Lessons from BBC Dad: There but for the grace….
Is there anything else in living memory as comically brilliant as the BBC-interview-gone-wrong we were treated to last week? If you haven’t seen it, just watch and behold the comedy of errors unfolding as dad/professor Robert Kelly tries to talk earnestly about unfolding political events in Korea while being gatecrashed by his kids.
In the days since, it’s spurred numerous parodies – this is the best one – and triggered debates about all sorts of things including unconscious racial bias which saw many internet commenters assuming his wife was a nanny (and of course there’s a parody about that too). It’s an interesting perspective shared in this Guardian article.
But perhaps it’s most useful to consider what Robert Kelly’s experience means for all of us who are transitioning to a life where the divisions between the office and the home are dropping away. Some thoughts:
The carefully curated professional facade is so 2016. Kelly commented in a post-interview interview that he feared no broadcaster would ever call for his opinion again; Instead, the BBC called and asked if they could post the footage online. The extraordinary popularity of the clip suggests something about the messiness of real life interrupting his professional facade is resonating with people everywhere. I remember a story shared by a Director at a Big 4 consulting firm which illustrates the power of letting people see the person behind the professional face. She was working on a big deal with deadline looming and had the dreaded call from school saying her son was sick. With no choice but to bring him back to the office, she told him to stay at her desk and under all circumstances stay away from the Big Boss who had a scary reputation. Ten minutes later when she went to check on him, he was gone. She looked everywhere until the only place he could be was in her boss’s office. Gingerly, she tiptoed to the door and listened to what sounded like her boss conducting a job interview “Why do you think we should hire you son?” Opening the door a bit further, she saw her son sitting opposite as he started his answer “my mum says I’m very good at helping”. And with that glimpse into her boss, role playing with a six year old, she never saw him the same way again. Which was a good thing. Perhaps letting people see more of us is what we mean when we talk about authenticity.
People are forgiving when it all goes wrong. Robert Kelly’s career is not likely to suffer one bit. We are all human and sometimes it gets away from us. As we navigate the blurry line between work and home, which means it’s now possible to think conducting a live interview via Skype with a 4 year old and a baby in the house is a feasible idea, the seams are bound to fray at times. We all benefit from having a laugh about it when it happens and moving right along.
But also, it probably goes without saying, it’s best to lock the door…
That’s it for now Vibers. Til next week remember…