Excuses. Excuses. Bravo!

Rationa Liza might be my Harry Potter character name. With a dismissing flick of the wrist I'll generate a magical, unbeatable excuse for whatever I need to substantiate, rational or not. Subscribe to, or worse, buy over-the-counter, too many magazines? It's fashion research for my job. Watch too many movies (in pajamas, in bed)? It's entertainment research for my job. Getting a new cell phone? It's mobile technology research for my job.

Well, how does a girl like me rationalize my Bravo cable series addiction? When it was just Real Housewives of OC I could blame the initial home-sickness after our big cross-country move from southern California to Chicago. And when Project Runway was still connected by umbilical cable-cord to its birth-parents.....it was research. But Top Chef? (I did a catering stint with my Mom....good enough?) Flipping Out? (Don't get me started, I love this one.) The Rachel Zoe Project? This, venti-cup swigging, big-shade bearing little blondie has something to teach, and I have been her willing student from the first episode to the recent season finale earlier this week. I've even had the theme-song (see link at 42 seconds) in my head all week long (and I think I've now created my own remix in that head and if I could only get it out I might have a hit bigger than Tardy for the Party.) You may need to watch this season's episodes to follow along, but below are perhaps the top 3 management lessons to be gleaned from the show. Pay attention Rodge now that you're at the helm.
1. Don't ignore your employees
It's easy enough to get caught up in our own importance, but has Rachel really not noticed how unhappy Taylor has been? Being busy just can't be an excuse. Your people are your biggest asset and Rachel treats the dresses and accessories better than her star player. Words aren't even necessary to detect how unhappy Taylor is, or how much Brad could use a little more instruction and a little less buddy-time. (He's come so far, but when we stop teaching and learning we stop evolving.) Whether they be self-directed and self-sufficient or newbie novices, we are no longer a team when we stop communicating.
Put a little structure in place to make sure that there is ALWAYS time to communicate with your people, even for a brief time, regularly. Religiously. It might even take less time than waiting in the queue at Starbucks or fondling vintage __________ (Chanel, Halston, etc.)
2. Don't delegate big decisions that are your own to make
Sure there are learning opportunities for employees that are growing into their next role. But first giving Taylor and Brad the "opportunity" to decide which of them would forego the Paris trip, and then following this up with delegating the decision to Taylor because she is senior to Brad? Meanwhile hoping that Brad would make the "right" decision, and testing him in a contest he didn't know he was in. Tisk tisk.
Managers get to take a bigger paycheck because they get the joy of making the hard decisions (well, maybe not in the case of entrepreneurs just starting out, but you get the picture.) Involving employees in the fact- and opinion-gathering to prepare for a big decision can be a team-building experience when managed well. Delegating it is a no-no.
3. Don't not believe it can be done (at least not visibly)
How many episodes this season began with one of Rachel's "oh my god, dis-as-ter" pep-talks? The only pep was in that tall cup. I'm not advocating blind belief. But if the leader doesn't believe it can be done, and doesn't coach her team accordingly, then those laws of attraction are going to work just fine. Against them. So maybe some of this was a set-up by the producers to create tension in the show, but she shouldn't have ever given them the chance to catch those speeches on camera unless she talks in her sleep and they filmed all night long.
Your job as the leader is to create vision, manage the demand and deliver on commitments. Don't even tell yourself in the mirror that it can't be done unless you want it to not be done.
I could go on but alas my dinner is ready on this chilly Sunday evening (ok, a few more....don't play favorites by bff'ing one of them, don't disregard the input of your staff that does the real work....) So now it's out there. My MBA is from Monday Bravo Antics.