Like Music To Your Ears
“Being a teacher also means finding ways to unlock people’s potential.” ~ Berry Gordy
Do you enjoy listening to music? My father raised me on it so it’s in my energy and daily habits. If you are an enthusiast, like me, have you ever thought beyond the emotions it touches? My curiosity and career choice which are tied together, lures me to look at music and the industry through the lens of an expert on leadership development. So, I’m going to ask you to think about it in a different direction – have you ever recognized people in the music industry as role models for leadership? Role models -perhaps, in leadership – not very often.
When I heard this man’s story, I lit up, because he is that special person. Has that thrill ever happened to you, when you recognize similar passion in an accomplished person? When someone talks about empowering people’s potential and there’s a glow in their eyes and a thrill in their voice, they’re speaking my language and I’m hooked.
For leadership, all bow down to Berry Gordy. Mr. Gordy launched Motown Records when he was 30. His record label, Motown, started an entire musical genre plus the careers of singers and songs that are ubiquitous and remain popular regardless of the era in which they were first recorded.
So what made him special to everyone he worked with? What made Berry Gordy so special was that he was the quintessential mentor, trainer and visionary; all the qualities you think of when describing a leader. That element in him that touched me was his desire to bring out the best in people which I share.
(The details in my writing are from the Showtime Documentary, “Hitsville: The Making of Motown” directed by Benjamin and Gabe Turner. To fill in the gaps of the story, to hear and feel it from the artists, producers, arrangers and Motown executives themselves, watch the documentary.)
“As a manager, you had to be honest with them, but you had to build them too. Even when they didn’t know they had to be built.” ~ Berry Gordy
What started it all, Berry Gordy was fascinated with everyone being the same. What people had in common, regardless of upbringing, background, age was what he saw. He wanted to create music that integrated all people. How to to do this, was to choose musical artists who showed great possibility and work with them. Not only with the artists, however, with the song writers, producers, and business executives. His desire was to bring the best out of other people. Then he could reach his potential in some way.
Berry’s why is the spark in my why. I’m aware of what people have in common despite upbringing, background and age in business. Yet I see why others don’t see the similarities and don’t understand the differences. I’ve studied this for years. I work to integrate the 5 generations that exist in the workplace; the five generations who are working. And, I foster the growth in young professionals who have great promise and work with them so they can then free organizations to survive, change and thrive. Like Gordy, I aim to be the catalyst for people to realize their potential. And to bring my awareness, curiosity and delight in doing it. Then it can be fulfilling for everyone.
Wouldn’t you want to work with someone who recognizes your uniqueness, and wants you to reach your potential?
Note: A further study of Berry Gordy’s leadership will be examined in the next blog posts. How he led through mentoring, training and planning.
If scheduling a one-time workshop is your answer to leadership training but your young talent is still showing signs of frustration, a workshop is not the answer. You recognize this because you’ve been in their position at one time. If you’d like to create a more complete plan that offers increased productivity, more satisfied team members and increased retention, let’s talk. Or, if you’d like to learn how to lead them better, contact me at Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com