All the Paul Potts hype of the last few weeks was somewhat disturbing. Sure he was shy, sure he was older, but comments about the surprise of his ability seemed to be linked to his outward appearance.
It reminded me of a performer that I traveled with for years. Bo was unpolished by all definitions. Beard down to his chest, hair that had not seen a comb for years, drank too much, partied too much and told far too many stories - some fascinating and some almost unbelievable.
One such story centered around Bo's ability to play piano. In conversation, it came up several times how he was classically trained...he even added that while growing up he actually was teaching two beautiful twins how to play as well - needless to say everyone around him was a bit skeptical.
We ended up at a party together after about 4 years of traveling and upstairs there was piano. Everyone drank, some people smoked, and hours later the sounds of music starting filling the house. Slowly, one by one, the partyers all ceased their conversations, they gravitated upstairs where they saw Bo. He was seated, eyes closed, playing a piece by Chopin as if he belonged in Carnegie Hall. Girls were in tears and guys were in utter disbelief.
This homely cell phone salesman surely cannot sing opera!
Imagine if Apple decided those 'artsy, creative types' would never want a computer.
Next time you are meeting with your team, ask them who are your customers? Who aren't your customers and WHY? Are the observations valid or are they superficial reasons based on appearance or social assumptions?