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Author: Evan Davis
  • Video
  • 5 minutes

Evan Davis on... striking a balance

Updated Thursday, 28th October 2010
Evan Davis argues that interfering is ok as long as it doesn't get in the way of the creativity and benefit of others.

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Evan Leslie

I have worked here at the BBC for many different editors of different programmes, and I think it’s fair to say that all of them at one time or another have irritated me by interfering in my work. 

They've told me they don’t understand what my script consists of or it’s too long or they throw up pernickety little grammatical points.  As a creative, as an artiste of course, I find they're getting in the way, but I have to say on the days when I can stand back and think objectively about my work, I would have to concede that having people telling me that I'm doing things wrong or not doing them as well as I could, not standing up to me, is a good thing, a good thing for me, a good thing for them and a good thing for listeners and viewers.  And getting that balance between people getting in the way of the artistes and the creatives, getting in the way and correcting what they do without impeding them from being creative and artistic, is one of the hardest balances to strike.  It doesn’t just apply to people working in journalism, it applies to every walk of life everywhere.

There are those who will think Margaret Thatcher, for example as Prime Minister had too much power, there was no one standing up to her and getting in her way to stop her doing things, and there are others who will think wasn’t it great that we could have a decisive and strong leader who could get on with running the country and wasn’t constantly got at by lobby groups and different interests. 

And striking that balance between too much interference and too little accountability is an incredibly important balance to strike, nowhere more so than in companies and around the role of the chief executive.  I would say that making people at the very top of companies feel like people at the very bottom of companies, i.e. that they are accountable to somebody, that if they screw up there is a difficult conversation they will have to have with somebody, is one of the most important challenges of a modern corporation.  No-one anywhere should feel that they don’t have a boss or that they're not accountable, and the companies that work best are the ones where chief executives always feel that.

That’s my view, you can join the debate with the Open University.





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