Your Jazzy Job, Leader

7 11 2016

“You have to grab moments when they happen.  I like to improvise and ad lib.” ~ Denzel Washington

When I bought my home, there was an old masonry shed in the upper parking lot.  It was just 4 stout pressure-treated uprights, and a tin roof that had holes punched in it.  I saw the frames for a nice tool shed.  So, I went to Home Depot, bought a bunch of corrugated roof, boards, and wall materials.  Then, I improved the construction.  3 more trips to Home Depot later, I had a shed, with a skylight over the door (transom?), and a gravel floor.  It was fun, it’s not perfect, but it’s one of a kind.

As leaders, we get to improvise almost every day.  Problems pop up, and we have to decide how to solve them.  Keep in mind, though, that jazz musicians that improvise aren’t just hitting any note!  They have training in music theory, they improvise within certain parameters (beat, melody, etc.), and they know their tool (instrument).  That lesson applies to leadership.  Have a full leadership tool bag, understand your left and right boundaries, and try to play along well with others.  When you miss a note (i.e. make a mistake), you can’t focus on it, you have to play on and pretend that it wasn’t a big deal.  Never let ‘em see you sweat.

Speaking of improvisation…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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