How Gangnam style changed the world

November 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

So the biggest moment at the American Music Awards last night was a Korean pop star. Let that sink in for a moment.

I’m fascinated by the way that music is able to cross boundaries. Maybe it hasn’t always been that way, but it seems like in the last several years the lines are blurring between styles, genres, even cultures. Whether it was Aerosmith and Run DMC, Elton John and Eminem, Johnny Cash and Trent Reznor, or now Psy and MC Hammer – music brings people together who would probably normally have nothing to do with each other.

How is this happening? I think that as technology advances it becomes easier for people to be exposed to other styles, other cultures, whatever the case may be. Now YouTube makes it possible for a Korean pop star to absolutely own the American Music Awards.

So what does it mean for us? Well if you are a leader of an organization you can bet that the people you serve – whether that’s your customers, your employees, or your competition – are being increasingly exposed to ideas that are far beyond what we’ve always known. The world is getting smaller all the time. We can enter that world with eyes closed and pretend that it doesn’t exist, ignore the change, ignore the influence of other cultures, other voices, and we will find ourselves struggling to keep up. Or we can approach the new reality with eyes open to the possibilities.

I choose the latter. So here are a few quick thoughts on what this means for those leading in this ever shrinking world.

  1. It’s more possible than ever before for one person to change the world. Seriously, whether it’s a grassroots organization like Invisible Children, Charity:Water, or Hopemob – social media makes it easier than ever to find your tribe, become a catalyst for change, and spread your cause exponentially.
  2. Those who listen first and speak second will thrive. There are all kinds of new voices out there. Whether in music, art, leadership, ministry, technology, etc. Look at the success of TED talks, or the world of blogging. Everyone has a voice. And we can either compete with the noise and try and be louder, or we can listen first, learn from others, and thereby earn the right to speak second.
  3. The next generation won’t wait for us to hand them the reigns. We can fight it all we want. But they will lead. They will change the world. We can either resist it and try and hang on as long as we can, or we can pour in to them, empower them, and influence the key leaders who will shape the world for generations to come. If you and I will believe in them, if we will invest in them, they will listen. But the insecure leader will find himself leading insecure people with no influence.

And just in case you missed it, here it is:

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Jeremy Copeland

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