Thursday, 6 August 2015

How to Inspire People to Achieve Your Goals

The title of a YouTube video caught my eye: "Dave Grohl's Response to the 1,000-Person Cover of Learn to Fly". 

Dave Grohl is the founder, songwriter, rhythm guitarist and singer of the long-standing band Foo Fighters. He is also the former drummer of the famed early 90's 'grunge' band Nirvana.

A 1,000-person rendition of a song seemed interesting, but even more so was this famous musician's response to his fans.

Dave's thank-you video was short and sweet, thanking people for their awesome show of appreciation. He spoke in broken Italian, which was a nice touch given that the song was recorded in Cesena, Italy. The simple message, recorded on a smart phone had an impromptu and sincere feel to it, befitting of a personal thank-you.  

I became curious about the music video that prompted Dave's warm response. How did 1,000 people perform a song at the same time, and why?

A year ago, Fabio Zaffagnini, the founder of a virtual guided tour startup, had a dream of the Foo Fighters playing his hometown of Cesena, a Northern Italian town of 112,000 people.

He came up with the idea of creating a tribute video to help bring attention to his request. Fabio took action by enlisting his friends and building a crowdsourced budget of $50,000. 

A year later, at sunset on July 26 2015, 1,000 musicians (traveling at their own expense), 100 volunteers and a 30-camera crew created the video (take a look). Within days of being posted, it had been watched 18.6 million times including members of the band.

Zaffagnini said that his project worked "because he had a huge amount of people working for free, helping us for nothing." How did he convince so many people to support his goal in a world where only 13 percent of employees are engaged with their employer's businesses? What was it that spoke to so many hearts and minds to accomplish something so big?

Here are some possible reasons why people signed up for Fabio's dream:
  • He (the leader) was clear on what he wanted to achieve (Foo Fighters concert in Cesena) 
  • The goal meant a lot to him personally
  • People (musicians) could relate to the goal (hold a concert)
  • It had never been done before
  • He created a solid plan
  • The plan was well-financed
  • Everyone had a clear role 
  • Skilled people were enlisted to manage the logistics (e.g. a conductor coached the musician on how to synchronize their performances)
  • It felt like it would be fun
  • The project was a once-in-a-lifetime experience with bragging rights ("I was there.")
  • Everyone could see how their part contributed to the project's success
  • People were recognized for their efforts (check out the end credits)

Fabio's project holds many lessons for other leaders. Business leaders can definitely gain insights on how to inspire and motivate their teams. All they need to do is watch the video and be inspired by the looks on everyone's faces.



  1. There's ALWAYS a musical, political or Simpson's parallel, Phil ;) - GREAT post!

  2. So true Mel. Always. Thanks for your comment.