How do you know that your team will actually deliver something for you? Frankly, how do they know you will do the same for them? It is well known that the number 1 reason someone stays in a job is their relationship with their Boss… and the number one reason they leave is… It is a constant conversation with leaders at all levels, and comes in all flavors but mostly centers on a word that once spoken, freezes a conversation: Trust. I want to engage this week and explore a word that I believe is both easier to use, and one that can also bring some complexity worth the hassle – Faith.
Leading with Music presents: U2
The group that I have written the most about is U2 – and I am only half way through their catalog. From their earliest days as a band that started in a Youth Group, they continue to have a deep commitment to Faith in their music. So naturally, I have written about that around the Easter holidays and how Faith undergirds them … and me.
But they also individually and collectively model another Leadership trait that is so vital, particularly today, Joy. I have always been more of an optimistic person, and people who know me get tired of me saying 2 phrases. Both are aspirational, and convey a real sense that I really do want to bring to every conversation, not just for Leadership. They are a direct antidote to that other thing that has been circulating and now has taken on a fever pitch in all areas of life…but I won’t talk about that F word. Let’s use U2’s naturally upbeat music on better things – let’s talk about Joy!
And finally, I went back another time to “Clean Up” some stories that I had not gotten to after 2 weeks of posts on the band. And, that is another Leadership topic that needs attention regularly. Getting rid of the things that are consuming important time and space that could be used on better things, more aligned with what you really need to pay attention to now.
So Faith, Joy, and Cleaning Up – and a band that has many more stories left to tell, so come back for more 😉
“Faith isn’t Faith until it is all you are holding onto”... read the bumper sticker that was on...
partners in Faith
March Madness is all around us again, and I am really happy to have it back. So many memories of my life are tied to these months, and the early decisions that were made then are still playing out. Yesterday we talked about the bumper sticker about Faith and I realize that some of you don’t like me bouncing around my timeline, but at least the U2 storyline will be consistent. For there is really no way to talk about them without weaving in one of the most important partners in the band… and therefore a bit about my own story that is very similar.
Happy April Fools Day! If there was a holiday that I revere, it would be this one. As a natural cut-up and jokester, I often circle this day on the calendar for something fun. This year, it corresponds on the Faith calendar to a day called Maundy Thursday – one that I wasn’t really in tune with, the night of The Last Supper that you probably do know about. It is now observed as a fairly somber service where the church is stripped of all elements and hung with the darkness that would come with “Good” Friday…
wondering about Faith
The wonder of Good Friday is back upon us. The Faithful focus on 3 major events in the year, and you can get a good argument going on which is the “most” important. It would mirror the conversation in the Upper Room last night – who is the most important Disciple? Who is the favorite, who has the most important role in the team? The bickering and fighting, jockeying for position…it is really a wonder that like many leaders, he would have thought twice about going through with the plan. After all, were they really worth the price that was to be paid?
One of the most difficult things to execute as a leader is called a “Declaration”. In the field of speech, that is defined as “a public communication that moves us toward a future possibility.” It must have Authority, a clear definition of the future state, inspire others to join in, be within their grasp… and slightly out of their reach. It is that last part – getting people to step up and join in the journey that is often complex… as without execution, it is just words. Faith is what causes you to actually move forward…
renewing your Faith..
Easter ends 40 days of preparation this morning, and in many churches, it will begin with early Sunrise services, or as they are often titled, Son-Rise services. After Friday, and making it through the Day of Decision, we are now to the morning of what was predicted. What you had Faith in would be renewed: is it the world of men that had killed, dominated, and crushed a rebellion, leaving fear and trembling by all those who had seen it. Or could your Faith be in something else, something unseen, requiring deep belief in something that seems impossible…
Can you engage with Joy?
I have spent more than a year avoiding writing about one of the most expressed emotions I have seen escalate daily… and I am not going to engage now. I have always been more of an optimistic person, and people who know me get tired of me saying 2 phrases. Both are aspirational, and convey a real sense that I really do want to bring to every conversation. They are a direct antidote to that other thing that has been circulating and now has taken on a fever pitch in all areas of life… but there I go again. Let’s spend the week on better things – let’s talk about Joy!
