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Talent Development Advice – Use My Beatles Formula To Build Great Teams

Building a high-performance team can be challenging. You want to stack it with “A Players,” but you may end up with too many delegators and not enough doers. You can always find an assessment to help with the facilitation process or try out a software solution OR call in some talented consultants (shameless plug for CMP).

A simpler approach is to try to try my Beatles Formula For Successful Team Development (BFFSTD for short – I do need to find a new acronym).

Let me start with an apology to everyone under 40 who is reading this and saying “Oh no, the old dude is going to go on a ‘music was better back then’ rant.” This blog is not going to go down that long and winding road. Allow me to get back to the subject at hand.

All of us know that when you are on a great team, there is a special feeling – the chemistry between everyone that allows them to all do their best work. We also know that this chemistry can disappear when one of the team members gets a ticket to ride.

In my informal and highly unacademic study of successful teams, I have discovered that you can build and maintain a successful team by using my Beatles Formula (I have already dropped the BFFSTD acronym.)

The Beatles were so great because of the unique chemistry that was created by blending four different creative personalities into one unit.

  • John – a creative genius, unconventional, rule breaker, temperamental, acerbic, and at times erratic
  • Paul – more creative in a conventional way, affable, a pleaser, and politically savvy
  • George – starts as an individual contributor but then shows the bandwidth to take on creative assignments; the quiet, introverted guy in the meeting; someone who brings new ideas and ways of doing things to the business
  • Ringo – the ultimate individual contributor, someone you can count on to get the work done, can work well with strong egos

Together, they produced greatness. Apart, the FAB four all had their moments but were never able individually to achieve what they did together.

This where I would like to bring in my Beatles Strategy for team development. Here is what my strategy tells me a successful team:

  • Factor A (Star Power) - Cannot have more than 50% high-ego, super creative, high D (for all you DiSC fans) personalities or it will blow up quicker than a Spinal Tap drummer.
  • Factor B (Developing/Rising Stars) - Have 25% or less of the team that can grow from a supporting role to being a leader.
  • Factor C (Keeping The Beat) - Have 25% or less that are comfortable in a supporting role

The Beatles worked because they followed the formula.

Doubtful? Let’s apply my Beatles formula to other great bands and see if it comes together.

  • Stones – 40% (Mick and Keith) Factor A, 20% Factor B (Ronnie Wood) and the rest Factor C.
  • U2 – 40% (Bono and the Edge) Factor A and the rest Factor C
  • The Clash – 40% (Joe and Mick (Factor A and the rest Factor C.

My highly unscientific formula also helps to explain why supergroups do not work (too heavily weighted on Factor A). Too much Star Power will cause an implosion (are you hearing this Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young?).

Why don’t you take the Beatles Formula and apply it to your place of work? Evaluate a team and let me know what the results say. It would please,please me to hear from you.

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