In June 2015, the number-one Billboard album in the United States was not Beyoncé, nor Jay Z, nor Taylor Swift, nor any of the other artists that the radio, MTV, and streaming systems around the world are inundated with: it was from James Taylor, the folksinger, who while very talented, just isn’t normally top of mind as the number-one Billboard artist as measured by sales.
What’s going on?
David Graham,in his excellent article in the Atlantic on June 25, 2015, notes that technology has changed how people consume music and how consumption is measured, and that demographics of customers have shifted the formerly platinum-standard Billboard Hot 100 into a strange time warp where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tony Bennett, and Weird Al Yankovic are now topping global mega crowd-pleasers such as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.
The music business raises many passions and has even more opinions about what is good, what is hot, and what is not, but one lesson we can take to the boardroom and to strategic management leadership is this:
If the music industry continued to use only the Billboard album charts as a bellwether, they would be considering artists whose careers peaked in 1968 as where to most suitably invest their money for strategic success tomorrow.
What worked well in the past as your strategic performance indicator may not necessarily work well tomorrow
While setting strategic performance indicators may seem like a routine task, its importance can be demonstrated simply by looking at what is going on in many industries and learning from examples such as the music industry and the formerly rock-solid Billboard charts. I have had the privilege of working with a number of leading global organizations on resetting their SPIs (strategic performance indicators), and here are three takeaways that have made my clients more successful: