Jazzthink Provoking Productive Teamwork

November 2010 | Volume 4, Issue #5

In This Issue
Jazz Quote of the Month
Enjoy Our First Jazzthink Jam
Find Out about the Demers Group
What's Brian Been Writing?
Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club
Quick Links

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Measha Brueggergosman is gifted with a unique and powerful voice.  This Canadian opera singer (she also sings some pretty swinging jazz standards as seen in her performance on Bravo!Canada's Live at the Rehersal Hall) credits her success to being teachable and appreciating the gifts of others.  She is a Canadian good-will ambassador for the African Medical and Research Foundation, using her voice, passion and energy to bring hope and zest to refugee camps in northern Uganda, as seen in this photo. 

Measha BrueggergosmanIn a recent interview in Canadian Business (September 27, 2010), the accompanying photo reveals some of the secrets of Brueggergosman's success.  Written ([perhaps tattooed?) on her forearm are five words: self-control, wisdom, laughter, truth, and forgiveness.  These attitudes and behaviours, I imagine, help her learn and align with others.  They got me thinking about how I've seen these things show up in the lives of coaching clients who succeed in transforming their contribution and leadership in their teams.


To show up well in their teams, they have to manage themselves with considerable self-control.  They contribute best when they are knowledgeable about and confident in their own gifts, but discipline the way they are offered.  Some talk of it as establishing rapport - meeting colleagues where they are and walking with them into a better way of working together.


They are hungry to learn from the wisdom of others.  Curiosity and love of learning are two of the strengths that rate highest in their Values in Action assessments.  They know they cannot know everything themselves these days, so cultivating relationships in which wisdom is both shared and generated is crucial to success.


Taking themselves more lightly, with a healthy sense of humour, leads to the kind of laughter that energizes a team.  They can acknowledge their mistakes as opportunities to learn and recognize that there is always a second chance to enjoy greater success.


They realize that the most important truth to pursue is the truth of their personal power.  The essence of the way they show up in their teams is rooted deep within their souls.  By paying attention to who they admire most, what they value most, and what they enjoy most, these clients compose a vision and mission for themselves.  They walk confidently into that truth as they navigate the stresses and challenges of their lives.  It serves them as a compass for authentic flourishing.


Without forgiveness of others and self, they stay stuck in negativity.  The anxieties and fears that arise from this dysfunctional state drains their energy and toxifies their ways of showing up.  Forgiveness dissolves anger and fertilizes hope.  It forms the foundation for emotional freedom to connect in positive productive ways.


I have no idea whether the dynamics I have described are at work in Measha Brueggergosman's evolving career as one of the world's great sopranos, but I do know that they have generated success for many of my coaching clients. 



Jazz Quote of the Month


John Gottman has spent over 40 years studying relationships and how to strengthen them.  He and his team at the University of Washington in Seattle observe how emotional connections are made and broken and analyze the consequences.  They frame their work in terms of bids for emotional connection and responses to those bids.  The most positive results in building and enhancing relationships of all kinds come when people choose to "turn towards" the bids for connection.  Gottman likens this dynamic to the exchanges in a jazz duet.


John GottmanNeither musician knows exactly where the piece is going, but they get their cues by tuning in to one another.  One musician's set of notes is a bid that stimulates musical ideas in the other musician.  On his own, neither could create the magic that happens as a result of their collaboration.  The music they create together takes on a life of its own, born of their positive, willing interaction.


Too often in the conversations through which we bid and respond at work, we "turn away" or "turn against."  Both of these forms of behaviour produce negative consequences.  Learning to step into a conversation in ways that enable and sustain emotional connections is crucial to cultivating productive teamwork.

Enjoy Our First Jazzthink Jam
on November 22, 2010

Nov. 22 event

Find Out about the Demers Group
Coach Approach

Demers Group logoOn Wednesday, Nov 17, from 1:00 - 4:00PM, I will be facilitating a Coach Approach session for the Demers Group at our new offices in the Viva Tower at Drake and Howe in Vancouver.  This is an opportunity to learn more about the Demers approach to the power of coaching to increase your ability to empower yourself and others. There is no charge for this session.  For more information and to register, e-mail Brian at fraser@jazzthink.com.

What's Brian Been Writing?

"Governing Yourself for Productive Board Work" in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review, Sept 15, 2010.


"SMART Conversation" in the BCODN Newsletter, October, 2010.


REAL SMART Teamwork TM - the blog


Enjoy Great Jazz in Vancouver
The Cellar 

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