David Bowie and the Art of Business Leadership

I stumbled across Tom Hagler a few weeks back at an evening event.  Tom is a BBC journalist and broadcaster on the BBC World Service who has just written a ground-breaking book entitled “We could be: Bowie and his Heroes” in partnership with Tony Visconti, Bowie’s long-term producer, and collaborator.  I had to find out more so we arranged to meet.  Several weeks later, we have completed a raucous interview based on our shared knowledge of Bowie, Tom’s coming from his role as a professional journalist and mine coming from having played a large number of songs from Bowie’s canon over the years.  Time spoke of senseless things as we chatted about Robert Fripp, Tina Turner, Carlos Alomar, Debbie Harry, Brian Eno, Tony Blair, Lou Reed, sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll.  We concluded that we might want to do this as a collective offering to the world of business, drawing out parallels for business leaders.  Here’s a snapshot of one of our dialogues:

“We could be: Bowie and his Heroes” is designed for the busy reader as a series of vignettes of A-list celebrities and some very minor ones who were lucky enough to meet the much-missed star.  People of all persuasions loved Bowie so much that many of them ended up sleeping with him.  But, beyond the salacious headline,  what shines through is Bowie’s grace and humanity.

In our keynote series, Tom and I cover topics of direct relevance to business leaders, such as:

  • Randomness, creativity, and innovation: Turning ideas into commercial success
  • Bowie and Talent Management: Hiring, inspiring, and firing people with grace and humanity.
  • Leading and managing precocious people, from Robert Fripp to Brian Eno and beyond.
  • Staying ahead of the game to achieve longevity: Bowie reinvented himself over 50 years.
  • Change mastery: changing what you do, keeping your audiences, and gaining new ones.

Here’s another one of our off the cuff dialogues about our work together:

Peter Cook
Peter Cookhttp://www.academy-of-rock.co.uk/
PETER leads Human Dynamics, offering Business and Organisation Development. He also delivers keynotes around the world that blend business intelligence with parallel lessons from music via The Academy of Rock. Author of and contributor to twelve books on business leadership, acclaimed by Tom Peters, Professors Charles Handy, Adrian Furnham, and Harvey Goldsmith CBE. His blends his three passions are science, business, and music into unique inspiring keynotes based on the art of storytelling. His early life involved leading innovation teams for 18 years to develop life-saving drugs including the first treatments for HIV/AIDS, Herpes and the development of Human Insulin. 18 years in academia teaching MBAs and 18 + years running his businesses. All his life since the age of four playing music. Peter won a prize for his work from Sir Richard Branson after his mother claimed he was a Virgin birth. He now writes for Virgin.com.