Four Lessons in Leadership from the BeatlesIn just seven years, the Beatles made a string of unforgettable albums. They set new standards for composing, performing, and recording popular music. They broke new barriers, showed reluctance to compromise, and defined a generation.

“The Beatles' early career was actually a series of failures--a record that culminated in their unsuccessful audition with the leading record company of their era, Decca Records. This particular failure nearly caused the band to break up,” says John Greathouse, contributor to Inc.

They faced all kinds of setbacks, but ignored the music “experts” and worked hard to improve.

As a leader you will come across many setbacks on your way to success. Greathouse offers some lessons you can take from the Beatles’ biggest setback.

Know the Product

The Beatles’ let their manager, Brian Epstein, choose the material for the Decca audition. Epstein curated the record section in his father’s furniture store. Those were his musical credentials.

If you want to sell your product, know it inside and out. Advisers are helpful, and sometimes necessary, but they don’t know everything. Do your homework.

Know the Audience

Know and understand the consumers’ point of view. Spend time and think more creatively about what would appeal to the audience. Then develop your messaging and marketing.

Get the Right Team

A key to the Beatles’ success was the creative tension and balance they achieved once Ringo Starr joined the group, Greathouse says.

Don’t compromise when you establish your core team. Whether you start a new venture or create a new product or service, it’s important to surround yourself with the right team. Quite often we become like the people we’re around. We must be cautious about whom we surround ourselves with because of the short- and long-term implications.

Set Expectations

John Lennon said he thought Decca expected the Beatles to be all polished when what they were doing was just a demo.

To run a successful business, it’s essential to set firm expectations. Establish appropriate expectations and deliver. It’s that simple.  If the Beatles had set expectations for Decca, things may have turned out differently.

You will face setbacks in your career. Embrace them and learn from them. How you allow setbacks to either build you up or tear you down, is what matters in the end.

What other leadership lessons have you learned from musicians?