Did you watch the Grammy Awards last night? There were some remarkable performances and of course I took away a business point from a few of them. Actually, the point first occurred to me a week or two ago as I watched Adele perform on an episode of Live From The Artists Den. She was in a small venue, accompanied by just a pianist and an acoustic guitar. No frills, just a young woman, some basic support, and her voice. It was remarkable.
There was no spectacle other than their talent. No flames, no dancers, no “guide tracks“, no artifice at all. Just pure talent. Oh sure, I’ve been to Kiss concerts and there’s no question shows like that are entertaining. But when you scrape away the spectacle, the impact of real talent on display with nothing to hide behind but their abilities is far greater than an exploding drum kit. That’s the business point as well.
At some point, everyone we touch in business – our customers, our partners, our employees and our peers – scrapes away the “show” and examines the talent that lies underneath. If we can’t stand there and sing without a lot of electronic or pyrotechnic help, maybe we need to practice more. Maybe we need some lessons. Maybe we’re not really suited to be called “singers” even if we are “entertainers.” The Grammy Awards are about music and singing – I’m not sure they should give trophies to those who don’t seem to be able to do either. Sometimes we give business awards in the same misguided way.
Dave Grohl said it best as he accepted an award last night:
“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do.
“It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”
Think about that in business terms. It’s not about slick presentations. It’s not about knowing all the buzzwords. It’s about what goes on in your heart and your head and how well you stand there and sing, hopefully moving your audience as you do so.
You with me?