If you were going to recruit an acoustic guitar player, what attributes would you seek?
If you were recruiting in the traditional manner, you’d seek these attributes:
- college degree in music
- experience working for an orchestra or band
- experience in an educational institution as a music teacher
But if you were looking for a true leader and innovator these measures would miss the hidden gems. People who are self taught are often thought leaders and innovators who lead to breakthroughs because they lack certain limiting beliefs. Tommy Emmanuel is one such person. Let’s look at his unique attributes:
- Tommy is self-taught, having picked up a guitar at a young age
- Tommy has never had any formal training in music
- Tommy has never learned how to read sheet music, yet he knows how to play literally thousands of songs
- Tommy never uses a set list in his solo performances, the creativity flows from circumstance and audience participation
- Tommy constantly innovates and reworks his songs making incremental improvements
Yet, Tommy now plays 300+ nights a year on five continents!!! If you looked at his resume based on traditional measures, you’d likely pass him over. But in the scarce talent, post baby boomer generation we are now entering, people need to look beyond keywords and look into passion and self-taught competencies. Those who do will build industry leading companies. Others will rapidly fall behind and lag in relation to their peers.
I’m fortunate to see Tommy again this evening in Chicago! I had the great pleasure of interviewing Tommy Emmanuel in 2003. Such a remarkable and inspiring person. Here are some samples of his live work on Youtube, enjoy!