The pursuit of excellence

I have been watching multiple documentaries recently on Michael Jackson on the Fox History channel, attempting to tell the truth about the man.

Other than all the scandals, the media witch-hunting, the torrid lifestyle and everything else that is usually associated with the King of Pop, what I realized was the nature of the man as an entertainer. A master entertainer.

It would be a gross understatement to say that Michael Jackson was good at his job. If there is one word that described Michael Jackson as an entertainer, it has got to be EXCELLENT !!!! Knowing what you’re good at, believing in your expertise, delivering what your audience wants and wowing them, the true signs of excellence!!!!

It was an eye opener for me to watch Michael as he prepared his performance on stage. Every detail, every step, every firework, every note, every decibel level was carefully processed and put in place by him personally. There was this moment I remember in the documentary where at a stage practice, when everything looked so spectacular in the performance, Michael just stops in the middle of the rehearsal and says, very softly, “I’m not feeling it!” That, for me, was the indication of the professionalism of the man, to feel inside what he had to deliver to his customers, those millions of screaming fans who pay to watch him perform.

And his strategy was simple. The audience had heard and liked his music. They liked the way he danced. They came to watch him perform. So why not give them something to remember? Not just a mere performance, but an experience!!!! And he was phenomenally successful at that…….

A testimony of his excellence as a performer and entertainer was the fact that he was connected to the audience so closely. I was watching the telecast of the Dangerous World Tour performance. The highlight being, the “Toaster”, Michael’s grand entrance onto the stage.

Following the ringing of bells and the roar of a panther, Jackson catapults on to the stage through a trap door in the front, sending off pyrotechnics and electrifying the crowd. And then he just stands there, motionless, while the crowd goes berserk as they take in the fact that the man they want to see has just got onto the stage. For two whole minutes, Michael just stands there, absorbing the energy of the crowd, letting it enjoy his presence. And then, ever so slowly, he takes off his shades and launches into his performance!! 

In a consulting engagement, are we giving the customer an experience? Do we know what we’re good at and then feeling the deliverable based on our expertise?? Are we, like Michael Jackson, pursuing excellence in our consulting??


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