Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Beatles Principles...

Interesting read, important read. Makes me feel good that though I am a generalist, I have my uses :)

Business advice from The Beatles
Interesting article from Andrew Sobel about business + strategy with four lessons about teamwork and creativity. Selected quotes below...

“Eight Days a Week”
Beatles Principle Number 1: Invest in and build face time between team members long before they are required to appear together.

“Getting Better” Beatles Principle Number 2: Evolve your “songs” and bring the same level of ideas, new perspectives, excitement, and enthusiasm to your hundredth meeting with a client that you brought to the first.

“With a Little Help from My Friends” Beatles Principle Number 3: Help team members become brands-within-a-brand by giving them a song — an idea or proposal — that will help them to shine.

“I Need You” Beatles Principle Number 4: Put exceedingly diverse professionals on the same team, mix specialists with generalists, and foster friendly competition to produce the best ideas.

On this last principle, Sobel writes:
The Beatles showed that differences and friendly competition fuel team creativity. So does a blend of specialist and generalist abilities. McCartney and Lennon were the deep generalists of the band. Each had broad musical and artistic talents — both could play a range of instruments, compose music, and write varied lyrics — and this breadth fueled many of the Beatles’ innovations. George Harrison and Ringo Starr, in contrast, were the branded experts. Harrison played lead guitar and Starr played drums, and they stuck to their knitting. As a result, the lead guitar solos grew ever more inventive, melodic, and moving. Starr developed a highly idiosyncratic and recognizable drumming style.

The art of creating effective teams lies in how you blend together branded experts and deep generalists. Unfortunately, many corporate teams are overloaded with specialists who fail to put their products and services into the broader business context of their customer’s or client’s needs — they save the leg but let the patient die. The harder person to develop is the deep generalist. That takes a mix of careful hiring, creative career management, and broad-based skill development. Sprinkle your teams of branded experts with a few deep generalists, and the result will be powerful.

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