In watching the Food Network with my wife, there is a catch-phrase: If You’re Looking, You’re Not Cooking. Exactly the opposite is true with leadership, particularly now. Before last year, at least talent was mostly limited to work they could drive to… and now, I know for a fact that people have started preparing for the annual spring job search with a NATIONAL target. The war for talent is only going to get more intense as you can work from anywhere, and what will they be looking for? Harmony and partnership – pure and simple. The number one reason people stay is the relationship with their leader…. And the main reason they leave is … exactly the same.
So what are you cooking? Many organizations have leaders that are operating down a level from what they should be doing, micromanaging… which is contagious and focuses everyone down and in. The by-product is those same organizations are typically not scanning the market for talent, or critically, telling their story out there – attracting the talent they will need to grow. It is now a qualifying question with groups I work with – what are you doing to grow your talent? The paradox is that those that are focused on attracting talent attract talent who know they have found the Harmony and partnership that drives success.
After the success of their first two albums, the pressure was on for their 3rd. And behind the scenes, their producer was already thinking about what would work. Bones Howe had played in high school bands around Sarasota before going to Georgia Tech where he majored in Electronics. He continued to play in bands, and decided to head for LA to combine his love of music with building new approaches to multi-track and microphone techniques. His career started with the Mama’s and Papas, then Johnny Rivers, which of course led him to the Fifth Dimension.
Bones would also be the chief engineer at the Monterey Pop Festival where a young artist made her debut. He partnered to record her first album that is a classic with most people who study music… but not much beyond that. Laura Nyro penned some of the biggest hits of the late ’60s but her recordings were not nearly as big as when other artists covered them. Bones knew that today’s track would be perfect for the Fifth Dimension, and sure enough, it was the lead single on their platinum album of the same name, and was #3 on the US Pop Chart, and #2 on the R&B. Interestingly, on the track, “surry” is not the same as “surrey” which is what I thought… and her explanation is ‘Oh, it’s just a nice word”. Here is her version for comparison.
Bones would also work with many other artists, with over 20 Gold and Platinum albums, and if you are a Tom Waits fan, he was a key partner in getting those recordings to be some of the best. He also was key in getting rock and pop music into films, and worked as the music supervisor for Back to the Future. He will play a very key role in another of the groups largest hits that is coming up for wonder/Friday, along with more about the amazing backing group The Wrecking Crew that makes this music so amazing to listen to.
A leader I was talking with yesterday was asking about the management philosophy of one of our mutual bosses, and without hesitation, I twisted another phrase that is used in sales. Instead of Always Be Closing, his approach was Always be Hiring. At his going-away party, there were 30 people around the table, and he went around and told the story of how he first met each of us, what he saw in us that we didn’t see in ourselves, and how that contributed to the Harmony of the team that you could feel the cohesiveness in. Are you doing that? Do you have an approach to partners and talent that will be able to compete? If you do, like we had that night, it will be a Stoned Soul Picnic.