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A Simple Template to What Students CRAVE

I’ve been watching celebrities who’ve made their way onto center stage of the media and marketplace. The ones who’ve captured the attention of America, especially the emerging generation, are ones who don’t merely imitate what others are doing and do it better, but who begin a whole new way of doing something. They are, in fact, leaders. As I study these leaders, whether they are entertainers, tech gurus, athletes, or business icons, I notice some common characteristics, some of which we can learn and practice ourselves.

What would happen if we learned what captures the imagination of our students, and found our own way to apply it as we teach and lead them?

Case Study: Chance the Rapper

photo credit: evolverphoto Chance The Rapper #1 via photopin (license)

Chance the Rapper has appeared on late night shows, talk shows and even on Saturday Night Live. At the 2017 Grammy Awards, 23-year old Chance won Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance, beating out the likes of Drake, Jay Z and Kanye West. He’s a twenty-something who is secure in who he is. Performing at the Grammy’s, he brought in a Gospel choir and sang about his life and his faith. More than once, he’s performed on network television and done things that are just rare—whether it’s dancing, singing, acting or speaking. Yet, he’s disarming and humble.

So why was he able to catch the ear and gain the applause from young people who might not listen if someone else did what he does on TV? Let me offer a simple template we can use whenever we must engage students. This is within the reach of every one of us.

These Leaders and Artists Offer What People CRAVE:

photo credit: kamera kızı 4/365 via photopin (license)

1. Creative 

Chance is extremely creative. While he’s swimming in the same ocean as others in the hip hop industry, he has his own unique flavor and mix. It catches your ear. We don’t get the feeling he’s imitating anyone else. He’s unique.

Question: How can you introduce more creativity in your communication?

2. Relevant 

Chance’s message is timely and timeless. It feels like something new, but it reveals something ancient that we all need. It addresses your need right now. Unlike other artists who sing only of traditional feelings, Chance tackles what we feel today.

Question: How can you relay to your students that you understand their world?

3. Authentic

He is himself. He’s living out of what’s inside. It feels real, not contrived or forced. He is disarming because it doesn’t feel like he’s selling you something . . . but he is. He is a genuine person, which is why he’s appealed to both celebrities and common folks.

Question: How can you send the message that you embody your message?

4. Valuable

Chance has sung about hope, in a difficult year for Americans. He meets a need. What he offers is worthwhile—it is helpful and hopeful. It adds value. In a genre that is filled with four letter words, anger and abuse, he offers what we want and need.

Question: How can you add value in every interaction with students?

5. Excellent

His music excels above others, including his mentor, Kanye West. He brings style and spiritual truth into a dark lyrical world. His “what” and “how” are superior. When we listen to him, we can tell he’s spent time taking his work to the next level.

Question: How can you excel above your colleagues in your industry?

Bottom Line: How can YOU provide what your students CRAVE?

Looking to Develop Character & Leadership in Young Adults?
Check out:
Habitudes: The Art of Self-Leadership

The Art of Self-Leadership
helps students and young adults:

  • Build strong character based on integrity and emotional security
  • Develop habits of self-discipline and initiative to achieve their goals
  • Choose their own set of core values for making wise decisions in life.
  • Create an ongoing plan for personal growth outside the classroom
  • Identify their unique strengths and passions for a healthy self-image.

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  1. David Miller on March 30, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Just watched a video to see how relevant, valuable and excellent this guy is. I have to say if he is relevant, valuable and excellent, then I don’t want to be relevant, valuable and excellent. Smoking, dropping the “F” word multiple times and calling girls the “B” word isn’t valuable or excellent. I usually love these articles, but very disappointed in this article.

    • KORBET FINLEY on March 30, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Generally concur. Based on the content of his music I could not recommend this artist to family or friends, students, etc.

      • Tim Elmore on April 5, 2017 at 11:50 am

        I agree that not everything Chance has done is exemplary. With each leader we learn from, we must “eat the fish and spit out the bones”. In this article, my point was that we can learn from Chance since young people follow him.

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A Simple Template to What Students CRAVE