The Beatles as a Business Model

Here, three ways to use the Mop Tops’ wisdom to assemble a top-notch team of your own.

by Beth Dreher from Reader's Digest | August 2011
The Beatles as a Business ModelKeystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

You may not think of the Fab Four in Fortune 500 terms, but George Cassidy and Richard Courtney, authors of Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles (Turner Publishing), say there’s a lot about the band that translates to the office. Here, three ways to use the Mop Tops’ wisdom to assemble a top-notch team of your own:

Get the right mix. McCartney had guitar chops and a reserved demeanor; Lennon excelled at songwriting and craved the spotlight. George Harrison and Ringo Starr completed the picture in their stellar backup roles. And when the Fab Four decided that bass player Stuart Sutcliffe was holding them back, they let him go. “The band was much better for having that combination of talents,” says Cassidy. In the professional world, surround yourself with people of different strengths, and recognize when other people can do things better than you can.

Find inspiration. Between tours, McCartney attended plays and read poetry, Harrison learned the sitar, and Lennon studied the music of Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan. When they reconvened, each brought creativity to the task at hand.

Embrace your role—or go solo. McCartney and Lennon rarely allowed Harrison to contribute much in the way of songwriting or singing, but Harrison found other ways to expand his role. “He was the first one to introduce Indian instrumentation and bring in outside musicians like Eric Clapton,” says Cassidy. If you find yourself working for a Paul or a John, channel George and find out-of-the-box ways to express strengths, and if all else fails, keep a list of your good ideas. Case in point: Harrison released a chart-topping triple album in 1970, the year the Beatles broke up.

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