The Crosby Effect
Unless we refresh our methods, we become stale. Then our leadership becomes stagnant.
In May of 1974, Jon Landau, a music critic, went to Harvard Square Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts and saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play for the very first time. After the concert, he wrote, "I just saw the future of Rock and Roll, and his name is Bruce Springsteen." Landau went on to become Springsteen's manager, lifelong producer, and friend. In their first few years together, Landau told Springsteen, "If he wanted to have a long career and impact late in life, he needed to read regularly." Reading was the key to songwriting in Landau's mind. He made it clear to Springsteen that a well-crafted novelist writes better later in life whereas musical acts fizzle after one or two albums.
When Springsteen wrote his first few albums, a thesaurus was his primary tool for inspiration. Once he started to expand his mind and venture away from solely life experiences, his writing and storytelling improved, and his career blossomed.
How can Jon Landau’s advice help us? We all know we must read more. We all know we need to spend time as a life long learner. But we also must continuously look for ways to implement the lessons we learned into our leadership tool belt.
Guiliano is right. Unless we refresh our methods, we become stale. Then our leadership becomes stagnant. The best way to not become stagnant is to spend time studying the competition and looking for new trends to evolve, adapt, and challenge the status quo. But before we introduce new ideas or beliefs, they must be tested repeatedly. Do you know why renowned chef Ina Garten sells the most books? Because each of her recipes is tested over and over again before they make it into the final published manuscript. Garten works out every single problem before she is ready to implement them in her cookbooks. We need to practice the same methodology in our lives. Look for ways to improve and seek out new innovative ways to thrive. Then spend time testing them while being willing and open to abandoning any ways of thinking and behaving that are no longer serving you and those you lead. Reinventing ourselves as a leader takes time, patience, trial, and error. Don’t be afraid of new things. Just explore and test them.
Never forget what singer David Crosby once said about the creative process in creating music: "Your first batch of songs is probably ten years of their life. The second record, the second set of songs is when we find out how good they are."
Start where you are with the resources you have available — focusing not only on today's growth but tomorrow's sustainability.
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