The Art of Listening

I met Dame Evelyn Glennie recently at an event I was invited to at The Bank of England. A remarkable dialogue took place about the gentle art and discipline of listening, expertly organised by Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at BoE.

Evelyn Glennie has been deaf since her teenage years, yet she developed as a percussionist and ‘feels’ sound through her body.  She opened the 2012 Olympics using the Aluphone:

Why then would The Bank of England have someone from such a different world come to address an invited audience?

Glennie talked passionately about the art of listening. All businesses could improve their abilities in this area, especially as the speed / rhythm of business continues to increase and that decreases the spaces for meaningful conversation. I have experienced this at first hand through my work with Dr Andrew Sentance, former Monetary Policy Committee member at the Bank of England, himself a musician, and via 25 years of consulting with a huge range of businesses and organisations.

Much business conversation is really discussion, based on the root form of percussion or “to beat around”.  Whereas physicist David Bohm talks of the need for dialogue, where there is a genuine enquiry.  Complex business issues demand dialogue more than discussion and yet most businesses are time limited so issues tend to be beaten around rather than relying on more skilful inquiry.  I call such issues “wicked problems” and they require high level listening, collaboration and complex problem solving skills.

Music, simply stated, is applied physics. Banks run on mathematics and science but the gap between music and mathematics is mostly an imaginary one, installed at an early age when we are judged to be more arty or scientific. At the highest levels art and science are often indistinguishable. Our job as leaders is to “improve the signal : noise ratio” in business.  This of course can be done badly by shutting down conversation or improving our abilities to hear … this, itself opens up a much wider dialogue …

Thus business could learn a thing or two from music and vice versa.  Hats off to The Bank of England for hosting such an engaging event as part of their outreach series.  Here’s a TED talk from Evelyn Glennie, where she elucidates further on the gentle art of listening:

***********************************************************************************************

Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Speaking and Conference facilitation and Human Dynamics – Business and Organisation Development. Check his books out on Amazon:

Transferable lessons for business from music

Advertisements

Ethic Cleansing

In a world where people vote on 3 or 4 words, such as Take Back Control or Make America Great Again, I thought I’d reduce the artform to just two words and a song:

Sign This.

Click to Sign

Then Share.

Politics relies on trust to operate. 

The currency of trust has been devalued. 

Let’s take back control of ethics. 

Make Britain Great Again. 

Damn EU

Tomorrow marks the release of our 7th single in the Rage Against The Brexit Machine series.  Fiscal Cliff charts the story that led to the last major recession and which sewed the seeds for our decision to self harm by leaving the EU:

Click the links to pre-order the song:

Here is the video to whet your appetite:

And the lyric …. written in bus shelters, banks, bath, beds and bars :

The story behind the song – Illustrations by Simon Heath @SimonHeath1

As with many things in modern life, the ideas for the song started on Facebook – with big thanks to Andee Price for finding me within an hour of asking for a professional bass player on Facebook and Christopher Gamble for his “online oral stimulation”:

I placed an ad for a female bass player on Facebook and within an hour I had three recommendations for Andee Price – she read the advertisement accurately and responded. A true professional.

 

A Song for Europe

We have a Eurovision … no, we have not written a Bucks Fizz record … we see the prospect for a better Britain in a united Europe and have written a heartfelt song to capture that vision.

Will you help us chart the song this week?  It needs just 79 pence to buy a copy, preferably on multiple platforms … see below for links.

“Don’t Throw It All Away” is Madeleina Kay’s “Song for Europe”.  The song speaks to our hearts of all the things we stand to lose if we leave the EU.

“Don’t Throw It All Away” has moved several people to tears with its perfect storm of Madeleina’s poetry set to music.

The song was written in a stairwell at the European Union by Madeleina in an emotional outpouring after she was removed from the EU Chamber for daring to wear a Supergirl costume to a Brexit Briefing by our “Brexit Bulldog” David Davis.

This orchestral version of “Don’t Throw It All Away” was recorded and produced by Peter Cook in his studio “The Basement of Cognition” with vocals recorded at Rock God Bernie Torme’s Barnroom Studios in darkest Kent.

Recording session for “No Jeremy Corbyn” with Rock God Bernie Torme and Rage Founder members Gareth Dylan Smith and Doug Grannell

Sony Records’ associate Mark Christopher Lee said of the song:

“Don’t Throw It All Away compares favourably with Sinead O’Connor’s version of “Vienna”.  There is also a little bit of Nico in Madeleina Kay’s voice”.

