Business Principles from The Eagles

The Eagles

Image by Steve Alexander (originally posted to Flickr as Eagles) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards and six number-one albums The Eagles, formed in Los Angeles in 1971, were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s’.

In the four decades since then, The Eagles disbanded in 1980 and regrouped again in 1994 producing several albums. Despite the passage of time, their music has continued to enthrall audiences. Their albums continue to fly off the shelves and the few shows they do sell out in no time.

What makes their music timeless? The Eagles’ catalog of songs, from tender ballads (“Best of My Love”) to hard-driving cautionary tales (“Life in the Fast Lane”), provide simple, yet insightful, insights to love and life experience that resonate across generations.

And yet, if you listen closely to the lyrics, there are nuggets of professional inspiration. Nuggets that any small or medium business can gain from. A few examples:

From “Already Gone”:
So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains, And we never even know we have the key

Growth GraphIf you always do what you have always done, you’ll always get what you have always got. Have the courage to imagine your business growing and evolving to meet your customers’ changing needs. Use available educational resources to keep yourself and your team abreast of the latest developments in your industry. Retrain and cross-train your employees if necessary. Maintain relationships with an eye toward mutual growth, and strive to make new ones.

From “Desperado, Part 2”:
Don’t you try the queen of diamonds, boy, she’ll beat you if she’s able, The queen of hearts is always your best bet.

While embracing a new challenge can be fruitful, don’t just do it for the money. If you treat your work, or your customers, like cash cows, it will eventually become obvious – and not be well received. Part of a successful business transaction is making sure the other party believes they’re getting value and return on investment. If they don’t, they won’t come back. Put your heart into what you do, and take pride in more than a payday.

From “It’s Your World Now 
It’s your world now, Use well the time Be part of something good, Leave something good behind

Don’t lose your sense of purpose. Get involved in your community; whether it be donating services or products from your business to a charitable or serving as an event sponsor. It is personally and professionally enriching to look beyond the bottom line. Statistics indicate a rise in volunteering, particularly among those with young families. As these people rise to decision making status professionally, they’re more apt to do business with someone who’s actively engaged in community life and investing time and talent back into the community.

The last few years have undoubtedly been rough on small and medium businesses. But now, most indicators point towards stability, with an expectation for moderate growth. Let the fear of 2008-9 go; think in terms of possibilities, not limitations. Change is a constant; approach it mindfully, but acknowledge and work with it.

focusAs the Eagles themselves would say, Who’s gonna make it? We’ll find out — in the long run.

Fleeting success may temporarily enrich a lucky fool, but sustained success usually only happens to those who’ve worked for and deserve it. Never lose sight of those goals.

[Adapted from the original article]
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