Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ten Business lessons from the Eagles

One of the most successful bands in the world, the Eagles, brought their "History of the Eagles" show to the O2 in London last night. They didn't disappoint, delivering note-perfect versions of dozens of hits from their back catalogue, and delighting (as far as I could tell) every member of the audience. OK, they've been at it for over 40 years, but they've had their ups and downs. Seeing them last night made me think about why they have been so successful for so long, and what we can all learn from them. Here's my take on it:
  1. Put on a show It's about making sure that everything fits together, in the right order, for the right reasons. Nothing happens by accident (though they prepare for the unexpected too). Even the ad-libs were carefully crafted. If you treat your business in the same way, you'll be remembered as a real professional.
  2. Hit the stage running. There's no time to warm-up when you're in front of an audience. You need to be ready to go a minute before you are called on to appear. That's true for any business encounter.
  3. Give the customers what they want. You need to know your audience, or your customers. It's easy to find out what they want by listening to them, or even by asking them. The Eagles played for three hours, and people knew the words to just about every song.
  4. Rehearse. Or to put it another way, practice. The smooth running of any operation only happens when you've done it several times before. If you don't practice, you'll get it wrong at some point.
  5. Be consistently great. For some people, that show was the one and only time they will see the Eagles. Their impressions depend on what happens. Remember that every time you have a chance to make an impact, you should take it.
  6. Acknowledge your helpers. Former band members Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner were mentioned, with the Bernie on stage for some numbers. There was a call-out to songwriters Jackson Browne and J D Souther too. Always remember who got you where you are today.
  7. Keep in touch. This is one of the most important lessons of all. Keeping in touch with people takes very little time, and reaps huge rewards. The Eagles have a huge fan base, and communicate with them regularly.
  8. Stay fit. Business is tough, and you need to be fit to cope with the demands. Staying fit is pretty much within your control. The four band members have a combined age of 265 years, but you'd never know it.
  9. Take breaks. There are no prizes for working all hours. You need to get your head up and go and do something else, which will definitely make you more creative and productive. As Glenn Frey said last night, "31 songs with no bathroom break - that's not gonna happen"
  10. Have fun. This is really what it's about. When you have fun in business, others do too, and that makes you more attractive to work with. There's no doubt that The Eagles enjoy their "work"! Don Henley called it "the best damn job in the world"

Picture Credit:  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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