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December 2011 | Volume 5, Issue #6      

In This Issue
The Jazz Quote of the Month
Let Jazzthink Provoke SMARTer Teamwork
A picture is worth...
Jazz Vespers at Christmas
Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club
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Dear Brian,


We are entering the season of gifts. I want to draw your attention to your own giftedness and the gift that you are to others. It is evident in the ways you choose to show up with others and for others.


In the midst of the pressure to buy things for others, consider as well the gift you can simply become to others during this season and in the year to come. You can become, should you choose to, a SMARTer presence in your communities by sharing your giftedness.


Just how does a SMARTer presence show up? Well, it shows up primarily in your conversations. It shows up in the sound and impact of your voice. It shows up in the vibes that your conversations generate. It shows up in the value your conversations contribute.


I can't find a source for this quote, but it hit home when someone sent it on Facebook:


Everyone is gifted - but some people never open their package.


During this season of gifts, let me encourage you to open your package of giftedness and distribute its contents with abandon and joy.


I wish you and yours a blessed holiday season and a flourishing new year.








The Jazz Quote of the Month


I got my copy of Robert G. O'Meally's wonderful collection of essays on jazz, The Jazz Cadence of American Culture, at a little second-hand music and book store on Mount Pleasant Avenue in Toronto. It's my old neighbourhood, where I had my first parish.  


There are over 600 pages of rich reflection on the ways jazz has shaped American culture at its best. O'Meally calls its influence "a subtle set of threads that sparkles within virtually every aspect of modern American living." In its soul, jazz is about democracy in action. It's about the gifts we can become to each other and to our planet. It's an affirmative, progressive stance toward a mean, old world. It's a rough-and-ready, hopeful, but unillusioned, attitude toward life. It's tremendously complex systems of creative interaction represent the sound of joy and are a gesture towards the better world we imagine is possible if ....


The best of the Occupy movement contains many of these characteristics - a hopeful, affirmative, progressive stance that invites unillusioned conversations that might just help us sort through the messy process of innovation that will improve our life together. Those conversations don't make the headlines. They can't be captured in a 15-second sound bite. But they are happening across North America and around the world. People are taking the time to imagine a better future. People are connecting and communicating with each other - having conversations about their dreams and schemes, about what's preferable and what's getting in the way, about how imagination can spark creativity and creativity can spark innovation.  


Maybe, just maybe, we're getting our groove back.




Let Jazzthink Provoke SMARTer Teamwork...


Jazzthink LogoWe're beginning to book Jazzthink sessions for 2012. We'd love to provoke SMARTer teamwork in your organization.


The three mistakes most teams make that prevent them from achieving their goals are:

  • Failing to get clear enough on the direction
  • Failing to create enough space for contribution
  • Failing to respect each other enough

A Jazzthink session - perhaps a keynote, a workshop, or an executive team consultation - will help you discover how to move beyond these mistakes and flourish.


Here's a Wordle composed from the key words that people wrote down to describe the qualities of great teamwork they saw in the performance of the Jazzthink Trio at a recent session:



Contact Brian at fraser@jazzthink.com to explore the possibilities. 


A picture is worth... (especially if it's a picture of words!)


Jazz Vespers  

Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club in December


Along with the usual lineup, there are some seasonal sessions worth considering - the We3 Queens, the B3 Kings, and the New Year Gala. Check out the Cellar's calendar and make your reservation.

The Cellar