“The Voice”: New Season, More Business Lessons

Beautiful Blonde Rock Star on Stage Singing

 (DGIwire) — The Voice is now searching for its next set of superstars.  Entering this season, a large part of the show’s mass appeal will continue to stem from one fact: In our lives—whether we are managing relationships, children or employees—we are all hoping to develop the best possible “team” for success. On some level, we can all appreciate the difficult job that Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as well as Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, will have as they try to shape a bunch of amateur singers into winning the ultimate prize: being named The Voice. Certainly the coaches desire accolades themselves and are likely quite financially well-rewarded whether contestants win or not.  Yet—who doesn’t want to know that they bred a “winner.”  It is this eclectic mix of personalities, intertwined with the struggles and the promise of fame and fortune that keep millions of others tuning in and paying to vote.

“Voice” business and life lessons abound each week.  Here are six for starters.

1) Listen to the “voice”.  On The Voice, each coach must blindly choose their starting “team” by making an initial assessment based solely on an individual’s voice. With their backs to the contestants—unable to assess physical appearance, clothing style (or lack thereof), resume, or any other factor that might contribute to a business hiring decision—the judges are forced to listen. In order to succeed, Adam, Blake, Pharrell and Gwen can’t simply hear the voice; instead, they have to really listen to the tone, breath, quality, range, scope and a zillion other indefinable factors that go into sharing an inspiring song worthy of selection. Imagine how your business conversations or any relationships might improve if you had to listen this intently when the other person spoke—listening as if your career success depended upon it. Well, guess what? It does depend on it.

2) Be candid…and nice.  There are many reality shows. Most—which revived the original Chuck Barris/Gong Show format—seem to have a mean streak.   They kind of remind us of the discomfort of high school—a place where being different and standing out is usually not cool. Now, certainly being a judge on a talent-based reality show is not necessarily easy, as an opinion is required. But do critiques have to be given in a cutting rather than constructive way? Of course not. Judges can be candid, offering their years of successful experience, and be nice at the same time. This magical mix is what makes each season of The Voice such compelling television. Candid feedback delivered with kind intentions are alive and well…and viewers like it!

3) Adversity can be a precursor to success.  Have you ever noticed that many contestants on this show has had a very hard life?  Apparently, certain people are very good at channeling their life challenges into cultivating their voice and also harnessing the intangible emotions that can propel them from being not just a good singer but into being an exceptional one. Each week brings memorable lessons for making lemonade when life hands out lemons.

4) Give it your all…every time.  The Voice’s contestants are away from home, in a big city, in front of the radio idols they’ve come to admire, on a big stage and on television plus the Internet — being watched by millions of viewers worldwide. Imagine their nervous energy! That they manage to stand up and sing without choking is a sign of truly remarkable poise. Each contestant knows this is the chance of a lifetime.  They may not be “the Voice”—but you can bet countless careers are being launched as these individuals give the audience and judges their all. There are no second chances on these shows. One poor performance and the contestant is eliminated. Life usually gives more opportunities to recover from errors—but not on live television. This is a harsh format. The time for practice ends the minute those contestants walk on stage. And you know what’s most amazing?   What makes The Voice compelling entertainment is that 99 percent of the time viewers know that person is trying their hardest to win. They are out there at full throttle.  Any viewer would be hard pressed to not feel really bad when any one of the talented contestants are eliminated. After all, in this game—but luckily not for the businesses we run—there is only one winner. 

5) Be vulnerable.  Be honest: Have you ever cried while watching The Voice? Watching the vulnerability as the contestants describe the circumstances of their lives, and how much winning means to them, is very moving. Certainly there is the factor of “made for TV” drama—but there is also something especially heartwarming when someone allows themselves to be vulnerable. It’s been said that business is nothing more than a “dog-eat-dog world”. This could be true. But life, and business, gets a heck of a lot better during the times when coats of armor are removed and frustrations, challenges and fears are shared with employees and clients, too. When someone says, “Don’t take business personally,” don’t buy it. It’s all personal. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable—and admitting it—is often the first step to significantly improving your work, relationships and career.

6) Find your own voice. Many contestants do a damn good job singing a particular pop song as well as the original recording artist. Interestingly, these are also usually the very same contestants that get eliminated. When (kindly) critiqued by the Voice judges, these artists are told they sounded super…but what everyone really wanted to hear was the contestant’s true voice—not a great imitation of someone else.

As graffiti on a Grand Central Station bathroom wall elegantly declares: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” This is life’s greatest lesson. It’s also the magic behind The Voice and the secret to success in any endeavor.

Written by Dian Griesel, Ph.D., president of Dian Griesel Int’l.

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