An Evening with Il Divo

Last night was concert night for my wife and me. We went to see the folks from Il Divo, a group that she likes a lot. Their presentation in San Jose provided me with some insights on teamwork, high performance and delivery that I find interesting to share here with you. 

In case you haven’t heard about them, they are a quartet of male lyric singers which mix opera and pop. The concept was crafted by music manager and reality TV star Simon Cowell in 2004. According to Wikipedia they have sold somewhat around 26 million albums worldwide since then. There is probably one more thing about them. They are a set of very well built and physically appealing men. 

I adventure myself into posting this before I am able to check any chronicles in the local newspapers. So I may tell you here that the concert was awesome, as indeed I think it was, while our good friends the critics dictate tomorrow that it was not. Let’s see how that one turns out… 

What your business is? – Despite of the fact that there were plenty of men in the auditorium, these gentlemen have not only very appealing frames, they have a meridian clarity on the fact that they target first and foremost a female audience. They respect that fact on every moment of their very polished show, in every interaction with the audience. These gentlemen, no wonder the manager they have, know what their business is and they stick true to it. This makes it easier for them to position and sell their concept. 

Do you know what your business is and why is it successful (or not)? Why you should be given a position and not someone else? What’s your value? What do you do different? 

Team play – each of these folks had an independent music career by the time they joined Il Divo. Nevertheless, when they are on the stage, you don’t have the feeling of looking at individualistic superstars trying to overshadow their peers. They have a nice choreographic cadence; they interact nicely with each other and with their audience. 

It is really cool to be part of a team where each team member is well conscious of the strengths and weaknesses that he or she has; offering this mix generously, to the advantage of the team. It actually becomes like a real performance when you interact with your coworkers in such a complementary way. 

Enroll Good Performers – this was their presentation of their latest production which they call Il Divo & Orchestra. Last night they performed with the Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. It was an extremely well-crafted presentation from both the group and the orchestra. 

The workplace nowadays resembles this dynamic probably more than ever before. Results are not the isolated accomplishment of a single person, or even a single few. They are systematic effort of several different teams able to play and interact together. So be ready to play in different teams under different conditions. This will play in your favor. 

Also surround yourself with good performers, able to help you to polish your skills and abilities; or able to teach you new ones. Be kind enough to help others achieve their best performance without making a big deal of the support you provide them. 

Believe it – among the four of them, Carlos Marín is quite something. They all are aware of how they sing, how they look, and how their female audience reacts to them. However Carlos interacts in such a way that you can see he honestly and truly thinks he is the sexiest living thing on this earth (any resemblance to Julio Iglesias is a plain coincidence). 

This kind of attitude can sometimes be boring or even disappointing for some of us. However when taken in a positive way, it can also be inspiring and teach us some things. You first need to believe you can do something before actually doing it. You must believe you are capable or otherwise you would never be able to close the gap between your desired performance and your actual performance. Besides that, don’t forget that you should backup your belief with some actions or it would be just that forever. 

Keep it Flexible – at some point there was a small crack in the chair of the lady that was sitting just in front of me. She didn't fall but the chair was useless. One of the pins that hold together the chair was broken. She approached the security officer that was near our row to explain about it. 

As he approached he found out that chairs were tied together in trios with small plastic cords. Very likely to prevent excessive chair moves from the audience. Quickly and with agility he cut both plastics on the chair and its neighbors, as well as in another nearby trio which was empty. In half a minute the issue was easily solved. The thing is that there was probably no procedure defining how to do that. Probably the chairs were not supposed to be used in that way. Stripes were in there for a reason. 

Sometimes we became so obsessed with procedures, policies and the steps required for the things to be made, that we completely lose sight of the fact that a customer is waiting eagerly to be back where she needs to be, where she paid to be. Some good judgment and flexibility can make a real difference for a customer. 

Thanks God this security officer showed that costumer centric attitude. 

Show must go on – right about to finish a magnificent concert, David Miller took the word in the middle of a song to say goodbye to the audience. He went excited remarking to the audience how good the night had been, he finished saying that it was a pleasure to be in Puerto Rico. Carlos immediately corrected him about the fact that they were in Costa Rica. David corrected himself in no time, saying he was sorry and very red. They quickly turned around and continued with the song. 

Show must go on, even if you make a mistake. If something like that happens, acknowledge it with sincerity, but move on to find a solution and let it go if nothing else can be done. Spending too much time around a mistake or situation can take away valuable energy from you and your team. It is much better to focus on the solutions that will keep the show running. That will keep you delivering. 

Til next week! 

- Sergio Calvo.

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