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ResumeBear: Your Workplace  Learning from “The Voice”

ResumeBear: Your Workplace Learning from “The Voice”


Are you a fan of the weekly singing competition The Voice? If you are, you may have already noticed a distinct parallel to the way things are in the workplace.

If you’re not familiar with the show’s format, four celebrity singer-coaches select the best aspiring singers from a blind audition. The aspiring singers first compete in a sing off against the other artists in the coach’s stable. Finally the best from each coach compete against each other, and viewers vote to award one winner a recording contract.

As I watched an episode last week it struck me how this show holds some good lessons about the workplace that apply to your career.

1. Your boss hires you because she believes you can help her be successful.

On the show, coaches select talent based on their potential to perform well throughout the competition. They are looking for talent who can help them “win the whole thing.”

Your manager hires you because she thinks you have the ability to help to solve her business problems better than any other candidate. She believes you can help her win. So get a sense for what competition she is trying to win and reframe your perspective and performance to help her succeed.

 

2. The competition doesn’t end when you get the job.

On the show, singers train together with the coach, and then compete against one another to get to the next level. One gets eliminated, one goes on. To make it to the end of the show, you’ve got to compete hard in every round.

Whether it’s getting the promotion or being assigned to a plum project, you are always competing for what comes next in your career. You competed to get the job, but once you have it, you must compete in the job. Look around and see how you’re positioning yourself to be the talent of choice in the next competition.

3. Mentoring is an essential part of your professional development process.
On the show, coaches groom their artists, giving insight into their performance and sharing techniques for improvement. Guest mentors assist in developing the rookie artist for competition. Both have an encouraging, supportive and personal connection with the artists.

It’s been well-documented that having a strong mentor relationship is one of the keys to success, especially for young professionals. If you don’t have a mentor, find one. Then, build a relationship that helps you leverage the insight, wisdom and encouragement of an experienced guide who can support your career journey.

4. It’s about who you are, as much as it is about what you know.

On a recent show, two competing singers were quite different in personality. One was outgoing, and the other more reserved. The coach commented that the singer’s presence was as much a part of the evaluation as her talent. The audience is buying who you are, he said, as much as they are buying how you sing.

You’ve probably heard of personal branding. That’s the part about who you are. How people perceive you is as essential to your career as what you actually do. Take a look at how your personal brand identifies you. Does it attract the caliber of mentors, colleagues and opportunities that you desire? If not, take a look at what you can do to shore up your professional presence and get the raving fans you deserve.

5. You’re good. Someone else may be just a little bit better.

It’s usually a tough call to eliminate a singer but the coach has to pick the one with the best chance of going all the way.  The coach anguishes over the choice between two strong performers. They give very specific feedback so the eliminated singer understands why they lost and how to improve. Sometimes it’s a very slight, nearly imperceptible edge that wins.

Managers make tough calls about good talent all the time, whether it’s deciding who gets the special assignment, or the salary increases. You’re good; someone else may just have a slight advantage that makes him the more perfect choice for a role. A good manager will help you understand why you fell short. If you don’t win a particular competition, ask for specific feedback that will make you better in the next round.

And of course there’s one BIG difference between your career and The Voice. You don’t have to learn your career lessons on national TV with a couple million people watching!

Lea McLeod did some serious time in big corporations. Now she’s sharing what she learned with young professionals and college grads. She figures if you understand the fundamentals of working in organizations – of any kind – you’ll be better prepared to get the job you want, and have more fun doing it. She blogs at Degrees of Transition. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and at lea.mcleod@gmail.com.

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40 comments

  1. While not a follower of the show, the importance of mentoring cannot be underestimated. I have always been the most successful in business and in life when I’ve taken the lead from someone more successful than me, followed their advice closely and then, once I had fully embraced their guidance and found success, struck out on my own.
    David Burke recently posted..Rules for Fools

  2. I agree with Bobbi, these are great analogies. I love how people’s minds work and all the great things I find on the Resume Bear blog.

  3. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for sharing your views! I like ‘The Voice’ watched the show a couple of times.
    Good comparison!

  4. I loved The Voice this year.

    Personal branding is very important, as it is what attracts people to use your services.

  5. Hi Bob, Visiting from Empire Avenue. Thanks for bringing us this insightful article. There’s just one more lesson from The Voice – sometimes the winner is determined by popularity or luck – rather than complaining or blaming, accept the verdict, make the best of it, and move on. Regards, Lenore #goodnreadytogo

  6. Bob, it’s always a pleasure to see you sharing your platform with great thinkers. Great insight Lea, thanks.
    Gabriella Sannino recently posted..SEO in the Outback: Hunting the Naturally Optimized, Ad-Free, User-friendly Website

  7. Always good stories from your blog hosts. I really enjoy reading and sharing them with my contacts on Facebook, twitter and etc.

    Have a great Wednesday! :)

  8. An interesting look at how landing a job is the start of the competition rather than the finish.

  9. Nelle Zaragoza

    Great analogy. :)
    Nelle Zaragoza recently posted..What My Moneymaking Goal Has To Do With Time Management

  10. I’m very fortunate that the company I work for has always had a great sense of teamwork, which is unusual in so much of the business world. But really, everything in life is a competition if you’re always striving to improve yourself. The only way to win and truly feel proud of it though is by endeavoring to be outstanding and NOT by whacking you opponent in the knees. A bit of subject I know but. you got the gears turning.

