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observing Patience…

by | Oct 8, 2020 | observe, Patient, William Ackerman

Our boss had hired a consultant to come in “help our Team be more productive”.  It was like the LAST thing I really wanted to do.  First, we were not a team – more a collection of people put together because we all had something to do with Data… but beyond that, it was the classic passive-aggressive “how you doing” without really wanting to know.  And as with most IT people (particularly Data people), I was WAY too energetic.  And we were in the midst of an existential project to save the business…. and this… consultant… was… talking… really… slow… on… purpose… and … it… was…. really…

IRRITATING!!!!  Good Lord, could we possibly move ON!!!  Don’t you realize how busy we are, and how important this time is that we could be using on something – anything – other than being in this conference room.  But… I had at least learned to keep that inside my head, and smile.  Mostly.  And as I started to calm down a bit, and listen, I realized this was actually pretty interesting.  Forming a Team – something I had to do often – actually had a recipe? Something that had some science behind it that might work – repeatedly? And by this time I had realized if someone was teaching something worth knowing, I should pay attention… whether it worked here or not. So she got my attention, speaking slowly and all…

By this point, Windham Hill was starting to be noticed, but nowhere as much as it was about to be.  Will met George Winston in 1979 who played some guitar pieces, but also some “nighttime music” on the solo acoustic piano.  After studying organ and electric piano, he had moved onto this in the early ’70s after hearing Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, and Earl “Fatha” Hines.  After working together for a few months, they decided the music had a “fall” feeling to it, so they named it “Autumn” and released it in 1980, and it became the biggest seller in the catalog – to date. He followed it up with Winter into Spring – both went Platinum for more than 1 million sold.  That was exceeded by December which went Triple Platinum, and likely you have heard pieces from it in your Christmas shopping.  He is one of the best-known performers of instrumental music still to this day.

… and of course, it turned out to provide me with a cornerstone of my new career – I just wouldn’t realize it for another 5 years. The Drexler-Sibbet Model – you have never heard of it I am sure – but it works. Rather than just have people show up in a conference room (see above – that is what most ‘teams’ look like on the inside…) this actually gives you a structure and approach that is teachable and provides better results… usually after the team stubs it’s toe the first time. So we learned to pick small problems first.  Have them try it, ignore it… make a few mistakes, and then they are ready to become a Team.  I have now done it with over 50 different Teams in businesses across the globe, and there is even a certification for it that we have…

….all because I was forced to be Patient and observe.  It also provided me with a lifetime contact who has been a go-to person on many different vectors. And that calm voice – not actually her real voice.  She had to learn to do that …. as did I.  Particularly in crisis situations, speaking quickly and loudly makes things worse… so slowing down, and really observing that your demeanor and pace impacts the team, matters. A… LOT… As you are working through this season full of crises, think about what helps you be at your best – and I bet it is not additional pace, or volume, or drive.  It is the quiet that comes from this type of music, and the gentle steady pace of this season.  I am working with a team on Monday.. and … I … will…. be … talking…. Patiently.  Well – mostly 😉  Enjoy this breakthrough album perfect for our season… Autumn. 

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