Somerset Maugham, the playwright and novelist, was once asked if wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.

Over the past week I’ve watched over half of the 8-hour documentary, The Beatles: Get Back. It’s an amazing piece of work, highlighting both the tensions and the love that the band wrestled with as they struggled to make their final album, Let It Be.

But, throughout the documentary, Somerset Maugham’s quote kept coming back to me. The Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular, didn’t wait for inspiration to find them; they turned up every morning at 9am to hunt for it. It was the discipline of a deadline and a daily routine that enabled McCartney to magically come up with the song Get Back, seemingly out of nothing, as he waited for Lennon to return from lunch.

The lesson is that if you want your organisation to be more innovative – and over 80% of CEO’s share that ambition – you must be prepared to invest in the necessary structures, disciplines and deadlines. Only then will you get back to the long and winding road of growth and success.

Off The Record: Get Back by The Beatles

Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman

But she was another man

All the girls around her say she’s got it coming

But she gets it while she can

Written Lennon and McCartney

Stuart Cross 2021. All rights reserved.