Born this way: 5 MBA lessons from Lady Gaga

Extracted from the book “The Music of Business

Lady Gaga is a music and business phenomenon.  Simply fabulous electro pop and dance music.  Strategy, marketing, finance, HR, operations, social media and so on, all rolled into one.  Setting aside all the controversy over her music, fashion and so on, what might an MBA graduate learn from Lady Gaga about her approach to business?  Before we start, in case you have not caught up with Lady Gaga, take a look at her ‘Edge of Glory’ video, with lyrics inspired by the death of her grandfather:

Share your thoughts on your favourite Lady Gaga song / performance by making a comment on this blog.  Since she is a controversial figure, if you cannot stand her, it would also be interesting to know why.

Here are five MBA lessons that you can learn from Lady Gaga:

1. I personally love Lady Gaga’s music but it is not completely new.  Her music springs from 80’s and 90’s electro-pop and dance music, drawing upon a range of influences, such as Bowie, Queen, Elton John, Madonna, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson.  I’d add Prince to the list as I’m sure she has been influenced by the Purple Genius.  Many people are creatures of habit in terms of their musical tastes (see my post on AC/DC for more on this) and this makes Lady Gaga’s music a very acceptable diet for consumers, young and old.

MBA lesson # 1.   Innovate within the familiar range of the customer’s expectation for maximum early impact.  Build on that for long term sustainability.

2. If Lady Gaga’s music is in the familiar range, the presentation certainly is not.  Or is it?  Sure, people are shocked to see Lady Gaga attacked during her performance and then die in a pool of fake blood.  But, remember Alice Cooper’s electric chair executions and Madonna’s on stage masturbation scenes for ‘Like a Virgin’ on her ‘Blond Ambition’ tour?  We have been here before.  The difference that Lady Gaga brings is that she has learned from all of these people and improved the packaging and presentation of the theatrical elements that accompany her music.  Top business thinkers such as Tom Peters have written about becoming a learning organisation, which, broadly speaking is an organisation that learns from its customers, staff, partners and so on. That learning can be simple, such as “How can we do what we do better?” It can also be more fundamental, such as ” How can we start over?”  Unlike some businesses, Lady Gaga has actually taken notice of Tom’s wisdom on learning organisations.

MBA lesson # 2.   Stand on the shoulders of giants if you want to innovate.  Be a genuine learning organisation if you want to stay in business for the long term.

3. Lady Gaga has succeeded in an age where society is questioning the profit imperative of corporations and celebrities.  How has she done this?  By cleverly combining the profit and purpose ambition as Daniel Pink, author of ‘A Whole New Mind’ points out.  Gaga combines exceedingly clever cross branding (music, fashion, headphones and so on) with a number of social and humanitarian causes such as the Haiti earthquake, the Japanese Tsunami and various AIDS / HIV causes.  This has enabled her to withstand a number of public relations crises when others would have crumbled.

MBA lesson # 3.   Combine your social responsibility agenda with your business plan in a seamless way.  Execute your plans with meticulous detail.

4. Lady Gaga has a shrewd approach to HR Strategy – partnering with evergreen stars such as Madonna, Elton John and Cher.   This gives her access to a much wider market for her music and legitimises her brand across generations.

MBA lesson # 4.   Use partnerships and joint ventures to enlarge your market share in ways that benefit all the stakeholders.  Choose your partners wisely and in ways that provide genuine win-win benefits.

5. Lady Gaga has captured the hearts, minds, souls and bank balances of several generations through the clever use of social media, in ways that major corporations can only dream of.   She has given her fans control of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and so on.  They have a shared identity (little monsters) and Gaga has allowed her fanbase to operate a ‘market pull’ approach to affiliation instead of using traditional ‘push’ approaches to marketing.

MBA lesson # 5.   Understand that social media is social and the powerful imperative of the word YOU in social media.   People like social media to interact with their own lives and values.

I’m sure there are many more MBA lessons to be drawn from Lady Gaga.  Please send your thoughts in as contributions to this blog, which will be included in a sequel.  In the meanwhile, here is Lady Gaga’s fantastic piece of post-modern pop music ‘Poker Face’.

