I recently watched a great documentary about the late Tom Petty and his band The Heartbreakers. Here’s a guy that had a music career which spanned over 4 decades so he clearly did a lot of things right. I was really surprised at how many of his songs I know and love yet had totally forgotten about. Like most of my favorite artists, his songs seemed to span the story of my life.


Tom Petty admits that the biggest reason for his success and longevity is that he surrounded himself with extremely talented people, many of whom weren’t actually in his band. These influencers allowed him to continue over the years to do exactly what it takes to be successful in the music business- write hit songs and have hit records.


One of the keys to consistently creating hit songs, is working with great producers and it’s no surprise that Tom Petty worked with the best of them- (Jimmy Iovine & Rick Ruben just to name a few)


A great producer isn’t actually a member of the band but provides that critical feedback during the song writing and recording process that challenges the artist to push outside or their comfort zones. In many cases the producer can keep the artist focused on what’s best for the song and the music as opposed to what is best for the artist.


Much like a good coach, the producer doesn’t ever change who the artist is, but rather takes the artist to new levels while still keeping them true to who they really are.


At one point in the documentary Tom Petty shares a story that one time he and the band couldn’t really agree on a producer, so they just decided to produce the record themselves. He said it was a complete disaster and they wasted months in the studio because as he states “We were incapable of self-policing


Without that trusted, objective third party they indulged in whatever flavor of the day that they desired. This unfocused approach caused them to go down many paths far too long and became so frustrating that the album almost didn’t get completed.


I thought it was really interesting that here we had one of the most creative and successful recording artists of all-time, and yet even this amazing talent requires critical feedback from a outside party in order to be successful.


I started thinking about the nature of the businesses and organizations that I’m privileged enough to serve. These companies are very successful and provide products and services that are truly amazing. The most successful however, don’t’ operate in a vacuum. Instead, they seek the feedback of their customers, clients, and trusted third parties to help them get out of their own comfort zones. In the process they don’t ever change who they are or what they do, but rather look for ways to make what they do even better.


It’s this process of pushing the boundaries, reviewing the process, asking the tough questions over and over again that allows for the consistently to keep creating “hits” again and again.


In business and in life there are many “one hit wonders” and “latest trends” but if you want to create and build something that lasts for decades, then find some trusted outside influences to help you produced your next hit record.


This week ask yourself:


Where are my most trusted resources and allies? How do I utilize them?


How has attempting to do everything on your own impacted you and your organization?


Who do you trust to provide critical feedback when you need it the most?



Thoughts for the week:


We know you’re strong, but accepting help is it’s own kind of strength- Kiera Cass


Sometimes, accepting help is much harder than offer it. -Unknown


If you always do what you always did, you always get what you have always got- Albert Einstein


Accepting help when you need it isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of intelligence. – Coach Tim


Looking forward to our next connection