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executing Unexpectedly

by | Dec 26, 2020 | execute, Handel, Unexpected

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Once you set your mind towards something, it actually fools you by finding more data to support that “perception”.  The “red car” problem is Unexpected .. and real – once you start looking for them, your brain is more than happy to throw out the others and focus on convincing you there are in fact more red cars.  And that is documented now with MRI’s – your brain tells you the truth you want… mostly.  Confirmation Bias is the name we give it now:  Give it a theme, and it will execute it … and as such, I was now actively looking for a new role outside of Fannie.  And my mind being more competitive than most, had landed 2 job offers that I was now trying to pick between… realizing that neither were actually that great… 

… I was learning another lesson in my “recruiting” playbook.  In addition to looking every year, and keeping your resume up to date, you need to remember that GETTING the offer is only the FIRST step.  You then need to know what YOU actually want, and pausing and purifying that goal BEFORE giving notice 😉  I can laugh now, and literally, 100s have benefitted from this next “mistake”, and in another Unexpected outcome, most actually stay once that clarity is achieved  😉 

At this point, the thought I had given it was 1) Not government or quasi, 2) Manufacturer/vendor vs. Customer/User, and 3) Market facing.  The prospect of having to actually compete in the market was something I saw IBM lose and now really missed at Fannie in the decision making where we had literally $5 Million of PROFIT per employee…. With new goals to double that… Yea… the risk in that would become apparent in about 8 years…the financial meltdown of 2008… Faced with the offers I had, I needed to execute on choosing one and moving forward… 

Handel was SLIGHTLY more productive in his execution.  With a clear target, and a text to start from, he started composing what would become The Messiah on August 22, 1741.  Part One – which focuses on the prophecy of Christ’s coming – took a really agonizing… 6 days.  Part Two – the part about his death and Passion, took a bit longer… 9 Days.  Part Three on the promise of eternal life…  back to 6 days.  Add 2 days to write the orchestration – FOR THE WHOLE THING – all the instruments, and he was done in 24 days.  260 Pages.  He rarely left his room, and barely touched his meals.  

Now we look at it as amazing, but then it was still seen with disdain.  Jonathan Swift (yes of Gulliver) was the dean of Saint’ Patrick’s Cathedral and forbade his musicians to play it.  No matter, it premiered on April 13, 1742, at the Fishamble Street Musick Hall in Dublin.  An overcapacity crowd of 700 people attended, raising 400 pounds to release 142 men from prison. 

The demand for tickets was so great that men were asked not to wear their swords and women asked not to wear hoops in their skirts, allowing 100 extra people into the audience.  Such hoops immediately fell out of fashion for concerts. So the Messiah not only changed music, it changed fashion.

And even with rave reviews and sell-out crowds… London would have nothing to do with him or it for over a year.  And… it and he failed again.  He staged and conducted it 30 times but even with the obvious scriptural passages and message, the church never embraced it, and only it once in a religious setting… Bristol Cathedral, far from the London crowds.  The story has one more twist before becoming what you know, so come back tomorrow for the story of renewal….

In my decision process, I went back to the play that I had such disdain for as I started my career.  One of the opportunities was with my old Boss – who had called, and as he recommended in his own departure, I picked up.  The offer was decent monetarily and “mostly” matched my shortlist of requirements… which I realized was way too short and why my decision was so hard to make.  In my haste to get out, I was in fact “running from”… and to be honest it was still the right move, but at this point the parachute appeared to have some decent “holes” in it. 

In the run-up to the start of a better “New Year”, what does your own path look like?  I am honored to have worked with many through the years, and a few currently, who were, and are seriously assessing their paths.  If these stories have encouraged you to take your own step forward, I am more than happy to have a conversation with you at any time.  I have lots of mistakes that have been “reframed” into an execution playbook that I am happy to walk you through.  In a way, each of those mistakes has helped me to clarify the path  – or better said… “And He Shall Purify”


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