The BLG Blog

Posts & articles that have helped thousands build performance through pragmatic leadership.

PART II: Do You Innovate Like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? 5 Innovation Strategies of The Rolling Stones


In the first part of this column we explored how The Beatles harnessed their creativity and innovated. Now we will look at how The Rolling Stones innovated so we can ask: who do you relate to more as a leader, entrepreneur, or HR manager: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

Let us know!

5 Innovation Strategies of The Rolling Stones

1. Set Yourself Apart

At the beginning The Rolling Stones never had a set image. They couldn’t settle on one “look” and at one point they even tried to model their style after The Beatles.   Eventually, with the PR help of Andrew Loog Oldham, they devised a new look: no look at all. Their clothes and attitudes became unkempt and grungy and their style came to epitomize Rock and Roll.

By settling on a rebellious look the band’s music and lyrics transformed and became a statement against the established music scene. As a result The Rolling Stones innovated.

By defining themselves as counter-culture The Rolling Stones were propelled to make more original, defiant music.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

 The Rolling Stones started as a blues cover band. They rose to fame by playing Chuck Berry songs and eventually found their own voice and style. By practicing and performing countless covers The Rolling Stones learned how to craft crowd pleasing tunes.

The Rolling Stones came into their own after mastering the classics in their genre. They innovated only after they became fluent in their craft.

3. Work Rate

The Rolling Stones are still a band making them one of Rock and Rolls long lasting acts.

Mick Jagger joked about an old dress he wore in a tour in the 1960s, “I can still just about get into the zippers.”  While the band’s tenacity has made them the butt of some jokes, they have found an innovative way to control and continue their legacy.

Their ability to continue to perform over the years has kept them innovating their stage act and their music.

 4. Highly Adaptable

The Rolling Stones were adaptable and not afraid of change. When one of the band organizers Brain Jones work rate slowed as a result of a drug problem he was let go.

When tastes changed The Rolling Stones gave fans what they wanted to hear and made both disco themed songs as well as psychedelic ones.

The Rolling Stones were always open to changing their look, their music, and their team. Their ability to transform kept them innovating.

 5. Work Under Pressure

In 1971 The Rolling Stones owned an astounding amount of back taxes. Adding to their woe they were being sued, having trouble making sense of complicated legal contracts, and being scrutinized by the tabloids and the police alike for drug possession. Eventually their assets were frozen and they were forced to leave England for the South of France.

While in exile they made their own studio and recorded a successful album.

The Rolling Stones thrived off pressure and could innovate under the gun. The excelled when under conditions of uncertainty. If anything, it inspired them to be more bold in their music.


So, in the end do you think you relate more to introspective innovation of The Beatles or the transformational innovation of The Rolling Stones? Tell us why!



About BLG

Whether you want BLG to deliver a complete leadership academy across your organization, focus on a key group, or supplement an ongoing program, the primary goal of any of our programs will be business impact.

Recent Posts


Sign up for our Newsletter