Why business is like... The Gallagher brothers

A bit of creative tension at the top can be a good thing for business...

by Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Noel and Liam Gallagher - the sibling frontmen of veteran Britpoppers Oasis - are almost as famous for their stormy relationship as for their music.

Even in a business where 'creative differences' are de rigueur, these two have had more than their fair share of rows, regularly trading insults, missiles and even blows. Hardly a role model for business, you might think. At a recent gig in Coventry, the pair even disagreed on whether the crowd should be clapping along or not.

But if public harmony is more decorous, what does it achieve? At RBS, for example, none of Sir Fred Goodwin's fellow directors disagreed with his master plan, and look what happened there.

A bit of tension at the top, a frank exchange of views: these are the forces that drive both businesses and rock bands to their greatest achievements. Says music critic Miranda Sawyer: 'The best groups have at their heart a long-term argument-cum-love affair: Noel and Liam; Lennon and McCartney; Mick and Brian; Pete Doherty and Carl Barat.'

Yet few business leaders display any of the passion in the boardroom that the Gallaghers do on stage. Even Sir David Walker agrees - he was appointed by the Government earlier this year to review the operations of UK boards, and to make them 'less cosy, comfortable places'. Will Walker pull it off? Definitely maybe.

Jennifer Harris is director of JRBH Strategy & Management, www.jrbh.co.uk

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