The Beatles have always had a special place in my heart throughout my career, and having spent many years at EMI, I was privileged enough to play a part in the band’s launch on digital platforms.
Now almost twelve years later, my daughter is the beneficiary of that work, regularly deep diving into the Fab Four’s songbook on Spotify.
Heading to school in the car this week, she played We Can Work It Out, which has long been a favorite of mine. And while I don’t think the band was pondering the future machinations of corporate employee communications when writing the lyrics, it struck me that the song has plenty of lessons to teach C-suite leaders in the 21st century.
“Think of what you're saying. You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright.” It only takes a cursory read of the press to see that there are plenty of executives who struggle to take a step back and work out whether what they’re saying to their employees – or the way they’re saying it - is damaging to team and public perception of the business. Finding a third party sounding board to help you get some additional perspective can be a solid investment.
“Try to see it my way. Do I have to keep on talking 'til I can't go on?” We live in a world where keeping people engaged through an internal email that rivals War & Peace for length isn’t easy. Or preferable. Find a way to be succinct, and don’t succumb to the belief that every last detail needs to be in your communication. You’re talking to your team, not testifying to a grand jury.
“There's a chance that we might fall apart before too long.” At the moment, employees have more options than ever. Speak to your team like they’re the precious commodity they really are, and never miss a chance to bring them closer to you and to your business’s mission.
The incredible thing about We Can Work It Out is that it’s just two minutes and fifteen seconds long, and there’s not one note or beat that could be shaved from it to make it better. All killer, no filler.
It’s time for corporate America to bring the Lennon and McCartney factor to their internal comms, if you ask me.