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March 2009 | Volume 2, Issue #9

In This Issue
Charles Handy's Core Chart for Great Leadership
Jazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
What Brian's Been Writing
Preview a sampling of slides that Jazzthink uses
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
Trying to figure out how to lead in turbulent times is tough work.  The pressures from outside can seem crushing - doom-and-gloom news with little depth or clarity in analysis, frightening personal loses of resources and/or employment, and panic all around that undermines the ability to think collectively and creatively about new ways of doing what needs to be done to co-create a different future.  In times like these, self-aware and self-confident leadership is crucial.  And that requires dealing positively with the pressures from outside by using your unique strengths for the common good. 
If you model a way of leadership that contributes to shaping the future according to a vision of personal and social benefit, then you will bring calm, curiosity, and appreciation into a world that is all too short of them.  You will be the best you can be at being you and that's the most powerful source of influence you can offer.  Being the best leader you can be is the challenge of this unique moment in history.
Russell Malone The February 2009 issue of Down Beat magazine features short profiles of great jazz guitarists.  Russell Malone is one of them.  "When it comes to being Russell Malone," he's quoted as saying, "I'm the best there is - no one will ever be able to outdo me at that.  I stopped worrying about trying to be someone else's expectation of what a jazz guitarist is.  What I'm concerned about is being the best musician that I can be."
There are lots of expectations out there about what great leadership is.  Some of them - those that I'm highlighting as leadership core charts in these e-zines, for example - are full of wisdom developed by watching for and practicing the rituals of responsible influence.  But the key to making any of this work is to find your own groove, your own genius, your own brilliance in enabling people to work together to co-create a better future.  That's what being the best you can be in the field of leadership is all about.
So, what's your unique way of leading?  How can you practice the best leadership you have to offer to the common good?  Finding clarity on your answers to those questions won't make the tough work go away, but it will make it easier and more productive.
brian at desk 2008 
Charles HandyCharles Handy's Core Chart for Great Leadership
Charles Handy moved from the safety of the corporation (Shell Oil) to the safety of academia (London School of Business) and then to the relative insecurity of what he calls "a portfolio life" of writing, speaking, and consulting.  He is one of the most reflective, wise writers on leadership and organizations that I have encountered.  He knows deep in his soul that leadership comes from deep in the soul.  The best leadership comes from those who know their inner resources best and trust them most.
Great leadership comes from people who are:
 Passionate - they really believe in the value of what they are doing and are continually assessing whether their attitudes and behaviours are delivering that value in the best ways possible
 Tough - they actively seek to understand and manage risk honestly and courageously
 Willing to admit they don't know it all - they constantly seek the wisdom of others by convening conversations for feedback, exploration, assessment, and deciding on how best to move forward
This, Handy concludes, is the kind of leadership that gets commitment from people.
Handy's father was the rector of a small Church of Ireland (Anglican) parish in Kildare for forty years.  He was, Handy thought, a quiet man who lived a quiet life and Handy admitted to being disappointed in him for settling "for a humdrum life in the same little backwater."  That changed when Handy attended his father's funeral.  Hundreds of people attended the service, including a choir of boys and girls gathered from across Ireland and the Primate of Ireland.  What Handy realized was that his father had touched the souls of all these people from deep within his own soul.  After toying with the idea of going into the priesthood himself, he realized that his best way of touching people's lives in the way modeled by his father was to continue to write and teach about business and leadership.  They were his passion.  In those realms lay the tough questions he had thought through most fully.  Those were the fields of endeavour about which he yearned to learn more.
3Jazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
"What I've learned from leading jazz groups, and from being a sideman for that matter, is that a group functions best when the leader is strong, confident, and has a vision. Within the context of that, he must also give the members of the band the feeling that they are totally free to express themselves within the boundaries of what the leader is setting out to do. I often find myself describing an improvising quartet as an excellent example of living, dynamic democracy. ... I see the wisdom of team leadership lying in the ability to acknowledge and nurture each individual's freedom and creativity while simultaneously having the vision to create a group dynamic that takes the individuals bound together to a new and unforeseen place."
What Brian's Been Writing
"Working Smarter in HR: 5 Lessons from Jazz," in Perspectives, an online publication of the HR Council for the Voluntary and Non-profit Sector, February 2009. 
A review of Richard Axelrod's Terms of Engagement in Volunteer Vancouver's Vantage Point, February 2009. 


Enjoy Great Jazz in Vancouver 

The Cellar Logo

 "Vancouver's answer to the Village Vanguard, this small (70-seat) club/restaurant presents the best local jazz, as well as some touring acts.  Great sound, which has been used to enhance the club's record label, Cellar Live."
- Down Beat magazine's list of 100 best jazz clubs in the February 2009 issue