Business Lessons From The Early Beatles (Part Three)

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mark Lewisohn’s book TUNE IN: THE BEATLES: ALL THESE YEARS and came away with some helpful truths about how business professionals and companies can benefit from.

Third lesson: Mastering your essential skills leads to success.

We live in a world of instant gratification. It seems like every week there’s another story in news about an overnight sensation. This creates a desire to find a way to helicopter to the top of the mountain, without having to actually climb it. But don’t be seduced by shortcuts.

To the world, the Beatles seemed to come out of nowhere and within a few months time conquer the world. It appeared that they had some magical formula they discovered and, as a result of sheer charm and charisma, enjoyed instant success. What most people didn’t see was the intense and painful learning period the Beatles went through to explore, rehearse, and refine their musicianship and performance skills.

Beatles 3While the Beatles worked in Hamburg (on and off from August 1960 to December 1962) they were essentially working as a bar band getting paid £2.50 each to play from 8:30 PM to 2 in the morning (with occasional half hour breaks in between) seven days a week. Back in England, a typical band would maybe play for an hour or two a couple of nights a week (if they were lucky). So every week, the Beatles would be getting in the equivalent of several months worth stage time compared to their competition. Plus, the other bands back home would typically play the same set of songs at each gig. The Beatles had to entertain an audience for hours and hours, so they constantly were developing new material, rifting on and exploring songs in new ways, playing around with different styles and unexpected genres. They had to keep it fresh.

The result: they were able to grow and develop their skill set at a much faster rate and deeper level than most other bands. So by the time they came back to the stages in Liverpool and Great Britain, they stunned their audiences with a hard-won level of skill, intensity, and refined showmanship that obliterated their competition.

Business truths: There are no shortcuts to success. Put your head down. Work your ass off. Refine you core skills. Out prepare your competition. Stretch your capabilities. Then have fun shining brightly.