Masters in Beyoncé

Think of this as earning your MBA, whereas the “B” stands for Beyoncé.

Many of us like to think that we alone can be the genius. We think we can put all the pieces together and pull it all off. We can do it all by ourselves. We’re special.

How often do we see someone else doing something that we think is “genius,” and then fail to see the people behind them that made it possible?

How often do we appreciate the repeatable genius that makes something more than a moment, that creates an actual body of work – a true genius institution?

In other words, how often do we stop to recognize that a genius idea + the team around it = a genius institution?

We see the late night TV host and never think about the staff of talented writers. We watch the actress in the movie and never think about the person who set the lighting, or wrote the score for the award winning scene. We think about the star athlete who wins the game and maybe think of the teammates and coach, but not the trainers, the back-office staff, etc.

I know I’m guilty of all sorts of mental-shortcut driven hero-admiration.

If you need a case study for that aforementioned MBA in how “genius idea + the team Beyoncé Coachella performance around it = a genius institution” plays out, you need to look this up. They media is calling it “Beychella” now – how else do I need to sell this to you?

Beyoncé is 36 years old and arguably the most important woman in music. Word autocorrects for the accent above the “e” in her name. Adele effectively apologized to her after she won the Grammy that both of their records were up for last year. You don’t see award rejection / apology speeches too often (or ever). When’s the last time something similar happened to you?

Beyoncé doesn’t do it alone. Are you better than Beyoncé? No, you’re not. How dare you even ask that question? Shame on me for asking you to answer it.

A recent NYT “Popcast” said she was, “harnessing collaboration as a source of genius.” I love that sentence. It belongs in every management book.

Even if she personally came up with the entire vision for her historic Coachella performance, she surely didn’t execute it alone. She was joined onstage by a huge band and multiple other genius (in their own right) performers. The sheer musicology of the set list and arrangements alone were the stuff theses are written about.

Beyoncé’s genius reaches far beyond this single performance too. Look at the writing, production and performance credits on “Lemonade” (the album that Adele apologized for robbing a Grammy from). The list of supporting people is massive.

Face it, Beyoncé knows how to assemble a team. She understands collaboration as a source of genius.

It’s one thing to have a genius idea, and another thing to have genius execution.

The pinnacle, as shown by the formula above, is that if you have both the idea AND the execution – you can make a genius institution out of your body of work. Watch that performance. Revisit the catalogue with her and note the changes in each song’s delivery as a fresh and independent work.

Nobody does it alone. If you’re truly aiming for the pinnacle, then your team and execution are as important as your idea. Study the masters across industries so you can recognize it when you see it.

Oh, and God save the Queen.

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