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starckIf you are sitting in front of the TV on Monday night around 9pm, I would recommend you flick over to BBC2 and indulge yourself in a fascinating program called Design for Life.

The program is similar to The Apprentice in that a group of contestants are all tasked, with various projects with the winner gaining a prestigious work placement. The difference here is that Philippe Starck plays the role of judge/client/interviewer instead of Sir Alan and the contenders all have design rather than business backgrounds.

The programme is intriguing as none of them really have a clue what Starck is talking about. This isn’t because of language or cultural barriers, it’s because Starck is a one-off: completely off-the-wall with his ideas, and his brain ticks over faster than his mouth can articulate. In other words he fits the mould of a true creative genius.

It’s a frustrating experience watching the team briefings and the feedback meetings. You get the impression that neither Starck nor the contestants can express themselves clearly to each other, which is strange as both have similar creative roots so their thoughts shouldn’t be poles apart. Obviously working with such a charismatic genius creates its own set of problems. So what can be done to create more understanding between a highly creative leader and the rest of the group?

The first building block is to make sure that the leader understands this problem – this may be harder for some than others – it will take a lot of perseverance from a team of communication advisors. The second is to add people to the leader’s team who can understand what the leader wants and can express these views in a clear contextual manner to the rest of the workforce. The third building block is to work with different forms of media to find the most suitable one for mass communicating.

If these communication concepts were used during the programme, then the contestants would have a clearer understanding of the briefs they’re given and what Starck really wants from them. In a business context clearer understanding of what leaders want will ultimately lead to a more productive and efficient workforce.

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