Relating to grown-ups

People occasionally ask me why I concocted this blog.

Simple answer: to make the “Business Lessons From Rock” case—namely, that rock & roll bands have much to teach us about developing bold, creative, passionate teams—and to promote my upcoming book of the same name.

But then people say, “What got you going on THAT?"

Well, when I first began management consulting and team training 28 years ago I felt a little dislocated in my new environment. I had played rock & roll for a living until then and had avoided anything resembling a corporate life. So when I started working in business I just couldn't relate to the lack of play, fun, humor, passion, engagement, creativity, personality, chutzpah, and free-thinking independence that I frequently encountered. These were qualities in abundant supply in the music world.

I felt like a kid surrounded by grown-ups who had forgotten how to have fun and be themselves. But as I began to work more closely with leaders I began to see them (even the top executives) as kids also, underneath their well-designed work costumes. Viewing them this way, I could better relate to them—and help liberate them from their limiting beliefs, careful disguises, and blocked self-expression.

15 years later I realized that this was what Tom Peters had been evangelizing in his books and talks. So I began working with Tom’s company and got my start as a blogger on his website, which then led me to start this blog.

A decade later, now working on my own, I’m more clear than ever that too many folks in the workforce are dealing with an almost incapacitating fear of being themselves, of thinking for themselves, of expressing themselves, and of standing up for themselves. It’s also evident to me that some combination of play, fun, humor, passion, personality, etc. is what's urgently needed to displace that fear.

And—surprise!—these are the very same qualities needed for teams and organizations to be successful in the creative economy.

Here's an earlier post about a band that demonstrates these qualities.

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  1. Even the most progressive people-oriented businesses I've worked in could have used an injection of humor and play. I'm glad to see a groundswell of appreciation for balance in those things in current biz lit.

    Hurry up with that book.

    1. Short answer: by helping them develop a creative, passionate, celebratory, anything-is-possible mindset—for themselves and their teams. (The longer answer, of course, is in my book.)

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