October 2007 | Volume 1, Issue #4

In This Issue
Quote of Note
The Wisdom in the Room
For Busy Nonprofit Leaders
A Fun Place
Upcoming Events
Quick Links

We've had the privilege this month of engaging in a number of conversations at Jazzthink gigs on the relationship between jazz and leadership and jazz and the workplace. The conversations we generated and the feedback we got continues to convince us of the power of jazz to provoke and inspire new ways to deal positively with the opportunities and challenges of today's workplace.


Take a moment and explore what we've discovered.

Quote of Note

This month's quote comes from Donald A. Schön's book, Educating the Reflective Practitioner: Toward a New Design for Teaching and Learning in the Professions (1987). Schön (1930-1997) taught at MIT and made a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the theory and practice of learning. His innovative thinking around notions such as 'the learning society', 'double-loop learning' and 'reflection-in-action' has become part of the language of education and organizational development. He was an accomplished pianist and clarinetist and found in jazz a perfect example of how we learn in the midst of acting.


"When good jazz musicians improvise together, they similarly display reflection-in-action smoothly integrated into ongoing performance. ...


Their process resembles the familiar patterns of everyday conversation. In good conversation – in some respects predictable and in others not – participants pick up and develop themes of talk, each spinning out variations on her repertoire of things to say. Conversation is collective verbal improvisation. At times it falls into conventional routines – the anecdote with side comments and reactions, for example, or the debate – which develop according to a pace and rhythm of interaction that the participants seem, without conscious deliberation, to work out in common within the framework of an evolving division of labor. At other times, there may be surprises, unexpected turns of phrase or directions of development to which participants invent on-the-spot responses.


In such examples, the participants are making something. Out of musical materials or themes of talk, they make a piece of coherence. Their reflection-in-action is a reflective conversation with the materials of a situation – "conversation," now, in a metaphorical sense. Each person carries out his own evolving role in the collective performance, "listens" to the surprises – or, as I shall say, "back talk" – that results from earlier moves, and responds through on-line production of new moves that give new meanings and directions to the development of the artifact."


Donald A. Schön, Educating the Reflective Practitioner: Toward a New Design for Teaching and Learning in the Professions, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987), pp.30-31.


The Wisdom in the Room 

We usually open our Jazzthink sessions by asking participants to tell us what they see about the chosen topic in the performance of the jazz group. Here's the wisdom that emerged from the conversations of some of the groups we've worked with this month on leadership and an engaged workplace.


Leaders as Jazz Musicians


The Workplace as a Jazz Club



"It is such a breath of fresh air and the "jazz club" relates so easily to the workforce/environment if we open our minds/spirits and push forward. I liked the energy and the grooviness! Thank you."


Danielle Carter-Sullivan

Ministry of Children & Family Services


For Busy Nonprofit Leaders
In collaboration with Executive Consulting for the Nonprofit Sector and Volunteer Vancouver, I've taken a program I developed while working with Tekara and redesigned it for nonprofit leaders – Books for Breakfast for Busy Nonprofit LeadersClick here to find out more and register for this fall's sessions.
A Fun Place
The Best Jazz in Vancouver
Cory Weeds head up the Jazzthink Trio and also owns the best jazz club in Vancouver - The Cellar. Why not get some friends together and spend an evening there? This month I'd recommend the Brad Turner Quintet, featuring New York saxophonist Jimmy Greene. They're playing from October 12-14. Click here for more information and reservations."
Upcoming Events

On Wednesday, November 7, I will be doing the closing plenary at the BCHRMA Vancouver Island Creating the Workplace of the Future Symposium in Parksville on "The Workplace as Jazz Club: Four Essentials to Employee Engagement." To find out more and register, click here.


On Tuesday, November 27, 2007, from 7:30AM - 9:45AM, the trio and I will be doing a Vancouver Board of Trade Managers' Toolbox on "Jazzing Up Your Leadership: How Effective Leaders Engage Colleagues." To find out more and register, click here.


On Thursday, December 6, 2007, I will be Long Beach, California, doing a session on "The Nonprofit as Jazz Club" with a trio headed up by Jeffrey Wilcox, President of Executive Consulting. I'm proud to be associated with Jeffrey in these early stages of bringing Executive Consulting to Vancouver. Find out more about Executive Consulting for the Nonprofit Sector and the great work they do  by clicking here.


On Saturday, January 12, 2008, from 9:30AM - 3:30PM, the trio and I will be doing a benefit workshop for the Vancouver Chapter of the International Coach Federation at The Cellar Restaurant/Jazz Club at 3611 West Broadway in Vancouver. It's called "Jazzing Up Your Personal Growth: The Art of Saging." It will explore lessons we can learn from jazz about acquiring wisdom in the arts of life. Registration information will be in the November e-zine.



We love to hear from you with comments or suggestions. And with Thanksgiving approaching (in Canada at least), we want to express our gratitude for your continuing interest and support. We look forward to working with you in the future.


Brian Fraser

Forward email

This email was sent to dlc5@shaw.ca, by fraser@jazzthink.com

Jazzthink | #1402 - 1327 East Keith Road | North Vancouver | BC | V7J 3T5 | Canada