Oprah Gave Rosie O’Donnell A “Crazy Check” Before Hiring Her: Should You Do The Same In Your Career?

Today Rosie O’Donnell’s new show, The Rosie Show, premieres on OWN, Oprah’s new network. The show is one of the biggest attractions for the fledgling network and today is even being called the real launch of the show. The actual launch in January is now referred to as the “soft launch.”

Discovery Communications, the partner of OWN, needs the network to be successful, as it has spent more than $200 million to fund the channel and has sold major marketers such as Procter & Gamble on multiyear ad deals.So far, OWN’s ratings are trailing those of predecessor Discovery Health. In the third quarter, OWN drew 15% fewer women ages 25 to 54 years old — the target category for advertisers — compared to last year, according to Nielsen figures. This means there is a lot riding on O’Donnell’s show. Though Rosie’s first daytime talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, was a success since then she has a bit of a rocky career with television. After her ABC show ended, the actress formerly known as the “queen of nice” became more outspoken than ever before. She joined The View as a panelist in 2006, but lasted just one year after well-publicized feuds with Donald Trump and ‘View’ co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

So this is why Rosie didn’t mind when Oprah admitted to her that she did do a “crazy check” before she asked her to sign on. O’Donnell invited the daytime queen to her home for a four-hour meeting. After they decided to work together, O’Donnell asked Oprah, “Tell me the truth, did you come here to see if I was insane?” “She said, ‘A little bit,’” O’Donnell told Nightline.

Now technically Rosie and Oprah are not business partners but Oprah is Rosie’s boss since she is now CEO of OWN. Oprah represents that network so anyone she puts on it represents her in a way. In the regular world, you can’t really do a “crazy check” if you are hiring somebody but if you joining up as partners for a business venture you may want to get to know your potential partner first.

Mike Wille, wrote for Life of an Entrepreneur.net, said he “relied too much on evaluating capability and talent, and the truth is, talent and ability is all too common. I’ll take hard work and values over natural ability any day. In the end, hard work and correctly aligned values lead you to developing superior talent and superior ability anyway.”

Here is a check list of what you should look for in a business partner:

  1. Find someone with a complementary skill set to your own: You don’t need another you, no matter how good you are. “I get scared when I see two women who are both the visionaries, literally the same, trying to start a business,” said Dana Levy, founder of Daily CandyLauren Leto, founder of Texts from Last Night and CEO and founder of Bnter, echoed Levy’s sentiments. “I got lucky with my co-founders. They are the opposite of me.”
  2. Clearly define roles and responsibilities: Your partner shows up to work, now what? Don’t assume the partner is on the same page as you. Make sure you each have defined roles and responsibilities, which will help you understand the expected deliverables.
  3. Get it in writing: Spell out your roles and responsibilities in a partnership agreement. While there are some standard agreements online, it’s probably best to have a business attorney draft one for you once you’ve decided on the key terms. You need to determine what you want to give in exchange for a partnership that works for both of you. This includes compensation, equity stake, or more likely, a combination of the two. Often times, especially with friends, this is an afterthought.

And then also do a “crazy check.”

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