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 / Spring 2006 / Issue 42(originally published by Booz & Company)


The Beatles Principles

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.

“And in the End”
The Beatles’ breakup in 1970 raises a big question: How do you keep a superstar team together after it has reached the top? How do you keep the creativity, drive, and motivation going once you’ve vanquished all enemies? Bill Gates, no doubt, has had a few sleepless nights thinking about that one.

At the core of the Beatles was their great music — but they had more than that. We cannot imitate the Beatles’ native genius as songwriters and musicians, but we can borrow from the other parts of their success and apply what we’ve learned. The Beatles remind us that the essence of any successful organization is small teams of individuals who do things they love, have fun together, and feel part of a greater whole while maintaining their individual identities.

The cure for “grinding it out” is available; the principles are there for the taking. Put on Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road, sit back, listen, and relax. Watch a few of those old clips of the Beatles’ raucous press conferences, or their exultant performances on The Ed Sullivan Show. I’m betting you’ll see what I mean.

Reprint No. 06104

Author Profile:

Andrew Sobel ([email protected]) is the author of Making Rain (John Wiley & Sons, 2003) and coauthor, with Jagdish Sheth, of Clients for Life (Simon & Schuster, 2000). As president of Andrew Sobel Advisors, an international consulting firm, he focuses on building high-performing professional services teams. A guitarist, Mr. Sobel is the founding board member of the Santa Fe Jazz and International Music Festival.

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