Steve Schlarman

Groove Theory of GRC - Postulate 1: Musicality or Performance?

Blog Post created by Steve Schlarman Employee on May 13, 2013

Welcome to my second in a series of blogs based on what I term “The Groove Theory of GRC”.   As you may or may not know (or infer from this series), I have been a musician for much of my life.  Starting in grade school playing in the school band, I have enjoyed the gift of making music over many years.  While I am no longer a “gigging” musician, I still pick up my craft and noodle at home often.   One aspect of making music that I have enjoyed is the debate between musicality and performance.  Is a great musician guaranteed to be a great performer?  Are all great musical performers talented musicians?


Miles Davis is an easy example of this.  On one hand, you have an intense musical genius that fueled scores of jazz standards and inspired countless musicians across the globe.  On the other hand, you have an individual who later in his career performed quite literally with his back to the audience facing the other musicians and at times seemed oblivious that an audience was even present (Check out this video of his classic song Tutu).   Unfortunately I never got to see Miles Davis in person so I can’t weigh in on the feeling of being physically at one of his performances.  I am sure the power of the musicality was overwhelming but the performance may have left some feeling disconnected from the artist.   My point is that in some cases, you can have one without the other – great musicality without a grand performance or engaging entertainment without a deep, complex musical experience.   How does this fit into my “Groove Theory of GRC”?


Postulate #1:  Optimizing Business Performance is the end goal; Visibility and Accountability is the method.


The end goal of any GRC program should be Performance Optimization.  If GRC were a concert, the performance matters.  I am not talking about lasers and smoke machines.  I am talking about the substantive effect one feels at the end of a great performance – whether it is music, or theatre or a sporting event.  Management and the Board of Directors need to make decisions that are more certain to result in desired outcomes thus optimizing the performance of the business.   The GRC program should set this as the fundamental objective and impact the organization positively.   But great musical performances just don’t happen.  All the lasers and smoke machines in the world cannot make up for a truly awful band.   A talented set of musicians who know their own role, are dedicated to their craft and are communicating together can bring a musicality that transcends the individual members of the band.  This is the magic that makes the performance great.    The strength of the Performance is through the Visibility and Accountability the band members have with each other, the music and the audience.


To make it simple using my analogy, you have to have Musicality AND Performance to completely capture an audience.  Artists such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Frank Sinatra and many others have epitomized this unique blend of talent, personality and commitment.    GRC needs both Performance Optimization as a goal with Visibility and Accountability enabling the performance.  The program must be absolutely concerned about the positive impact to its audience AND based on a collaborative, connected ecosystem of contributors.

What are your organization’s end goals for GRC?  How do your GRC musicians connect, share and keep the audience engaged and entertained?  Do you feel your organization is bringing both performance (focus on business optimization) and musicality (visibility and accountability) to the concert hall?