Learning from the Starman

It has been a sad start to 2016 on many levels. But tonight I want to reflect on the loss of another part of my childhood. The death of David Bowie comes just a week or so after the death of Lemmy from Motorhead. I have been lucky enough in the past to have seen them both performing in Manchester.

They were quite different musically but one thing I do think they shared was the ability to be true to their core beliefs or principles. That doesn’t mean they didn’t change or develop but that they were comfortable with what they were about. They remained dedicated to what they enjoy doing touring, making music and leaving people with many memories.

David Bowie has changed more than most performers or artists. During the years he has evolved and adapted while always remaining true to what he was about. I have to say that sort of development isn’t easy. Many people working within change communication roles would love to be able to get people to evolve and adapt without any concern. They would also like ways to keep employees in the organisation focused on what is important to the core business.

How did he manage to do it? I am not sure I know. It seems that during my childhood he would appear and then reappear with a new fresh idea. It would always still be Bowie but just a new and slightly altered version. At the heart of it there was still the same musical focus just adapted for a different audience. This is why there has been so much coverage today of the sad news, through the years he has expanded his audience and fans by changing and transforming.

Perhaps organisations need to be brave enough to reshape and redesign what they are doing while remaining focused on the core business. Changes are not immediately good on their own, but they can be when they bring improvements.

We should not be sad but we should recognise the contribution that he made and if possible learn from it.

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