Happy Federal-Sponsored-Holiday-for-Italian-Americans-now-controversial-because-of-who-they-chose-to- honor. It was on-and-off through history – starting in 1792, refreshed in 1892 when 11 Italian American’s were lynched in New Orleans, but not becoming a full Federal holiday until as recently as 1968 after a push by Knights of Columbus and other organizations. It was intended to honor all Italian Americans in response to other ethnic holidays like St Patrick’s Day. And that is all I will say about that – other than it gave me a date to circle on the calendar to write about a band that is one of my all-time favorites… and the idea of using their name also for the subject of the week.
You probably haven’t noticed, but these weekly themes are starting to line up. Having a theme and an artist helps me collect ideas from my past and present, so I have been planning – I know – another thing that I have to really work hard on… 🙂 Going back to the middle of summer, we have considered Surfing – how to ride the events around us, and then Inspiration – what is the reason we are doing what we do. Then a brief discussion of Innocence – letting got of the cynicism that surrounds us. Labor started out the Fall, followed by Delegation – a critical method-of-work that all leaders must master. We talked the Middle, and then about what Virtue’s drive you, and then last week’s focus was on being Patient.
One of the best live albums ever (actually one of the best in general) is Waiting for Columbus. While it was actually towards the end of the classic line up of Little Feat, this record captured the real spirit of the band. Blended from 2 venues, it was the greatest hits they played in 1977 both in London, and a great venue in DC – Lisner Auditorium. They were always a musicians band, never really hitting it big with popular audiences, but FM Album Rock stations would feature them and the amazing blend of blues, rock. and funk. If you are a Phish fan, you will recognize that the jam bands revel in Little Feat setlists, to the point they recreated this album for a show of their own for Halloween 2010. You will also hear also the Tower of Power horn section who toured with them often.
I am often asked “What is Leadership?” I don’t have a set answer surprisingly. There are so many different approaches, styles, methods, and tools that provide it. But one common denominator: others are doing something… usually differently than they would on their own. So there are always feet moving – doing something. You look for Followers, and then start to observe what others around them are doing/have done to get that reaction – and you start to see “leadership”. With my bias for action, it was often the case that I was moving my feet – a lot – and that was sometimes helpful, sometimes not. But watching what got others to move became a focus of most of my career.
I never understood the cover to this album – it was cool, but why? A huge Tomato Lady in a Hammock? These were things that were NOT present in the “Old World” – things that would be here in the Americas… waiting. I don’t want to get into a long discussion of the virtues of Columbus or whatever – but he did himself and others Feet in the boat. Another thing you see a lot around Leaders… others commenting on it, trying to direct it, suggesting better ways to do it. Yea… and they are on the shore. With our current environment, this has turned into an art form of it’s own. Not one I am particularly fond of. It makes Leading even harder… keeping people and their feet still, not wanting to risk taking any steps – out of an “abundance of caution”. This week – let’s think about Feet, and Feats to engage them… and let’s start with… All that you Dream.