A meme popped up last fall pointing out, in February “…a whopping seven planets (the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, plus asteroid Pallas) will all be clustered together in the sign of Aquarius, creating what’s known as a stellium in astrology. This intense influx of Aquarius’ fixed air sign energy in February will shift our focus to humanitarian issues, technological advancements, and unconventional innovations. And these themes will guide the framework of our society throughout all of 2021 and the years ahead.” But didn’t we hear this already – in 1967 – the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?
Leading with Music presents: The Fifth Dimension
What helps you and team members come together to produce things that are not possible solo? It is sought after by everyone, so long as they are the Soloist. So how do you find your own approach to getting everyone to sing together, bringing all of their different talents together into something none could achieve alone? How does Harmony factor into your leadership and how do you craft it?
A meme popped up pointing out, in February “…a whopping seven planets (the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, plus asteroid Pallas) will all be clustered together in the sign of Aquarius, creating what’s known as a stellium in astrology. This intense influx of Aquarius’ fixed air sign energy in February will shift our focus to humanitarian issues, technological advancements, and unconventional innovations. And these themes will guide the framework of our society throughout all of 2021 and the years ahead.” But didn’t we hear this already – in 1967 – the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?
The Fifth Dimension shows us some of the techniques, and also an outcome that happens too often with leaders and teams. We will meet each of the 5 members of the core Fifth Dimension during the week, but for today, they had formed and were auditioning for the LA-based Motown agent. He rejected them but referred them to another star who was just opening his own label – Johnny Rivers’ Soul City Records. And also as we go through the week, we will meet songwriters who were behind some of these amazing hits. Harmony – demonstrated and lead to by one of the greatest bands of the original Age of Aquarius, The Fifth Dimension.
Harmony is distinguished from Unison singing – everyone singing the exact same note together. When men and women sing together, even though they are singing the same note, they are often separated by an octave or more. But choosing a Harmony requires intensely listening to each other, and you will often see the singers lean in, cover an ear, and then either read a note or more likely, trust their well-trained ear to pick up a note that blends together with the others. As more singers are involved, you have to be careful to not only hit your note, but stay out of the way of the others… constantly juggling your own musical path with those around you…
In watching the Food Network with my wife, there is a catch-phrase: If You’re Looking, You’re Not Cooking. Exactly the opposite is true with leadership, particularly now. Before last year, at least talent was mostly limited to work they could drive to… and now, I know for a fact that people have started preparing for the annual spring job search with a NATIONAL target. The war for talent is only going to get more intense as you can work from anywhere, and what will they be looking for? Harmony and partnership – pure and simple. The number one reason people stay is the relationship with their leader…. And the main reason they leave is … exactly the same.
We were at the hospital for a procedure, and the nurse couldn’t get the IV started. Without missing a beat, another one came right over, picked up the work … and the conversation … without even missing a beat. As a keen observer of teamwork, I perked up and started to chat her up about what it is like to work here? “It is amazing – from the people who take out the garbage, to the staff that mops the floors, to the administrators who make sure we have what we need, we all come together to provide you with the best care”. We were then whisked off to another room, with a similar experience…. How does that type of Harmony happen?
Finally, we get to the song that triggered the week. I have been trying to be more explicit about leadership and management tips lately, and hopefully, you have gotten a few. Today’s story is so rich that I don’t have space (or the need) to point it out. So wonder with me …. by this point, The Fifth Dimension is well on their way, having won multiple Grammys with multiple platinum records. They were in New York City playing a series of concerts when Billy Davis noticed his wallet was missing – having fallen out in the cab he had just stepped out of. “Well, that’s gone…. “
When teams are at their peak, there are ways of executing together that anyone outside of the team may or may not even be able to observe. Little looks and phrases become cues for Harmony that is hard to duplicate. While the reason for being together may be stressful, those hours of work start to build up muscles that become second nature. In one season, I was in meetings 3 times a day with the same people – 6 days a week. We got tight enough to really understand how to cover for each other’s faults, and build on the strengths in ways that most teams will never experience. What causes that Harmony?
It is appropriate that the week on Harmony ends where my first experiences were: singing at church. Growing up around the College Kids, in the early 60’s they would often be playing/singing Peter, Paul, and Mary songs, and watching them blend their voices “in renewal” encouraged me to learn how to do that. I don’t know exactly what “ear training” is, but there are pictures of me sitting with my Flute-o-phone and those kids where I was playing Harmony. Hearing the notes, and trying to get your brain/voice to match was a fun challenge, which eventually I mapped into reading music… sorta…