Queen’s song We Will Rock You is in the Grammy Hall of Fame and one of the Greatest Songs of All Time, but when it was first released in 1977 it was on the B-side of the single. In this age of digital music, B-sides no longer exist but the designation was once simultaneously a distinction and a demotion for vinyl-era artists. The B-side song was seen as good, but not good enough to be the one promoted to radio stations or to receive air time.

While I’m sure much debate went into deciding which song made the B-side, the artists and producers did not always choose the one audiences favored. In addition to We Will Rock You, other notable B-sides included Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, Gloria by Van Morrison, Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets and even Hound Dog by Elvis. All these songs went on to be hits of their own – and several were more popular than the songs on the A-side (Hung On You; Baby, Please Don’t Go; Thirteen Women).

Keep these songs in mind if you find yourself relegated to a B-side role in your organization. Just because you didn’t get the original lead doesn’t mean that you can’t end up as a winner. Capitalize on the reduced pressure and far exceed everyone’s expectations.

Hat tip to Brenda for the original idea!

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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