Punk rock HR: top 10 HR tips from music

by Miriam Bell20 Jul 2012

Rock music and HR aren’t often discussed in the same breath, or sentence, or conversation – unless you are UK leadership expert Peter Cook, who is the managing director of Human Dynamics & The Academy of Rock and the author of books like Sex, Leadership & Rock 'n' Roll: Leadership Lessons from the Academy of Rock.

Cook’s latest book is Punk Rock People Management and, while he was preparing for a leadership event last week, some members of the media asked him to provide some punchy punk rock tips for business. Ever the willing professional and music promoter, Cook obliged. And he then went on to post his 10 rock music tips for HR on to his blog. Here they are:

On work relationships

1. Bad Romance - Lady Gaga: If you're having trouble in a work relationship, change what you're doing, rather than banging your head against the same wall.

2. Like A Virgin – Madonna: To succeed in business, treat each day like it’s the first time.

3. Knowing Me Knowing You – Abba: If you want to serve your customers really well, find out their wants, needs, whims, foibles, fancies, fantasies, fanaticisms and ensure what you are offering touches the parts that others cannot or dare not reach.

4. Who Killed Bambi? - Sex Pistols: Separate conflict over work from conflict over personalities. You can have a good bun fight over a project, but once things are settled, move on and don’t harbour grudges towards the people.

On motivation

5. Reasons To Be cheerful - Ian Dury: Reasons to be cheerful at work include: being listened to; doing things that count; understanding why they matter; being part of something; not having to do pointless tasks; getting meaningful feedback on what you do and so on.

6. What Do I Get? - The Buzzcocks: Pay people well enough, but don’t just focus on pay as the reward for work. This reinforces the conversation about ‘What do I get?’

On innovation

7. Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed: Encourage mavericks, madonnas and the odd primadonna at work if you want new things to happen.

8. I Can’t Control Myself - The Troggs: Creativity at work without precise execution and discipline rarely leads to innovation.

On HR strategy

9. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For - U2: Business needs constant learning and reconnaissance.  If you stop looking and learning, just like Kodak, you may disappear from view.

10. Won’t Get Fooled Again - The Who: If something does go wrong, do something different. The only mistake is not learning from mistakes.


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