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renewing Rhythm

by | Feb 14, 2021 | Bo Diddley, renew, Rhythm (Management Hygiene)

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The one remaining element of Rhythm critical to Management Hygiene is summarized with a single word: When?  All of the work on priorities, partners, directs, strategic planning, even email fail… unless they make it onto your calendar.  As I tell each leader: your calendar does not lie – it shows who, what, and why you do what you do, and the paradox is that managing the calendar is the easiest and hardest exercise we do.  In one engagement a leader wanted to move from 12 hours a day to 8.  As we examined each day, by Thursday, after eliminating no meetings, I moaned, “…so you don’t really want to work less..:” 

As with email, Calendar or Time Management is one of the most actively pursued changes that leaders attempt. We are surrounded by advice and catchphrases that we should all be “servant leaders”, and I agree… but not in the way that most popular advice is given.  The key is related to another struggle that most leaders have – putting themselves… first.  Serving is actually leveraging your time and talents best – and that requires honing your calendar like a hawk.  What times are you at your best and making sure you have time for the most important thing leaders do – think and renew.  THAT is not wasted time, but rarely shows up when examined.

Bo’s peak years of production stalled out in the mid 60’s.  He moved from Chicago to Washington, D.C.  The basement of his home at 2614 Rhode Island Avenue NE housed his first home recording studio.  Diddley’s home studio was frequented by several of Washington, D.C.’s musical luminaries and is the site where he recorded the commercially released album Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger.  Diddley also produced and recorded Marvin Gaye, his valet, and a member of the local Doo-Wop group, the Marquees.  Diddley co-wrote the Marquees’ first single featuring Gaye titled “Wyatt Earp”. It was released on Okeh Records after the Chess brothers turned it down.

Diddley spent some years in New Mexico, living in Los Lunas from 1971 to 1978 while continuing his musical career.  He served for two and a half years as a deputy sheriff in the Valencia County Citizens’ Patrol.  He started wearing a hat with a badge from his Sherriff days, and it was almost as iconic as his square guitar.  He was revered by mostly British rock artists from his early tours with them before they were popular, in particular Eric Burdon of the Animals.  Eric recorded a tribute to Bo, The Story of Bo Diddley – actually written with Ellas/Bo. 

He commented on racism in the music industry establishment during his early career, which deprived him of royalties from the most successful part of his career, and his “hits” propelled The Doors, The Stones, The Animals, George Thorogood… and that is one reason I wanted to feature him during Black History Month.  Many of the songs you know were composed and recorded by artists that were never recognized.  Luckily, Bo was honored by many current artists like Tom Petty, and also was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He was also in an iconic Nike ad with Bo Jackson. 

Bo Diddley died on June 2, 2008 of heart failure at his home in Archer, Florida at the age of 79.  Garry Mitchell, his grandson and one of more than thirty-five family members at the musician’s home when he died at 1:45 am EDT, said his death was not unexpected.  “There was a gospel song that was sung [at his bedside] and [when it was done] he said ‘wow’ with a thumbs up”, Mitchell told Reuters when asked to describe the scene at the deathbed.  “The song was ‘Walk Around Heaven’ and in his last words, he stated that he was going to heaven.”

By now, I am very used to leaders who will let anyone put a meeting on their calendar, and even if we do work to create room/space, it fills right back up.  And like email, this is something that requires on-going renewal.  A key is to recognize that you are worth it… and if you need encouragement, take your salary times 2 or 3 – overhead and profit added.  Divide by 2000 – the business hours in a year – that is what each hour of your day is “worth”.  Are you getting that (or 2 to 10 times that with meetings) out of this hour?  Take your calendar, and rank each meeting by value, and then start to carve out time for you… and don’t give it back 😉 

As we close out the week with Bo/Ellas, there are many great stories left for you to explore… as you find the time for it.  I know that many wonder why I put so much of my own time into this exercise – daily, weekly, and soon to be yearly.  I know it renews me many times over with your comments and also the increasing appreciation of the value of each hour.  What will you use the hours of this next week for?  When… an interesting admonition that comes back to me often now.  One of Bo’s last hits is a song for this day of Sabbath, and Valentines… Mona (I love you). 

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