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May 2011 | Volume 4, Issue #11      

In This Issue
Jazz Quote of the Month
Hot Off the Press!
Core Alignment Programs at the Demers Group
Monthly Jazz Vespers at Brentwood Presbyterian Church
Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club
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Dear Brian, 


MichaelLeave a book out for me to see and I want to read it.  At very least, I want to read the introduction.  So, I couldn't resist looking at Jane McGonigal's Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (2011) that lay on my step-son's office table.  His name is Michael Fergusson and he is CEO of Ayogo, where they create "Games for Good."


What attracted my attention in the introduction to McGonigal's book, and in the ways Michael talks about his work, is the human aspirations that they are designing for.  At Ayogo, it's human connection, motivation, education, and the promotion of health and wellness. For McGonigal, it's being fully alive, focused, engaged, having power and heroic purpose, being in community, and enjoying the exhilaration of accomplishment.


McGonigalMichael thinks McGonigal probably overestimates the ability of games to do all of that, but they do meet a lot of these aspirations for a lot of people - most of them younger than me.Let me be honest.I still feel challenged by Pac Man!


What's important for me in all of this, however, is the idea of designing something seriously and carefully to meet these kinds of human aspirations. That's what people in teams, especially people leading teams, should be doing every day, one conversation after another. If the primary place people are finding these aspirations met is online through a computer in the solitude of their work/play space, then something is missing from their work life, something a well-designed team dynamic can supply.


So, here's a quick quiz with 8 questions about how well your conversations generated productive teamwork yesterday.  We'll use a simple likert scale. 1 is not very effectively and 5 is very effectively. 


I invited a good connection with my colleagues.  

1         2        3        4        5


I motivated people in a positive way.                 

1        2        3        4        5


I encouraged all of us to learn.                         

1        2        3        4        5


I promoted health and wellness.                        

1        2        3        4        5


I felt fully alive and engaged.                           

1        2        3        4        5


I used my power for an heroic purpose.             

1        2        3        4        5


I cultivated good community.                            

1        2        3        4        5


I felt exhilarated by what I accomplished.           

1        2        3        4        5


Take a moment to reflect on your score and think about ways to improve your performance tomorrow. And remember, playing the game of SMARTer teamwork is an experience that draws together all of these aspirations into a masterful performance. 


Not only is it fun, but it is crucial for making this world a better place to flourish for all of us.






Jazz Quote of the Month


Bruce BrittonBruce Britton is a consultant and trainer based in St. Andrew's, Scotland, who enables organizations to recognise their collective expertise, develop their intelligence, increase their adaptability, and become healthier and more enjoyable places in which to work. He finds those qualities in jazz groups and has begun to bring that metaphor into his work with organizations. Here's what he wrote in his blog on May 13, 2010:


Although it may sound like an unlikely combination (that happens to bring together two of my key interests) I'm not the only person to think that jazz improvisation may provide us with some insights into the way effective teams and organisations work and learn. The tired metaphor of an organisation being like an orchestra doesn't really fit present-day realities. Orchestras work from detailed scores and the analogy of organisations working from predictable strategic plans no longer seems relevant when our working environments are so unpredictable that flexibility and responsiveness are what's needed. But start thinking about organisations as jazz groups made of individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to improvise around a basic tune, able to solo when necessary and 'comp' when others take the spotlight and aha! now we are getting somewhere.


I particularly like his contrast of the orchestra and the jazz group. As he noted in a later blog last year, there are orchestras that do operate more like jazz groups, but most still operate from detailed scores/strategic plans that make it difficult to be flexible and responsive in a changing environment. The price of such rigidity is low credibility with both employees and customers. They know that life is composed in the moment, works best when there is a carefully designed melody line around which there is freedom to improvise, and requires agile and adaptive support. That's the kind of approach that will bring out and retain their best. You generate this quality of teamwork one conversation after another, using your voice to create the kinds of sounds and impacts you experience in the performance of a great jazz group. 



bookletHot Off the Press!


The first publication from our new Jazzthink Press is a 16-page booklet outlining the core benefits and processes of SMARTer teamwork. Every participant in a Jazzthink gig will get one as a core chart of what they can carry forward into their teamwork. If you'd like some for your team, just let me know how many and I'll send them out to you. The e-booklet is also on our website. Click here to review it and feel free to share the link with your colleagues.



Core Alignment Programs at the Demers Group


logo Demers Group

Consider participating in any or all of these Core Alignment programs from the Demers Group to remember who you are, discover what you love, and be true to yourself, then lead and coach from that core essence.


The Power of Coaching Dialogues


    May 18, 2011, from 1-4PM in Calgary

    June 8, 2011, from 1-4PM in Vancouver


Core Alignment Personal Power


    May 27-29 in Vancouver

    Sept 16-18 in Vancouver


Core Alignment Professional Coach Training


    3rd BC Cohort begins in Vancouver Oct 16-21, 2011    

    7th AB Cohort begins in Calgary Mar 4-9, 2012


For more details on all these programs, click here.




Monthly Jazz Vespers at Brentwood Presbyterian Church 


Jazzthink Trio 


Jazz Vespers at Brentwood Presbyterian Church in May will feature the Jazzthink Trio - Cory Weeds on sax, Bill Weeds on bass, and Doug Stephenson on bass. It's on the last Sunday of the month - May 29 at 4:00PM. They will be playing from their souls to ours and we'd love to have you join us for the experience.


May 2011 banner


Enjoy Great Jazz in Vancouver

The Cellar 
For information on May's schedule and reservations, click here.