There’s a way to find business brilliance in rock’n’roll, you just have to listen.


Can we learn business and personal excellence from the titles of rock and pop songs?   The answer is quite literally ‘no’. However, with a little creative sparkle and some subtle bending and breaking of the original meanings, you can extract hidden lessons from even the most humble songs.   This is the subject of a new book I am about to launch, entitled The Music of Business. By the time you read this article you will be able to find the book on Amazon, plus a free i Phone app to download. This contains daily ‘Rock’n’Roll Business Tips’ which inform, educate and entertain every day.

To whet your appetite for the book and the app, I have come up with a ‘top 10’ for Executive Secretaries and PA’s.

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 PA stops a project before it has failed and regroups.

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. In other words, try the new saying: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try something different.’

U Got The Look – Prince

Prince has commented on all sorts of things in his time, ranging from sex to the environment. His hit with Sheena Easton is obviously about the triumph of style over substance. Once you have got substance of what you do sorted, go for style every time.


We Gotta Get Out Of This Place – The Animals

If your market is disappearing or your strategy is not working, just doing what you do harder and faster will not help. Press the ‘off’ button, get outta that place and do something different.

The Great Pretender – Queen

Leadership requires us to be a master of style: dictator; salesperson; facilitator; confidant; comedian; entertainer; counsellor 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.

Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who

If something does go wrong, do something different. The only mistake is not learning from mistakes. Don’t get fooled again.

It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock’n’Roll) – AC/DC

Overnight success in any enterprise is the exception rather than the rule as the Young brothers point out in their aspirational rock song It’s A Long Way To The Top. Even people that get on talent shows such as the X-Factor have often done significant groundwork before they are apparently catapulted to success. Be prepared to put the groundwork in over an extended time if you want to be successful.

Something Got Me Started – Simply Red

Whenever I get stuck with mammoth projects, the single best way of dealing with this is to actually make a start. It doesn’t even matter if I make a bad start. The act of starting creates momentum. Find something to get you started.

I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish – The Smiths

Project management success does not come down to how well you can draw a Gantt chart and colour it in. It is much more concerned with execution. Starting a project is relatively easy – everyone is excited and resources often plentiful. Wise people know that it is finishing the project that matters more than starting it and adjust their behaviour accordingly.

War – Edwin Starr

Evaluate the success of meetings by the level of purposeful conflict that has occurred. Conflict is good for creativity provided it is focused on the task and not the personalities of those involved. Meetings that fail to reach what Tuckman called the ‘storming’ phase do not always reach peak performance. Conflict for its own sake is not helpful. Do not try to incite conflict just so you can reach a perfect ideas storm. It may backfire on you, leading to full-on war.

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