What I learnt from the Yellow Wiggle

The original handover from Greg to Sam

Recently the children’s entertainment group know as the Wiggles, decided to bring back Greg as the Yellow Wiggle.  Whilst many parents were upset because they liked Sam as the Yellow Wiggle, in this blog post we will look at what this teaches us as leaders in our situation.

Background about the Wiggles

  1. If you don’t know who the Wiggles are then you must not have kids.  They are a children’s entertainment group from Australia that have entertained millions of children.  The Wiggles have won every award possible in their category and are in the Music Hall of Fame.
  2. A few years ago Greg, one of the four original members was replaced by Sam because Greg was unwell.  Sam was much younger and connected well with the kids.
  3. Most of the four original Wiggles would now be their 50’s.  The original four will not last forever so what is their exit strategy?

What can we learn from the replacement of the Yellow Wiggle?

  1. Look to replace yourself – Whilst it was sad to see Greg leave, bringing in Sam was a chance to replace the original line up one person at a time.  When you replace yourself in an up front roll, you train up more people who can do your job if needed.  Bringing in Sam was the perfect way to get the audience used to seeing a new Wiggle. Every few years the Wiggles could be replace another member so that the fans always knew at least one Wiggle.  Going back to an original member was a backward step to replacing yourself.  In your role as a leader are you training up others to replace you or do you hog center stage?
  2. It is not about you – By replacing Greg and bringing in Sam it helps the audience connect with the brand of the Wiggles rather than the individuals.  The Wiggles had the opportunity to build a fan base rather than boosting the self-confidence of an individual.  Bringing back Greg give the impression that the true Wiggles are the original four members.  In your leadership role is it about building your ministry or boosting your ego?
  3. Don’t just hire your friends – in terms of the Wiggles reaching their audience, Sam was the better choice amongst this generation of fans.  By going back to an old friend the Wiggles lost a lot in the public relations department.  It told the fans that it was about what the original members wanted rather than what the fans wanted.  In your leadership role do people have to be friends with you to get ahead or can the best people rise up?

Application to a ministry setting

We all know a “Yellow Wiggle” situation where one leader has been replaced by a new leader.  Perhaps you know situation where that went well or perhaps you know situations where it didn’t work so well.  In a previous post I wrote about how this can be done well  (see Building a Legacy for more).  We know that in a Youth Ministry situation leaders move every 2-3 years and each leader has their own style.  In a local church, the senior minister moves every 5-10 years and a new senior minister can bring a 180 degree shift.  So as a leader at any level remember these three things:

  1. Look to replace yourself before it gets too late and you decide to leave.
  2. It is not about you it is about the people
  3. Don’t just recruit from your friendship circle; build up the people who will best minister to those in your ministry.

If you ever forget these three things then just think about a man jumping around a stage in a Yellow Skivvy.

Please leave a comment, especially if you had any thoughts on the replacement of Sam as the Yellow Wiggle.

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