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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How to Get Your Brain Unstuck

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How often have you gotten stuck while looking for a new idea, or seeking the solution to a problem? When I was writing television sketch comedy, I used to have a lot of trouble coming up with endings to my sketches (endings are notoriously difficult). I’d work out a nice premise, develop it comedically, and now needed to wrap it up in a way that was surprising, funny, and quick. And that’s where I’d get stuck. It’s really the same ...

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3 Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know

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The Beatles recorded over 200 original songs during their career as a band. While virtually all of them are great songs (yes, I’m biased), there are a few whose titles alone could serve as a “mini-MBA” for business leaders. Today we’re going to look at three of them:

The Word (from the Rubber Soul album, 1965): For the Beatles, the word was “love.” Not a bad word to be associated with. But what’s your word (or combination of two ...

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Your Competition Loves Your Excuses

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I have a very good excuse for not going to the gym yesterday: I’m sick. Okay, “sick” might be an overstatement. I have a cold. But it was enough to keep me from going to the gym. It was also enough to keep me from doing much around the office—I mean, who really wants to sit down and work when your head is stuffy and you can’t stop coughing? So I didn’t get an awful lot done yesterday.

And then I ...

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Stop Listening to the Smart People

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There’s no shortage of smart people telling you and me how to run our businesses. There’s no shortage of smart people telling us how to run our finances. There’s no shortage of smart people telling us how to run our lives. All we have to do is turn on the TV, turn on the radio, or start a conversation at the local bar. Smart people with ideas will fall out of the woodwork. So here’s my advice to you:

Stop listening ...

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How to Keep Your Customers Happy

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If your focus is on meeting your customers’ expectations and making them happy, you’ve already lost. In today’s competitive environment, you have to exceed their expectations and make them ecstatic. Hopefully, this doesn’t come as shocking news to you. People much smarter than I have been saying it for several years now. (For the record, people much stupider than I have been saying it also, but do we really want to focus on them?) So we all know that to ...

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