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10 HR Lessons from Lady Gaga

10 HR Lessons from Lady Gaga

by Frank Roche on September 15, 2010

in Business, Communication, KnowHR

People told me I wasn’t thin enough. People told me I wasn’t pretty enough. People told me I wasn’t musical enough. That I wasn’t commercial enough. And I said, “I’M A SUPERSTAR. I WAS BORN THIS WAY!” — Lady Gaga, Philadelphia, September 14, 2010

A bunch of us from our shop went to see Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball show last night. It was awesome.

Four years ago Lady Gaga was playing to crowds of 12 people in little bars in NYC. Last night, she played to a sold out stadium in Philadelphia. She’s going to do another show here tonight. And she’s been on tour since last November.

Where’s the HR in all of that? It’s not the sexy outfits. The bump and grind. The R-rated lyrics. It’s in attitude. Thinking. Being bold.

Here are 10 HR Lessons from Lady Gaga:

  • Start strong. Lady Gaga played good music even when people weren’t listening. Believe in what you’re doing even when no one else does.
  • Be surprising. Like her or not, Lady Gaga is a phenomenon. She dazzles. HR can’t go crazy, but it doesn’t have to be stodgy, either.
  • Reinvent yourself. Gaga is super popular, but she’s never standing still. If your HR programs are stale, they’re one stage away from rotting.
  • Stand for something. Lady Gaga supports LGBT causes with words and actions. Your HR programs should be about a lot more than compliance.
  • Connect with people. You might not be able to read her Poker Face, but Lady Gaga is vulnerable. HR shouldn’t be a faceless monolith.
  • Just dance. At a Lady Gaga show, the crowd dances. HR might want to think more about getting employees to dance and worry less about dress codes.
  • Know when the time is right. Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball shows were supposed to be only a few months. But her fans wanted more. HR should pay attention to what employees react positively to, and do more.
  • Be stylish. If anything, Lady Gaga defines style. (Thousands of her fans dressed up for the concert last night. Check out the video.) Just like that same hairstyle HR got in the 1980s should go, so should its sense of what’s in style. Let’s start with annual performance reviews.
  • Raise your voice. If you’ve seen Lady Gaga on TV or live, you know she can belt out songs. Good HR isn’t for timid voices.
  • Have talent. There’s no lip syncing at Lady Gaga shows. You can’t fake it ’til you make it in HR, either.


Bonus: Here are Jessica, Bethany and Stephanie from IFRACTAL, who went to see Lady Gaga last night. Yep, Jessica is dressed like an astronaut.

Double bonus: Here’s a snippet of Lady Gaga singing Telephone.

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