The original acoustic version is here for comparison:

Place your order for the song on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play now: Just click the images to find the song online. We are aiming for Top 40 success, not so much for the fame, but to “take back control of the media from Murdoch’s Murderous Media Machine”.

Did you stop to think
what you would sacrifice?
When on a whim
you took their advice.
 
What did you think you’d gain?
Why did you leave?
Which broken promises
did you believe?
 
Don’t throw it all away.
There’s just so many reasons to stay.
And if you let me have my way
We’ll make a better tomorrow, today.
 
It’s easy to cast the blame
when you’re hurt
Unaware of all the falsehoods
that you assert.
 
Don’t be reckless now,
just think before you act,
There’s still time to apply
the knowledge that we lacked.
 
Don’t throw it all away.
There’s just so many reasons to stay.
And if you let me have my way
We’ll make a better tomorrow, today.
Don’t you live your life
of regret
But on your fateful fortune
I will place my bet.
Soon your unsubstantiated
optimism
Will dissolve amidst its
criticisms.
Don’t throw it all away.
There’s just so many reasons to stay.
And if you let me have my way
We’ll make a better tomorrow, today.

 

Fake News devalues the Currency of Truth

This article from Breitbart is both hilarious and simultaneously depressing.  It is the stuff that caused Gina Miller to receive death threats and a quick read of the comments shows that there is a willing public ready to consume such garbage and make all kinds of random leaps of faith based on limited information. Part of the problem is that we are now “drowning in data” rather than “swimming with information” – an issue I am presently writing about for my latest book. In a world of information overload there can be a tendency to simply accept headlines at face value, especially for time deprived people or those of lower general intelligence.  Breitbart’s headline also distorts the truth, where  “emotional blackmail” has been substituted for the actual idea, which asks young people to speak with their grandparents, who, after all have the balance of power in the relationship, as some of the comments to the article suggest. It is a pure distortion of the story to suggest that young people are blackmailing their grandparents. Worse still it promotes the kind of hate that leads to more radical action. I believe in a free press, but freedom comes with responsibilities.

Click for Breitbart … if you dare

Our journalists devalue the currency of the truth with such tactics. It does nothing to improve respect for the press. What exactly is wrong with asking young people to speak with their grandparents about values and beliefs?  What are Breitbart afraid of?  Why are they saying this?

Read some of Madeleina’s work by clicking the picture

My own sister consumes much of this garbage via the Daily Mail.  Her husband told me that we must leave the EU because “there were two million rapists waiting to come to England from Berlin, sponsored by Angela Merkel”.  I could not really believe what I was hearing at Sunday tea over the Battenberg cake (damn German name for an English cake of course – presumably also the EU’s fault !! 🙂

Older knows better ?? I’m old and I am ashamed of my peers’ stupidity

Trump, Brexit … we need a new world order.  Undoubtedly there is massive dissatisfaction with our politics around the world, but our knee jerk populist response to this is informed by fake news. In the words of Robert Allen and members of The E Street band “Is There A Way To Know?”

*********************************

Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Author of 8 books on leadership acclaimed by Tom Peters, Charles Handy, Harvey Goldsmith and Adrian Furnham. Featuring an interview exclusive with Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson.

 

Born in the USA

American rocker DownTown Mystic has contributed the song Way To Know to the Rage Against The Brexit Machine project. Way To Know will be the 4th single released by RATBM on UK label Nub Music. Nub plans to release a full Rage Against The Brexit Machine album featuring a Christmas single based on the starting point of the Band Aid song “Do They Know It’s Brexit?” but redeveloped for a basket of charities.

Way To Know features the RnR Hall of Fame rhythm section of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band – Max Weinberg & Garry Tallent. DownTown Mystic writer/producer, Robert Allen, explains

“I just happened to see a tweet that Nub was looking for songs and artists for the RATBM project. I contacted Nub head Mark Lee about it and Mark, with A&R man Guy Thompson, got the song to Peter and put me in touch with him. Peter called me to tell me how much he liked the song and thought it was a good fit with RATBM.”

Rage Against The Brexit Machine is part of a Stop Brexit Movement using pop music to bring attention to the disaster that Brexit will cause in the UK if it is not abandoned and overturned before it’s too late.

