The Dangers of Business Bowling

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My mother was raised on a plantation in Haiti. Interesting upbringing, to be sure, and there are many stories—some involving voodoo. This isn’t one of them. This is a story about bowling. (You: “Why, Bill, if you have freakin’ voodoo stories, would you choose to tell one about bowling?” Me: “Because this one has a point…and besides, the voodoo stories are too weird.”) So here, as a lesson for business leaders, is the story of my mother’s bowling catastrophe.

It was ...

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Somebody’s Gonna Win…Why Not You?

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Every college or university has its share of freshman-level courses. You know, the huge “intro” courses that start out with 300 or so students—and end with maybe 100? Most of the students who drop these courses do so for one of two reasons:

  1. they find the course material stultifyingly dull, or
  2. they find the course material inordinately difficult.

That’s the way it should be. These courses are designed to “weed out” the serious students (in that field, at least) from the dabblers, the ...

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Keeping Your Eye On The Ball

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I attended a benefit concert last night—An Evening with the Music of John Lennon—featuring a pantheon of rock musicians from bands such as the Cars, Yes, Queen, Alice Cooper, Foo Fighters, the Commodores, and others. One of the driving forces behind this concert was my friend Alan White, the drummer for Yes who also played drums with John Lennon and George Harrison (he’s the guy who plays drums on Lennon’s song Imagine). Thanks to Alan, I had the opportunity to ...

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3 More Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know

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A few weeks ago I wrote an article called 3 Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know. My premise was that in the Beatles’ 200+ oeuvre, there are a number of songs that, by their title alone, could give a successful business leader plenty of food for thought. Today we’re going to look at three more:

Tomorrow Never Knows (from the Revolver album, 1966): We can study trends, we can examine the prognostications of futurists, we can even read tea ...

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Developing Multiple Streams of Income

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To my continual astonishment, I get word from time to time that my book, The 5 Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made: A Handbook for “Top of the Charts” Success, is being used as a textbook in some college and university business courses. The astonishment is not because I think it’s a bad book—it’s not—but because I didn’t write it with academicians in mind. I wrote it for the managers, supervisors, and leaders who are actually out there in the ...

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Leading Your Team to Better Music

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Have you ever played in a rock band? Or, for that matter, any kind of musical group: jazz ensemble, symphony orchestra, marching band, 3rd grade kazoo orchestra? I’m currently rehearsing with a semi-professional (emphasis on “semi”) rock band for a couple of upcoming gigs (and yes, we’re playing a healthy selection of Beatles!), and here’s what I’ve found over the past few weeks: If you’ve ever been involved in any kind of musical combo, playing with other musicians, then you ...

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A True Leader Shares the Credit

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I once worked for a boss who delighted in taking the credit for the work his team did. I’m guessing you’ve worked for somebody like this too—there are a lot of them around. And there are some perfectly understandable reasons why a boss would want to take all the credit. They may want to:

  • impress their own boss;
  • impress a co-worker;
  • impress the cute new sales intern.

Understandable reasons, yes; effective leadership, no.

“Leaders” like this would be well-advised to remember what Harry S Truman ...

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Achieving Greatness in Your Business

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My favorite definition of “greatness” is this one:

When everything that came before you seems obsolete, and everything that comes after you bears your stamp.

That certainly applies to the Beatles. It applies to Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Bill Gates. (Yes, I know there are some people who don’t like Bill Gates. There are also some who don’t like Shakespeare, Beethoven, or, horror of horrors, the Beatles! That doesn’t, however, negate the facts.) But here’s the big question:

Does it, or will it, apply ...

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Can You Be #1 in the World?

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A number of years ago I was conducting an all-day workshop for Philips, the consumer electronics and healthcare giant, and I found out that one of their core principles was to not be involved in any business that they couldn’t be #1 or #2 in the world at. Now, for a large company like Philips, this is not an unusual principle. Many global businesses have adopted similar goals for themselves. My question is this:

Why is it that so few small ...

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When to Walk Away

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On September 4, 1962, the Beatles recorded what was to be their very first single—a song called How Do You Do It?, written by a songwriter named Mitch Murray. If you’re of a certain age, you’ve probably heard this song. But the version you’ve heard isn’t the Beatles version; it’s by another Liverpool band called Gerry and the Pacemakers. The Beatles begged their producer, George Martin, not to release their version because they wanted their singles to be Beatles originals—songs ...

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