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engage Cleaning Up

by | Dec 27, 2021 | Cleaning Up, engage, U2

🖋 Happy Boxing Day! Sorta Christmas Lite for the poor and the working-class across the British Empire, it is now a holiday that has turned into something much more American – a huge post-Christmas Sale 😉 So In both contexts, it is bringing home “boxes” of goodies that you may not have gotten last week. One year this week between Christmas and New Year’s, our hot water heater went out, requiring us to Clean Up the whole back basement area … and sparked another way to think about Boxing…

… much is written about “Continuous Improvement” in the technology space which is now invading all business. It is a way of thinking about what is working well… and finding ways to Clean Up things that may not be. Process Consultants engage by looking over your days, weeks, and years – informed by status reports you provide to show what you, in fact, actually did with your time. It can also be done by looking at the one thing that never lies about your priorities – your calendar. As you “box up” things, most of us consultants look at the negatives…

🎵 As I look back over the last year musically, there were 2 groups that I felt I needed to Clean Up. For those that didn’t enjoy doing Journey from the remnants of Santana, this will hopefully be better 😉 Just before I stopped writing last spring, we were considering a different type of Gospel group around Easter. They were just about to explode from “just a supergroup” to one that changed music and all the ideas around touring. They had released their groundbreaking album The Joshua Tree which had captured most of the world, and certainly the United States with a 5X Platinum and Diamond rating, with a current count of over 25 Million Copies sold.

Bono and the team had already rotated through producers, studios, even musical styles, and found a recipe that was working. And… having watched other bands like The Beatles, knew that resting on that would probably limit them and their audience. Without Cleaning Up some things, they couldn’t stay current with where music was going. They needed space to learn much more about Industrial, Alternative, and even Electronic Dance music…

… and even a change of venue. Seeking inspiration from German reunification, U2 began recording Achtung Baby at Berlin’s Hansa Studios in October 1990, the home of all three of those emerging sounds. The sessions were fraught with conflict, as the band argued over their musical direction and the quality of their material. Tension and slow progress nearly prompted the group to disband. There is an excellent documentary about this time, From the Sky Down, that is, I think, much better than the recent Beatles special, Get Back

This “week between” – I want to think about boxing and Cleaning Up – not like what you find on Aisle 9 of the Grocery Store, or what happens when you head to Vegas. What works to help you find the big things that are, in fact, going well, and finding more time for those things by boxing up others that are not going well? The music will be amazing as we try to get through most of the remaining 10 + albums that have kept U2 growing, changing, and learning how to stay on top by Continually Cleaning Up. And to stay Clean, I am going to have to skip past some amazing tunes, probably 6 for every 1 that I write about…

🖋 … so how to best engage in Cleaning Up? The simplest place to start is what Goals had you set out for? Were they optimistic, pessimistic, realistic… or as with most people, never really thought about? The daily grind of “this” crisis pushes the Important out of the way for the Urgent, and in this last week of the year, you are left with – wow, where did the time go? As we set out for the week, keep it simple. What did you think this year would look like from this standpoint last year… and where are you now? Then write down 6 things that were great… for every 1 thing that wasn’t. It is very simple to find the negatives … and too easy… so force yourself to stay with that ratio to keep you in the creative space for really doing this critical (and fun) work well.

🎵 … And another clue from the music. By the time they had gotten to Berlin, their producer had learned to simply have a tape running all of the time the band was in the studio. Just record EVERYTHING, and eventually, something will click. In the documentary at exactly 1 hour in, you see this song get written in detail – from Cleaning Up the wreckage of 2 other songs that also eventually came together. They actually show the song “lift out” of what they are playing, with Bono cursing “… get me a ____ guitar!!” and in a moment, this standard was finished. Cleaning Up after Rattle and Hum/Joshua Tree… Achtung Baby – Number One – ALL TIME – on the Billboard Top Albums Chart. Who needs to be around you catching the 6 things you do well when there are those tendencies to focus on the wrong things, the lepers in your head… The …. One.

Is it getting better?
Or do you feel the same?
Will it make it easier on you now?
You got someone to blame
 
You say, one love, one life
When it’s one need in the night
One love, we get to share it
Leaves you baby if you don’t care for it
 
Did I disappoint you?
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
 
Well it’s too late tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We’re one but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other
One!
 
Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head
 
Did I ask too much? More than a lot
You gave me nothin’ now it’s all I got
We’re one but we’re not the same
Well we hurt each other then we do it again
 
You say love is a temple, love a higher law
Love is a temple, love the higher law
You ask me to enter but then you make me crawl
And I can’t be holdin’ on to what you got
 
When all you got is hurt
One love, one blood
One life, you got to do what you should
One life, with each other
 
Sisters, brothers
One life but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other
One
One
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