Apr 09, 2014
Kiss Without Making Up?
Gene Simmons (pictured) and Paul Stanley are the only original members of the band Kiss who are still in Kiss, and even that partnership isn’t always easy to keep together. But, remarkably, it is still together.
Writing for Rolling Stone, Brian Hiatt observes the professional-if-rocky relationship the two men have built, and asks if they “have ever sat down to work out their differences.” Stanley seems confused by the question. “I’m curious . . . what’s there to work out?” he says in response. “The fact that we have 40-plus years between us means we worked it out.”
While there’s undoubtedly much about Kiss’s approach to management that could use some help, we suspect Peter Drucker would have found a lot of merit in Stanley’s rejoinder. For it was his view that with any organization—whether an auto company or a rock band—the task comes first, and personal feelings should be kept in perspective. (Perhaps this is why so many bands made up of close friends flame out quickly.)
“Warm feelings and pleasant words are meaningless, are indeed a false front for wretched attitudes, if there is no achievement in what is, after all, a work-focused and task-focused relationship,” Drucker wrote in The Effective Executive. “On the other hand, an occasional rough word will not disturb a relationship that produces results and accomplishments for all concerned.”
That must be true because Stanley certainly has harsh words for his band mate. “It wasn’t like he was making Gone With the Wind,” Stanley says of a time when Simmons was pursuing side projects. “Some of it was more like passing wind!” Another: “Gene loves the sound of his own voice.”
Nonetheless, what Simmons and Stanley seem to have between themselves, if not affection, is trust. And that, according to Drucker, is far more important. “Organizations are based on trust,” he wrote in Managing the Non-Profit Organization. “Trust means that you know what to expect of people. Trust is mutual understanding. Not mutual love, not even mutual respect. Predictability.”
Which is why Simmons and Stanley keep wearing makeup, even if they never make up.
What role do you think personal affection should play in work relationships?