Built To Last.
We know that as the seminal book by Jim Collins about forming enduring organizations.
However, this week’s drumbeat of TV documentaries about the 50th anniversary of the The Beatles’ inaugural appearance on the Ed Sullivan show makes a different case for endurance — in this case, creative.
From the bouncy tunes during their days as the mop-topped Fab Four to the driving pulse of Rubber Soul through the orchestrations of Sgt. Pepper’sto the last chords of Abbey Road, their music and their legacy have spanned more than three generations (my grand-daughter sings Yellow Submarine). They experimented (yes, at times chemically!), adapted to technology, innovated with instruments never before seen in a rock recording studio, sensed the public mood, pushed their lyrical and musical limits, and did nearly every album differently just to do it differently.
It has something to do with re-invention. And that has something to do with us.
Re-Invention as a leadership discipline
The world went through almost convulsive change during the decade of the ’60s, and The Beatles changed with it, perhaps even shaping some of it, or giving voice to it.
The world today is evolving at an exponentially greater pace. Incrementalism doesn’t cut it. It is so tempting to get into a groove in our business and personal lives, order our experiences in a way that drives probabilities of success, tames risks, puts our strengths on display. Stays with what we know.
And then the world changes around us, and passes us by.
Re-invention is a risk. It is disruptive. It may not even appear—in the moment—necessary. Re-invention is imperative simply to make sure an organization remains relevant, that leadership is sharp.
However, re-invention also is an internal, personal discipline to avoid complacency, to smelt our core talents from the dross and reforge them in ways we might not hear or see if we stay with what always sounded good to us in the past.