“Naked populism brought us the Brexit referendum result. We will lay Brexit to rest via a populist approach that will expose the naked truth about Brexit and the compelling benefits of a Better Britain in a United Europe. The USA is having much the same problem with Trump so we have joined forces to wake the world up to what’s going on”

Robert adds:

“Brexit should have forewarned us about the possibility of Trump winning in the USA. The one good thing to come out of it is the Resistance Movement against Trump. Maybe the people for Brexit should take a good look at the USA now and see what happens when lies and fake news are believed and you don’t get what you were hoping for.”

Robert Allen – DownTown Mystic

DownTown Mystic’s next release will be the DownTown On E Street EP featuring four exclusive tracks with Max & Garry. This should pave the way for the release of the Rock’n’Roll Romantic album in 2018. Robert comments, “Nub’s recent Distribution Deal with ADA/Warner Music should be of great benefit to releasing DownTown Mystic’s music in the UK and the rest of Europe. It’s an exciting development.”

Don’t just watch the video, buy the songs and let’s lay Brexit and Trumptation to rest – Same Horse, Different Jockey …

*********************************

Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Author of 8 books on leadership acclaimed by Tom Peters, Charles Handy, Harvey Goldsmith and Adrian Furnham. Featuring an interview exclusive with Sir Richard Branson.

Jacob Rees Moog … Pants to Brexit and other Brexit Party Hits

I’ve been asked to assemble an album of “Brexit Party Hits” … although I’ve yet to be invited to a Brexit party by our Government … 🙂  The working title of the album is BREXIT FREE and the idea is to professionally record an album’s worth of original songs about “Life without Brexit” (pleasure) and Brexit realities (pain). You can read about some of our activity to free us from self-harming Brexit in The New European newspaper this week.

I’m asking people to back the album production in advance via our “STOP BREXIT” Go Fund Me site. This will enable us to book studios, secure professional musicians, hire professional marketing support and so on.  There is an immense amount of organisation to do and costs involved to undertake this venture. I have been offered the support of Jon Morter, the man who knocked Simon Cowell off the Number One slot with his Rage Against The Brexit Machine Christmas hit. We are calling the collective of the bands that will record the album “Rage Against The Brexit Machine”. We will release the album with Nub Records, an indie label that won a place in the Guinness Book of Records for their 100 x 30 albums. I recorded 3 songs for these including “Trumptown” and “Beware the IDS of March“.

FAQ’s

What will be on the album?

The actual album is being written now and we will crowdsource the words on our BBC (Brexit Boat Cruise) on the River Thames on 19 August. However, here are some titles to whet your appetite:

  • Pants to Brexit – feat Pan(t)’s People
  • Jacob Rees Moog – a Tory dancefloor groove in the style of “19”
  • Better Together – An Ode To Joy
  • What EU mean to me – A Love Song
  • Fiscal Cliff – On Economics and Cliff Edges
  • Bojo Funk – A revision of the Bruno Mars hit Uptown Funk
  • We are the Brexit Girls – A revision of The Cheeky Song
  • Brexit Free
  • No Jeremy Corbyn

Who will be on the album?

This is a collaborative effort, so please contact me if you wish to contribute.  We will certainly be including our Boris Johnson impersonator Faux Bojo but there is room for other singers and players.

We campaign tirelessly for a Brexit Free World – click to read Rebecca Buck’s superb piece on our work

Packing them in at Downing Street – Photo by Bruce Tanner – http://www.brucetanner.com

Will there be a single?

Yes, several. “Pants to Brexit”, “Jacob Rees Moog”, “I wanna be Brexit Free” and “No Jeremy Corbyn” are the current contenders.

No to Brexit JC

What happens if we don’t raise all the money?

If the album project does not fully fund we will produce the singles. If not the money will be used to fight Brexit via the live events we have planned at the Labour / Conservative / Lib Dem Party Conferences and other events around the country.

Check the Go Fund Me page out now – Let’s Break Brexit Before Brexit Breaks Britain …

**************************

Peter Cook is a business consultant, author of 7.5 books on business, keynote speaker and musician. He blends his three passions of science, business and music in his work at The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics which he has run for 23 years. In his early career he brought new pharmaceutical products to market safely including Human Insulin and the world’s first HIV / AIDS treatment.