30 Rock’s Donaghy as Model For New Servant Leader

June 24th, 2009   •   no comments   
All for One and All for Me

And, now, for something fun and light. Well, not too light: I’ve recently gotten hooked by Netflix’s free “Instant” Queue viewing and, along with that, Tina Fey and NBC’s “30 Rock” series. I like weird: what can I say?

This weekly (I watch as many as three episodes at a time!) and compelling satire takes sharp jabs at the stereotypical Corporate world. Plus, it gives us insight into the classic David and Goliath competition between alpha males that passes for vertical ambition: business as usual.

What can Jack Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin, tell us about hierarchy and the “old way?” What does this archaic model tell us about the modern organization and its flaws?

There are a few messages I get from the show. One of them is this: the guy (or gal) up top (typical hierarchy) in an organization has an unfair job and s/he makes it worse through unreasonable expectations, isolation, disconnection from the people in the trenches. Jack’s drive to innovate leads him to invent cockamamie new shows — like a Seinfeld digital impostor week — that get him into trouble, inevitably.

His “half-baked” ideas stem from a lack of information — too high up in the tower? —  coupled with flawed judgement.  He could ask his subordinates for some advice, first, but he doesn’t: he operates quite consistent with the “rugged individualist” stereotype.  But, from my mind, I’m wondering: is this all that far off the mark?

Yes, this is blatant satire but there’s always a thread of truth hidden in the weave of this fabric: it’s obviously not Kevlar that holds the organization together…it’s more like burlap that will rot over time if it gets wet and exposed to the elements.  Competition for the top spot eats away at the fabric; Jack’s heart attack and subsequent bypass surgery has to be kept secret: can’t show weakness to his nemesis. 
Jack Insults Liz on YouTube
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Presuming that the outcome was positive, the student has reached the close of one very important phase and is about to start a new one, the conduct of the study itself

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