Just like it’s true in business, it’s true for a band: If you want to drive change and achieve your goals, you have to surround yourself with the right kind of people. You want to create the right kind of culture and relationships that allow everyone to effectively work together. But synergy like that doesn’t happen by accident. Job descriptions and interviews must be thorough. Applicants must know your vision.
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Do you know what Steve Jobs’ business model was? During a 2003 interview with “60 Minutes,” Jobs said, “My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
There are three concepts that rock star business leaders need to learn and understand about working together as a band, especially in time of a crisis.
First, put the band first. It’s that simple. Our good friend Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said, “As good as I am, I’m nothing without my band.” So, but the business first. During these crisis days, co-workers may have new needs and they should not be ignored.
Second, honor everyone’s unique abilities. In a band, some people are up-front and very noticeable, like the lead singer. Others, like the bass player, barely get noticed at all. A smart rock star business leader makes sure that everyone in the band gets recognized.
Do you know who Bill Wyman is? No? How about Mick Jagger?
Wyman was the bass player for the Rolling Stones. When interviewed about the Stones, Jagger repeatedly spoke about Wyman’s talent as a bass player. That’s why the Stones are still together. (They’re all eligible for AARP, but they’re still together!)
The same is true with your business. You have to allow each person to showcase his or her skill and then honor that person for his or her contribution. It’s been said about the Rolling Stones that Jagger makes them famous, while Keith Richards, their guitarist, makes them a band. Some of you successfully market your business, while others make it work on a day-by-day basis. A rock star business leader realizes that everyone plays a vital role for the success of the business and everyone should be valued for that part. During this pandemic, some workers may move to the forefront to meet new challenges.
The third concept that we need to learn and understand about working together as a band may sound a little unusual coming from rock stars: There’s no room for egos. Let’s take the advice of Grammy Award winner and producer Quincy Jones. He worked on the USA for Africa project with more than 40 A-List artists to produce the song “We Are the World.” While the song was being recorded, Jones put a sign on the studio door that read: “Check your egos at the door.”
Ego is almost always what breaks up a band. Some bands like U2 endure and become legendary, while other bands cease to exist. What keeps a band together is humility. A band — or business — leader with confident humility and who is not overcome with ego knows that the band is better together. A rock star business leader is one who is receptive to suggestions for improvement and will take time for self-reflection, listening to the feedback that he or she gets from the other band members.
The bottom line during this crisis is that we need each other now more than ever. We need to be honest, transparent, have an open line of communication, and celebrate with our bands when this crisis ends. In the words of Brian Tracy, “Success comes before work only in the dictionary.” Performing together in these three ways will create success, whether in a crisis or normal working conditions.