What John Lennon and The Beatles can teach us about workforce engagement

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Inspiration, passion, enthusiasm, motivation, engagement. Call it whatever you want, but in business you need it. Without it your team or organization is roadkill. As mentioned in a previous post, the lack of employee engagement in the workplace is astounding. Gallup, which tracks this on a regular basis, reports that only 13% of global workers are engaged in their work. Even worse, 24% of workers are “actively disengaged”—who are “liable to spread negativity to coworkers.” (We’ll discuss the costs of this in a moment.) The “engagement factor” is something the top rock bands have understood and consciously applied. I have previously written about the night that Pete Townshend and The Who discovered the secret in a London tavern in 1964. Subsequently their passionate performances drew young fans by the busload to their early gigs. But how John Lennon and The Beatles discovered the power of engagement is an even better story.

Lennon, when performing with the Quarry Men in 1957 (just before Paul McCartney and George Harrison joined the group), played in a band competition and was soundly trounced by Nicky Cuff and the Sunnnyside Skiffle Group, who put on a madcap show. (Cuff was a four-foot-six-inches-tall ball of energy who bounced around the stage with wild abandon.) Two years later, in a battle of the bands, Lennon’s group—with McCartney and Harrison now on board—were beaten again by Nicky Cuff’s band whose enthusiasm knew no bounds. Lennon recognized that his own band (called Johnny and the Moondogs, but soon to become The Beatles) had more talent than Cuff’s, so it was a major irritation to lose the competition. But it finally dawned on him thatexcitement mattered.

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Source: Business Lessons from Rock

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