A Great Business Lesson From the Grammys

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award winning performance

Back in my Seattle TV days, I used to hang out occasionally with a guy named Dave Grohl, who was the drummer for a little trio called Nirvana. Last night, he and his current band, Foo Fighters, picked up five Grammy awards. While accepting the award for Best Rock Album, Dave said something that really struck a chord (pun intended, thank you very much) with both the Grammy audience and with me:

To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a 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].

award winning performance

Dave Grohl and me back in the day

What Dave’s saying, of course, is that there is a difference between artifice and authenticity, between sparkle and substance. Authenticity and substance were on display last night: Springsteen rocking with the E Street Band, Tony Bennett crooning It Had To Be You, Paul McCartney and friends having a blast with the Abbey Road medley, and Jennifer Hudson, accompanied by a single piano, singing a tribute to her late mentor, Whitney Houston.

No gimmicks, no computer trickery, no smoke and mirrors. Just pure, unvarnished performance.

I talk a lot about award-winning performance. In keynotes, workshops, articles, and books; in one-on-one coaching and in speeches to hundreds or thousands—it’s the core of what I do. That’s why Dave’s words really hit home with me. And it’s why I think they should hit home with you too.

See, what Dave was saying about the music business also applies to your business. It’s about quality: the quality of your products and services, the quality of your interactions with your customers. If you try to substitute razzle-dazzle for quality, you might fool some people into doing business with you. You might even get away with it for a decent length of time. But eventually people will start to see through the facade. Eventually people will start to realize what’s “the real thing” and what’s not. Tony Bennett is the real thing. So is Springsteen, and so is McCartney. That’s why they’ve lasted for decades.

It’s the difference between being a flash in the pan—and being a legend.

Flash in the pan or legend. Which do you want for your business?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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