A Rock’n’Roll Christmas – Part 2

Rockin' all over the blogging world - Life and Business lessons from the world's top bloggers

This year I have been lucky enough to meet some fantastic people around the blogging world.  They have kindly offered to send me a Christmas message, so here for your delight is part 2 of our Rock’n’Roll life and business coaching tips taken from a magical mystery tour round the world.

We left the last blog back in London with Alison Chisnell and we start there again – great minds think alike and when I asked people for suggestions for music with meaning, two people offered me the same song.   Wesley Gransden agrees with Colin Millar from our previous post.   Wesley goes on to say:  “For me it’s got to be Queen’s ‘One Vision’…. This powerful piece of musical perfection inspired me to focus on ‘one vision’ & ‘one goal’ and was used with great effect in bringing together a team, setting targets and then achieving that goal. Will have to use it again one day.”

Over to Northern Ireland to meet bass supremo and consumer data specialist Jason Bell.  Starting from a completely different musical place, Jason arrives at a similar ‘destination’.  Jason offers us “Discipline” by King Crimson.   “To me this is a perfect example of team players striving towards a common goal.  Every member is doing something very different but when it’s all put together the end result is astounding.  Remove one of the team and the impact is not the same.”

Ellie Becker runs Ellie Becker PR, a cool inbound marketing and PR company in New York.  Last time Doug Shaw mentioned Neil Peart from Rush as a great example of someone who has persisted against the odds.  Ellie takes up this theme:

“The musical artist who inspires me most is my friend and client, drummer Ray LeVier. Ray has unbelievable chops. He tours around the globe with urban jazz singer/songwriter K.J. Denhert and has recorded with vibraphonist Joe Locke, guitarists John Abercrombie and Mike Stern, saxophonist Dave Binney and bassist Francois Moutin.

When Ray was 12 years old and had just started playing drums, he suffered severe burns over much of his body in a camping accident. His fingers were reduced to small nubs and he pretty much lost his thumbs. His face was left with scars that would not get most folks thinking in the direction of the performance stage.

What did Ray do? He followed his dream to become a professional, performing drummer, and challenged himself to play jazz – arguably the most nuanced and difficult style to play. He underwent risky surgery to fashion a thumb on one hand and devises whatever creative ways he needs to hold and work with sticks. According to Joe Locke and the other musicians and teachers he’s worked with, Ray has never exhibited one moment of self-pity. I’ve never seen any either.

Ray’s website is HERE  Click the ‘Video’ tab to view two videos – Ray laying down a mad groove with K.J. Denhert’s group and giving a drum clinic to some aspiring young drummers.  Listen and watch. You’ll find it tough to ever again complain about anything in life!

Onwards to Canada now to meet Tibor Shanto – a sales guru, author and agent provocateur – Find him at Renbor.  Tibor chooses the awesome Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull as his inspiration:

“Half way through Thick As A Brick, at the start of side two when these things had sides, Ian Anderson offers us the following:  ‘We will be geared to the average rather than the exceptional’ – this has always driven me to look for and be the exceptional.”  I can testify that Tibor has lived up to this particular maxim!

Leaving on a jet plane, headed down under to Australia to meet Dr Timothy Pascoe, a leadership guru and author of the Leadership Potshots blog.  Timothy chooses Beethoven’s 9th symphony as his inspiring piece of music.   “Beethoven’s 9th is about the brotherhood of man.  Interestingly, the theme of the last movement is the anthem of the European Union.  I hope its leaders live up to his expectations.”

He goes on to offer us a leadership lesson from one of his favourite artists:  The Greek Soprano “Maria Callas didn’t just sing the notes of her operatic roles.  She changed her voice style and tone to convey what an aria was meant to be conveying.  We all need to think about the intended (and hidden) messages sent via our body language and voice tone.”   here we see a slightly different take on Maria’s genius, nonetheless with the same skill of body language from Mr Bean:

Back home to Blighty.

Back home to Blighty to meet Chris Glennie.  “So, I was driving to fetch my daughter from school yesterday and thinking what to write back to you when Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow’ came on the radio. As a believer in things happening for a reason, I’ll pick that song.

The song expresses a great lesson. It says:

  • Focus on the future (‘Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow’)
  • Don’t waste time (‘It’ll soon be here’)
  • Keep a positive outlook (‘better than before’)
  • Learn relevant lessons from but don’t dwell on the past, you can’t change it (‘Yesterday’s gone’)

It may now have become slightly over-used and cliched, but things do become cliches for a reason…”

Editor’s note:  Somehow, I had failed to notice just how sensible the lyrics of this song are for businesses.  Perhaps that’s because I’m nota huge Mac fan.  However, it’s simply true that companies like Apple, Unilever and First Direct have succeeded by following principles like this.  Business strategy is indeed writ large into rock songs!

We’ve spent much of 2011 wondering about the state of the economy and it’s becoming clearly that we need more of different rather than more of the same.  Lucy Brazier, owner of Executive Secretary magazine turns our attention to the need to be different rather than the same with the exquisite Stephen Sondheim song ‘Everybody says don’t’, performed here by Barbara Streisand.

Lucy also responded powerfully to my question “what would the world be like without music?”  She put it plain and simple:

“I learned to read music before I learned to read.  I have an ipod full of music that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. There is something that enhances or supports every emotion. I would rather lose my sight than my hearing – I couldn’t bear to lose music from my life.  My son is 19 and equally passionate about music. We quite often have evenings where he’ll say ‘Let me play you this one.’ and then I do the same to him. The excitement at hearing new music we haven’t heard before is palpable and I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend an evening than to play and listen to music with someone as excited by it as you are.

Hope you have a Rock’n’Roll Christmas! – if you have not yet treated yourself to a free copy of my new micro book Punk Rock People Management, get an electronic copy by mailing me at peter@humdyn.co.uk.  I look forward to hearing your comments on this blog, suggesting other songs that have meaning for you.

A manifesto for straightforward, simple and authentic people management - Click on the picture to get your free copy of Punk Rock People Management


4 responses to “A Rock’n’Roll Christmas – Part 2

  1. Loved the read on inspirational songs. It was great to see the variations on the theme. My personal choice is “Prime Mover” by Rush. You mentioned Niel Peart in your post and this song is a great example of his lyrical prowess:

    “From the point of ignition / To the final drive / The point of a journey / Is not to arrive / Anything can happen…”


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