Madonna Knows More Than Your Boss
Madonna is the queen of re-invention. She has sold over 200 million singlesmaking her the most successful female artist of all time. How has she managedto thrive over two decades while others around her have faded away? What canyou learn from her approach to innovation?
Having one hit single is hard work, but no one can be sure what will rock and whatwill rot. Who would have guessed that three teen mouseketeers, Britney, Justin,and Christina from the world of Disney would dominate the pop charts or that ananimated frog would outsell serious muzos Coldplay?You don’t know what will be successful next. You do know it will be
.Which means that being the same won’t work. Which means that you have toreinvent to stay successful.The first hit is the result of a more-or-less chance series of mutations that producesomething that better fits the environment, or appeals to the music buying publicmore than the next 180 seconds of licks and hooks. Individual ambition keeps newacts constantly bubbling up. They offer new choices for the constantly evolvingmusical taste of the buying public. Teens know little about past music and so buythe flavour of the moment.Constant competition in a changing market means that only an act that canchange will maintain its position in the charts. Unfortunately, they often don'tknow why they have been successful - it just happened that way - so find it hardto modify what they didn't design in the first place.Even worse, they rarely have time to do any mutating of their own since they arebusy with tours, interviews, video shoots and music award ceremonies. There areno "free floating resources" left to find new habits, hooks, or fashions.The same stuff happens with organisations and with our individual careers.Success, particularly big success, makes us think that we have the answers. People just keep doing the thing that has brought them success in the past. We even hirepeople who fit into our established way of doing things.