Our new book ‘The Music of Business” has an expanded article on Lady Gaga, plus much much more – acclaimed by Harvey Goldsmith.  Sample it here – available worldwide on Amazon and as a Kindle download.


About the Blogger:  Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching.  Contact via

40 responses to “Born this way: 5 MBA lessons from Lady Gaga

  1. Here’s the reason I’m not a great fan, and it applies to any number of other current stars – it’s being told to be a fan! So many people say they are a fan of someone simply because everyone else does, a real herd mentality.

    In fact, if you ask them to name someone’s last album, or ask them in 2 years time if they are a fan, they will have move on to whoever the media tells them they should be a fan of next!

    As for GaGa herself, I have to be impressed by what I would call another business lesson – the sheer hard work she has put in to get where she is. Creative output is fine, but the real hard graft needed to make it is an aversion to a lot of artists.

    Nice post.


    • Just reading Wikibrands Gordon – it points out that the new world of marketing is about market pull and not product push. It seems that her fanbase is the ultimate unpaid marketing force. That people follow successful people in herds is a human condition that has always been the case and for which I personally have a love / hate relationship. It’s not a shame for Lady Gaga at all and you are right, she has put in the perspiration as well as the inspiration – it is sometimes a shame for those artists / people who don’t cultivate media attention and don’t get the recognition they deserve – see my post on Bill Nelson for a good example of this

      Thanks for the reply Gordon – I look forward to your next blog



  2. The only place success comes before work is in a dictionary! You alluded to ‘safe re-invention’, but pushing the boundaries with the presentation style? Is this not just the basis of Marketing? Sex sells (patently), and Gaga has really managed to coral all channels to market and created a solid brand, in that most ephemeral of market places – fashion plus music.It is frankly astonishing the way she has hit the ground running. You also feel, like Madonna, she is in complete editorial control, has a very strong vision, and is quietly giggling at the fact that the act (i.e. the whole pacakge) is swallowed whole and her market still begs for more. No Amy Winehouse future here – she knows what she wants and will keep getting it. Another lesson?


    • Quoting your comment…You also feel, like Madonna, she is in complete editorial control, has a very strong vision, and is quietly giggling at the fact that the act (i.e. the whole pacakge) is swallowed whole and her market still begs for more…

      I agree up to the giggling part. I believe that one reason Lady GaGa is successful is that she has humility. Her labelling and embracing of her ‘Little Monsters’ is brilliant marketing, of course, but it’s successful only because it’s sincere. I believe that Lady GaGa understands how ephemeral celebrity can be – a meat dress will decay in a day or so – and that it exists at the whim of the fans. It’s kind of the same as how any of our businesses survive.


      • I had not spotted the meaning that you can derive from the meat dress re decay etc – a brilliant piece of self effacing irony. You are right Ellie, that great businesses don’t become bigger in ego than the businesses they serve.

        Perhaps a few CEO’s could do with a day in a meat dress?? 🙂

        Great observation – thank you for contributing



  3. Yes, now there are six lessons – thank you Phil. She does appear to be in control of her music and brand and the comparison with Madonna works for me. I know she dabbled with drugs in here earlier days but lives quite a celibate lifestyle in many respects these days, compared with the usual suspects. Amy Winhouse’s post may be found at

    Thanks again Phil – This post has generated some interesting discussion here and in other places.


  4. Whilst I am left cold by her sartorial antics I can see that she has put the hard work in and built an amazing package in such a short time. I recall the first time I saw her name in print….she was part of a list of candidates for the ‘next big thing’ (Florence and the Machine also being on that list) She certainly grabbed her chance and ran with it. She was possibly helped by the fact that her arrival on the scene coincided with the rise of twitter and other such trampolenic networks…but that’s not taking anything away from her art. Yeah….she deserves her success….and she has made some delectable sounds . Very nice article with great valid lessons 🙂


  5. Not in the music business (tone deaf) but do blog and find the Gaga phenom to be fascinating from a business perspective. While I don’t love some of her music (Hey, I’m 58 years old and was always more a Carly Simon fan than some of the other really hard rockers of the day) I really appreciate the sheer genius and sweat Gaga brings to her work. I find myself drawn to watching her (and I admit, on occasion listening as well) to see what she will do next. She’s a brilliant marketer and tactician and I am always sure she has a plan for everything I see her do or say. The interesting part is trying to guess just where she’s going to take you. No matter where it is, it is guaranteed to be one heck of a ride! I find the dichotomy between her public personnae and her private life interesting as well. While I certainly see what her musical roots are, I wonder who she looked up to and why when she was growing up. Not even just musically. I’d love to have read Lady Gaga’s compostions from school about ‘how I spent my summer vacation’ or ‘who the persom I most admire is.’


