Recently on a long drive to a client, I found a radio station playing a tribute to a popular duo of the 70’s and 80’s better known as Hall & Oates. Anyone that grew in that time frame is probably well aware that this duo somehow managed to write hit song after hit song, year after year. Hearing some of those songs instantly transported me back to my carefree teenage days hanging out with friends and figuring out those “awkward teenage blues.”
What may also surprise you is how easily you can find yourself singing along to one of their catchy pop tunes. I’m fairly certain that one or both of them are still out there playing and touring with careers that have spanned almost five decades.
Being a former musician and still a huge fan of all music, I’ve found myself in many discussions with friends and colleagues about bands and artists. Most of the time we end up arguing over who was the major talent in the group and who just got lucky. The obvious arguments stemmed around the obvious groups- Led Zeppelin- Plant or Page? Aerosmith- Perry or Tyler? The Eagles- Frey or Henley? The Stones- Richards or Jagger?
But there is always one artist that no one seems to disagree upon and that was Hall & Oates. For some reason no one could ever figure out what Mr. Oates brought to the table. Did he sing? Was he an amazing guitar player? What was it about Oates? After very little debate the general consensus always seems to be that John Oates just got lucky to be in the right place at the right time with the right guy- Darryl Hall.
While this seems to be the easy conclusion there is one fairly large piece of evidence that doesn’t support the idea. If Darryl Hall was the only true talent of the group, why has he NEVER had a hit single without his partner John Oates? Surely a talent this great, that carried his talentless partner for decades would be able to find some level of success on his own right? Yet if you go through song catalogue the only hits have both names printed under the writing category.
The thing is as I’ve gotten older and worked with or studied successful people and organizations the most common theme I’ve found is that nobody is able to accomplish success without a lot of help and support. The best executives and leaders that I’ve ever known have surrounded themselves with a lot of talent that they collaborate with on a frequent basis.
Most importantly they trust that talent to make suggestions, improvements and sometimes toss out a brilliant idea because it doesn’t fit into the overall goal of mission of the team.
The best solo acts in any industry business or entertainment all have a long list of mentors, coaches, collaborators and supporters that nurtured their talent, comforted them in failures, humbled them in success and basically challenged them to become the best versions of themselves that they could possibly be. If you still need proof, look at that long list of those thanked by your favorite authors, entertainers and business leaders on any piece of work or any award they accept and judge for yourself.
Success rarely happens in a vacuum and is usually the result hard work, sweat, and a group of like-minded people focusing on the same goals and outcomes. If you truly believe that your own success will happen faster if you do everything on you own without any support or collaboration than you are in for a long, stressful and frustrating ride.
And if you still need any reminding, think about our friend Darryl Hall. As talented and successful as he has become in his 50 year music career, had he not partnered with some guy named John Oates he may very well have been the best club act solo artist that you never heard of.
Ask Yourself This Week:
Where am I not seeking support and guidance on my most important projects?
How is that impacting myself and my overall goal?
How could I better utilize the talent I have surrounding me?
How do I show those I collaborate with on a frequent basis that I trust and value their thoughts and ideas?
Am I willing to toss out one of my own good ideas, and accept a better idea from those I work with? If not, why not? If so, when have you done so?
Who is helping me write my next hit single?
Thoughts for the week:
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.- H.E. Luccock
Competition makes us faster. Collaboration makes us better. –Unknown
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. – Henry Ford
Everyone you will ever meet knows something you do not know. –Bill Nye
Alone we are smart, together we are brilliant. –Steven Anderson
In the long history of humanity those who have learned to collaborate and improvise effectively have prevailed. –Charles Darwin
If you want to go fast- go alone. If you want to go far- go together. –African Proverb
Looking forward to our next connection