Presenter Doug Constable on The Inner Sanctum of a Business Commentators vs Opinionators

doug constable, innersanctum, business commentators, opinionators


Everyone’s got an opinion on a business. Now, it’s a little bit like a commentator, an opinionator, and a coach, isn’t it?

It’s that when the business isn’t going well, one of the things that I see is where the owner of the business will go and talk to their brother, for example. But what happens is, the owner of the business has an opinion, has a feeling. So when he’s talking to the brother, he’s saying these are the problems. But they are the problems as the owner of the business sees them, not necessarily the business’ problems; It’s how he reflects on it. So what advice we seek will be based on the other person’s experiences and what we’ve told them, not necessarily the facts of the business.

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Rex Hunt is an excellent example. Now, he puts his colour to it, with all the names and all that sort of thing. But a commentator will actually say, the ball’s on the half forward flank, and he’s moving it, and he’s kicking it, and it’s been a good kick, it’s been a bad kick, and there’s Royce Hart took an excellent mark. And that’s a commentator.

Several years ago, Scott Pendlebury, captain of Collingwood, had an injured groin in the first part of the season. He played across the half back flank. Listening to the commentary on radio, what the opinionators were saying, was very clearly, “Oh, Pendlebury’s lost the yard. This could be his last season. He hasn’t got that spring in his step. And they are playing him off half back flank, because he has lost his speed.”

Now, when it all came out later on, he had an injured groin. But the people that had the opinion, virtually had him retiring at the end of the year. The commentary would be – “He’s playing across half back flank, he’s playing well, he’s moved to position, the ball’s coming down, and that.” But these commentators that had this opinion all the time, it’s not based on fact, it’s based on their opinion, or them feeling like they’ve got something to say.

So what happens with business is that, too often what we do, is that we take segments of our business. And whether that be accounting or legal, we take these segments, and what we do is we form our views based on segments. Now an accountant for example, very good at figures, but doesn’t necessarily know the personalities involved in your business. Legal person, very good at legal work, doesn’t necessarily know the accounting figures or the marketing. And what we tend to do, is we go and we seek out opinions of people, based on what we know and their experience. But that’s not necessarily what our business is about.

And so while we’re the owners of a business, what we’ve got to do is certainly seek out the commentary or the facts associated with it. In the perfect example, the accountant gives us the facts, of how we’re spending the money in the business, but then as a business owner, we need to be able to form our own opinions, which are based on facts.

No different to the coach in a football club, takes the information provided, and he’s in that inner sanctum to come to a decision. And as a business owner, what we need to do is have this inner sanctum, if you like, a mentality; that we collect all the information from these people, their opinions don’t matter. We collect the information, they’re information providers, and we form how we will act.