  11. I’m very fortunate that the company I work for has always had a great sense of teamwork, which is unusual in so much of the business world. But really, everything in life is a competition if you’re always striving to improve yourself. The only way to win and truly feel proud of it though is by endeavoring to be outstanding and NOT by whacking you opponent in the knees. A bit of subject I know but. you got the gears turning.

  12. I’m very fortunate that the company I work for has always had a great sense of teamwork, which is unusual in so much of the business world. But really, everything in life is a competition if you’re always striving to improve yourself. The only way to win and truly feel proud of it though is by endeavoring to be outstanding and NOT by whacking you opponent in the knees. A bit of subject I know but. you got the gears turning.

  13. The comparisons between The Voice and “real life” work expectations are spot on if you’re trying to appeal to a Gen Y demographic, smart! ;-)

  14. Unlike the show, feedback or a reason for not getting the position, is not always shared when we complete the process and don’t hear back.

  15. Interesting analogy. “The audience is buying who you are, he said, as much as they are buying how you sing.” Substitute boss for audience. It pays to remember you are a whole package.

  16. Positive article with some helpful information. Worth the read!!!

  17. Thankfully, most HR decisions aren’t decided by call-in voting!
    Naomi recently posted..Live A Little – Love Kittens

  18. Competition is terrific, because it keeps your skill sharp. However, the manufactured construct of The Voice – and all other talent-competition “reality” shows that bear little similarity to the real world – isn’t a great metaphor for the workplace. For that, The Office is closer to the truth …
    Mighty Casey recently posted..Paranoia: American as apple pie. And gunpowder.

  19. Nice tips and the competition is the most important… thank you for share
    Jivko recently posted..How Expert MLM Leaders Motivate Their Downline

  20. Good points, but I think the workplace is finally evolving into an environment that fosters collaboration and teamwork, which eliminates some of the competitiveness. Do you like the Voice? I haven’t seen it, but I used to watch American Idol.
    Deanna recently posted..Creative or Corny?

  21. An interesting comparison. Thank you for the post.

  22. Thanks for sharing!

  23. I don’t think too much competition is a good idea. It could derail someone’s career. I think competition should only be a spice, just a little bit for the dish. After all, everyone should work together.
    Nicolas Liu recently posted..Beauty And The Beast

  24. fascinating article :)

  25. I love mentor ship it works magically because someone else can see more potential and worth in you than you see in your own self. It is also true that in few things I can be the best but in other someone else is a bit better and that’s how we always learn and take ourselves to the next level

    Thank you for sharing, keep coming please :)

  26. I am not familiar with the show you mentioned but I have noticed the same thing as you mention here while watching other TV shows.

    In fact it is interesting that in lots of areas of life which, on the face of it are not related to business, we can learn lessons which could impact on our business lives.

    Patrick.
    Patrick Griffin recently posted..Repent Before Every Sticker in the Land Curls up and Turns to Dust

  27. Interesting comparison. Seems the focus is on #5 these days.
    Beki recently posted..Empire Avenue – Gamifying Social Media

  28. Interesting blog! I very much believe in William Edwards Deming’s paradigm changes that cooperation outperforms competition! Already in his earliest childhood, man is prepared for a life in competition in accordance with the Darwinian principle of the survival of the fittest. Consequently, man enters an inhuman production system where many get broke. Deming, instead, promotes cooperation with a common goal. Deming thought that everybody wins through cooperation. It is generally accepted that for one to win, all others have to loose. If someone wants a bigger piece of the pie, all the others must become smaller. But this does not need to be true. Cooperate to make the pie bigger and everybody will win. Well, I think Deming’s philosophy is a bit mirroring in social media and if enterprises will shift to social enterprises, cooperation will outperform competition, I think!
    Lucas Wyrsch recently posted..If Japan Can… Why Can’t We?

  29. #2 and #4 are, I think, the hardest ones to keep sight of over time.

    #2 If you spend too much time in one place you begin to feel like no one is more an SME than you

    #4 You tend to pick up personality traits/habits/behaviours from your supervisor.

    Change is GOOD.
    Jeff recently posted..Is it ‘Art’? Does it have value even if it is?

  30. Excellent points. It is kind of a shame that competition in the workplace is so fierce in this economy that people need to be so focused on being better than their co-workers.
    Andrew Riggio recently posted..Texas lawmakers: liable for harm to women?

  31. Great article!

  32. Great article! I love to watch the voice. And it correlates really well with looking for and getting the job.

    But.. it isn’t just about being good. If you are personable (people like you) then you might get the job over someone who has that little bit more experience.

    Impressions are everything! Never forget the human factor :-)
    Jason M recently posted..Ad Relevance and Effective Ad Implementation

  33. Enjoyed to read it! Thank you!

  34. The competition part is no joke. As an associate, the senior partners never let me forget that I better out bill the other associates.

  35. Thanks for sharing a nice article !

  36. Nice comparision – or – in ‘show’ speak:

    The show must go on – which also applies for everybody’s business

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