July 2008 | Volume 2, Issue #1

In This Issue
What People are Saying...
Leadership Grooves
Leadership Riffs
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
home pageCheck out the redesigned Jazzthink website at www.jazzthink.com
Take special note of our two new signature offerings:
Get REAL!  Leadership and Jazz in Conversation
Get REAL!  Teamwork and Jazz in Conversation
REAL is a new acronym that we've developed from the most commonly mentioned qualities of great leadership and teamwork participants in our programs saw and heard in the performance of the jazz trio.  It stands for Respect, Empathize, Appreciate, and Laugh
Let us know what you think at fraser@jazzthink.com.
Many thanks for Deb Carfrae of DCL Designs for all the great work on this project.

Leadership is not primarily about getting things done.  It's about building the relationships that get things done.
That's a subtle but crucial distinction that ordinary leaders often miss.  Those who get it create lasting value for their organizations.  They create relationships in their work environment that: attract and retain talent; draw out the best and more from employees; produce healthy bottom lines in revenues, satisfaction, and impact; and produce customer loyalty and delight. 

Cory Weeds, the leader of the Jazzthink Trio and owner of The Cellar Restaurant/Jazz Club at 3611 West Broadway in Vancouver, BC, points out that saxophone players pay a lot of attention to the 'sound' they make with their horns. 
David Liebman, author of Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound (1989), talks about 'sound' as a satisfying tone that includes qualities of happiness, elegance, sweetness, resonance, and strength.  Within a beautiful and artistic sound, emotions and feelings are clearly apparent.  The discipline of learning to express your own 'sound', Liebman remarks, is the true means of finding your soul.  "True freedom to create comes after the hard and long discipline of really learning how to do something well."
It's the same process of creating your own 'sound' in leadership, a 'sound' that builds rather than breaks relationships.  Effective leaders will strive for a 'sound' in their leadership conversations that captures the qualities Liebman described - happiness, elegance, sweetness, resonance, and strength.  These qualities will build long-lasting relationships that will create long-lasting success, both personally and organizationally.
Think of the leaders who had the most positive impact on you.  What was their 'sound' and how did it shape their positive influence?  How can you develop your own unique 'sound' that has the same influence on those through whom you get things done?
It is a hard and long discipline to really learn how to use your voice well in leadership conversations, but it's the only way of being a better leader.

Brian Fraser                      


What People are Saying ...
Coast Mental Health Managers Retreat
May 22, 2008
You really made a huge difference for many people yesterday. They really gave great feedback and positive responses.  We look forward to working further with you to reinforce and spread the impact of this very inspiring day throughout our organization.
Heather Edgar
Associate Executive Director
Coast Mental Health Foundation
Vancouver, BC
Elevating Leadership Performance Kick-Off
Vancouver Coastal Health
May 28, 2008
The skill with which you affirmed our approach to leadership development and provided an interesting, entertaining, and engaging keynote was very well done.  Our group appreciated your message, the method of delivery, and, of course, the trio.  So did the three of us in Leadership and Management Development.
Peter Wheatley
Leadership and Management Development
Vancouver Coastal Health
Leadership Grooves
Getting in a 'groove' for jazz musicians means playing exceptionally well, appreciating and enjoying the feel and flow of the music, and pleasing immensely all those involved in the performance - self, fellow musicians, and audience.  You find your 'groove' by paying careful attention to the source of sound, significance, and satisfaction deep in your soul.  Each month we will feature stories of people finding their leadership 'groove'.  
It was Marcus Buckingham, when he was with the Gallup Organization, who coined the phrase, "People join companies; they quit managers."  John Maxwell, in his latest book on leadership, Leadership Gold: Lessons I've Learned from a Lifetime of Leading (2008), rephrases this insight slightly to say "People quit people, not companies."  Up to 65% of people leaving their jobs or their companies, he notes, leave because of their managers.
Maxwell outlines the four types of managers people leave:
1.    People quit people who devalue them.
2.    People quit people who are untrustworthy.
3.    People quit people who are incompetent.
4.    People quit people who are insecure.
In Maxwell's research and experience, here are some ways to make yourself a leader others want to follow, some leadership grooves to work on developing: 
  • take responsibility for your relationships with others
  • put a high value on those who work for you
  • put credibility at the top of your leadership list
  • recognize that your positive emotional health creates a secure work environment for people
  • maintain a teachable spirit and nurture your passion for personal growth
That kind of self management flows into a leadership groove that will increase not only retention in your workplace, but get those who enjoy being there to invite their talented and passionate friends to come and work along side them. 
Nothing is more powerful these days than the leadership groove of a good reputation with your employees.  And it's built through the sounds of REAL conversations that come from your soul.

Leadership Riffs 
A 'riff' in jazz is a melodic phrase that is constantly repeated and played over changing harmonies and rhythms.  It's a core theme around which improvisation happens.  As leaders, our 'riffs' are communicated in conversation, the most common form of improvisation or jazz on this planet.  Each month we will highlight a key idea essential to great leadership around which you can improvise in your conversations.
Think of the difference between an angry sound in your voice and an appreciative sound.
Anger pushes people away from you.  It makes people defensive.  It drives them into a negative head space.  It destroys relationships.  So, if you're voice is expressing an angry sound in your conversations with your colleagues, how do you think it's working for you in building the relationships that will get things done?  Not very well, I suspect.  Your team will turn toxic in a hurry.
Appreciation draws people to you.  It makes people open to possibilities.  It creates a positive atmosphere that invites people to contribute the best of their passion and talent.  So, if your voice is expressing an appreciative sound in your conversations with your colleagues, it will provoke the full potential your team has.
The idea is very simple.  Find something to appreciate in your colleagues and build on it.  Find ways to manage your anger and prevent it from distorting the relationships that get things done.  Those are key skills in achieving credible leadership.

Enjoy Great Jazz in Vancouver 

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