This Week’s Focus: Earlier this week I went to see Nick Lowe in concert. Best known for his song, Peace Love And Understanding, Lowe has a small but committed fan-base, and he continues to earn a decent living from royalties and gigging. His 90-minute set contained no cover songs whatsoever. I also play in a band – but we only play covers. Unsurprisingly, other than being offered free beer, we don’t get paid, and would struggle to make any kind of living.

What’s true in music is also true in business. The organisations that prosper and grow are those that innovate and play their own songs. Companies that seek to play covers and imitate their market leaders’ proposition are the also-rans, struggling to survive. You see it in markets as diverse as low-fare airlines, coffee shop chains and tablet computers.

What kind of organisation do you lead? Are you a breakthrough band, creating your own music, or are you a tribute band, that relies on playing cover versions of others’ songs?

Off The Record: Weather To Fly by Elbow

So, in looking to stray from the line

We decided, instead, we should pull out the thread

That was stitching us into this tapestry vile

And why wouldn’t you try? Perfect weather to fly!

© Stuart Cross 2012. All rights reserved.