A new book from a dirty old town

DIY

I’m delighted to have been asked to host the book launch event of “Do It Yourself – A History of Music in Medway” by Stephe Morris next Thursday April 23rd at The Barge in Gillingham, a well known music venue in the area.

Medway, Mersey and Mississippi share a river and mud but perhaps that’s where the comparisons must end, although the river Medway did produce Chicory Tip, Billy Childish, Judge Dread, Wreckless Eric, Tracy Emin, Zandra Rhodes, Charles Dickens and Kelly Brook. It also produced David Frost, who attended the same school as I did but who escaped the towns as quickly as possible to the more cultured Cambridge.

gq awards inside arrivals 090909

They could not get Kelly Brook to host the launch so they got me instead – sincere apologies

Romanticism? Perhaps. Yet, as one reviewer points out there are little record shops in Texas that have a Medway section, and big ones in Hollywood that have one too, yet none have sections from the “twin rock towns” of Little Milton (Oxon), Milton Keynes and Horsted Keynes.

On the evening we’ll be receiving several readings from Stephe, I will be explaining how I replaced one of our drummers with a spin drier and there will be performances from several of the acts that feature in the book, including the great Nick Hughes, who fronted punk band Gash and who I performed with in glam pop art combo Cenét Rox. I will be performing a post punk sonic performance painting called “Beyond These Towns The Sweetest Dreams” in support of the book launch and selling copies of Punk Rock People Management and the new edition of The Music of Business if it is available. Robert Peston, the BBC’s Economics Editor is the latest person to receive a copy of Punk Rock HR last night when we took him to see The Godfather of Funk, Mr George Clinton.

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From Spin Driers, to The Cowpokers, Music and Business – with Nick Hughes

So, come on down to The Barge, Layfield Street, Gillingham ME7 2QY next Thursday 23rd April at 8 pm for a cabaret of spoken word, music and mayhem. Bring your spin drier. We finish with some post punk prattling from the Pogues:

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Our new book on Leadership, Innovation and Creativity is scheduled for 2016 release.

In the meantime, do order your copy of the NEW edition of “The Music of Business” – Parallel lessons on Business from Music.

Come to our next showcase event June 9th with The Godfather of Punk, Mr Richard Strange.

A Love Bizarre – Interviewing Sheila E

Sheila E

A Love Bizarre – Some days at work just don’t get any better

Can the end of a week in business get any better than this?  We just interviewed Sheila E. Sheila Escovedo is a world-class drummer and percussionist whose credits read like chapters in a music history book: Ringo Starr. Marvin Gaye, Prince, Beyoncé, Herbie Hancock, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan and George Duke.

It was quite clear to me that rhythm is genetically imprinted into Sheila’s DNA and her family who performed with Carlos Santana amongst others. It was a pure delight to talk with Sheila. Amongst the many things we discussed were:

  • The central part that the musicians at the back of the stage play in making sure the music reaches everyone and the people at the front of the stage look even better.
  • The role of a musical director in bringing balance to a musical ensemble. Sheila acted as Musical Director for Prince – that’s no mean feat!
  • How creativity works in music and how to get better at what you do through embracing the rich diversity of your chosen artform.
  • Sheila’s collaborations with her father, George Duke and many others.
  • Sheila’s book The Beat of my own Drum, her recent album Icon and her new club, The E Spot
  • Sheila’s work in schools, bringing the joy of music to underprivileged children and her community project Elevate Oakland.
  • The importance of incubation for creativity, sometimes over long timescales.

Take a look at the full report and the exclusive film interview over at our Linkedin Page.

Who said girls can't play the drums?

Who said girls can’t play the drums? Click on the picture for the book

The concert at The Brooklyn Bowl was superb and it was a great pleasure to get past the ‘facebook pages’ and actually meet the organiser of the Purple Army group Pippa Roberts and the woman that has given them so much assistance Debbie Poli.

Some of Sheila' supporters from The Purple Army

Some of Sheila’s supporters from The Purple Army – photo credit Marcus Docherty

SE 3

Sheila E and Eddie M burning down the house – Photo Credit Leena Khanna

Sex Cymbal - at the Brooklyn Bowl

Sex Cymbal – at the Brooklyn Bowl

For now, just take a look at some of Sheila’s video output:

And for some more on the importance of rhythm in music, business and life, see our interview with Chris Slade of AC DC.  I was delighted to present Sheila with a copy of my book “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll”, even more delighted when she said she had seen and heard of it before!  Next week, I’m taking the BBC’s Robert Peston for a meeting with Mr George Clinton, so I’m expecting another masterclass in creativity from the Godfather of Funk.

The Leader of the Band - It was pure pleasure and a private joy to talk with Ms Escovedo

The Leader of the Band – It was pure pleasure and a private joy to talk with Ms Escovedo

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Our new book on Leadership, Innovation and Creativity is scheduled for 2016 release.

In the meantime, do order your copy of the NEW edition of “The Music of Business” – Parallel lessons on Business from Music.

Come to our showcase event June 9th, featuring The Godfather of Punk, Richard Strange.

