November 2008 | Volume 2, Issue #5

In This Issue
Jim Kouzes' and Barry Posner's Core Chart for Great Leadership
What People Are Saying About Jazzthink
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
Jill and I have just returned from a road trip through northern Arizona and New Mexico - Grand Canyon, Sedona, Pinetop, Santa Fe, and Taos.  It was my first time in this remarkably moving landscape, encountering the warm hospitality of its people, and I'm still processing the impact of the experience.
One theme kept running through my mind.  The people who populated this country - native Americans first, then the various waves of Europeans, and now new waves of immigrants - were pioneers who improvised in the midst of challenging and uncertain circumstances to create new possibilities for meaningful life.  They had passion and purpose, but had to use their imaginations to be creative and innovative in realizing their dreams in constantly changing situations.  They were making choices about creating their lives on a daily basis in new ways appropriate to the complex environments they were encountering, but remaining true to their original vision of a better life.
We too live in complex times filled with change and uncertainty.  We aspire to better lives for ourselves, our families and friends, and our society.  We are every bit as much pioneers as the peoples who first settled the remarkable lands of the American southwest.  We need to be aware of being pioneers who are improvising with our talents to create a better life within and around us.  Modeling the way in a pioneering spirit is the true calling of leadership in our complex and challenging times.
In that vein, I want to comment briefly on the emergence of a new community of leadership in the United States galvanized by their new president-elect, Barack Obama.  Of the many things that have impressed me about watching the rise and success of Obama and his team, three stand out:
      he is a listener first, standing in a tradition of great black preachers who feel the suffering of their people first, then help them put their aspirations for a better life into words and actions;
      he always uses 'we' rather than 'me', recognizing that leadership is a set of relationships that enables people to work together to achieve what matters most to them;
      his skills of self-management in both attitudes and behaviours have grown constantly as he has moved to the centre of the world stage, learning from his mistakes and quietly but powerfully creating a new environment of hope for a better world.
The first real test of consequences - putting together an unprecedented campaign to gain the presidency - has been passed with flying colours.  The next tests - delivering on the promises - remain.  But there is a new spirit of pioneering confidence in the air in America and around the world. 
I pray we can all find our unique voices deep in our souls to contribute our best to the pioneering possibilities that are emerging. 


brian at desk 2008 

Jim Kouzes' and Barry Posner's Core Chart for Great Leadership
Kouzes and Posner have been studying and teaching the dynamics of great leadership for over 25 years.  Their pioneering research started in 1983.   They sought to find patterns of success in the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people, people with the right ideas doing the right things.  Their report on their findings, The Leadership Challenge, now in its fourth edition, has sold over 1 million copies and is one of the most respected core charts for leadership available.  They have now amassed data from over 3 million interviews.  So, in the end, this is solidly grounded wisdom that really works.
Here's the core chart:
Modeling the way - through clarity of purpose, strength of character, and steadfastness in execution;
Inspiring a shared vision - through respectful and empathetic dialogue with those involved in the endeavour;
Challenging the process - through pioneering exploration of innovative ways of realizing the vision together;
Enabling others to act - through building trusting relationships that involve and support people in the complex and challenging task of working together;
Encouraging the heart - through helping people align their cherished values with their responsibilities and circumstances to achieve genuine acts of caring and contribution.
As with all of the core charts we've identified at Jazzthink, this one provides a foundation upon which you can build your own unique voice and brilliance in leadership, aligning your gifts and aspirations with others to contribute your collective best to what matters most.  It deals with attitudes, behaviours, and consequences coming together in a team performance that showcases the brilliance of each participant in a collective effort that makes a positive difference.
Each practice is an essential element in great leadership.  The melody of positive influence works best when you play all the notes in a pleasing combination.  Each person will manage these practices and craft these notes in slightly different ways, adding a richness of authenticity to the performance.  But together they form a flow of impact that creates amazing results.
Take a few minutes to think about how you are practicing these notes in your leadership and how you might improve your performance through giving them greater focus and attention.

What People Are Saying About Jazzthink
I met Brian first when we were both consultants with the same consultancy firm. At that time, I was impressed with his exceptional knowledge of leadership and his ability to distil breadth and depth of knowledge into workable, practical advice for leaders.
Since then, as a leadership consultant to a major healthcare organization, I've had the pleasure to work with Brian again. He has spoken on leadership imperatives to teams of senior and mid level managers within my organization. He is an eloquent and commanding speaker, and through his use of jazz as a metaphor, engages leaders in provocative and lively conversations on leadership.
Brian's clear values on the dignity of people, coupled with his knowledge of his subject, make him an outstanding consultant and speaker on leadership and I will be working with him again in the future.
Christopher Neep, MBA, B.Sc.,
Leadership and Management Development,
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Enjoy Great Jazz in Vancouver 

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