    • Many thanks Nancy – you have shone the light on the interesting difference between her private life which is not really sex, drugs and rock’n’roll and her public persona. She seems to juggle these two identities with great skill. Carly Simon does indeed come from a gentler persuasion and I too loved some of her songs. Thank you for posting and I will check the wedding queen out. atb Peter


  6. Well, I know that Lady Gaga is like ‘marmite’ in that she is a love or hate thing for some people and I’m posting some varied comments up here from Linkedin discussions.


    Lynette Jensen • I think that the chief and underlying reason that Gaga is so successful is that she is genuinely expressing herself creatively, and that’s powerful. She is a ‘real deal’ artist because the artistic expression is authentic.

    Everything else comes from that I think, including the inspired social networking and all the MBA lessons you’ve mentioned Peter.

    The only thing I find surprising about Lady Gaga is that she seems to have struck such a deep chord with her audience, when I would have thought that most of the audience (from what I can tell just watching TV) would normally be quite conservative. The phenomenon I guess has been the same for David Bowie, Boy George and many others before her – a kind of outrageously clad sweet waif – which perhaps speaks to something deep inside some people. Maybe these artists express creativity for people who would normally be afraid to?

    In any event, I find the whole Gaga thing terribly interesting.

    Thanks for the post Peter – the blog takes an interesting angle on business.


    Juliet Bruce, Ph.D. • I’m enjoying this thread — the business lessons Gaga has for us, fans or not (I like her a lot and also don’t like to be called a fan of any celebrity), the conversation between you and Gordon, Peter, and your description of the “outrageously clad sweet waif that speaks to something deep inside some people,” Lynnette.

    I agree that she resonates deeply with young people who’ve grown up thinking of themselves as little monsters in their families and schools and that she’s created a whole community based on affirmation and assurance. She’s a classic mentor..

    When I was very young, my Dad saw Bob Dylan on some late-night talk show and said, “What’s that?” Exactly what I heard asked about myself, if not in those exact words, by just about every adult in my life. His music served as my center for awhile when I so needed one.

    When someone can give voice to the inner needs of many, amazing things happen. I don’t think this is something that can be planned for.


    Tomaz Osterman • Well,….let me than take a role of a party breaker and be allowed to lift the veil of the dark side of this so called ‘artistic business phenomena’. Just to explore the alternatives and form our judgements form different perspectives. This is at least what we can do. Gaga is a good performer and entertainer, sure everybody will agree on this, but an artist? I fail to see anything artistically new, neither inventive re-interpretation of old, It appears more like simple plagiarism masked with contemporary idea of what ‘liberties’ should be. But in my opinion one not need to be theatrically vulgar to effectively fight for liberties of marginalised groups. This much for meeting my expectations. Her music or better ‘stantz music’, is a chorus-endless repetition of one and same (old) lyrics,…and standing on the shoulders of ‘giants’, without their permissions,…no wonder that mother of tragedy (Madonna) is suing her for exactly what I’ve described before: plagiarism…Gaga is exactly what Marx had in mind, when he described history to repeat itself first as tragedy and than as farce!

    But to be serious for a moment, please consider the source of her so called ‘ideas’ in their universal form in a film called Metropolis.

    See the whole film, you will ‘get’ the idea pretty soon. Genuine leaders help others to turn and face the sun, non-genuine leave them to continue to stare at the (‘new’) shadows on the wall in the cave, as Plato has so beautifully described for us some time ago.

    As for the business part I choose not to call well managed and productive corporations that destroy human beings (and middle class) in the process, a success. But rather failures. Ultimate failures. And than to talk about social responsibility!?? Capitalism with a ‘human face’, you say…destroying communities and families in the morning, just to reaper in the evening as ‘socially responsible’ and help them to ‘merely survive’ in the mess they left behind…I beg of you all, have some reflective capacity!

