Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

Being The Boss

It’s TunesDay, and as I mentioned yesterday I saw a concert the other day which prompted our music/business thought for today.  It was the final show of the Springsteen tour and having been at one of the first shows 26 months ago it was a nice way to close the circle.  The video below is from the show and while it’s not of the best quality it is the only time the song – “Seven Angels” – has ever been performed live:

You might notice that during the introduction Bruce brings Garry Tallent, the bass player, front and center.  The song featured him and some great work on the bass.  Later in the show, the band did four songs in a row that were, in my mind, very deliberately chosen.  “High Hopes” featured Tom Morello‘s guitar work.  “Youngstown” featured a long, sizzling Nils Lofgren guitar solo.  That was followed by “Murder Incorporated” on which Steve Van Zandt‘s playing was featured.  Finally, “Johnny 99 let each member of the horn section stretch out and shine.  Only “High Hopes” is performed regularly on this tour so what Bruce did is instructive for all of us who have or will manage people.

Bad managers let their team do the work and take all the credit.  Great managers help their team to do the work and then let each team member stand up and stand out.  By letting each member of the band stand in the spotlight and receive the roars of the crowd he was recognizing their contribution to the two-year tour as well as showing that while it’s The E Street BAND, every member of that team is a star, not just the guy whose name goes in front.

The men and women on that stage are professionals. They’re in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  I’m sure each of them appreciated Bruce’s gesture in choosing the set list to feature each of them.  That’s why he’s The Boss.  If they still enjoy those kind of strokes, don’t you think the people who work with you might as well?

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Your Own Worst Enemy

I can see in the analytics that many of you skip our little TunesDay celebrations each week.

Springsteen Tour, Album, and Free Single

(Photo: Brian Sawyer)

Maybe you’re still recovering from the previous day’s post (Mondays can be hard, I know) or maybe you don’t care for the song analysis.  Since I’m rather insistent in this space that we all listen to our audiences, I’m going to do less song analysis and take a more thematic turn this week.

The song is from The Boss and is off of the “Magic” album (2007) and is called “Your Own Worst Enemy“.  This is an acoustic version:

I’m not going to get into the lyrics which you can read here because it’s the notion of being our own worst enemies that’s the business point this week.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone – just ask my golfing buddies.  I know – he’s off the track again and wandering to the golf course.  Not really.  You see once one has learned the basic skill of the golf swing the game becomes incredibly mental.  People who are successful can ignore all their bad shots and “get out of their own way” as golfers describe it.  Then there are folks like me who make several excellent shots in a row, hit a bad one, and allow that one bad shot to be a distraction for the rest of the round.  we become our own worst enemies.

Business is the same although in a less physical way.  Once you’re past entry-level jobs, you’ve learned the basics.  While the learning needs to continue, most of the negative things that occur are due in part to us getting in our own ways.  You might be reading this thinking “oh not me.”  Hopefully not.  But if you negotiate against yourself, talking yourself out of making bold proposals because “they’ll never go for that,” then look in the mirror to find your negotiating opponent.  We all talk to ourselves even if it’s only internally.  If that conversation contains statements that aren’t helpful to the situation (“this guy hates me”) or are actually inaccurate (“there is no way I can handle this job”), the only one with whom you’re fighting is yourself – the enemy lies within.

Next time I see my own worst enemy coming to town, I’m putting him on the next train out.  You?

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Turn Turn Turn

I woke up to the sad news that Pete Seeger has passed. He was a giant of American music, influencing and inspiring many music greats. In the case of Bruce Springsteen, that influence was so great The Boss recorded an album of songs Seeger made popular. It seems appropriate that this TunesDay, we look at one of Pete’s most popular songs. Here is the version most of us know:

For Turn Turn Turn, Seeger often said all he did was write some music and six words (actually, one word repeated) since the lyric is from the Book Of Ecclesiastes.  That sort of humility (and humor) extended into his sense of community.  You never went to a Pete Seeger show unless you were prepared to sing, and I can’t remember ever not knowing many of his instantly familiar songs – If I Had A Hammer, Where Have All The Flowers Gone and many others.  While The Byrds made today’s song a hit, many others recorded it as well.  I think that’s so in part because of the music and mostly because of the message which is one of those universal truths that apply to business as well as to our non-business lives.

There is a time to every purpose; everything has a season but that time will come and go.   That’s the song distilled down and it’s something we often overlook in business.  If you don’t actively embrace change, you probably have very little chance to do well.  It’s not particularly difficult to look around and see those industries with outdated business models and those which have sprung up to fill the voids left by those businesses not moving forward.  The music business itself is still struggling to turn, as is any content business that clings to the old ways and sues their customers.

Change isn’t something to be feared in business.  New markets emerge, new product categories are developed.  It’s something that, as the song points out, is GOING to happen.  Change is the catalyst that moves business forward.  We can choose to embrace it or to resist it.  Your call.

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