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February 2010 | Volume 3, Issue #8

In This Issue
Jazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
Listen to Dawna Jones interview Brian about Jazzthink
Watch Brian and the Jazzthink Trio on Winds of Change TV
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
The Leader of the FutureThe Leader to Leader Institute sends out great leadership tips on a daily basis.  On January 5, this tip came from Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes. "The very best leaders understand it's about inspiring a shared vision, not about selling their own idiosyncratic view of the world."
There is a lot of substance in those 21 words.  Three words strike me as particularly suggestive for thinking through the kinds of conversations we can convene to practice even better management/leadership - "inspiring," "shared," and "idiosyncratic."

The Inspiring LeaderZenger, Folkman, and Edinger worked through a data base of more than 200,000 feedback instruments used to rate over 20,000 managers.  They found that "inspires and motivates to high performance" was the single most important capability that marked leaders who were respected and positively influential.  Inspiration was the "seasoning" that brought out the full flavours of other competencies.  Inspiration breathed flourishing life into the team, or unit, or whole organization.  Being curious to find out what your colleagues deeply value and helping them align their efforts around that core purpose is the key to providing sustainable inspiration.
Management and leadership do not happen in isolation or in a vacuum.  They only occur with others and in a specific context where influences are woven together to produce results.  Everything in management and leadership is a shared effort, a collective endeavour.  Convening conversations that allow colleagues to explore and co-create a deeply shared vision is essential to inspirational influence.  This is part of a subtle but powerful shift from idolization of the know-it-all celebrity to respect for the learning collaborator.
When I see the word "idiosyncratic," I can't help thinking of "idiotic," literally "a private person who lacks expertise."  Both words come from a Greek root meaning "private." To try and sell your own version of the world and what needs to happen, and pass that off as leadership, is "idiotic."  And I've met a lot of that kind of leader in my time.  I've also been that kind of leader more than I'd like to admit!  And because I've been there, I can tell you it doesn't work in the long run.  Without taking the time to build broad, shared ownership of an inspiring collective vision, your efforts remain isolated and private.  You lack the expertise to exercise inspiring leadership.  You lack the expertise to make leadership the team sport that it is.
So, what conversations can you convene today that will clarify and advance the shared vision around which you and your colleagues create value?

Brian Fraser
Jazz, Leadership, and Teamwork Quote of the Month
Brian HaymanMy good friend and colleague in using jazz to help leaders and teams imagine better ways of performing, Brian Hayman, penned these words of wise meaning in his latest newsletter:
... Richard Rorty ... distinguishes between a search for certainty and a search for knowledge where he describes the latter as "a matter of conversation and social practice"; a "project of finding new, better, more interesting and more fruitful ways of speaking."
I can think of no better way to describe the improvised musical conversation of a jazz jam session than to say it involves musicians "finding new, better, more interesting and more fruitful ways of speaking" with each other. And like learning to think, it takes practice. For jazzers, the uncertainty never goes away - we wouldn't want it to because it's the source of everything new, creative and innovative that goes on in the course of an improvised performance. While I have known this to true, it wasn't until reading [Ann] Berthoff that it occurred to me think of a jazz performance as the product of the collective imagination. It is not, after all, only the imagination of the improvising soloist that's engaged in the performance, but the imaginations of the other musicians as they support and interact with the soloist. (The audience, too, becomes a participant in this act of collective imagination, but that's a matter for another time.)
Click here to visit Brian's website and sign up for his newsletter.

Listen to Dawna Jones interview Brian about Jazzthink
Dawna JonesLast month, Dawna Jones, the evolutionary provocateur of InSight Out Consulting Inc, interviewed Brian about leadership, teamwork, and jazz for Management Issues, a website that seeks to remain at the heart of the changing workplace.  To listen, click here

And watch Brian and the Jazzthink Trio on Winds of Change TV

Jivi Khehra discusses with Brian what qualities of great leadership she sees in a performance by the Jazzthink Trio in Episode 2 of her new Winds of Change TV show on Joy TV (Channel 10 in Metro Vancouver).  The interview will first air on February 6 at 3:00PM in the afternoon.  Following the airing, it will be posted on the Winds of Change website and on the Jazzthink website.
What People Are Saying About Jazzthink

"Brian was excellent.  He gave a new slant to how music and teambuilding can mesh together.  He acknowledged everyone's input and gave a very positive and excellent presentation that we all enjoyed.  An excellent speaker and communicator, he gave some great advice on the importance of being authentic and prepared for any business conversation, whether a sales pitch or interview.  Also, he highlighted the importance of being flexible and prepared to adapt to the other person's needs.  He's a great supporter of Happen and we'd always welcome Brian back."


Frances McKenzie

Speakers Coordinator

Happen Canada


"By demonstrating great teamwork and tapping into the wisdom in the room, Brian and the Jazzthink Trio left me thinking about how, like the leader of a jazz band, I can carefully initiate conversations between team members who might otherwise not be talking so we can all work together more effectively.  Thanks so much for giving our members such a fun and effective learning experience that will help us to be better leaders and consultants!"


Lisa Ryan


British Columbia Organizational Development Network



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