What Business Owners Can Learn from Harry Connick, Jr.

Whether you are in the music industry or not, there is a lot to be learned from artists with staying power. One that really made an impression on me was Harry Connick Jr. 

Most of the local bands and solo artists I’ve booked and coached are young. Harry is not in their repertoire, nor is he in mine. One summer, I worked at a beautiful outdoor venue in Cary, NC called the Koka Booth Amphitheatre (photo on left). I was introduced to Harry, his music, and his way of doing business.

Lesson #1: Be on Time!

There is nothing worse than waiting (and waiting) for an artist, guest speaker, or even a client who arrives really late.  There were no delays or “diva moments” with Harry and his band. They set up quickly and were ready to roll in no time. 

Lesson #2:  Connect with Your Audience! 

I had no idea that Harry Connick Jr. was so funny!  He not only connected with his audience from the stage, he came right out into the crowd – in between songs! I was stationed by the front seating area and he stopped by. He said he just needed a snack. So, he walked around and checked to see who had food and beverages that he liked and took some samples. 

This was someone who knew how to be genuine.  You felt like you could invite him over for dinner later.   

Lesson #3: Reward Loyalty! 

At one point, Harry realized that there were quite a few empty seats up front and quite a few people sitting on blankets way in the back.  Harry didn’t care that the seats up front went for a much higher price or that they may have been paid for. The point was, the show was underway and no one was sitting in them.  

So, Harry took the microphone and told everyone in the back to move up front.  Technically, we weren’t supposed to allow him to do that but he had a point.  If the people who purchased the front row seats really wanted to be there, they would have been there. Why reward the no-shows when you have loyal fans right in front of you? Give them something extra! 

Lesson #4: Challenge Yourself! 

When was the last time you challenged yourself and pushed past your comfort zone?  I haven’t watched American Idol in ages but once I caught this funny video of Harry challenging contestants and his fellow coaches, I was hooked. 

Yes, not every singer knows about music theory or the pentatonic scale but they should (note to JLo!).  Maybe it is over some people’s heads but Harry was right: People need to be challenged in order to grow.

Lesson #5: Have Fun! 

Money isn’t everything. If you hate what you’re doing is it really worth it? Life’s short! Wouldn’t you rather use your talents, your skills, and your creativity to create something meaningful, worthwhile and fun? This photo is what I do for fun on the weekends.

There were many local bands that I really enjoyed working with. They not only got the above points but, like Harry, their shows were really fun.  Their fans weren’t just coming to hear the bands’ songs; they were coming because they knew they would have a fun experience. 

Thanks, Harry, for reminding me to have fun and to not take life so seriously. 

Dori Staehle is a holistic success coach, percussionist, drum therapist, and occasional booking agent. She did not book Harry that night, nor did she lose her job for allowing him to break the rules. Sometimes you have to lighten up and have fun! If you’d like to talk more about creating a life that you love, contact dori@rockthenextstage.com for a FREE strategy session!


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Comment by Dori Staehle on February 15, 2014 at 3:22pm

Thanks, Debby! Harry is such a nice guy! Very charming! He had me laughing so hard I almost cried. Great night at work.  :)

Comment by Debby Bruck Homeopath on February 15, 2014 at 3:18pm

Great life stories, lessons learned and blog composition! 

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