Can we do it again?

Been to a meeting recently where you left thinking that was an hour of your time you could have spent much better?

Well, it’s possible, according to Grant Ackerman, that we can learn something from jazz, which he uses as an organizing metaphor . . . its unique aspect making it highly suitable for providing us with a leadership lesson.

Jazz relies on shared leadership, collaboration, improvisation and a humility that recognises individual contributions, and Mr Ackerman summarises 4 of the most important leadership lessons he has learnt from it as:

  • Taking turns leading – shared leadership rather than one person dominating
  • Real listening – in order to really hear, and to collaborate
  • Planning to not have a plan – improvisation, innovation, free-thinking trump fear of the unknown, fear of failing, and fear of looking foolish
  • Parking your ego at the door – you’re not the only one with great ideas; don’t advance your own personal agenda at the expense of failing to listen to someone else

And finally, he asks:

“If we can create these kinds of work practices in organizations, there might be a chance we can leave meetings with the same enthusiasm as jazz musicians leaving a jazz session.  How soon can we do that again?

Now that’s a gig I’d like to attend.

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