Watch shows like The Voice when a coach is singing with their team. Usually it’s a solid performance, but pretty predictable...
The coach sings the first verse, then a team member sings the next one, the next team member sing the next one, and so on. Most boy band or girl groups are the same, with each guy or gal taking turns. It’s “fair,” and everyone gets their equal chance to shine in the spotlight. But that isn’t what creates beautiful, breakthrough music…
The power is in the harmony.
The Beatles created music history because of their brilliant harmonies. All the great vocal groups that followed like The Grassroots, Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, or the Righteous Brothers made their magic by harmonizing with each other. In my opinion, some of the best new music today features harmony created between singers and rappers, like the new track from Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney.
So what’s the lesson in that for business and success in general?
I know the lesson for me. About once a month I get a brilliant idea that I want to announce to my team leaders and put into immediate practice for my organization. I’m a smart guy with good marketing instincts, so my ideas are usually pretty good. But they’re never as good as the ones that come when I bounce them off the group.
So instead of implementing something from the top down, I get everyone on a Google hangout to discuss my idea, and see what ideas they have. The brainstorming and collaboration always produces something superior. Often it's a better version of my idea. Other times my idea is DOA and the power of the group harmony creates something quite different.
One of the most intriguing trends in business today is the organizational structure known as Holacracy. It sounds pretty scary to me, which makes me want to explore it even more. It really grabbed my attention when Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh sent a memo to all 1,500 employees to embrace self-management in equal work groups or resign by the end of the month. Whether that will really work in a large organization like that remains to be seen. But kudos to Hsieh for having the guts to try it, and the faith in teamwork and collaboration.
So what’s the lesson for you?
What’s the area where you’re singing solo right now – that would be better in harmony?