Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #160: What Makes a Good Mogul?

The recent reports of troubles with top management at United Artists, and NBC have got me thinking about what it takes to be a boss, or to be more specific a Hollywood Mogul. And I'm not talking about having a relative that has compromising pictures of a major shareholder, I'm talking about the qualities that it takes to become a good studio or network mogul.

A good mogul has to be more than just a good manager, or a good salesman, they have to also be a Coach, a General, a Diplomat, an Explorer, and a Monk, and damn good ones at that.

Allow me to explain...

THE COACH: The good coach has the ability to inspire loyalty, trust, and the belief that when the company wins, the whole team wins. Under a good coach the team is united, and dedicated to the success of the company as a whole, because it reflects well on them as well as the man on top.

THE GENERAL: Decisions have to be made. That's one of the hardest things to do in the life of a mogul, but they are a necessity. The General has the skill to see the complexities of the field in front of them, manage all the little details that can derail even the best plans, and to delegate appropriate authority to the appropriate subordinates at the appropriate times. The good General does more than just yell "charge." The good General says: "Follow me!" by setting a good example, and not being afraid to pass out proverbial medals to the company's other heroes.

THE DIPLOMAT: In an industry as ego based as Hollywood, feathers will get ruffled, it's inevitable. The good Diplomat can sooth those feathers, and head off conflicts by calming tempers, and finding the ways to make sure everyone walks away happy. This is where the skills of salesmanship, and psychology come in.

THE EXPLORER: The good Explorer is never happy with well trod trails, they're compelled to take the road less travelled, to find new ways for the company to make markets. This means looking for opportunities in fresh markets, products, and new technology to promote efficiency and efficacy.

THE MONK: Basically this is the elimination of ego. I know that's an anathema to most in Hollywood, but if you're going to be a mogul, you must learn it. The good Monk is content in his position away from the spotlight, and resists the temptations of fame, glamour and power, that can lead a mogul astray from their mission of running the best company possible. It can also be used to symbolize integrity, because your peccadilloes are your enemy's ammunition, so in order to maintain your position at the top, you must not only be pure, you must also appear to be pure.

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