This was a good week for American Idol fans and contestant Scotty McCreery. Scotty may only be 17 years old, but he makes mature, calculated decisions far beyond his meer 17 years. For example, throughout the course of the season he has remained true to what he does best – pure, unadulterated country music. He’s been extremely consistent with song choices that play to his strengths and highlight his deep, soulful voice. Scotty has also learned to evaluate the audiences’ needs and wants and then deliver in a way that truly connects with them.

This week during the inspirational song segment of the show, Scotty made the shrewd, mature strategy decision to sing “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”, Alan Jackson’s #1 hit from 2001. There is no doubt that, unlike Haley, he carefully considered his song choice, the mood of the country and his audience when he decided to sing that song in the wake of Usama Bin Laden’s death. That was a brilliant decision ensuring he would connect emotionally with ALL Americans – not just his country base. If only some business leaders thought as strategically as this 17 year old from a small town in North Carolina.

  1. Stick to your niche – don’t try to be all things to all people, you only end doing a lot of different things confusing your audience and performing none of them well
  2. Leverage your strengths and minimize your weaknesses – we all have weaknesses, but there’s no reason to broadcast them
  3. Carefully consider the needs of your audience and then give them what they want
  4. Think and Act Strategically to stay 2 steps ahead of your competition

While Haley has a great deal of talent and a great look, she also seems to have a touch of Idol ADD – jumping from genre to genre, acting like a renegade and trying to be all things to all people – all of which will likely result in her elimination tonight.

Don’t be eliminated by YOUR competition. Following these simple principles can help ensure business (and Idol) success.