    Where is the innovation here? Where is care or encouragement (pull, if you prefer) for human beings within and outside of the corporations and where is development of their (followers, employees, clients, children, etc,..) ‘voice or unique significance’?? Rather, I see activity that is utterly useless for progress of humanity. Mere ‘brief amusement, entertainment of masses’ to distract from the significance in one’s life and make hell of a profit for the corporation….. you don’t believe me? Ask Soros, Jobs or Murdoch or any other ‘wildly successful philanthropists’ they know!


    and my reply to Tomaz:

    I don’t think I said it was particularly innovative – indeed ‘dissonance’ in music is very hard to sell. Just ask my friend Bill Nelson:

    In a cynical way, nothing is new, newness is in the customers mind and Gaga has created that perception. I don’t think pop music is meant to be placed on a pedestal and analysed alongside Marx, Plato and so on. It is what it is and she has captured a market by standing on the shoulders of giants in ways that other wannabes only dream of. Sure the record company lawsuits and jealousies will spring up, but, in the words of another song, I guess they are just saying ‘It should have been me”

    Nonetheless, you offer an excellent counter view, some of which I share, that the world has important problems to face. Sadly our politicians and philosophers are not as popular as Lady Gaga.




  7. Hi Tomaz,
    I read your view with interest. As it happens I agree that there is no need to be theatrically vulgar, it doesn’t really do it for me, but think the point of the original post was the principles behind her route to success.

    You say she is a good performer and entertainer, but question if she is an artist – I guess that’s down to definition. I would call her an artist due to the creative nature of what she does.

    As for the activity being utterly useless, and mere amusement, I’m not sure myself if her output will stand the test of time, and yes, others could do what she does. But entertainment and amusement is essential in society.

    It has been throughout the ages, and entertainment serves precisely *because* it is a diversion from other things.

    You make interesting points! In fact I write about her work ethic in an article prompted by Peter’s original post, and if he doesnt mind you can click my link to read if you fancy – I called it ‘Goal Achievement – Does Lady Gaga Have Sweaty Armpits?’


    • Hi Gordon,

      Tomaz prefers to post on Linkedin. He is still not happy and I’m posting his latest remarks here:


      Tomaz Osterman • Imagine Obama or any other CEO of some big corporation to ware make-up and dance in front of us, wearing tong bikini and shaking their behinds..ha,ha,ha,..I admit, you truly have to be special to be able to sell sex.

      Still, I personally see nothing much inspiring and creative here, not in the texts, not in music or the theatrical representation of whatever goes on, on gaga stage. Old clichés at best with some gimps of creative interpretation, but mostly insult, vulgarism and hell lot of ideology. (that of course nobody is able to recognise these days, but…anything is capable of being placed on the table of analysis and critical contemplation.) Ideology, big ideas, big stories, history and metaphysics did not just vanish away with ‘the fall of communism’, but are pretty much still alive today and can be observed in the most trivial things and practices… if one cares to look, that is.

      I also fail to see leadership qualities in someone who publicly admit that she hit (or whatever you do) herself with cocaine to get her so called ‘ higher inspiration’… come on,.. where is this leading? What sort of inspiration is that? I’m sure that don’t add a thing to any significance in my life and hope you think that too.

      What I see interesting (and worrying at the same time) is the amount of ink being used to write about so called lesions on leadership and creativity in work of some drug addict, insulting teenage pop stars and greedy corporations behind them these days. Lately I have observed at least ten posts that glorified gaga as an example of leadership. (Now, this is true ideology at work here, my friends..) We indeed are in the crisis of leadership and if this trend continues, next thing we will read about are posts about Eichmann ‘s organisational creativity and innovative leadership approach…

      If gaga wants to be ‘socially responsible’, she should, not just write cheques, but roll up her sleeves and go out there being useful and help (with what she is best at) the first kid she can find on the streets and than continue to do this till the day she passes away, like Mother Teresa did. Now, this is what Leadership, Inspiration and Creativity and leaving a legacy is all about, (and you will find much, much, way much more than just ‘5 MBA lesions’ in her examples).

