Justin Timberlake – management guru. Based on his appearance on the Grammys and the impending release of his new album, Justin is everywhere. Management lessons are not to be only learned from successful CEOs; lessons are all around us and Justin is providing a bunch. Although I doubt he knows it, he is a model for young (and old) who want to be successful. What is to learn from Justin? Here are the Eleven Management Lessons from Justin:
1. Reinvent Yourself: Who knew there could be life after ‘N Sync? Justin knew and has continued to change his focus from singing to acting to just being cool but never leaving the public eye. Sure he has talent but he also has the instincts for reinvention just like any successful manager.
2. Work Overtime: The headlines blare that Justin dazzles at “post-Grammy Awards Show”. He did the same thing after the Academy Awards. The guy never stops working and people notice.
3. Bring in Diversity: JT includes talent from every genre of rock, pop, soul and hip hop in his performance. Different voices and styles around him only make him more interesting. The cross-over marketing potential is not lost on him either.
4. Share Credit: Watch closely in any of his performances and Justin is generous in who he thanks and how he thanks them. When he bows to the orchestra behind him; he is not just thanking all the unheralded musicians, he is sharing the glory with them.
5. Be Authentic: A big reason why people like Justin, besides the good looks and talent, is that we feel like we know him. For a former Mouseketeer and boy band member, he is not packaged. He shows us who he is and what we see, we like and admire. It only happens if you are willing to share yourself.
6. Know How to Dress: The man knows how to dress. The new look with the suit and tie will attract attention but it tells us he is serious about his music. It is a departure and we like it. It is a cliché but he is dressed for success and it goes with his new style of music.
7. Lighten Up: Based on his performance on Saturday Night Live and other forums, Justin knows to not take himself too seriously. He makes fun of himself without being a clown. Sometimes a little levity is required.
8. Build Excitement: The new album, “The 20/20 Experience” is a month from release. But based on Justin’s performances and excitement, it is at the top of the charts now. That’s right, no one has heard it yet and it is at the top of the charts. Build the excitement when you can.
9. Show Up: He is everywhere. He shows up and he makes a splash when he does because he talks and sings about things we care about. In Justin’s case, he talks about sex a lot so discretion is a key if you plan to copy him at work.
10. Borrow Ideas: When listening to Justin a frequent comment is, “He sort of sounds like, lots of other R&B singers.” And he does and he is proud of it. One gets the sense that all those old Motown guys would be proud of JT. It is ok to borrow ideas, just do it with reverence and acknowledgement.
11. Optimism Counts: Justin is happy. I know, he has a lot to be happy about with the new wife, the new album and his continued success. But he seems like a guy who brings optimism around him. Any one who hangs around with him long enough could be a star too. Optimism is contagious.
Justin Timberlake, management guru. It is a mantel we can add to his other accomplishments. And, in this case we can listen to some good music while we learn some lessons.