What if Lennon Hadn’t “Hired” McCartney?

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What if, on the day John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met, Lennon (who was the leader of his own band, The Quarrymen) had said, “You know, this McCartney fellow is pretty good—but I’ll bet if I look around I can find somebody cheaper.”

If that had happened, there’s a very good chance that you and I would never have heard of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or the Beatles. The names George Harrison and Ringo Starr would mean nothing to us. (If, right now, you’re thinking to yourself, “Who are George Harrison and Ringo Starr?,” then you should leave this blog right now. It’s not for you. You may come back after you’ve listened to the White Album.) We never would have heard the songs Hey Jude, In My Life, Yesterday, I Want to Hold Your Hand, or All You Need Is Love, because they never would have existed.

The loss to the world would be almost unimaginable if John Lennon, having found the exact right person for the job, had opted to save a few dollars (or, being English, pounds) instead.

And yet companies do it all the time.

I once worked for a television station that was looking for a new national sales manager. They conducted a nationwide search, and flew several candidates in for a series of interviews. One particular candidate seemed ideal—good track record, great references, outstanding hair (always important in a sales manager)—but he didn’t get the job. Instead, he lost out to the second-best candidate. Why? Because the best candidate wanted $10,000 a year more than the second-best candidate.

$10,000. Isn’t that amazing? And isn’t it sad? The first candidate might have been their Paul McCartney—and they let him go to save ten thousand bucks a year. Let’s assume for a moment that Candidate #1 was their Paul McCartney. How much money do you think that short-sighted decision to save 10K a year might have cost the station? Certainly hundreds of thousands; very possibly millions. To save ten thousand dollars a year.

Look, times are still challenging. We all have to watch our dollars. But the truth is you can always get more dollars. You can’t always get another Paul McCartney. The right person—the absolutely right person—on your team will pay for themselves many, many times over. When you find that person—whether it’s a national sales manager for your TV station, a virtual assistant for your small business, or a keynote speaker for your conference (hey, it’s my blog—I can plug my business)—yes, think about the money. But make it the last thing you think about, not the first.

Think about it this way: would you rather save a few dollars and remain unknown, or invest a few dollars and become a legend?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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