The call comes in.  “Let me speak to the manager!”  There is only one thing this conversation can be about.

Someone isn’t happy.

As I became interested in broadcasting as a teenager I became hooked on a local Dallas TV show called, “Let Me Speak to the Manager,” a behind the scenes look at how TV was  programmed.

The show was unique in that it actually aired complaints from viewers, unheard of back in the day.  They even discussed stuff that aired on the other TV stations and networks.  Egad!

In fact, I can remember being told NOT to talk about ANYTHING on TV (you know like the presidential election, World Series, or Super Bowl) for fear that our listeners would turn off the radio that very moment and turn on their TV.  I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP, as Dave Barry would say.

In my travels I run across many different kinds of programmers, managers, and air talent.

Some have many years of experience; others have one year of experience many times.

But each has foundational assumptions that inevitably shape their perspective and conversation.  In my role, when I feel like I’m being lured into choosing between mom and dad, I seek to uncover the foundational assumptions that exist.

If your foundational assumptions are different than mine, you’ll interpret experiences, evidence, and data differently than I do.  We often believe our foundational assumptions are shared by intelligent people everywhere.

Because when you “know” something deeply and intrinsically, it’s hard to imagine other people not knowing it.  This cognitive bias is often called “the curse of knowledge,” and it’s responsible for a high percentage of bad advertising because it will cause you to answer questions in your ads that no one was asking.”

Roy Williams

Here’s a suggestion… when you hear a “Let Me Speak to the Manager” comment try to trace it back to their foundational assumptions.

Listeners have life experiences and social influences.  Those inside your building may have foundational assumptions based upon their specific role; board members may have their business or philanthropic background; accounting and technical may be logical and systematic; sales may be social and goal oriented; air talent may relate more to performance and preparation.

Everyone has an opinion.

The really good news is that the tribe cares.  If you don’t have that, you’ve got nothing of value.  In fact, the squabbling among people who care is the first sign you’re on to something.”

Seth Godin