Jazzthink Provoking Productive Teamwork

September 2010 | Volume 4, Issue #3

In This Issue
Jazz Quote of the Month
Tune Up Your Team with Jazzthink
Strengthen Your Capacity Building
Become a Certified Professional Coach
The Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links
BleedornI've found a new heroine.  Her name is Berenice (Bee) Bleedorn and she's in her late 90s, as near as I can figure.  She graduated from high school in 1929 and got her PhD at the age of 73.  She taught education, business and entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, for 17 years, founded the Institute for Creative Studies there, and was inducted into the Creative Education Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009.  She is a tireless advocate of the importance of creativity for higher-level thinking and of the limitless potential of creativity and innovation in human beings.
A couple of weeks ago, I re-discovered an article of hers I had downloaded and saved (didn't note the source, I'm afraid) on "Creative Teamwork and All That Jazz." It is brilliant.
If teams in the workplace were to perform like a jazz group, Bleedorn suggests, their guidelines would go something like this:
  • Listen carefully to everyone else - be supportive
  • Balance the leadership and followership - give everyone a chance to solo
  • Be sensitive to the moods (internal environments) of others
  • Trust your intuitions
  • Risk expressing your ideas, even when you are not totally sure of them
  • Be playful - lighten up and think smart simultaneously
  • Be open to new, experimental patterns and directions from outside the box
  • Bring the outside world into the picture - think systemically
  • Mutual love and respect helps the job get done
At the heart and soul of business success, Bleedorn believes, is harmonious and productive teamwork.  That's what you find in a jazz group and that's what more businesses and organizations need in these complex and unpredictable times. 
Jazz Quote of the Month
Stephen Nachmanovitch was the first person who drew my attention to the connection between jazz and conversation.  "Every conversation," he wrote, "is a form of jazz."  Morgan Gould, a friend who I met through the networks at Vantage Point, actually studied with him shortly after Nachmanovitch completed his PhD with Gregory Bateson and remembers him as "the wunderkind of teachers."  Here's a great quote from the Wikipedia article on him that connects conversations with creativity and innovation.  
Stephen NachmanovitchIt is the most normal thing in the world to improvise. We improvise every time we say a sentence, but we are told in our veneration of the masters that the creative process is some sort of mysterious and godlike thing only possessed by a few people - when in fact we are improvising all the time, creating all the time.
With every conversation you have in your team, you have the opportunity to be creative and innovative in finding better ways to be productive.  The choice of taking advantage of that opportunity is yours.  The quality of each conversation is the quality of your team in that moment.  Taken all together, those moments are your productivity.
Tune Up Your Team with Jazzthink
Jazzthink LogoMost teams I know can use a tune up to improve productivity.  Jazzthink wants to do that for your team.  It doesn't much matter how big or small the group.  We've done it with teams of 10, with organization-wide gatherings of up to 600, and with conference gatherings of over 1,000.  The dynamics in each case are different, but the results are similar.  People leave a Jazzthink experience with a renewed vision of what's possible in their teamwork through improved conversation with each other - simple tools that produce exceptional benefits.  They have a clearer grasp of the attitudes and behaviours that generate consequences that serve their desire to change the world for the better.  We'd love to work with your team this fall to help increase its productivity.  Give us a call (604-862-6414) or send us an e-mail (fraser@jazzthink.com) to explore the possibilities and advantages generating REAL SMART Teamwork™ with your colleagues.
Strengthen Your Capacity Building

Alliance LogoThe Alliance for Nonprofit Management is the premier association of capacity builders in the nonprofit sector in North America.  Its annual conference - Capacity Building at a Crossroads: A National Convening - is scheduled this year for October 6-8 in St. Louis, MO.  This is a marvellous network of very bright people dedicated to organizational and social transformation.  Their conference is always a provocative event of outstanding value.  I have enjoyed working with them on their board this past year.  Click on the link above for more information and to register.
Become a Certified Professional Coach
Demers LogoAn increasing number of professional capacity builders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors are realizing the power and potential of adding ICF (International Coach Federation) certification in coaching to their tool kits.  The Demers Group's Core Alignment Professional Coach Training Program is now available in Calgary and Vancouver.  Founded and designed by one of Canada's most respected pioneer coaches, Lori-anne Demers, the program is marked by three distinguishing strengths from other popular programs:
  • More serious attention paid at the beginning of the program to identifying and accessing the coach's personal essence and power to be used in the service of the client
  • More supervised practice and mentoring throughout the program
  • More ongoing support in the business of setting up and sustaining a successful coaching practice
Lori-anne designed the initial programs at Royal Roads University, Erickson College, and the Adler School of Professional Coaching.  All of that experience and more has been refined and improved upon in offering her own ICF-accredited professional coach training program now.  I am honoured to be on the Vancouver faculty for this program.
The next cohort in Vancouver starts on February 13, 2011 and in Calgary on January 16, 2011.  Click here to find our more and register for the next cohort in the city closest to you.

Enjoy Great Jazz in Vancouver 

The Cellar Logo

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Cellar Jazz Club, one of DownBeat's 100 best jazz clubs in the world.  Owner Cory Weeds has been the leader of the Jazzthink Trio since we began our work 8 years ago.  Cory is bringing in a group of New York's finest jazz musicians, One for All, to celebrate this milestone in live jazz in Vancouver.  For more information and reservations, click here.
The Cellar Jazz Club