February 16, 2017

Hello... How Adele Crushed the Grammys and What You Can Learn

Sunday Night, the world witnessed Adele achieve something never done before at the Grammys. She received song of the year, record of the year and album of the year” -  for the second time! 

Even more remarkable, she had some tough competition if you consider she was up against Beyoncé in each of these categories. Many people feel that Adele’s less-innovative, possibly less-worthy album pales in comparison to Beyonce’s extraordinary “Lemonade.” So just how does that happen?  Obviously both women are tremendously talented.  And while this is purely my own opinion, here are some of the key factors of Adele’s success at the Grammy’s - and how you can apply them to your own star-making career. 


Adele is one of us.  She’s flawed and imperfect, and willing to share that with the world.  Aside from her extraordinary vocal talents, she seems like she could be your sister or friend.  She’s known for her quick wit and dropping the f bomb, and is happy to point out that being a new mom is incredibly hard. She doesn’t pad her performances with tiny outfits and a bevy of dancers.  She just stands on the stage alone, and lets her voice shine. 

Lesson for us:  Sometimes, it’s not all about the shock and awe.  While creativity and artistry can clearly make a strong performer stand out, there’s nothing that can replace exceptional talent.  When it is paired with authenticity and relatability, it’s hard to ignore. 


How does someone, even with their incredible talent, accept accolades when there are other worthy people worth celebrating?  You employ a little humility and acknowledge the contributions of your peers.  Adele graciously referenced Beyoncé in her acceptance speeches…and ultimately referred to her as “The artist of my life.”  And unlike Kayne who infamously heralded Beyonce’s talent a few years ago by taking to the stage and sabotagingTaylor Swift’s win, she did it with sincerity and true admiration.

Lesson for us:  No matter how great we might be individually, take it in stride.  You might be the winner tonight, but there are always going other gifted people surrounding you.  Enjoy your victory, but never forget there are others who are just as talented, passionate, and motivated as you.  Inspire each other, rather than compete for dominance. 


Sunday night saw Adele winning multiple awards throughout the evening.  And yet when it came time for her to perform a tribute to the late George Michael, she stopped herself mid-performance when she realized she wasn’t nailing it.  She swore.  She apologized.  Consider what incredible courage that takes on live television to admit a screw up.  And yet, because she was more focused on giving her best performance for her late friend than she was about looking stupid, she did it anyway.  The result?  She absolutely crushed it.  And left everyone watching in tears. 

Lesson for us:  We all screw up sometimes.  It’s not about the mistake; it’s about the learning that comes from it, and the resiliency we need to move forward.  When we own our failures, people often rally around for support.  No one is perfect, and we need to champion each other in good times – and tough ones.

It doesn’t really matter if you are a fan of Adele, Beyonce, or you feel like Beiber and Drake got robbed, we can learn something from just about anything.  While the Grammys were filled with fantastic performances and offered up some great Monday morning controversy, my biggest observations were made watching how a talented woman like Adele led through the night.  While I’ve always appreciated her voice, I’m now a real fan. 

Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator

Photo credit: Getty Images