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Feet executing Feats

by | Oct 17, 2020 | execute, Feet (Followership), Little Feat

I am pretty sure this is the longest I have had my Feet in the same place… probably since I was born.  I am taking yet another class, this one on “NeuroLeadership” where they are spending a lot of time on the “embodied self”.. and for me, it is always moving.  Holding still takes a lot of energy – a paradox I know – but it does.  Even walking I do quickly – mostly because Dad did, and I had to keep up, but that gave me a distinctive way of being (as they call it now).  I was in a meeting with a friends old Boss to talk about the Space Station, and afterward, the friend said “He really likes you. ‘Anybody that walks that fast, and digs his heels in is going places… stay with him’ “…

… my Feet were literally determining my Feats.  Being small, I suspect I learned early that the way you carried yourself mattered, and it stuck with me late into my career.  I knew how to walk into a room and take command, and get Feet to move towards the goal we needed to achieve… until I started to notice that often there was already a pace, a direction that had been set by someone else…. and moving “differently” was not helpful to anyone.  I realized that some senior leaders purposefully put teams into conflict to stall out progress by both, and preserve their control over the status quo… and, if I was going to get things executed, I would need to slow down, walk slower and pull them together…

Kenny Gradney was another member of this extended community that played on the Festival Express across Canada with Delany and Bonnie, and a session player with The Flying Burrito Brothers and the others we have talked about before.  He joined the band as the Bass player on their third album and has been there ever since. He also brought along Sam Clayton, a percussionist who got into the field when he was laid off from his “day job” as a drafter… and was asked to sit in on congas at a farewell dinner.  Both brought the deep New Orleans Funk and drive to the band that changed their tone and solidified the run they executed through the ’70s as a band for musicians to love… You can see them featured in the great video… 

… that is immediately recognizable as from the ’80s, complete with hot cars and hot chicks 😉  I am not sure who stole from whom, ZZ Top or Little Feat, but the music here is incredible. While this album is literally 10 years after their previous studio outing, and after the death of Lowell in 1979 at only 34, it sounds like they haven’t missed a beat. In between many of the members worked as session musicians on many great records of the 70’s.  So much of their catalog features moving, particularly Trains – Red Streamliner, New Delhi Freight Train, Two Trains, Down The Road.  You get the idea that Lowell knew he was not long for this world, and needed to keep moving to stay ahead of things…

The class is using a lot of Venn diagrams – which reminded me of lessons I worked on once with a young leader.  He wanted to know, like me at his age why so little actually got accomplished.  We went to the whiteboard and started mapping out stakeholders, the goals of each group, and the number of Feet in each group.  And… as we drew, the overlap of the circles became less and less as we added each new group.  “See that in the middle – to get that Feat done – you have to move all the Feet in these other circles there.  Oh – and the leaders of the circles may or may not agree.” Not that it is impossible, but it is a different role – getting all those people to see where their outcome can actually be achieved better together.   Slow down, find the center of the diagram, and then, as the song says… Let it Roll. 

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