      But, there is hope! This is a bit ‘nicer’ (according to my taste) example that at least tries to achieve some positive change, with the project called ‘Fireworks’. Let’s focus just on this piece for now. (please see videos here to be able to follow debate…)

      If you know that all those kids in the music video, were all ‘real things’, not actors, all real common people struggling and trying to make their way and contribution in life, I believe that is much more positive contribution and should be taken as an example of inspired and creative leadership in pop music.

      Real question of leadership (according to my understanding) should be: How do we use pop and fame to help common people achieve uncommon performance and results? How to help others to find their own voices, their own ‘personal significance’?? How to actually walk our talk. This is what I define as a real trademark of Leadership. And I sincerely hope, this is not just according to my judgement.


      Peter Cook • I suspect taste is the operative word here Tomaz. You clearly don’t like LG for the reasons you have stated re her shock value, trading on timeless ideas from art / film and so on. I suspect that this may be leading you to some other generalisations about her.

      I must say that I personally have no shortage of knowledge about ideology, big ideas and so on as a university academic, but have a hunch that you regard these as only the domain of the ‘great and good’. I don’t think Lady Gaga has put herself up as a philosopher or saviour of the planet. To judge her against such standards is perhaps a little extreme. Her business strategy is more coherent than many I have seen in even the best corporations and it is that to which I have addressed the blog post.

      The smart leader scans the environment and utilises the communications channels of their age. I suspect that Plato and Marx would have a Twitter feed, Facebook and Linkedin if they were alive….


      Tomaz Osterman • Well,… I will say it is not just bad taste, but it is tasteless in the first place. But to be serious, the operative word here is not taste, but business strategy, leadership, innovation and creativity and the way it is being used, or rather abused in in the corporation and business she represents. I will repeat myself, and please forgive me for that:‘’ I choose not to call well managed and productive corporations that destroy human beings (and middle class) in the process, a success. But rather failures. Ultimate failures.’’
      And exactly in this respect she cannot be made an example of effective leadership, innovation and creativity with values people can identify and follow. Smart and coherent business strategy perhaps. But for what purpose, making money? Than call it what it is; cunning business strategy!
      Making money is not a purpose of effective leader and surely not the way how they use their time for creativity and innovation. From every effective leader we can learn that ‘The business of business are People and their success, their well-being. Money follows and is secondary. It doesn’t get simpler than that. All the rest is abuse of power and leadership and let’s call it for what it really is; charlatanism.
      So if we are to write about leadership, creativity and innovation we should raise the bar a lot and use examples that are more representative of the business processes we would like to describe.


      I’ve placed your comments on the blog so others can comment Tomaz. I DO think business is a useful part of society, even if a few are driven to excess. The exceptions cannot be made to define the norm. I think many businesses would argue that making money is an important part of business if you are to build something that lasts and can pay staff and so on. The profit motive does not cause me a problem.

      I think your dislike of Lady Gaga is clouding your judgement. I have NOT listed her alongside Plato, Aristotle, Marie Curie, Einstein, Mozart, Kant and so on. She is a pop star, plain and simple. I think she above many others understands and mocks her own longevity via the meat dress stunt, as someone else pointed out on the blog. I’m not sure that Katy Perry is any more moral in the voracious world of celebrities doing socially responsible things as part of their business strategy.


  8. And another reply from Greece:


    Julie Georgiou • I absolutely agree with the article. However, I believe that Lady Gaga is not the first one to realise the power of marketing…in my opinion Madonna has always been the “master” of implementing all the MBA lessons!

    In the end, who says that we can’t learn from pop stars? Those we want (and will) remain to music history, have to base on a carefully planned strategy, and not on superficial public appearences and glitter eye-shadows.


    Peter Cook • Hello Julie,

    I must agree wholeheartedly re Madonna. Gaga cites her as a major influence and, speaking as a musician, I can hear the influences in the song structures, chord sequences and so on. For example Alejandro has an echo of La Isla Bonita about it and so on. The extent to which Lady Gaga will remain a success will now depend on her ability to make herself into what business people call an ‘adaptive organisation’, whilst taking her following with her.

