In a previous book review, I warned readers not to judge a book by its cover. I feel compelled to once again issue that warning. When you first spot this bold blue cover, you see the name of a popular children’s cable TV show accompanied by the blank stare of an animated puppy who appears to be in search of the nearest fire hydrant. That’s two good reasons for me to question the position of this particular book in the business section of my favorite book store and to keep browsing for something of more substance. However, I strive to walk my talk, when possible, so I delved a little deeper. In addition, I must admit that I did recognize both the name and the animation as a result of long conversations with my eight grandchildren. I must also admit that I still struggled to make a connection between this Nickelodeon icon and useful business wisdom. My curiosity led to investigative browsing, purchase of the book, and an enjoyable and enlightening read.
To my pleasant surprise, this wasn’t a revealing expose’ of an animated puppy and her 20-something live male sidekick. Instead, I found a blueprint for achieving phenomenal success if you simply “clue into” your mission, customer, research, technology, work processes, brand, leadership, and culture!
I guess my next question dealt with my motive for seeking business wisdom from a team of young people who have turned a children’s television program into an extraordinary business triumph. It didn’t take me very long to answer that question.
Blue’s Clues, which hit the airwaves in 1996, now has more than 13 million viewers in 60 countries and had earned about $1 billion in licensing products in the year 2000 alone. More than 8 million kids and parents tune into Nickelodeon each week to watch Blue’s Clues. Today this same business is generating more than $3 billion in merchandising various products. This business has also spawned several best selling books, videos, CDs, and thousands of other consumer products. It’s a business that reaches millions of people in more than 60 countries each week. It’s a business that has changed the lives of its customers in a positive, educational way. This magical business is not a fantasy. Since 1996, Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues not only has become one of the most popular and successful shows for preschoolers in television history, it also has literally changed the way children watch television with its interactive approach.
Such success provides much rich case study material. Executive coach Tracy presents a hybrid case study/business guide based on the creative culture of Blue’s Clues. The show employs a deceptively simple concept, yet its creators succeed by expertly doing what cutting-edge management books say to do: walk the talk, live the vision, and discipline yourself to be the best in every aspect of your business.
Readers will learn:
- What can happen when leaders of an organization put their egos and self-interests aside for the accomplishment of a worthy mission.
- The power of relationship, and how trust in one another, from the top down, can break through enormous barriers.
- How a clear, grounded vision can allow individuals to push through their own personal barriers and limitations to create something truly phenomenal.
Author Diane Tracy reveals the eight principles behind the success of this amazing show for the business community. She will take you into the Blue’s Clues’ offices and studios and introduce you to the creators, the animators, the live host, the writers, the producers, and the executives who have turned this show into a phenomenal success.
Blue’s Clues for Success provides the eight clues to achieving phenomenal success. Learn why the following clues are fundamental to business success and how to apply them:
- Mobilize the energy in your organization by turning your MISSION into a “mantra.”
- Know your CUSTOMER, love your customer, and make them the focus of everything you do.
- Stay connected to your customer through RESEARCH—and lots of it!
- Be the master of, not a slave to, your TECHNOLOGY. Use it creatively.
- Create WORK PROCESSES that serve your customers and enable your people to do their best.
- BRAND your product or company. Know what you want to be and live up to it.
- Provide LEADERSHIP that meets the needs of people, so they can meet the needs of customers.
- Consciously manage your CULTURE the way you manage every other aspect of your business.
One intriguing thread to this book is the level of balance that the Blue’s Clues team seems to have across all of these clues. If companies could harness the imagination and creativity of the “child within” their people, they would have no competition. Blue’s Clues for Success will help organizations and individuals tap into this energizing resource to realize their potential and lead more profitable, satisfying businesses.
At some level this book represents an interesting case study of how living out these clues can contribute to a vibrant business. Equally interesting is that each business must search for the answers to these clues and they will be different for each business. To be effective these clues must be answered with the specifics of your mission, business, customers, technology and processes.
(This book review was originally published in 2002 as one of the Top 10 Books – Edition 11.)