Running Scared. Even the performance at the ESC itself was created with its mass marketability in mind and showed that Azerbaijan was truly dedicated to taking the top spot.
In 2010, German singer Lena also demonstrated a perfectly executed performance of another mainstream pop anthem titled Satellite.
But then, there are acts that make you question just how seriously that country is taking things, just how committed they are to winning the contest. Take, for example, the 2012 Russian entry Party for Everybody, which featured six Russian Grandmothers making cookies in an oven onstage and performing a song backed by a techno track.
Another classic example is the 2008 entry from Ireland, a country who holds the record for having won the contest the most times over ESC history. But in 2008? They sent a muppet named Dustin to perform Irlande Douze Points, a nod to the highest 12 point score any country can receive. Full of snark? Yes, most definitely. Dedicated to winning the contest? Not so much…
Over the course of your career, you will work with many different people, and those people will display varying levels of dedication to their work. Some, like Ell&Nikki and Lena, will be assets to any team you are working on, because they are dedicated towards the end goal and making sure the projects are successful. When you have the luck to work with people like this, especially if you are a team lead or a manager, you need to remember to recognize the dedication of these employees. Nothing can turn a motivated, high-performing employee into a low-performing, I-am-just-here-for-the-paycheck type employee than not recognizing all of the hard work and effort they put in.
You will also have the misfortune to work with people who are more like the Russian grandmothers or Dustin the Turkey; people who are simply phoning in their performance or have questionable dedication towards a project. As a team lead or a manager, the trick is to try and figure out why these employees are behaving that way and see if you can help resolve it so that performance improves. Are they burned out? Are they a mismatch for the particular project, or for the company? There are any number of reasons why a Dustin will perform the way he does. To save the project and embarrassment for your company, you need to figure out what you can do motivate your Dustin-like employee into being at best an asset, at least not a liability. Even if they are mildly entertaining, in a train-wreck kind of way…
To learn more about the ESC and Workplace Culture, click here.