People management: What managers can learn from The Beatles

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The Beatles weren’t a group, they were a team; and this is a distinction all good managers should make when handling their staff, argues David Winch.

Are your staff a group or a team? It’s an important distinction to make. For example, I'd claim the Beatles weren’t a pop group. Before you lynch me for pop blasphemy, the difference is this: John, Paul George and Ringo weren’t a group – they were a team. Whilst one characteristic of both a team and a group is that they all share the same manager, the following three criteria are as good a test as any for identifying a group:

  • No member depends on any other member.
  • Each member can achieve their goals without reference to or help from any other member.
  • Group achievement is the sum of...

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28th May 2010 14:00

good article but...

your Beatles analogy is a little stretched - you appear to have so much inside knowledge one could assume that you worked with them.

have worked with many bands in the past 30 years i would say that team strength is debatable - money is more often a driving force as well a  small amount of creative tension and your first bullett point

No member depends on any other member.

i would venture that in the great bands this was not the case!

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28th May 2010 14:22

Band analogy

I think that's the point David was making - these great bands aren't groups, they're teams, precisely because the members DO rely on each other.

As a life-long Take That fan, I'd say those boys proved they were a team when Robbie left, because they all pulled together and each member was needed to make it work. They now work a lot better without him because each member now has a clearly defined role within the band. Maybe I should write a sequeal based on the teachings of Mark, Gary, Howard and Jason?!

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28th May 2010 15:57

Again debatable

the power in the group lay in 2 places one the skillful selling and marketing of the sex element to teen girls and two in the power of Gary's songwriting , in terms of music perhaps to a greater degree than in most other markets i would summise that the brand is   bigger than any of the components parts - usually as long as the songwriting element is still present though there are cases when even this rule does not hold

various examples 

band members leaving/replaced success continued from Rolling Stones to Take That

composers leaving/ being replaced  from Genesis to Joy Division / New Order

the whole band being replaced over time  Sugarbabes   


i could go on.... and i usually do......are they really better without Robbie...the difference is minimal

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By Anonymous
28th May 2010 17:31


Nice subject for an article but really you could substitute comments on the Beatles from any successful band over the last 40 years. When bands split up the individual solo careers are usually less successful than the band careers.

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