Leadership lessons from Bananarama!

Home » Company News » Leadership lessons from Bananarama!

Last summer, having booked to see Michael Buble in concert at Hyde Park with my wife for our anniversary, we discovered that one of the support acts was Bananarama.

Who ended up being the highlight of the show since we missed Buble due to a torrential downpour and a toxic mix of alcohol and antibiotics on my wife’s part that led to our departing early!

Bananarama opened with their 1982 hit ‘It ain’t what you do’ which reminded me of some leadership advice I’d received long before. The full lyric goes, ‘It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it and that’s what gets results!’. How very true. This is usually the difference between effective and ineffective leaders; the difference between successful businesses and those that fizzle out. Because leading anything is going to involve interaction with people.  And people are strange and complicated creatures whose moods and whims are constantly changing. Whether you succeed or fail will be down to people: customers… whether they buy; employees… whether they stay and follow; investors… whether they believe and commit. So the way you interact and present to these people is critical. You may have a great product but if you can’t communicate with your audience or motivate your team then your product will never see the light of day. It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it.

Simon Sinek developed this idea with his ‘Golden Circle’: What, How, Why. He suggests that “people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.” Most people can tell you what they do and they can tell you how they do it, but most don’t have clarity over WHY they do it. But communicating the WHY to your investors, employees and customers is what provides emotional wind and gives your business its soul. This speaks to the way you go about marketing your product and the way you go about leading your team. People centred or product centred.

What’s your WHY? WHY do you do what you do? Are you doing what you do because you believe in it? Or is it just to get money and pay the bills? Is it just a job to you? If it’s just a job then you won’t stay the course.  When a better paid job comes along you’ll take it. Which means you’re not committed to what you’re doing. And if you’re not committed you’ve already limited your potential for success, because success always requires commitment.

Do your employees know WHY they’re doing what they’re doing?  Do they believe in it? Have you communicated your WHY to them?  Are they on board? Because if they’re not, if it’s just a job to them, then they too will jump ship when something better comes along. 

When your company or organisation lives and breathes your WHY, you give your customer more than just a product or service, you give them a motive, a reason to buy your product or service.

Peter Radford is a speaker and trainer working with organisations to help them make a game-changing impact. www.beyondthis.co.uk/training