Jazzthink Provoking Productive Teamwork

August 2010 | Volume 4, Issue #2

In This Issue
Jazz Quote of the Month
Appreciations of Jazzthink
Invite Jazzthink to Provoke Productive Teamwork
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
Jazz groups are constantly refining and improving their performance.  Jazzthink strives to do the same.  For the last couple of months, I've been reviewing how well we deliver value to our clients.  That has led to a tighter focus for our keynotes, seminars, and facilitations.  Jazzthink will now focus on provoking productive teamwork.  We want to help our clients generate REAL SMART Teamwork. (No, my addiction to acronyms has not changed!)  See the website for more detail on what REAL and SMART represent.
Jazz BandAs I reread my notes on the challenges and opportunities people discussed with me in preparation for a Jazzthink session, the recurring themes were toxic teams, under-performing talent, frequent turnover, and frustration with productivity in what mattered most to the organization.  The leadership issues that emerged were almost all related to the productivity of the team.  How do I motivate and mobilize my team?  How do I align the talent on my team?  How do I sustain the momentum of my team?  How do I refocus the attention of my team from the negative to the positive?  How do I support my team in continuous improvement and in producing exceptional results?  So leadership, as my clients see it, is a crucial part of productive teamwork.  But the real bottom line is the results produced by the team in the service of the organization, its customers, and the well-being of the broader community.    
The people who engage Jazzthink want something that will clarify how great teams work and something that will inspire their colleagues to move in that direction more consistently and effectively.  They want Jazzthink to provoke productive teamwork.  Their evaluations confirm that there is something about Jazzthink's unique blend of music, wisdom, and conversations that makes the insights and learnings of the session stick.
The Jazzthink essentials are still there.  Music moves the soul in uniquely powerful ways, so we will continue to begin our sessions by surfacing the wisdom in the room with the question, "What qualities of productive teamwork do you see in the performance of the jazz group?"  We still believe fervently that the key skill needed to improve productivity in teams is the ability to have the right conversations with the right people at the right time.  Teams improve their productivity one conversation after another.  Conversations are the essential tools in accomplishing the productive teamwork desired and in removing what's interfering with the specifics of reaching that goal.  Conversations are also the most common form of improvisation or jazz in human experience.  So Jazzthink helps people make the connection between the sounds generated by a swinging jazz group and the ways in which the sounds of their conversations generate productive teamwork where they work, serve, or worship.
I do have a BIG FAVOUR (not an acronym!) to ask.  I have revised the Jazzthink website to reflect this new focus.  If you can find a few moments to look at the new Homepage, Who We Are, and What We Do at www.jazzthink.com and send me your comments and suggestions for further improvements, I'll be so grateful that I will give you a copy of my new book - REAL SMART Teamwork: Jazz, Conversations, and Productive Collaboration - when it comes out this fall. Here's a question to consider while you are reading:
What changes would get me to strongly recommend Jazzthink to the person responsible for hiring speakers and seminar leaders in my organization?
Just e-mail me your comments and suggestions at fraser@jazzthink.com.  Many, many thanks.
Have a great summer with lots of refreshing rest.
Jazz Quote of the Month
I'm still immersing myself in the wisdom of Wynton Marsalis.  More than most, he recognizes that when a group of people try to invent something together - what teams actually do - there's bound to be a lot of conflict.  The key to success or failure is how team members handle themselves in the conflict and how they hone the sounds of their conversations to be constructive and productive.
Wynton MarsalisIn order to improvise something meaningful, I had to find and express whatever I had inside of me worth sharing with other people.  But at the same time it led me to a new awareness of others, because my freedom of expression was directly linked to the freedom of others on the bandstand.  I had something to say, and so did they.  The freer they were, the freer I could be, and visa versa.  To be heard demanded that we also listened to one another.  Closely.  And to sound good we had to trust each other. (Moving to Higher Ground, pp.12-13)
This is a great illustration of the attitudes and behaviours that generate productive teamwork in any realm of endeavour.  Take it to soul.
Appreciations of Jazzthink 
"Brian Fraser of Jazzthink provided a unique and compelling perspective on how people communicate and influence each other. Our group, primarily sales and career management professionals, took to his message enthusiastically, not only because it was delivered in an interesting and interactive manner, but because the tools he was proposing are so key to our business success. We really internalized his ideas and will be using them going forward."
Ken Tanner
Happen Vancouver
Invite Jazzthink to Provoke Productive Teamwork
Jazzthink LogoJazzthink can help you convene the kinds of conversations that will inspire flourishing teams and organizations. Click here to download our one-pager on REAL SMART Teamwork. Please pass it along to those in your organization who plan events and learning sessions. We'd love to be part of provoking productive teamwork in your organization. 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