    We can learn well from any discipline provided we are prepared to adapt the lessons to particular contexts and accept that not all business lessons transfer successfully. I will be speaking of such things, possibly assisted by some music at the HR conference for Boussias in October. Hope to see you there Julie.

    p.s. What would you say are the most popular international music acts in Greece? What rock acts are known? and what Greek pop / rock stars should I be listening to to prepare for the conference?

    Peter Cook


  9. Some more replies from Linkedin here:


    Alex Watson • Great post Pete. What I find fascinating about Gaga’s story is the fact that her label is run by hip-hop artist Akon, who had the foresight to believe in her when others didn’t…
    She has been given creative freedom which has/had been sorely lacking in many parts of the music industry.

    As an artist…..I think she has a great voice. She’s a fantastic and hardworking performer, and now that she has a recognised platform from which to emote, and a dedicated creative team…she can concieve whatever she dreams….a very fortunate position. Personally, I find all the meat wearing and extravangant costumes etc a bore….but that’s just me….I’m not a massive fan.


  10. And yet more – the debate widens:


    Sonia Jaspal • Peter,

    I read the blog post and agree with the 5 points you have mentioned. On the other hand, though I appreciate the branding and packagaing of Lady Gaga and the success she has acheived from it, I from an ethics perspective would raise some questions.

    On the whole, if you see her strategy, it is clearly developed and connects to the negative emotions within us which most people are inclined to hide to be socially acceptable. However, she doesn’t break the law or conduct any crime. All her acts, including the meat dress, border on provocation, pushing the social norms and seeking attention.

    Now she is influencing the younger generation with her acts. Think of it if a 1000 teenagers appeared of their prom night in meat dresses. They will get into a lot of trouble.

    My question, which is a larger aspect is that even terrorists influence kids to join them appealing to their insecurities, sense of isolation and cater to the feeling of importance and belonging.

    If you see Lady Gaga is generally making a statement that it is okay to be wierd. The question is how wierd and where is the balance?

    And just because a person has a large tribe of followers, it may make them a leader, but does it make them a good or great leader?

    Shouldn’t we as management thought leaders be able to differentiate the two and not sell the wrong product? Skilling also had a great brand image as a CEO, before Enron failed. He was also put on a pedastal without anyone seeing that he had feet of clay.

    So the bigger question is what is leadership really about?



    Peter Cook • Hello Sonia,

    You raise an important additional point re the social / ethical aspects of leadership, which I had not commented on in the article. Thanks for this.

    I suspect that most kids know that they are not permitted to wear meat dresses and so on in normal social settings. That is one of the “privileges of celebrity” :-)( But i guess the message is ‘dare to be different / make a difference which seems to be one of the beliefs of the post industrial society.

    Re followers and leadership, I’d agree that numbers of followers does not necessarily make a leader and you remind me why I have concentrated on her business strategy rather than her personal leadership qualities.

    Thanks for the post here Sonia.


    Lynette Jensen • Sonia, I was going to ask you why it mattered if some kids “got into trouble” for wearing meat dresses at the prom, then I read your LinkedIn profile and discovered that you are a risk management specialist, so I suppose you are sensitive to all kinds of risk, including social disapproval.

    Taking some risk is necessary for creativity, otherwise everything stays the same.

    Artists, almost by definition, take social risks and are deliberate provocateurs. It’s precisely this risk taking, individual vision, preparedness to experiment with ideas, materials and social norms that makes them so useful to society.

    In the long run, the creative and artistic vision of our artists (painters, musicians, novelists, poets, philosophers etc etc) keep us safe because they lead us to new ways of seeing and being.

    Now that doesn’t mean that we follow all artists. But being out of the mainstream is their job, as is provoking us to think of other things, and see things differently.

    Regarding kids getting into trouble at prom night, all of us who are older have to understand and to see that it is an imperative of adolescence to break away from the generations that came before. Adolescents have to individuate and make their way, and every generation that’s ever been shocks their parents and older generations. Juliet referred to this above when she talked about Bob Dylan. Tomaz’ sensibilities being offended is also an example.

    I think that the reaction that the mention of Lady Gaga has provoked here and more widely must show that she’s doing a good job in both the ways I’ve mentioned: she provokes us artistically to see things differently, and she provides adolescents with a way to shock their parents in a way that is essentially safe for them.


