The Music of Business
For nearly 20 years now, Peter Cook has written, spoken, and consulted about the parallels between the business universe and the world of music, be it rock, jazz, classical, etc. This follows his much longer involvement with three passions that have fueled his career: Science, Business, and Music. He recently completed his fifth book “The Music of Business”, acclaimed by Harvey Goldsmith. I asked him to explain more.
“The Music of Business” offers a carefully crafted cocktail of business intelligence, mixed with the wisdom of pop and rock’s monarchy. One way into understanding what the book is about is via some of the questions it attempts to address:
What can Lady Gaga teach you about business strategy and using social media to build a powerful brand?
What can you learn about creativity and innovation from The Beatles and David Bowie?
Can Jazz and structured improvisation help you beat the competition?
What can Spinal Tap, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin teach you about business strategy and project execution that an MBA cannot?
Can Britney Spears and The Kaiser Chiefs help your company become a true learning organisation?
Since leadership is one of the book’s key themes, I asked Peter to offer us 7 bite-sized leadership lessons from Rock’n’Roll. I understand that he is also about to launch an iPhone app with daily business tips on business in the same mode, available free with the book.
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for – U2
Business needs constant learning and reconnaissance. If you stop looking and learning, just like Kodak, you may disappear from view.
Like a Virgin – Madonna
To succeed in business, treat each day like it’s the first time. Business decline can come from comfort. Keep yourself alive.
Wanna Be Starting Something? – Michael Jackson
Michael had a great hit with ‘Wanna be starting something?’. It’s unlikely that we would have been as successful if he had called the song ‘Wanna be stopping something?’. Yet stopping the momentum of a failing project once in full flow is much harder than starting a new enterprise. The wise leader stops a project before it has failed and regroups.
I Can’t Control Myself – The Troggs
Creativity at work without precise execution and discipline rarely leads to innovation. I’m sure Reg Presley would have put this into the lyrics of “I Can’t Control Myself” if they had scanned!
Loving The Alien – David Bowie
Opposites don’t attract at work even if they do in the home and in bed. Whether we like it or not, it’s easier to surround ourselves with agreeable people at work. Unfortunately agreeable people don’t ask each other terrifying questions, don’t generally have a diverse skill set and don’t dare to venture into unknown territories. Wise leaders welcome intellectual conflict by ensuring that there is a rich mixture of people, mixed up in different permutations from time to time.
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
If you’re having trouble in a work relationship, change what you’re doing, rather than banging your head against the same wall. The definition of insanity is doing the same things expecting a different result.
The Great Pretender – Queen
Leadership requires us to be a master of style: Dictator; salesperson; facilitator; confidant; comedian; entertainer; counselor etc. Know your own range and operate within it. Be a great pretender but don’t pretend to be something outside your range of skills.
The Music of Business launches January 31, 2013. It will be available at a special discount price at Amazon for a couple of days via the The Music of Business webpage. Peter is also offering a free iPhone app with daily business tips on business in the same mode, available via the webpage.