Three top Rock’n’Roll business tips – From Abba to Queen and Bananarama

As part of an occasional series of blogs, I will bring you some great tips on business, extrapolated from the lyrics of great rock and pop songs, sometimes wildy so!  There are many more examples in the book ‘Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll’, acclaimed by Tom Peters.  Today’s Rock’n’Roll Business tips focus on the area of interpersonal relationships.

Rock'n'Roll Wisdom mixed with top business thinking

Let’s start with 70’s Swedish glam classicists Abba with their song ‘Knowing me, knowing you aha’.

In my Rock’n’Roll world, this innocent phrase is an allusion to the concept of ‘emotional intelligence’, as Daniel Goleman puts it.  I’d put EI more plainly as:

‘Living inside your own head AND outside it’

Great leaders / musicians are able to do BOTH i.e. they exhibit personal mastery whilst maintaning a connection with those around them.  Bad leaders / musicians often live inside their own heads, not noticing their impact on others.  Let’s have your thoughts in the comments on ways in which you can develop the systematic habit of inner and outer awareness?

From Freddie Mercury, we get the evergreen hit ‘The Great Pretender’.  What business wisdom can we read into these three words?  Well, it reminds me of the issues of leadership style and authenticity.  Leadership requires us to be a master of style.  Dictator, salesperson, facilitator, confidant, comedian, entertainer, counsellor and so on.  Importantly, you should know your own range so that you don’t have to end up ‘faking it’.  Lou Reed wisely observed “I do me better than anyone else” on the question of authenticity.  What do you consider the practical business implications of Mercury’s cover to be?

Finally, in the world of interpersonal relationships, the ‘how’ is often much more important than the ‘what’.  In other words, the journey is more important than the destination.  It’s what Bananarama sang about in their hit ‘It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it (that’s what gets results)’.  A seemingly trivial point, but one with massive impact if you need to get results through others or influence people to change.   Please share your tips on how you place value on the ‘how’ when working with others in the comments to this blog.

For fun, what might be the ‘hidden business message’ in this song by Abba?

Share your answers on the blog comments and I will award a copy of Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll to the most strange and wonderful one.  Entries close on 31 July 2011.

For more Rock’n’Roll tips visit The Academy of Rock website and click on ‘ROCK WISDOM’ on the front page.  Join the blog to receive regular updates on business mixed with ideas from the world of music.