Innovation and Creativity

Last week Bloomsbury commissioned a groundbreaking book on innovation and creativity from me. Bloomsbury are the home of Harry Potter and have a major cadre of thought leaders and business authors alongside their popular offerings. I’m wondering if you would like to be part of this great adventure?

Bloomsbury's HQ in London

Bloomsbury’s HQ in London

I’m looking for stories and mini case studies to be included in the book with full credits to you and your company. There are two themes – one personal and the other more business focused:

1. Personal Creativity Stories

Have you got a story which illustrates how your own creativity works? Can you articulate the circumstances under which you are at your most creative? Do you work best alone or in groups. Does the environment, your mood, stimulation level or time of day matter? Typical strategies for personal creativity include running, showering, being engaged in some non-work related activity e.g. ironing, gardening etc. I’ve attached an example below to give you an idea of the sort of thing I’m looking for. Your story could be anything from 50 to 300 words long. It would be good if you can tie your story to an underlying principle from psychology or neuroscience.

2. Innovation Mini Cases

For Innovation Leaders

  • How do you structure for innovation in your enterprise?
  • How do you create a culture and climate for intrapreneuship?
  • How do you deal with failure?
  • How is your approach to innovation informed (or not) by what academics and thought leaders say about the process of bringing new things into being?

For Innovators

  • Have you taken an idea and converted it to a profitable / sustainable innovation?
  • How did you set about that?
  • What barriers did you have to overcome?
  • How was your approach informed (or not) by what academics and thought leaders say about the process of bringing new things into being?
  • What has been the impact? – on you, on others, on society?

We currently have case studies from Virgin, Pfizer, Fuji Film, Widget, Dyson etc. so I’m looking for examples from different walks of business life. Your case could be anything from 300 to 1200 words long – it does not have to include all the aspects I’ve mentioned above and could focus on other aspects of innovation.

Please send your contributions via e-mail to peter@humdyn.co.uk. The deadline for book submission is tight and I really need your contributions within one month (19 April) to have a realistic chance to integrate your piece into the final manuscript.

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock. Author of eight books on leadership and creativity as it applies to business. His latest offerings “Punk Rock People Management” – 2nd Edition and a NEW edition of “The Music of Business” may be pre-ordered now by clicking on the image.

Click to order

Click to order

 

Enigmatic Leadership

Does your enigma as a leader increase if a sense of mystery surrounds your life?  I was thinking about this whilst listening to the BBC broadcast on Prince’s ‘Vault’ of unreleased material today, estimated to be more than 70% of his recorded output.

In case you are not familiar, Prince is thought to write a song every day and is already considered to be capable of releasing albums for many years after his death, achieving some kind of mythical ‘life after death’ status for some of his fans.  It’s a quite different approach to that of Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, where people have struggled to find anything like a catalogue of quality unreleased material.

Undoubtedly, his enigma is a great allure for his fanbase, some of whom would probably do anything to see him. This level of adulation has its downside. My own frustration with the purple genius’ enigma reached its peak when I bought a ticket to one of his aftershows in London some years back, only to find the he had gone directly to Dubrovnik after the main show and had no intention of performing, leaving me cold and tired, walking around London till the early hours.  Yes, the billing for these shows did say “Expect the unexpected”, but at that point I felt he had stretched the deal way beyond the promise!  I recall he did something similar in Ireland some years back as well and at numerous other locations.  Yet, he also occasionally gives ‘random acts of kindness’, such as when I queued for 7 hours to see him in London last year, expecting to pay £70 for the pleasure and then being asked for £10 when I reached the door.

Do the concepts of being mysterious and precocious stretch to modern day leadership in business? I’m sure many of you would expect me to say yes, given my ‘minor obsession’ with music and business parallels, but this is one area where I have to say no.  Here’s three things you should not ‘copy and paste’ from Prince’s example as a leader and two that you might:

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 12.07.35

Finally, here’s the song from my ‘vault’ that I wrote for Prince, in support of the charity Autism Rocks. Download your copy now via Bandcamp and tell your friends.  Also a picture of Prince’s spiritual Godfather Mr George Clinton of Parliament after his tour of The Houses of Parliament last week when I caught up with him. I’m off to see George if anyone wants to join me in London on April 15th at Kokos with Dr Andrew Sentance and a special guest.

Prince

What U C Is What U Get – a tribute to Prince, in support of Autism research – artwork by Mary Frances Geiser

First you gotta shake the gate ... of Parliament - with George Clinton at The Houses of Parliament

First you gotta shake the gates … of Parliament – with George Clinton at The Houses of Parliament               Photo by Clive Allen

Prince - I would fry for you

                                        Prince – I would fry 4 U – Breakfast can wait!

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics – better Business and Organisation Development, Training and Coaching. He offers keynotes that blend World Class Leadership Thinking with parallel lessons from the world of music via The Academy of Rock.

