Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Play that funky music

I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again: I’m a bit of a music freak.

Anytime I can take some time away (be it in business or pleasure) to jam out to a good tune or two, I’m a happy camper. It could be Marvin Gaye, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Kid Koala or a studio performance by John Legend & The Roots – I don’t care.

If it’s got a good vibe, I’m there.

There’s a lot you can learn from musicians and their music: they can help express a thought or feeling in 4 minutes or less; the right song can lift your mood on a bad day; and a band has the ability to rally an organization to an important cause with a fitting melody.

They can also help drive home an important point in business.

If you’ve seen Some Kind of Monster, Metallica may not be the first band you think of when you consider “equality,” especially since the film depicts the group in the midst of a huge crisis.

The big thing I get from the film (aside from the drama) is that, like a romantic comedy, the players emerged from that experience much stronger, closer and wiser. And in the case of Metallica, much more democratic.

And even though the funky and powerful Robert Trujillo plays the role of bassist in Metallica, he does not let it define him.

More importantly, the band does not allow Robert to be defined by this role.

As the video shows, James & Kirk didn’t shush him away when Robert started playing a six-stringer. They did quite the opposite: the other members of Metallica not only heard him play, these guys collaborated on how to ‘Metallica-lize’ it for their sound. They threw something heavy n’ hard down together with “the bass player” as partners… kinda like a real band.

Go figure.

Supervisors/Managers/Directors/VPs: we’re still in a bit of a workforce-money pinch. As a result, you’re probably piling on some additional duties to your team; they’re working longer hours and getting paid the same (or less) salary. You’re probably in the same boat: trying to wrangle new business, handle existing clients, mentor, etc. and getting weary just thinking about it. It’s not a great scenario. You know it; I know it.

Consider this: instead of allowing the ‘leader’ role to define you, why not lead with your team?

  • Just because someone works in a different group doesn’t mean that they may not add some value. Chances are, if they are eager, they may actually have something worth exploring. You can’t get fresh ideas from a burnt out team.
  • Those volunteers you’re working with may see something on the street or have a chance conversation with a friend that can shine a light in an area that (for some reason) you and your team have been missing.
  • That “kid” who just graduated from college may blurt out something that could turn the tide for a vital client. I’ve see it happen at various agencies (large and small) way more often than you may think.

Who knows… you may have a flamenco artist in your midst.

When was the last time you were jolted by a fantastic concept from an unusual source? What has been the most “surprising find” in your group?


This post was cross-posted on Waxing Unlyrical – a blog that is owned and operated by the wonderfully savvy and smart Shonali Burke.


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craig fergusonThere are various schools of thought that categorize leadership styles from one end of the spectrum to the other.  Some like to look at ‘leadership theories’ that have focused on what qualities have been distinguished between leaders and their followers.  For the sake of keeping things simple, I’m going to throw all that out of the window to explain why I believe Craig Ferguson – late-night TV host and self-described “vulgar lounge entertainer” – is carving out an interesting and funny path on how to influence people.



How else could you explain how hand puppets, fake moustaches and wigs work while jiving around to Duran Duran’s ‘White Lines’…?



Now, I’m not going to go on about how remarkable Mr. Ferguson’s leadership style is, nor am I about to attempt to explain how he manages his people.  Because…quite frankly, I’m not entirely sure.  The fact that Mr. Ferguson can compel his staff to wear costumes and lip-synch their way through Britney Spears or They Might Be Giants songs not only makes me giddy with glee, it astounds me.


How does Mr. Ferguson do this? 

  1. he leads by example – in the Hey, I Love You skit (much like just about every other intro to each Late Late Show), Mr. Ferguson is the first one to come out to get things started.  He sets the tone, inviting the audience to take part in his brand of goofiness. 
  2. he’s authentic – never shying away from sharing anecdotes (and sometimes embarrassing stories) about his battles with alcohol and drug abuse, Mr. Ferguson creates an open space where it’s perfectly fine to share some vulnerability…even influencing an appearance from someone like Betty White to share her experiences as a ‘girl scout.’  
  3. he doesn’t take himself too seriously – from the time Mr. Ferguson was ‘campaigning’ for honorary citizenships from various states across the U.S. to curmudgeonly announcing himself as the new king of late night TV, he encourages his team to be irreverent and fun.


Other late night TV hosts do similar things, sure…but none of em’ really revel in their silliness in such a way that it keeps the same crew coming back as often…to be nonsensical.  Not so much to be ‘funny’…but dippy, trippy and dizzy.  The fact of the matter is: it doesn’t have to make sense to be right.


As a manger or co-worker, what have you done to inspire real innovation from your team?  When was the last time a ‘crazy idea’ fueled something genuinely memorable for your clients?  What could you do today to tap into your inner ‘Craig Ferguson’…?

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