“We’ve done this a lot. You… as a group… are stupid.”


Yesterday I went to the Chicago filming of “America’s Got Talent”, the NBC show that accepts all comers who don’t make it on American Idol, X Factor, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, et al.


It was a trip.


Stripping divers (plus one who lit himself on fire)… In.

Fat weightlifters from Kentucky… In.

Lithuanian singing a Foreigner classic… Out.

Russian lady in  tutu with partially-trained geese… Out.


Then came along Little Funk, a hip hop dance group from Chicago comprised of 9-15 year olds. They were really good, but not good enough.


Upon their dismissal, the hometown crowd booed.


Judge Howard Stern took the mike and calmly explained AGT was looking for a $1M act… and despite their energy and hometown appeal, Little Funk was a little short.



The crowd booed more.



Then Judge Howie Mandel took the mike.

“Listen. We’ve done this a lot. As a group we’ve seen a lot of acts. You… as a group… are stupid.”



And then he sat down.



Half the crowd booed.

Half the crowd laughed.



The search for talent went on.



On the jobsite you need to deliberately choose between The Stern Approach (Here’s the decision we made & why…) and The Mandel Mode  (We know what we are doing. Now shut up.).



Too often the pace of the jobsite (Mach 2 with your hair on fire) makes The Mandel Mode the de facto mode of operation.



I don’t have time to explain my decision. 

Just shut up and do it. 



This can be problematic. You are not only a manager of things, you are also a leader of people. People need to know the WHY to do their best work on the WHAT and HOW.


In light of language barriers on the jobsite, consistently employing The Mandel Mode of communication only makes your job harder. Workers that understand where you want to go can only then help you get there.


If there’s a language barrier, locate the bilingual foreman and take 4 minutes to ensure los hispanohablantes understand what you are trying to do and how they can help.


The rarity of this act will make you different.

You will be surprised at how quickly they help your cause.



There’s a time and a place for both Stern and Mandel’s style.

Be aware of which one you are choosing and why.



Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish language gap in the construction industry. He may or may not begin watching AGT now.

Categories: Construction Spanish

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1 reply


  1. Rosetta Stone, Relevance & Retention « the red angle

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