Who’s your drummer?
Damn. Charlie Watts. In the macabre bingo game that is guessing who from the Rolling Stones would go next, did anyone think Keith would outlive Charlie? Over the next few weeks, you will hear more of Charlie’s drumming than you’ve likely enjoyed for many years. And it will not be enough. Charlie Watts made music out of creative chaos for an entire generation. It had a good beat. You could dance to it.
David Hepworth, an outstanding writer and erudite rock scholar, has argued persuasively that the drummer is the only ‘unsackable’ member of any band. If you care, I’d urge you to seek out his column on the topic. It’s hilarious and spot on.
So. Who’s your drummer? Who on your team keeps the beat? Who makes music out of chaos? Who stays unflappable, in the pocket and on the groove when the rest of your day, week, year is turning to s#$t? If you don’t know the answer to this question immediately, I’d encourage you to figure it out.
Band analogies in business are only a little less fatigued than sports metaphors. But they still work. Your drummer may be a staff designer who consistently throws creative sparks. It could be the marketing associate who never lets a deadline slip. It could be a packaging director who finds a marvelous new product display solution…while still fitting the ‘case-and-a-half’ rule. Your CMO might be a real guitar shredder, your head of Engineering might be anchoring down the bass. But none of it holds without that drummer. The song that is your brand will just not play the right way.
So once you’ve figured out who your drummer is, take some time to give him or her a bit of the spotlight. Acknowledge their immense contribution, and thank them for holding your band together.
Meanwhile, it’s time to cue up some Stones and honor Charlie’s memory. First up: ‘Hang Fire.’ Join me if you’re so inclined. And turn it up.