    Peter Cook • Speaking as a parent, providing adolescents with a way of shocking their parents is a timeless requirement for every generation 🙂


    Sonia Jaspal • Lynette,

    From a theoritical perspective I agree with you, that artists have a right to experiment and they broaden our thinking, make us culturally accept different ideas and be more tolerant.

    From a practical perspective I have some reservations on this aspect specially when we are targetting a younger crowd and projecting people as role models.

    See if I take Lady Gaga’s example, she calls her tribe “little monsters”. If their wierdness quotient remains unchecked when they grow up, they are going to most likely become “big monsters”. Teens like to do wierd stuff for two reasons – one is to prove to their parents that they have become adults, hence rebel against most parental advise. The other is since they are still not confident individuals they have a strong need to belong to a group. Both these factors are basically stemming from insecurities of growing up. My grouse is that as a society we are not addressing those properly, and let the Gaga’s of the world have long-term influence which can be very damaging. Deviant behavior if remains unchecked in long term can be very damaging.

    I will give you an example from India. In early 1980’s Punjab was a very prosperous state and Hindus and Sikhs lived peacefully with each other, and most had inter-religion marriages. Indira Gandhi the then Congress party leader, had no hold in Punjab. She sponsered Bindranwale to create Sikh patriotism for separate identity. Till then sikhs were quite happy with the state of affairs, but suddenly a demand rose for a separate country – Khalistan. Terrorism increased, teens were used to shoot down others. In villages the teens were paid Rs 200,000 for killing someone. Parents started accepting the money, because everyone was doing it, and it was a easy money (according to them). Sikhs whose basic foundation was that they were protectors of Hindus, and in Guru Granth Sahib, all religion gods are covered saying all have to respected, were happily turned religious fanatics. The group even assasinated Indira Gandhi and it took 10 years to remove violence. But I think all of us who have seen it at close quarters, have had an impact on our lives.

    Hence, when I see people following a person to just get a sense of belonging, I am concerened specially if the person is propogating socially or psychologically deviant behaviors is acceptable. I have seen things generally spiral out of control and the damage is huge. Though in most cases when it starts off it is amusing and entertaining.

    So my question is as you have said – “she provides adolescents with a way to shock their parents in a way that is essentially safe for them” – I wonder, have we measured the consequences of such behavior in the long run on an individual’s life? If we see the punk culture which revailed in 70’s, I think not, long term it had a negative impact.

    Though I must say, Peter has written a great post. When I read it, I thought what a good idea, I can write something about “5 lessons for risk management’. Then I played the music and enjoyed myself. At the end it slowly hit me, I write about business ethics and it is not going to sell. But to discern that it took around 10 minutes, when I am into ethics profession. How much time do you think it will take a normal person to discern the finer differences? And will that happen before the damage is done?

    A simple post sometimes raises a lot of questions. Good post Peter.


    Kevin Rodgers • ….and building on Peter’s comment…providing parents with a way of shocking their adolescents is a timeless requirement for every generation….keeps them on their toes!


    The debate continues !! 😉


  11. Pingback: Naked leadership in Essex | Peter Cook – The Rock'n'Roll Business Guru's Blog

  12. Another comment from Linkedin – thanks to Nicki Davey

    Hello Peter – I agree with all your lessons from Lady Gaga. Another one I’d add is something a long the lines of “Don’t be afraid to be different and to stand out from the crowd”. Fear being different or putting your head above the parapet can inhibit successful leadership, but Lady Gaga isn’t afraid to wear a dress made of meat or a phone on her head – in fact its by being different that she is recognised and remembered, whether people like her/her music or not.

    NB – I’m fairly indifferent to most of Lada Gaga’s music, however I do love the track “Teeth” off the Fame Monster album!


  13. Pingback: Beyond the Fringe – The Edinburgh Festival and Leonard Cohen | Peter Cook – The Rock'n'Roll Business Guru's Blog

  14. Brilliant article bro. The unique thing about it is that it is just a totally nicely structured posting, just the important information I was hunting for regarding business. Cheers


  15. After I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any way you’ll be able to remove me from that service? Thanks!


  16. This is some inspirational stuff. Did not realise that opinions might be this varied. Many thanks for the enthusiasm to write these tips here.


  17. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally confused .. Any suggestions? Kudos!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.