Business and all that jazz.

Miles Davis - Google / Life Images

Whenever a person or a company is successful, everybody wants to understand why and how. Because in the end, being successful is what we all want and we think “if we do it their way we will become successful as well”. However it does not work that way. In my working life I frequently followed courses by Professor Andrew Cox who leads the Centre for Business Strategy and Procurement, University of Birmingham (England). Andrew’s  much used credo was “don’t copy, but try to understand their success”. Another point he made is that in business you always need to take into account “the contingent circumstances” because if you fail to do so, in the end your business will fail as well. These thoughts came to my mind when I read the paper ” Leading Entrepreneurial Teams: Insights from Jazz” by Deniz Ucbasaran, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship Nottingham University Business School. In this highly interesting study she investigates why Duke Ellington, Art Blakey and Miles Davis were such great jazzband leaders. The study seems to conclude mainly on psychological factors rather than business rationales such as concert revenues and record sales.

My conclusion would be: Miles Davis was the most successful bandleader because he constantly kept focus on the contingent circumstances for decades as he kept on developing his music from early bebop in the forties to fusion in the late eighties. This paper is highly recommended:

I._Creative_Industries_Entrepreneurship-_Deniz_Ucbasaran, or read the article in The Guardian.

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