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partners with Rhythm

by | Feb 10, 2021 | Bo Diddley, partner, Rhythm (Management Hygiene)

In the same spirit as 1-1 meetings, nothing is more important than Rhythmic conversations with peers and partners. It is complicated, as for most of your career you are “competing” with them, imagining that only one of you will get the step up.  There is truth in that, but also that without good relationships, you will become more and more insulated.  To stay with the musical metaphor, without the band, the lead guitarist is flashy… but rarely would be recognized.  So who are your “bandmates”, and how do you sort out how to partner with them?

We again might not have know about Bo except for his constant partner, Jerome Green.  He started with Bo on the street corner, and his Maracas kept the time, allowing Bo to develop his complicated syncopated Rhythm. With that novelty, he invented a whole new type of music and became a rare “crossoverr” artist, meaning he was featured by Alan Freed in his concerts for white audiences.  He also toured the UK with the Everly Brothers, Little Richard, and an unknown local blues band that was fronted by a singer that also played Maracas… The Rolling Stones. 

Today’s track is another one that was a B side for Bo, and a minor hit, only really important because it came out on his first “album” in 1958.  In that era, the money was made on 45/singles, and albums were somewhat of an afterthought.  It was actually Frank Sinatra that came up with the idea of an album of songs, particularly with In the Wee Small Hours in 1955, which was also the first “concept album”. Chess/Checker would release 11 albums of his music between 1958 and 1963. And after that, it would be copied, re-released by The Yardbirds, The Stones, and most importantly, Eric Clapton on his Journeyman album where it became well known to white audiences. 

As you get to “the table” everyone there is charged with accomplishing things that are not achievable alone… and most got there by being independent and not really exposing any weakness.  Having been there, and now working with people who are there, they all have some things that they don’t want others to know.  A good definition of a true partner is “someone who knows something difficult about you but will never disclose it.”  I would add the compliment — strong partnerships are formed when you ask for help… 

… which is also not well-practiced.  In the quest to look “buttoned up”, “perfect”, “has it under control”, many miss that it is easy to tell you are mostly fooling… no one. Everyone knows their own faults, and by continuing to pretend you don’t, you resemble Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People — who in trying to keep up the facade, literally cracks. I found that in my conversations with partners, my best question was “What are your goals for the year?” Followed by “How can I/we help?”  There are many stunned looks in my memory, followed by some real conversations that helped create bonds that last to this day.

In the process of realizing that we actually need each other to be successful, you also realize that together is way more fun. It may be why Rhythm players like drummers and Maracas players have started many bands.  They literally can’t do it alone. Well, they can, but they look silly. As you contemplate your steps forward this year, look for who is on the journey with you.  

If you are playing solo, you may want to think about what other bandmembers you need. And ensure you have plenty of time for “band practice” — finding ways to actually work together on simple things so when the hard things come, you will have an established Rhythm of partnering. It is worth investing in your Management Hygiene, along with this important perspective on partnering from Bo —- Before you Accuse me, Take a good look at yourself. 😉 

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