This is truly a time for learning agility.
We need to embrace the jazz player within.
Jazz, as in life and in organisations, is where we are faced with numerous possibilities. And incomplete information. Yet we have to take action anyway. And that what learning agility is. The ability to be in a novel situation, not know what to do, and then figure it out and take action anyway. Feel like that is you, right now?
Frank Barrett spoke about leadership lessons from jazz in this HBR idea cast. We can draw on it, to remember to:
- take a big breath.
- say ‘yes to the mess’: to embrace an improvisational mindset and go ahead despite the ambiguity.
- build on others’ ideas: the power of ‘yes and’
- take turns soloing and supporting. There are times when we have to step back and let others shine.
- notice when the things we have learnt in the past get in the way of experimenting. And how we can learn from mistakes in the present
- create structure in order to allow for flexibility in the moment.
One of my favourite bands is New Zealand’s 7 piece Fat Freddy’s Drop. They have been described as one, or a combination of styles: jazz, reggae, soul, rhythm and blues, techno, dub, and gained popularity by their improvised live performances. Check them out.
Amongst other things, they seem to be pretty good ‘yes to the mess’ role models.
- Frank Barrett. The book is Yes to the Mess– Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz, from Harvard Business Review Press. F
- Photo by Chris Bair on Unsplash