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July 2010 | Volume 4, Issue #1

In This Issue
Jazz Quote of the Month
Jazzthink in July
See the Jazzthink Session on Winds of Change TV
Invite Jazzthink to Help You Flourish
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
John CleeseIt's been an energizing start to the summer.  World Cup soccer has been on the tube.  The jazz festival has been happening all over Vancouver.  And a good friend sent us a video clip of John Cleese's biting comparison of soccer with American football.  Take a quick look to find out which one wins!
I was particularly struck by Cleese's comparison of soccer with jazz.  While it's only the briefest of allusions in the clip, I think there is some real depth to the idea.  Commentators have frequently referred to soccer as the beautiful or the elegant game.  The same is true of jazz as an art form, especially when it comes to the generation of swing.  
WyntonJazz musicians can play swing much easier than they can talk about it.  Wynton Marsalis is among the most articulate with words.  Here are some of his attempts to point to the meaning and impact of swing from Moving to Higher Ground (2008):
  • "... a torrent of ideas that came together and felt good."
  • "...a matter of equilibrium, of balance, of knowing when, how, and how much."
  • "... a subtle understanding of how your power can be magnified through joining with and sharing the power of another person."
  • "... requires three things.  ...extreme coordination, because it is a dance with other people who are inventing steps as they go.  ...intelligent decision making, because what's best for you is not necessarily best for the group or for the moment. ...[and] good intentions, because you have to trust that you and the other musicians are equally interested in making great music."
  • "... is also a great listener.  It cosigns and amens you and leads you deeper into what you want to say."
  • "And here is the sweetest part: It does that for everyone, whether he or she is playing or dancing or listening."
This summer, why not find some time to reflect on the swing of your conversations, on the ways you generate with your colleagues as you improvise together through the conversations that create your organization?  
  • Are you helping people feel good when that torrent of ideas happens? 
  • Are you intentionally practicing that balance of knowing when, how, and how much? 
  • Do you genuinely see that your power can be magnified by sharing the power of another? 
  • Are you practicing extreme coordination, intelligent decision making, and good intentions in a harmonious way? 
  • Are you listening well enough to draw everyone willingly into the endeavour?
Returning to the intense energy of your workplaces with greater clarity and willingness to practice these kinds of conversations will generate an elegance and beauty in your work akin to the best teams in soccer or the best groups in jazz.  That, in turn, will have a positive influence on all those who play, dance, and listen with you throughout your organization.  Achieving such results is well worth the intention and practice.
Jazz Quote of the Month 

ScottScott Hamilton played two nights at The Cellar in Vancouver during this year's jazz festival.  Jill and I heard him at the club on the Friday night and at a jam session on Sunday.  We were mesmerized by his virtuosity.  Dave Gelly once wrote this about Hamilton's playing:


Following a Scott Hamilton solo is like listening to a great conversationalist in full flow. First comes the voice, the inimitable, assured sound of his tenor saxophone, then the informal style and finally the amazing fluency and eloquent command of the jazz language.


Teams and their leaders flourish when their conversations are in this kind of full flow - voices are assured, styles are informal and flexible, and there is a command of the language of doing your work that is fluent and eloquent.

Jazzthink in July
Jazzthink will be doing a session with the Next Leaders Network at Vantage Point (1183 Melville St. in Vancouver) on Get REAL about Leadership: Lessons from Jazz.  The date is July 13, 2010 and the time is 3:30PM - 7:00PM.  Click here for information and registration. 
Brian will be doing a session on "Success in Your Search: Lessons from Jazz" for HAPPEN Vancouver on July 27, 2010, from 9:00AM - 10:30AM at the Summit Search Group, Suite 200, 1311 Howe Street.  Click here for details and registration.
See the Jazzthink Session on Winds of Change TV

Brian is interviewed by host Jivi Khehra and takes her through the signature Jazzthink exercise while listening to the Jazzthink Trio.  Click here to watch.

Invite Jazzthink to Help You Flourish
Jazzthink Logo Jazzthink can help you convene the kinds of conversations that will inspire flourishing teams and organizations. Click here to download our one-pager on getting REAL about your leadership and teamwork. Please pass it along to those in your organization who plan events and learning sessions.  We'd love to be part of provoking your brilliance. Many thanks for doing this. 

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."
The Cellar Jazz Club
- Down Beat magazine's list of 100 best jazz clubs in the February 2009 issue