I recently watched Michael Jackson 'This Is It' and was positively mesmerized at the talent of everyone involved. Not taking any of his personal life into consideration and simply focusing on what was in the movie, I was struck by a couple of very powerful scenes and an overriding theme that is directly applicable for developing a successful business: Hire talent.

1.) During auditions, the dancers couldn’t simply be good to be selected to dance with MJ, they had to be exceptional. The choreographer described their criteria: “They have to ooze that special something.” Clearly his entire approach was based on the exceptional – and he got it from people.

What if every hire you made was based on people oozing that special something – regardless of his/her position in your company? If you had a team of people who captivated you and brought a level of energy and innovation that was contagious, what would your company be able to accomplish?

2.) His core staff knew everything that he wanted. They obviously all created this vision together, or they knew his vision exceptionally well. Whether he was actually on set or not, the staff was running practices, building sets, choreographing, etc. They didn’t sit idle waiting for instruction; they were making the vision a reality.

Communicate your vision clearly to your team so that they know the vision as well as you do. Hire the best people you can find for each discipline and trust them to do their job. Expect that they will do their job not only right, but remarkably well. Expect as much from them as you do from yourself. If you’ve hired correctly, you trust them, and respect them, then these incredibly talented people will rise to the level of expectation you present.

3.) During dance/choreography practice, MJ would walk on the set, watch the dancers, and then step in to dance with them, correcting the minutest moves and working with them until everyone had it right. He was tough and unrelenting until they perfected the move, and then he was very complimentary and appreciative of everyone’s work and participation. And then he walked away let them practice.

Be present and actively engaged. Know everything that is happening well enough to understand what someone’s job is, how it relates to the vision of the company, and hold them accountable. Appreciate everyone repeatedly for the work they do to help you achieve the company vision. And let them do their job.

People who are talented, feel trusted, understand how they fit into the big picture, are held accountable, and then celebrated and appreciated for their work produce remarkable results.


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