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January 2010 | Volume 3, Issue #7

In This Issue
Everyone Needs a Coach
Jazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
Where Can You Experience Jazzthink Live?
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
As we embark on a new year with new opportunities and challenges, I find myself thinking about durability in business, whether your business is for-profit, social benefit, government, or faith-based.  We all are involved in a mission and we are all responsible in some way for running the business of fulfilling that mission.  If we want the mission to succeed, we need to pay attention to the durability of the people and processes that enable it to succeed.  That, in my mind, is our business.

PeterPeter Drucker had a delightfully contrarian mind that still provokes some our best business thinkers.  As John E. Flaherty reported in Peter Drucker: Shaping the Managerial Mind (1999), Drucker admired organizations that endured over the long term, reconciling and balancing the tensions between continuity and change and adapting to the emerging needs of different times and different places.  No organization in Western history has done that better over a longer period of time, in Drucker's opinion, than the Christian church - 2000 years+ to be precise.  Of particular note for Drucker was the way the church at its best inspired ordinary people to do outstanding things. (276-277)
All of this got me thinking about what makes the church such a successful culture.  What can other organizations learn from the durability of the church's culture?
ChristianThere are five marks of the church that most Christian scholars would agree form the core of its durability.  As you read through the list, think of the equivalent practice in your organization.  Are you doing some version of all of these elements?  How well are you paying attention to the ways in which they all work together to create systemic and robust health in your organization?  What conversations can you convene to make this mix work more effectively?

  1. The core meaning and mission of the organization - for the church, witnessing to the Gospel or good news of God's redeeming love in Jesus Christ - kerygma (message)
  2. The relationships that bind the organization together in serving its meaning and mission - for the church, the communities that gather in local congregations and connect through regional, national, and international church bodies - koinonia (community)
  3. The gatherings that connect people afresh on a regular basis with the core purpose and practices of the organization - for the church, this happens most frequently in worship - liturgia (celebration)
  4. The significance of the meaning and mission as applied to opportunities and challenges that arise in the organization's work - for the church, teaching and education - didiche (teaching)
  5. The benefits that the organization creates in delivering its mission - for the church, the work Christians do individually and collectively to practice its purpose of sharing God's love - diakonia (community)
The best description of Drucker that I've run across (and I can't remember where) called him a "social ecologist."  He was fascinated by the complex mix of things that made organizations work, especially those elements in organizational culture that attracted and retained allegiance and consent among those who did the organization's work. 
Figuring out how well your organization practices and integrates all these elements in its social ecology is a good exercise as your begin this new year.  Then, of course, you will need to convene conversations to discover ways of sustaining and improving your organization's durability.


Brian Fraser
"Everyone Needs a Coach" says Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google.
Here's a 40-second clip from one of the world's most influential CEOs that makes a simple but compelling case for the value of coaching.  Listen here.   
At Jazzthink, our coaching takes you through a process similar to the honing of the talent of a great jazz musician.  We build your capacity to use your voice to inspire and align great performances among those with whom you work.  We
  • draw out the best you have to offer;
  • collaborate with you to provoke better ways of using your strengths to serve your purpose; and
  • keep you focused on deliberately practicing conversations that will enhance your positive influence on colleagues and customers/clients. 
Accomplished artists and athletes practice continually and use coaches to keep them focused on learning to do what they do even better.  How about you?  To set up a free consultation on what coaching with Jazzthink could do for you, e-mail me at fraser@jazzthink.com
The Jazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
Daniel J. Levitin, "Dancing in the Seats," New York Times, October 27, 2007

McNeill"Some of the strongest bonds in our society are formed by people who march together in military units, as William McNeill, the historian, has pointed out. Members of orchestras and performing groups today likewise develop bonds. As Frank Zappa told me years ago, playing music with other people can be more intimate than any other activity. The turn-taking and accommodation involved call for great amounts of empathy and generosity."
Daniel J. Levitin, a professor of psychology and music at McGill University, is the author of "This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession."

Where Can You Experience Jazzthink Live?
High-Functioning Teams: Lessons from Jazz for BCODN on January 18, 7pm - 9pm, Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown in Vancouver. 


Brian and the Jazzthink Trio will engage participants in discovering what qualities of great teamwork can be seen in a jazz performance, how the wisdom in the room stacks up against the best of the research and reflection in the field, and what practical steps can be taken in the workplace and with clients to nurture high-functioning teams.  Participants will leave with a revived awareness of and commitment to the power of initiating conversations that foster productive communities of practice in whatever area they may be working.  It's as simple, and complex, as crafting a great jazz performance.


Click here to find out more and register.


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