Jazzthink Provoking Productive Teamwork

October 2010 | Volume 4, Issue #4

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
Laurie MaslakLaurie Maslak is a Calgary-based consultant who focuses on the kind of people that create great teams.  She did her doctoral work on leadership at Capella University.  People, she noted in a post in AI Digest on Sept 4, 2010, are the key to any organization's success. Without the people, the organization is little more than a building or an entity on paper.
Maslak has found in her research and experience that the secret to productive teamwork is bringing together people who: 
  • share a common set of values
  • believe in the vision/mission of the company
  • are aware of their strengths and their blind spots
  • are keen to continually learn
  • are determined to see opportunity over challenge
  • are curious
  • strive for innovation and creativity
  • are "leaders" with or without titles (being masters of their own domain and selves)
This list is pretty close to the qualities of great teamwork participants in our Jazzthink experiences have seen and heard in the performance of the Jazzthink Trio.  It's yet another great core chart for productive teamwork.  Think about  using it to assess how well your team measures up.  
  • Is there a clear set of values everyone shares? 
  • Does everyone have a strong commitment to the purpose of the organization? 
  • Are team members encouraged and supported in identifying their strengths and improving their weaknesses, in that order? 
  • Are your team members keen to learn and are you enabling them to do so? 
  • Do you treat mistakes as opportunities to learn? 
  • Do you practice the kind of curiosity that invites others to contribute their wisdom to innovative and creative approaches? 
  • Do you respect the capabilities of your team members enough to let them be masters in their own domains, while being ready to mentor and coach when asked?
If you are hestitant about answering any of these questions with a confident Yes, then it might be a good time to convene some conversations with your team to explore ways of improving your productivity.
If Jazzthink can help provoke those conversations, let us know.
Jazz Quote of the Month
Knowledge Network British Columbia rebroadcast Ken Burn's film, Jazz, this summer and early fall.  The series includes several wonderful clips of Burns' interviews with Matt Glaser, including this answer to the question, "What is jazz teaching us?"
Matt GlaserWell, I'm most interested in the metaphysical lessons about rhythm and, you know, being a musician is an interesting thing because music is one of the few things that involves your body, your emotions, your mind and your spirit, all operating simultaneously. It's hard to think of other things. You're playing, your body is involved. You're feeling emotions, you want to express something emotionally. Your mind is active, it's constructing structures over the chord changes of this particular tune. And your spirit, it's a prayerful kind of thing, so in that sense it's a very rare gift to be a musician, to be able to spontaneously as a jazz musician have conversations with other people in which all of the parts of themselves are embodied and happening at the same time. It's pretty amazing.
I have one minor quibble with Glaser.  Conversation, as we keep saying at Jazzthink, is the most common form of jazz in human experience.  So everyone uses their voice like a jazz musician in every conversation.  I think that is the kind of gift Glaser describes so eloquently in this quote, but I don't think the ability to speak this way is that rare.  Making the choice to sound that good, then practicing it seriously - now that may very well be rare!  Are you up to the challenge?
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.  They offer a great series of webinars on various aspects of capacity building for organizations.  Take a look at this fall's line up by clicking here.
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 

For information on October's schedule and reservations, click here.