Lessons From the Stars
Earlier this year I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. This event was unlike anything I had previously experienced. If you are ever invited to attend the Grammys, I would strongly suggest that you accept the invitation. What I witnessed was nothing short of awe-inspiring. To observe some of the top artists in the world performing for their peers (and the entire TV audience) was certainly something special.
You might be wondering what this has to do with our contracting businesses. There are actually a lot more similarities than you might think. The Grammys reminded me of certain business lessons that I’d like to share with you.
1. Make your brand stand out. Lady Gaga showed up in an egg. Yes, that’s correct, an egg. Whether you like her or not, she is currently generating more buzz than any other artist in the music industry. What happens when you create a buzz? People talk about you. Obviously you want them to speak highly of you, but the more you can make your company brand stand out, the more buzz you will naturally create.
A simple example of this branding strategy is my company’s big red trucks. All of our bright red vehicles have my face plastered on the side of them, and have created a positive buzz in my marketplace. Keep this in mind when you are developing marketing programs and materials in your own business. When you analyze your company’s branding and marketing strategies, what makes you stand out?
Our clients seek differentiation, yet many contractors overlook this element when creating logos, truck designs, direct mail campaigns, etc. I’m not advising that you show up for a service call in an egg, but you do need some way to stand out from your competition and “wow” your clients.
2. Performance is a direct result of training. At the Grammys we were sitting to right of the stage, and our seat placement granted us a perfect view of the area hidden behind the curtains. Watching the awards show on television, you would assume that there is one big stage used for every performance. There are actually two adjacent stages, and while one performance is being flawlessly executed, support crews are quickly transforming the other stage according to the next artist’s exact specifications.
The training and coordination involved in this process were simply phenomenal. The disciplined crews knew precisely where to place each microphone stand, amplifier and drum set. They raced against the clock to accomplish everything in the time allotted (during performances and commercial breaks). If your team members don’t perfect their techniques during a practice session or training at your company, imagine how their “performance” appears to your client.
You must have a system for measuring how effectively your training is being utilized. Incorporate a “show me” step into all your training to ensure that the techniques can be effectively executed with a client. Training is an integral part of any successful business. The more productive your training is, the better your performances and results will be.
3. Always be prepared. When emerging performer Esperanza Spalding upset Justin Bieber to win the Grammy for Best New Artist, you could have cut the tension in the Staples Center with a knife. I was probably as surprised as Justin himself. Regardless, once this happened, Ms. Spalding was immediately thrust into the limelight.
Had she been completely prepared, she could have used this moment to seize the opportunity to become a household name, but was she ready? You tell me. Do you know who she is and what she sings?
In our businesses, we must focus on being prepared. We must know what we want to accomplish and be prepared to win. If we want to sell more of our goods and services, then we need to be ready to create an exceptional client experience. Your preparation level is evident from the moment your phone is answered throughout the entire client interaction.
In my coaching work, I have found lack of preparation to be one of the biggest obstacles to a company’s success. What does your business plan look like? Where do you want your company to be three years from today?
4. Never give up. A few weeks before the Grammys, Christina Aguilera butchered the National Anthem lyrics at the Super Bowl. She was ridiculed and many industry analysts predicted that this would end her career. Instead, she appeared on the Grammy stage ready to redeem herself and give an outstanding performance. Luckily, she did just that! Upon performing an incredible rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way,” she received a standing ovation and everyone quickly forgot about the Super Bowl mishap.
When you make mistakes as the leader of your company, simply learn what you can, make the necessary adjustments, and get right back in the game. You’re human, therefore mistakes will happen in your life. Don’t take them (or yourself) too seriously, but seek to constantly improve yourself and your company.
While I’ve never been overly star-struck or impressed with celebrities, we can certainly apply some of the strategies that have made Grammy winners successful over time. As a student of business development, I’m always looking for the chance to discover new business tactics anywhere I can. If we examine some of the applicable strategies from the Grammys and implement them into our businesses, we can become superstars for our clients.
When you focus on creating differentiation with your brand, ramping up your training programs, preparing yourself and your team members for success, and never giving up, great things are sure to happen in your life and business.