The Voice and The Power of the Origin Story

Tonight is the final night that contestants on the reality TV show, The Voice, get to strut their stuff on stage and have America vote for the winner. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m a little addicted to this show.

As the weeks have progressed the audience has gotten to know each contestant. It struck me last night how much storytelling has played a role in this show. It’s interesting to learn the back story around why certain songs to sing are chosen by the contestants (or their coaches). We also have learned quite a bit more about the origins of the contestants, particularly the final four — Javier, Dia, Vicci and Beverly.

We learned where they came from, some of their trials and tribulations, failures and successes and what they’ve had to overcome to get this far. Their personal stories have added to the show’s appeal.

We have learned that Javier Colon is a “really great guy” and has “been to the rodeo” as judge Adam Levine put it. (Javier once had a record deal with Capitol Records.) In fact, that fact had Levine vote a certain way so that Javier would be more likely to continue on. His talent made him a final contestant, but his personal story sold.

Dia Frampton, the shy and youngest contestant, has been singing much of her life. She and her sister, Meg, had their own band (aptly titled Meg and Dia) since she was 17 before she landed on The Voice. Her past also includes a failed record deal and time on the road. Dia also writes novels and children’s books according to her bio. Her talent is obvious and her rendition of Kanye West’s song, Heartless, was a top download on iTunes the day after she sang it live on the show. It sort of makes you want to know more about her, right? Her past coupled with her obvious current talent causes that.

Then, there is Beverly McLellan, the rocker chick who may be one of the few artists who can hold her own on a stage with Christina Aguilera (also a judge). More failed deals and lots of touring (20 years worth) mark her musical origins. What kept her going? How did she get started? We all want to know.

Finally, contestant number four, Vicci Martinez (all 5 feet of her) has already had one heck of a career by the age of 26. She has opened for or shared the stage with Sting, Annie Lennox, B.B. King, the Doobie Brothers, Etta James, and Jonny Lang. How did that happen?

Every organization and company is made up of people. They are at the heart of every endeavor. Letting your people add their personal origin story to how and why they do what they do can be a powerful tool of any enterprise seeking to be relevant.

Having talented people — your rock stars —  is good. Having rock stars who can share their journey with others is great. People want to know about other people — how they got to where they are today, what their journey has been like, what motivates them. It’s how we connect. Help your customers and clients connect better to you by letting your people be human. Let them tell their story.

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