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You need your team to help you. To do the work you cannot or should not spend your time doing.

In this episode of the Create Your Culture podcast, we’ll look at the top three lessons learned from watching famed music producer Bruce Dickinson (Christopher Walken) try to motivate the members of the Blue Oyster Cult band with “more cowbell” in the iconic sketch from Saturday Night Live.

Whether you already have a team or are building a team, there are some valuable lessons here.

In this situation, the Blue Oyster Cult band members knew their instrument to play. They knew what the goal was. They all wanted to get the song recorded. They actually brought themselves together to meet their goal in spite of their “leader.”

What about your team? Do they each know what part they play? Do they know what the goals are?

If your team is still engaged and working together, they will try to figure things out on their own – for a while.

Do you want a company culture where the team assumes you either do not want to help them work through an issue OR worse – aren’t capable of leading them?

You can learn what motivates your employees and be a better leader.

Don’t hope they will figure it all out. They need to know you are a resource – willing and capable.

Don’t be Bruce Dickinson.

“Y’all will be wearing gold-plated diapers!” is not motivating unless you work for Huggies.

I love watching Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon try not to laugh. 


  1. You are a part of your team. You are boss, but you are not above them. “Bruce Dickinson. Yes, THE Bruce Dickinson.”
  2. Give your team rewards that motivate THEM. If you are guessing, then you may be spending valuable resources that aren’t helping your team or getting the results you want. “Gotta have more cowbell baby!”
  3. Confusion shuts down motivation. Bring clarity to your team. “I gotta fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.”
  4. There are 6 types of motivators that could motivate your employees. Here are some sample questions to consider for each motivator:
    1. Usefulness/utility – Who on the team is driven by money?
    2. Supporting people – Who on the team is driven by helping others?
    3. Search for truth or knowledge – Who has a voracious need for learning?
    4. Control their own destiny – Who wants to be recognized publicly for their accomplishments?
    5. Form and harmony – Who wants a beautiful work environment?
    6. System of beliefs – Who wants to have a mission or be a part of team traditions?

Complete Your Workwork:

For the next week at work, watch for signs of confusion in your team. Ask them for feedback on how you can help. Then shut your mouth and listen to them. Do not get defensive. Just for a week, try to respond with “Thank you, that is valuable feedback.” Be open to hearing what they have to say. Notice if they are afraid to give you feedback or are excited you want to be involved. Let me know in the comments how it goes.

Thank You For Listening!

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