Neil Young On Leadership, And The Future

November 17, 2009

Years ago (ok, many years!)  I remember listening to an interview with Rocker Neil Young.

I can’t remember where, or even when, I first heard that interview – but after all these years, there was one comment he made that hass stuck with me to this very day.

The comment that he made was that every amateur teenage band playing in their garage could probably play his music better than he could. His rationalization of that was easy; Mr. Young simply stated that unless a particular song was picked for play listing on a concert tour, there was a good chance that he would never play it again.

Think about that for one moment!

He would never play it again.

And he stated that the reason for this was that once a song was recorded, it was now in the past. And from that moment on he was looking at the future; what the next song was going to be.

That is a valuable lesson for all of us. How often have we heard phrases similar to these;

The “way we’ve always done it around here…”

Or “this is what I did before..”

Even, “in past cycles..”

These are all evidence of trying to predict the future by looking at the past. It won’t work.

You absolutely cannot drive your car forward by looking in the rear view mirror.

The SMB Takeaway

As a business technology manager in the SME space, I realize that decisions I made to resolve particular problems or issues in the past, may not be the correct situation for a similar decision now.

Because the past is gone. And in the past, that decision was based on a particular set of circumstances, skills, and events at a particular point in time.

All those particulars are no longer relevant. Because they will be different at this point in time. For this point in time, we need new decisions.

As a very smart woman I follow on twitter once stated;

When you close the book to your past – it leaves U deeply rooted in the powerful grounds of the present moment


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