The front page of the Raleigh News and Observer for today reads in big, bold letters SCOTTY WINS! The photo to the right was just below the announcement
It is no secret in my family and public network that I am an Americn Idol fanatic. I have been glued to the action for the last three months just to watch and see what would unfold. The show is a coach’s dream…to watch an average performer become a superstar over a 12 week period by learning from mistakes, being open to feedback and then practicing like mad to get better and better every week in hopes of making it to the finals and becoming the next American Idol. As Randy Jackson said “Scotty’s in it to win it!” And Randy was right.
I initially though that Casey Abrams would win, but when he was voted off, I began to watch Scotty much more closely. Here was this 17 year old kid whose low bass or baritone voice sounded like a 35 year old and who had that old country charm we just don’t see in the music industry these days. About three weeks ago, I knew that McCreery was going to win…the week he and Lady Gaga met. Two polar opposites trying to work together, and Scotty was so open and funny, considering his strong religious background and Gaga’s edgy approach. Just watch this video to see the contrast and how this young man handled all:
So…if you are a leader, and if you are struggling…pay attention to Scott McCreery and the characteristics which I saw come out onto the stage in front of millions over the last 12 weeks.
1. Poise. This kid was unflappable. You throw Lady Gaga, Elton John, the Beatles, you name it, and he could take the genre, make it his own and then lay it out in spades in front of thousands of people.
2. Authenticity. Scotty made it clear from the very beginning that he was just an “aw schucks” 17 year old kid from Garner, NC who loved the old country classics, was going to stick to his genre and was not shy about letting people know about his Christian background. Not one time did he try to veer out of his old time country lane, and I found this so refreshing. He knows who he is, and he stuck to his guns come hell or high water. He is going to be so successful in Nashville. I am looking forward to watching him soar to the top.
3. Coachability. Each week, Scotty received feedback. The majority was great feedback, but when the bad times came, he just stood there with that grin of his, shaking his head, saying “Yes Sir” or “Yes Maam”. One of the reasons I think Haley Reinhart left early had a LOT to do with her attitude. Her defensiveness with the judges and her eye rolling when she was voted off proved that she is just not coachable. You cannot make it in business, sports or in the music industry if you cannot take feedback when it’s dished out.
4. Connection. McCreery was a connector. He made the audience and the viewers at home feel like we are all the same. Again…let me remind you, he is 17, a country classics singer who went to school in Garner, NC and worked part time at Lowes Grocery Store. He just kept his cool, connected with the audience and had a blast on stage. His likability factor was HUGE, which is so important in leadership. I will also say that Scotty’s commitment to the old country classics probably made him not so likable in the hard rock, metal, hip hop pockets of the world. But, all you had to do was to look at him and listen to him to get that he was a good kid.
5. A Strong Sense of the Importance of Family and Community. If you noticed, last night, as Scotty was crowned the new American Idol, who did he go to first…his family and friends who got him there. That was so much more important to him than standing on the stage as the glitter and confetti fell on him. I don’t recall this ever happening. If you are a leader, it is critical to understand that your employees have family, friends and communities they care about. To bring that into the workforce is going to be a critical component of success for our future workers. So, just bear this in mind the next time you ask your workers to give 60 hours a week. You are taking them away from their families and communities, and these people need your top talent.
I am from North Carolina, so I am proud of Scott McCreery. But his North Carolina roots had very little to do with why I think he won. If you did not watch the show, I would encourage you to go back and watch a few of Scotty’s performances and study them from a position of leadership and the skills he has taught us all over the last 3 months. Big congrats to Scotty McCreery!