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I was going to write a learned entry about managing Talent but an unforeseen event happened last night that reordered my priorities… We went to see Chris Isaak at theShepherd’s Bush Empire, a West London theatre now dedicated to good live music (Buddy Guy is playing next week).

After the first couple of songs he started talking and thanked us for making the effort to coming to see live music; somehow we knew we were in for a treat. I’ll let you read the reviews of this 5* concert but what drove me to put this in the Leadership Blog were four things:

  • He knew what was important. Anybody can reproduce a CD live, especially with that voice, but then what? Buy a 79p download instead? Copy the album from your neighbour’s? The live experience is the differentiator.
  • These guys were a tight unit – they have been playing together for 25 years and it showed: constant non verbal communications, proud of each other doing well and generally having a pretty good time.
  • They engaged us continuously: a non-standard song list, lots of interaction with the audience, merchandise that was both interesting and not stupidly priced: the punter felt respected.
  • Finally everybody went the extra mile: from thoughtful encores to the band coming out on the pavement immediately after the show to sign autographs and, again, deliver something that can only be experienced ‘live’.

So, did the band stay longer than another playing by numbers? – Perhaps 30 minutes; did its profitability suffer as a result of their efforts? – Not a bit; will the customer come back and recommend them? – You bet! If we as leaders could all be Chris Isaaks, not only would we be impossibly handsome, but we would have no difficulty motivating our colleagues and engaging our clients!

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