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July 2009 | Volume 3, Issue #1

In This Issue
Core Chart for Great Leadership - Patrick Lencioni
Jazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
Check Out New BLOG
What's Brian Reading
Preview a sampling of slides that Jazzthink uses
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
Summer brings the promise of sabbatical, of times to reconnect with the source of peace and potential that gives your energy its focus and drive.  One of my favourite business thinkers, Henry Mintzberg, in a new article mentioned below, says that managers/leaders should be taking more time to slow down and reflect in order to help their colleagues engage in thoughtful action.  If your conversations are going to realize their full potential for establishing a positive groove of performance, they will have to be both caring and thoughtful.  That quality of conversation arises from the place of peace within.
The Board of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, which I have just joined, is chaired by Omowale Satterwhite, the founder and now senior advisor to the National Community Development Institute in Palo Alto, CA.  At the bottom of all his e-mails, he includes this quote from Alia Ahmed - "Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."  That is the peace that sabbaths are designed to help you re-discover and draw upon whenever the rush and rage of modern life seems about to overwhelm. 
I sincerely pray that you will find some powerful sabbath moments and rituals this summer.


Core Chart for Great Teamwork - Patrick Lencioni
Beginning with this first issue of volume 3 of the Jazzthink E-zine, we're shifting our attention from the core charts for leadership that we have been outlining for the past several months to core charts for teamwork. 
As you know, the two are intimately connected.  I've come to realize, in yet another BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious), that teamwork is the goal and benefit, while leadership is the means that serves this cause.  Without the outcome of improved teamwork that produces improved results, leadership is dysfunctional.  Without leadership that invites people into a community of positive endeavour, teams do not coalesce and grow.  So, we'll explore over the next several months some of the best core charts for great team work that I've uncovered in my research and practice.
Patrick LencioniPatrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (2002) is one of the most widely used frameworks or core charts for understanding the essentials of great team work.  My only quibble is that it draws your attention first to the problems with teams.  I'd start with the potential for great teams to which the people in your organization aspire. 
Here's Lencioni's 5-point core chart to play around with reframed in positive terms.  Great teams: 
  • trust one another
  • engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas
  • commit to decisions and plans of action
  • hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans
  • focus on the achievement of collective results
People on the teams I've worked with have an innate understanding of these truths and the flow of conversation that is necessary to make them really work on a sustained basis.  They know this is what a great team does, even if they have not figured out how to embed these habits into their behaviour. 
In our Jazzthink teamwork experiences, we ask people what qualities of great teamwork they see in the performance of a jazz group.  This works really well to identify quickly but profoundly the possibilities people want to realize.  It's their wisdom, not that of some outside expert.  In most cases, they come up with pretty much everything the experts on teamwork have suggested.  The next steps involve helping people see what's getting in the way of achieving those aspirations and beginning to imagine and support ways to change their attitudes and behaviours that contribute to the creation of those barriers.  Ideally, they take personal responsibility for what they are contributing to the toxic influences in their workplaces and choose to act in more positive constructive ways.
For a one-page Jazzthink Thought Provoker that you can use with your team to convene a conversation about this core chart, click here.   
To see an insightful clip (2 min 29 sec) of Lencioni talking on trust and mutual accountability, click here
Danah ZoharJazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
"A quantum organization would be like a jazz jam session.  In a symphony orchestra, each player concentrates on one instrument and one segment of the score, and the conductor constructs the whole out of these parts.  Conductors' interpretations differ, and thus so can the sound of an identical symphony played by different orchestras, but the whole is always the sum of its parts, and the essential score doesn't change.  In a jazz jam session, players are often expert at different instruments, and there is no set score and no conductor.  There is an evolving background theme, an emergent whole that organizes the parts, but the composite sound is always a surprise. 
... A quantum organization would create infrastructures where different questions can be asked, different goals considered, different products or functions imagined.   Roles would be less fixed, employees encouraged to play different instruments and to experiment with the score.  A quantum leader would see himself holding the space where the background theme can emerge.  Quantum selves are designed to thrive at the edge.  A quantum organization would have some infrastructures that allow the free play of uncertainty."
- Danah Zohar, Rewiring the Corporate Brain, p.126

Check Out New BLOG  
Follow Brian's new blog at www.jazzthinker.wordpress.com

What's Brian Reading
It's not a book this month, but an article that just arrived in this summer's Harvard Business Review.  Henry Mintzberg writes about rebuilding companies and organizations as communities, as places of engagement where people are committed to one another and their enterprises.  Drawing inspiration from Peter Block's Community: The Structure of Belonging and using Toyota, Semco (in Brazil), and Pixar as examples, Mintzberg outlines ways in which he and colleagues have designed programs to help managers and their organizations become the kind of communities that engage the passions and talents of the brightest and best.  He highlights the development of small groups, of taking time to reflect on group learnings from experience, of realizing that small initiatives can grow into big strategies if developed well, of the power of small teams to infect the rest of the organization with 'communityship', and of ways in which these kinds of attitudes and behaviours within the organization create a socially active, responsible, and beneficial presence in the broader community.
Jazzthink is dedicated to provoking companies and organizations to imagine and co-create these kinds of productive communities.
To purchase access to the whole article, click here.


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