Why is Sir Tom Jones a force into his seventies? He doesn’t do it for the money. Sir Tom has done well for himself, and doesn’t “need” to perform; he does it because he loves singing and entertaining people. Fifty plus years as a professional singer is amazingly rare. Can you think of another singer with the voice and longevity of Tom Jones?

Sir Tom Starts with Why

The most important thing in business is starting with why. Why is not directly revenue or power. Why is the reason an organization or individual has the tenacity to see their passion become reality. As silly as it may seem, the reason why Sir Tom Jones is still relevant five decades into his career is that he truly loves entertaining people. It’s the reason why he has taken care of his voice, led a healthy lifestyle, and practices his craft. Why would he do this for fifty years if his goal were solely monetary? He was rich decades ago. He could have retired any time. However, I believe, the most successful businesses, like Tom, start with why – Apple, Google, Porsche. Tom can’t stop because entertaining people and singing are his passion. Similarly, I believe companies who constantly innovate and purely express their brands are successful leaders in their markets.

Sir Tom Adapts to Trends

Can you imagine being successful in any business for five decades? One key to Tom’s success has been his ability to constantly flow with the times. Suave Sixties Swinger, colorfully polyester Seventies Soulful belter, hip Eighties cat with the Art of Noise and Charlatans, to being a huge celebrity on the real “Voice” in the UK and singing for the Queen in front of one hundred thousand people in 2012, these are all adaptations of Sir Tom. Like Tom, successful business leaders must guide their businesses through many years of varying trends, audiences’ tastes, aesthetics, Market conditions, etc. Leaders drive change and do not fight their market, but intertwine with it. Google is a great example, as the company is constantly working to understand search behavior. As for market conditions, for Google, they can never be still. I believe this prods Google, and many others, to always be innovating and thinking of how they can meet their markets’ needs.

I believe Tom’s approach to his career, which is his passion, is the reason for his longevity in business, critical acclaim, and Knighthood.

Can you say without any doubt you can steer the ship rightly for half a century?

For many years, my mother worked as the Entertainment Coordinator for a casino. I had opportunities to see many shows, meet many entertainers. To see shows from behind the curtain, soundboard, spotlight, etc. I’ve seen Tom Jones live many times, and still see him on TV – BBC America, and YouTube. I believe I understand why he is successful, and it validates my principles regarding business – start with why, do what you love or are passionate about, and only accept the best from yourself. I’ve seen several entertainers that have uniquely persisted, adapted, and succeeded like the late George Carlin. I believe business leaders can learn many things from people like this. Why are they so successful for so long? Where do they get the energy? How do they stay inspired?

I challenge you to think of someone that possesses those qualities, and to understand why they do it and if you can learn from them.