Monday, 4 March 2013

Aim to be One Of Those Who Didn't Quite Make It

Vienna by Ultravox, together with American Pie, We Are The Champions, All Right Now, Let It Be, My Generation and Wonderwall all have one factor in common:

They never quite made it to the coveted Number One slot in the BBC singles chart.

Perhaps there is some justice to American Pie being nudged off the Number One slot by Harry Nilsson's Without You (and also that memorable pop classic Son of My Father by Chicory Tip).

Possibly Abba's The Name of The Game and Mull of Kintyre by Wings are of equal artistic merit to We Are The Champions by Queen. Abba and Wings made it to Number One in 1977, Queen didn't.

But novelty track Shaddup You Face by Joe Dolce occupying the Number One slot instead of Vienna by Ultravox does seem a miscarriage of justice of epic proportions. "One of the biggest chart injustices of all time" is how the Official Charts Company's Managing Director describes Ultravox being denied the top slot.

So what's all this got to do with HR and business management?

Read and learn!

It's quite clear that Joe Dolce nudged his way into pole position by some utter fluke of circumstances. There won't be many readers of this blog who will recall any of his follow-on singles like "Pizza Pizza," Reggae Matilda," or "You Toucha My Car I Breaka You Face."

Yet all of our focus is on Vienna as The One That Should Have Made It But For Some Obscure Reason Didn't.

But go into any High Street book store (and especially into the book store in the departure lounge of an airport) and you'll notice that although the shelves of the Business and Management section are crammed with the biographies of the rich, famous and successful (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson to name but three), books in the "The One That Should Have Made It But For Some Obscure Reason Didn't" genre are decidedly thin on the ground.

Yet in many cases the likes of Jobs, Gates and Branson would themselves admit that they owe a massive amount of their success to the intervention of Lady Luck. "You need lucky breaks to be successful," says Richard Branson; "Luck played an immense role. I was born at the right place and time," Bill Gates has said.

So why do we seem to hold up the mega-successful in the business world as role models to be envied and emulated, when chance played so much of  factor in them getting to where they are?

Sometimes it's Those Who Didn't Quite Make It that we should be learning from as much as Those That Did.

After all, wouldn't you rather be Midge Ure than Joe Dolce?

Oh Vienna ....

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