The Power of Diversity
by Richard Lynch, on Nov 23, 2016 8:19:09 AM
If your business model is changing, strategy becomes everyone’s job not just the C-Suite.
As a result, teams need to explore new domains and move outside their comfort zone; the more diverse the team the better.
Case in point: Muscle Shoals. For those of you who missed the great 2013 documentary, Muscle Shoals is a small town in rural Alabama. What happened there was amazing.
Four musicians, with no formal training became the music behind music icons Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Wilson Pickett and Jimmy Cliff. They also helped the Allman brothers and Paul Simon create new sounds. Today, the likes of Alicia Keys and The Black Keys make the trek to the famed studio to play with the rhythm section. Known as the Swampers (a nickname given to them by singer/songwriter Leon Russell) they became one of the best-known session musicians inside the business. The four founding Swampers, Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (guitar) have appeared on more than 75 gold and platinum hits!
Rick Hall, a songwriter and record producer, was their recruiter, leader and coach. He unleashed their talent. In his FAME studio, there were no egos, no titles, and no biases. As each artist came into studio, the Swampers blended in, collaborated and helped the artist find their sound. They embraced diversity in styles, genres, world view and arrangements.
Race didn’t matter (this was the south in the 1960’s). Music school attended didn’t matter. What mattered was a shared passion for finding the right sound and a great outcome. For example, when Aretha Franklin was let go by her recording studio, she found Muscle Shoals. And her voice. But not right away. In the studio, things weren’t going well at first until keyboard player Barry Beckett found a sound and tempo. Everyone followed his lead. “I Never Loved a Man” was recorded and rest is history.
Success is about the power of people in a given context with a clear goal. No fancy settings needed; just good engineering, great diversity, chemistry and a shared passion.
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