November 2007 | Volume 1, Issue #5

In This Issue
Quote of Note
Thought Provoker of the Month
A Fun Place
Upcoming Events
Quick Links
JAZZING UP YOUR LEADERSHIP: How  effective leaders engage colleagues
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Registration: 7:30 a.m.
Program: 7:45 - 9:45 a.m.
To find out more and register, click here.

When you focus on improved performance in the areas that matter to you most, change is not always easy. It takes mastery of the basics, confidence in the face of complexities, and resilience to overcome obstacles. Having a clear grasp of the potential you can achieve and the benefits you can generate will keep your energy focused on making the difference you want. It's a matter of choice. You can choose to improvise with the talents and opportunities you enjoy. Jazz is a great model for taking this kind of action. 


I trust that some of the ideas you'll encounter in this month's Jazzthink E-Zine will provoke new possibilities for you and those with whom you live and work.

Quote of Note

John Kao is an educator, entrepreneur, film maker, and jazz pianist. In Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity (1996), he talked about the importance of improvisation and innovation for today's organizations:


"In jazz - and in business - the improvisational style derives its power from the way it juxtaposes certain vital human tensions, or paradoxes. Here's a partial list of them, in no particular order:


·         The established (tradition, powers that be, status quo) in tension with the new.

·         The need for form in tension with the drive for openness.

·         Critical norms and standards in tension with the need to experiment.

·         The security of the familiar in tension with the lure of the unknown.

·         Responsiveness (responsibility) to the group in tension with individual expressiveness.

·         Discipline in tension with freedom.

·         Power in tension with desire.

·         Established theory in tension with persistent experimentation.

·         Expertise in tension with freshness, naïveté.


Jazz music is called improvisational because it doesn't try to resolve those tensions. It is impervious to recipes, to formulas. It's satisfied (if that's the right word) to live in them - to 'work' or 'play' them - for all they're worth. In classical music, the inspiration of composition leads to the sweat of rehearsal and then the decisive event of performance.  In jazz, these three phases become indistinguishable parts of the same process. In jazz, and in business jamming, rehearsal is performance, performance rehearsal." John Kao, Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity (New York: HarperBusiness, 1996), pp.32-33.


Jazz, Kao continues, favours the right side of the paradoxes listed, while business too often is stuck on the left side. What create shared improvisation that respects both sides of the tensions are candid and creative conversations.


Though Provoker of the Month


We come back to one of the most constant riffs in the Jazzthink approach - the most common form of jazz is conversation and the right kind of conversations generate beneficial improvements in performance.


Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, creators of The World Café, outline the features of generative conversations in this month's Jazzthink Thought Provoker. Click here to read more.



"Listening to the musicians talk about innovation and creativity allowed me to connect business and music. The barriers to creativity and innovation are very similar: when there is trust, creativity, and strong communications skills, the possibilities are endless."


Carol Waldmann

ScotiaMcLeod, South Granville Group

A Fun Place
The Best Jazz in Vancouver

If you have not treated yourself and your friends to a night at The Cellar Restaurant/Jazz Club yet, November is a good time to do it. On Sunday, November 25, Bill and Cory Weeds (2/3 of the Jazzthink Trio) will be joined by Chris Gestrin and Joe Poole for a swinging Sunday evening. They'd love to have you join them. And remember, The Cellar is considered by DownBeat magazine as one of the "100 best jazz clubs in the world." Click here to find out what's on throughout the month and make reservations.

Upcoming Events

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.

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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. A link for online registration will be in the December E-Zine, but save the date now.


If you think that the Jazzthink approach and experience would provoke some creative thinking and acting in your workplace, e-mail us at fraser@jazzthink.com to arrange for a free consultation on how we can customize our keynotes and workshops for your group.


Brian Fraser