Jan 26, 2012

Win Some, Lose Some: Jillian Michaels Reflects on Her Company & What Comes Next

What does it take before we can truly believe in our success - trust that it is real?  How much do we need before we can finally relax and feel as though we're safe?  During a recent interview with Forbes, Jillian Michaels and her business partner pulled back the curtain and gave us a rare glimpse into the pressures and challenges of building their company, and the fears they've had to overcome along the way.

With refreshing candor, they admitted to making mistakes - one of which was Jillian's recent stint on the Doctors.  Although grateful for the opportunity, they said that they were rushed into the contract without being given adequate time to flesh out the details - such as what exactly Jillian would be expected to do.  And clearly, what came to pass was not what she and GC had anticipated.

She wasn't doing the segments that she wanted to do; like talking about the substandard quality of food being fed to children in schools.  I can imagine her frustration.  After-all, she repeatedly expressed in interviews that her whole reason for trading in the Biggest Loser for The Doctors in the first place was to gain a platform to speak directly to the people about things that really matter.  So when she began to realize that she wasn't being given an opportunity to have a voice after-all, it had to sting.

And what a shame. What a wasted opportunity!  Because clearly both shows could benefit from an injection of some substantive, meaningful content delivered by the Jillian that was increasingly left on the cutting room floor of the Biggest Loser, and who was never allowed to emerge on the set of the Doctors.   Instead she was relegated to either reading stiff prompts taking the show out to commercials, or reaction shots of her squirming at medical stuff and sex talk.  The very few openings for her to actually speak in any sort of real way was swiftly shut down or anesthetized via editing.  My question is - if they couldn't handle her style, why did they invite her to join them in the first place?

"When we got there, they wanted me to do segments that worked for their audience, like segments on cankles, or segments on communicable diseases for dogs....I didn't want to do those type of segments." 

Lesson learned.  Revealing that they had felt "bullied" by partners and networks in the past, they're now entering into "phase two" of their enterprise - one in which they're prepared to decline projects that don't serve their best interests; like a recent Kinect deal that wasn't quite what they were looking for. From now on, they said that they plan to take the time that they need to make the decisions, and pick the projects that are right for them.  They'll no longer be willing to "succumb".

"It used to be a matter of fear... 'If we let this go will we get another one'?"
Looks like Jillian and GC are ready to take the reigns, and have the confidence to ask for their fair share of creative control. I hope that the the stunning trajectory of their enterprise has finally allowed the two of them to recognize their own success and believe that it's not going to go away anytime soon.

Thanks for reading!   I welcome your feedback & would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.   The Forbes video interview can be viewed here.  

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