Mistakes are the Joy of management, You read that right, and by the end of this, I hope to help you see that is true. We like to think that we are there to ensure things are done “right” and “perfectly” but if you read these enough, you know that mistakes are what has made both my life more interesting, and also the music I love the most. Today’s track is a perfect example of this, going through multiple mistakes to come one of the most important and iconic U2 songs.
partners with Joy
As we discussed with Happiness a few weeks back, Joy can be a fleeting commodity. It often arrives when you may or not be even looking for it, but appears with a smile, a laugh, a look. You may not know what has caused it, but the endorphin rush in your brain confirms it is real..and wants to recreate it again. For the last few years, all I knew was that something that I used to have, and had misplaced along the way, not in a dramatic way, more like how you lose your keys. You know there – somewhere – and you slowly retrace your steps to where you can remember last having them…
It is a convenient coincidence that the “empower” words come in the order they are in. Yes, it is easier to make the acronym work, but these “middle” words tie together particularly well. That became clear a year or so back when I was talking with a partner who observed that I had lost my Joy. At first, I was a little taken aback, but as we talked through the assessment, she was right
wonder of Joy
I am in a season of 35 one-shot coaching conversations with MBA students who had been taped in a simulation that they were set up to fail in… and no wonder, most did. Told they only have 15 minutes to convince the COO and CTO to take action, they soon realized there was nothing that would please them… because they had not taken time to ask them what they wanted. Some of the students even dreaded coming to our calls thinking that they were going to learn “what they did wrong”. And of course, that is not at all what happens…
Joy has been complex for the last year, and if you think about it, for a long time. We have been marinating in people either pointing at others who are keeping them from their Joy, or even more dangerous, how could I possibly be Joyful when I am so downtrodden. The transference of our own ability to manage… ourselves … to others has been spectacularly executed. It may be why watching the recent NCAA championship was so fun – it was watching some amazing players who have navigated all of the crap this year and now are at the peak of their Joy…
As I stepped into rediscovering Joy, it is not a surprise it is related to creating things. Raised in a family of tinkerers, I was always in the process of either building something or helping someone build something. The wonder of imagining something that hadn’t existed before was something that was second nature with my Dad, having built things even in his youth out of scraps around his house.
engage Cleaning Up
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…
Cleaning Up management
I didn’t even bring blank paper with me. Thinking about leaving behind the only reality I had known as a working manager for nearly 40 years, I knew I needed to get some clarity. Offsites were by now second nature, mostly done poorly, and frankly one of the things I found myself Cleaning Up for other teams. And here I was sitting in our recently purchased Mountain House, a little dizzy from the altitude, and more from what the heck was I thinking?
partners to Clean Up
Music is the cornerstone of my work now. U2 was formed by people who were, like me, actually not great musicians. Larry played the drums “wrong” and The Edge was at best a rhythm guitar player when they started, to say nothing of Adam who only learned the Bass because they needed one. Even Bono wasn’t that sure of his own voice – both writing and singing. Can we learn something about partners and Cleaning Up – only from the music?
Cleaning Up observation
“So – he comes in here, throws papers in the air, plays some guitar, and then does it again?” Yes – yes, of course. My nephew was visiting, and his observation was spot on – my office’s normal state is a disaster. My Daughter on seeing my Cleaned Up version one time remarked more politely, “My, there are a LOT of things to observe!”. Up comes easy – Cleaning, not so much…
wonder… Cleaning Up
You have today. While always true, particularly today is the day to Clean Up anything you need to put a “2021” on. For me, it is ordering supplies and other expenses that I can accelerate into the rearview mirror, and then downloading fiscal records (stop laughing – I do actually keep them – mostly). It is one of those business practices that I used as a game each year that I continued to play in this new path. The wonder is I still do that mentally – stuck thinking eventually someone will figure out that I need to get a “real job”…
executing Clean Up
Happy New Year!!! …oh wait.. Maybe fewer exclamation points – I should execute this with a quieter voice.. if I had one:-) My wife reminds me often that there is one thing I am not, that is quiet. I hope that however, your night was, whenever you are now, and whenever you are reading this, you celebrated well. There is actually a tie-in to today’s song, believe it or not, so let’s quietly jump right in…
Cleaning Up renewal
One problem I have with Cleaning Up is there is always more to do. This week is no exception – I planned to “finish” U2 off with this week, and realized by Tuesday that I was going to need many more weeks to really do the band justice. It was renewing this week to let the music do the talking and less Cleaning Up my own stories. And it was very renewing to hear again these amazing songs and albums full of the barely hidden Gospel…