What can we learn from Beyoncé and Taylor Swift? - Developing a plan and delivering on it.
Many of us have big dreams, come up with big ideas (light bulb moments!) and we can often think how can we make it a reality! There are some extraordinary people in the world that can just make it happen. They know that the challenge is not in the dreaming, but in the planning and committing to the goals!
Kelly and Kaitlin were discussing in the boardroom who those extraordinary people are and what makes them so capable of doing this!
Enter Beyoncé and Taylor Swift who know all about lighting up a stadium-sized-room! They’re incredibly savvy business women who have built an empire - and we can learn a lot from them.
When we thought about it, Beyoncé and Swift can show us how to make big dreams come true.
It is so liberating to really know what I want, what naturally makes me happy, what I will not tolerate. I have learned that it is no one else’s job to take care of me but me." – Beyoncé
Hint 1: Be clear and be bold
Developing a plan may sound daunting, and perhaps constraining (have you ever thought “how can I possibly translate this idea and my passion into words?”), but a plan can provide clarity and vision by helping you put your passion into words that others can readily understand. It can help direct your energy more efficiently and provide the context and scaffolding for the creative problem-solving process. It can provide confidence. Then, when it comes time to promote your shared vision and get others on-board (whether it is a record contract, future employer, or potential investors) you can be bold in the way you articulate your ideas. Not only are Beyoncé and Swift talented singers, song writers, and fashion icons, they have built a strong brand presence - the endorsement deals they sign, the type of social media tweets/videos, who they choose to collaborate with/promote - is all part of their careful business planning to reach a targeted audience.
'Power's not given to you. You have to take it.' - Beyoncé
ACTION: Draw it out. When you can describe your plan for getting there, you give power to the idea. Start to map out your vision, mission statement, the unique “value add”, and who you are targeting.
Hint 2: Does it align with my values?
It is not possible to pursue every idea or opportunity, so go with the ones that are important to you. If an idea sits with your values and the core purpose of the vision you are trying to achieve, chances are you will feel more passionate about it also and push to make it happen. For example, Taylor Swift pulled her songs from Spotify (where some users can sign up and access music free of charge), quoted to say in TIME magazine that she “didn’t like the way it felt, [as she thinks] there should be an inherent value placed on art”. Beyoncé and H&M chiefs are reported to have clashed when the company tried to use photoshopped images of Beyoncé for her new bikini line launch. As described in Woman’s Day, she requested the natural pictures be used without her curves reduced. These two artists are very clear in their values – and stick to their guns.
'I can never be safe; I always try and go against the grain. As soon as I accomplish one thing, I just set a higher goal. That's how I've gotten to where I am.' - Beyoncé
ACTION: Take time to reflect on your values. What is most important? What can’t be compromised? If the idea and opportunity is aligned, seize it! Consider how you promote your values, so people understand what you are all about.
Hint 3: Treat failure as a friend, not the enemy
Beyoncé and Swift are good at utilising all opportunities, even mistakes, to pursue their goals. Their concept of failure is very different to many – they spin it into a PR opportunity and accept that trial and error is a part of their growth as an artist. So why should we not also embrace this philosophy? When our plan is set back, we can also see this as an opportunity to re-evaluate the direction we are heading in.
"Don't be afraid of failure. You can't let it hold you back." - Taylor Swift
ACTION: See planning as an experiment and if it fails, look past the disappointment. Focus on asking - What has worked well for you? What has not worked so well? What is to be learned? What can you do differently next time? Don’t be discouraged – try again until success is achieved!
Hint 4: Active engagement is key
Success is rarely the product of one person’s efforts, wouldn’t you agree? Be active in building your networks, seeking opportunities for collaboration, and rewarding “follower loyalty”. Both Beyoncé and Swift have millions of fans all over the world (i.e., labeled the “Bey Hive” and “Swifties” respectively) who they share their passion and dreams with through social media. Thus in developing a plan, it is important to be proactive and engaged with your contact base throughout.
ACTION: Share the love. Who would you like to bring on your journey? Who would be your ideal person or organisation to collaborate or join with? Who inspires you and can you engage them as a mentor? How will you engage and reach your intended audience and what do they want and need?
Hint 5: Be open to live feedback
Take any opportunity for feedback that you can, and be open to the discussion. I am sure that Beyoncé and Swift do read comments on twitter and youtube, seeing this as useful market research. Feedback helps us further change, shape, define, and re-arrange our goals and plan. It helps us know if we are hitting our mark, or how to aim a little higher. And while it can be tempting to fuse/cling to only the negative comments, we can’t let them degrade our passion or clarity to see the underlying opportunity. As Swift would say - “shake it off” and power on.
"As soon as I accomplish one goal, I replace it with another one. I try not to get too far ahead of myself. I just say to myself, 'All right, well, I'd like to headline a tour,' and then when I get there, we'll see what my next goal is". - Taylor Swift
ACTION: See feedback as market research, not a descriptor of who you are. There will be good and bad comments, and each serves its purpose. Don’t wait for the commentators to come to you – seek out feedback at every opportunity, from your manager, colleagues, consumers, and clients.
Need some expert advice? Contact us and ask how we can help you, and subscribe to the Left Field Insider to keep up to date with industry trends.
Kaitlan Laurie, Intern.
· TIME Magazine (2014). Taylor Swift on 1989, Spotify, Her Next Tour and Female Role Models. Written by J. Dickey for Time magazine, retrieved from http://time.com/3578249/taylor-swift-interview/ on 28th July 2015
· Womans Day (2013). Beyoncé furious at H&M for photoshopping her curves. Retrieved from http://www.womansday.com.au/style-beauty/fashion/beyoncand233-furious-at-handm-for-photoshopping-her-curves-7782 on 28th July 2015