Monday, April 20, 2009

Susan Boyles: An Extraordinary Business Lesson from an Ordinary Woman

Over 50 million viewings at YouTube and dozens of news stories across the world prove that Susan Boyle's amazing talent has finally been discovered.

But, is the real story why this Susan Boyles the "new" sensation went unnoticed even when her powerful voice was featured on a charity album ten years ago?

On Britain's Got Talent, Susan Boyle said her dream was just trying to be a professional singer the likes of multiple award winning Elaine Paige--so famous in Britain that she's called The First Lady of British Theatre. The thousand-plus members of the audience were literally snickering. The acerbic judge duo of Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan barely concealed eye rolls capable of creating tsunamis of cynicism.

As Ms. Boyle's prepared to open her mouth, everyone in the room prepared for the discomfort of being embarrassed for her. She had picked "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables for her audition. Simon simply commented, "A big song."

Within a few notes, the audience was suddenly standing, wildly cheering her on. The judges gasped in appreciation. The strong clear, pitch-perfect bell-like tones ringing from this most unlikely singer visibly moved the audience and the judges. By the end, some actually had tears in their eyes.

To say that this common women surprised both the judges and audience is the grandest understatement. Stupefied, inspired, and humbled would be more appropriate. Given a chance and fully expected to fail, it became obvious that the standing ovation that began within the first bars of her performance was much about her audience being personally lifted and inspired by the extra-ordinariness of a quite ordinary woman.

Beyond a beautiful voice, Ms. Boyle's gift to her audience is the proof that when given the opportunity, even a 47 year old (almost 48 as she candidly points out), matronly, never-married woman from a small Scottish town can shatter all expectations.

Including you, how many Susan Boyles do have working for you?

© 2009 Paul E. Rondeau

New Study: High Need, Low Expectations

Managers currently identify a small percentage of their workforce as performing at "go-to" levels on a consistent basis, according to the "Talent Development Issues" study conducted by Novations Group Inc.

At a time when organizations are struggling to "do more with less," the study revealed a discrepancy between leadership expectations and management behavior. Almost 60% of all managers believe that no more than 1 in 5 of their employees consistently perform at a 'go
to' level. The percentage of employees managers consider performing at "go-to" levels on a consistent basis:
<5 %: 8 %
10 %: 20 %
20 %: 30 %
30 %: 15 %
40 %: 8 %
>50 %: 6 %
Don't know: 13 %

Additionally, the study revealed that almost half of these managers believe some employees have more potential than others and use that belief to give job assignments to a select few.
With respect to developing employee potential, which of the following best describes the prevailing belief of management at your organization?
  • 34 percent believe everyone is capable of performing at higher levels, and their job is to provide growth opportunities to all.
  • 47 percent believe some employees have more potential than others, and their job is to identify the ones who have potential and invest in that population.
  • 15 percent don't have one prevailing belief system.
  • 4 percent don't know.

This indicates most managers believe their job is to identify the employees they believe have potential and invest in them. "The reality is that most managers make assignments based on predictable....

...continued here in volume 1 issue 3 of GrayMatter.