Author of eight books on Business Leadership – Check his latest one:

Punk Rock People Management

Click on the picture to find out more

   Click on the picture to find out more

Live Long and Prosper

Live Long and Prosper

Live Long and Prosper

Leonard Nimoy’s sad passing reminded me that I’d written about “The Star Trek approach to decision making” some 15 years ago, when I first wrote a book called “Rockin’ The Corporation”, which eventually became “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll” five years later. In the book I rejected Belbin, Myers Briggs and other fancy approaches to understanding the human condition, in favour of the simpler, perhaps unvalidated but far more pragmatic “Star Trek Model”. Although Roger Sperry’s notion of the “Left and Right brain” is largely discredited by academics, I’d dare to suggest that good decisions are none the less composed of creative and analytical inputs, which approximate to the common notion of Left and Right Brain thinking. So, there’s nothing therefore wrong with the term as a practical shorthand for getting from one decision making galaxy to another …

When important decisions are taken in Star Trek, Spock provides the much needed analytical, logical, ordered and structured “left brain” input, whereas Kirk provides the emotionally intelligent, intuitive, creative and improvised “right brain” input. Sometimes Dr Mc Coy arbitrates or facilitates a synthesis between these poles in search of a better synthesis of the analytical and creative positions. Take a glance at the opening sequence of “Space Seed” from 2’53’ – 4’30”, where Kirk has to make a decision about an enemy craft and you will see an archetypal example what I mean:

Instinct is necessary but often insufficient to make good decisions. Just think about some typical business and life decisions:

  • Buying a house, a luxury car or a holiday
  • Making strategic business decisions
  • Falling in love
  • Hiring a key member of staff
  • Selecting a pension plan
  • Planning your career

… or any perverse combination of these things … for example, falling in love with a member of staff, buying a luxury car instead of making sound business decisions or buying a pension plan … many of which I have observed people doing over the years !!

It can be a disastrous idea to buy a house based on the smell of coffee, freshly baked bread, how attractive the owner is, but later discovering that you did not check whether the property had enough bedrooms, that the buyer no longer lives there because they were selling you the property and not asking you to live with them and so on!

Nor would life be tolerable if we attempted to fall in love using Excel spreadsheets or a Gantt chart, checking the “dimensions” of everything, but failing to take into account whether we liked the person or not, as this ludicrous example demonstrates below:

Falling in love (with Excel) again … never wanted to … :-)

We can see just how badly the impulsive Kirk needs Spock’s cool analysis in the episode featuring Joan Collins “The City On The Edge Of Forever”, where Kirk’s decision making abilities are taken completely off course by a kiss – from 1’15” onwards in this sequence.

You could spend a lifetime doing DISC profiles etc. to help you understand your fellow decision makers, or just follow a robust process such as “The Star Trek Method”. There is of course no need to wear the ears of Spock in the Boardroom, although I have supplied these at certain times for very tough decisions and wicked problems … Big decisions are too important to rely on only half of your brain and you sometimes need very big ears to hear new ideas …

To lead, get bigger ears

To lead, get bigger ears

Where’s Captain Kirk?

Long Live and Prosper!

Leonard Nimoy R.I.P.

Postcript : in a piece of synchronicity, Steve Browne wrote a piece called #LLAP in celebration of Leonard Nimoy’s life – read it at Everyday People.

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics, offering better Organisation Development, Training and Coaching. He offers keynotes that blend World Class Leadership Thinking with the wisdom of the street via The Academy of Rock – where Business Meets Music. Author of seven books on Business Leadership, acclaimed by Tom Peters, Professors Charles Handy, Adrian Furnham and Harvey Goldsmith CBE.

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution

Going way back in time to the point when I first started doing talks about business and music, here is my deeply ironic translation of the lyrics from The Beatles’ song “Revolution”, reset in the context of the management of change.  It is a great tale of the difference between vision and action.  I’ve set out the original lyrics first and my translations in bold italics!  Admittedly the new lyrics do not scan and that perhaps accounts for why Lennon did not use them …  In case you don’t know the song you young people, here’s a video clip:

VERSE 1

Say you wanna revolution, well, you know

So, you are an advocate of Business Process Re-engineering and radical change

We all wanna change the world

Yeh, that’s what the workers want – creative leadership

You tell me that it’s evolution, well you know

But then you come on with benchmarking and TQM, man

We all wanna change the world

Yeh, we need to reform the bureaucratic paradigm, man

But when you talk about destruction

But when you say we have to drop our existing products

Don’t you know you can count me out 

I’m not sure I wanna be on the project team 

Talkin' 'bout a Revolution

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution

VERSE 2

You say you’ve got a real solution, well you know

You’ve seen Ricardo Semler and have swiped his vision

 We’d all love to see the plan

Intuition’s fine but I’m not a bloody mind reader 

You ask me for a contribution, well you know

Then you ask me to ‘buy in’ to something I can’t even see

We’re all doin’ what we can

Well, I’m trying but can’t you give me some clear goals? 

But if you want money from people with minds that hate

So if you want the ‘late majority’ to come on board 

All I can tell you brother is you’ll have to wait

You’ll have to do better than a mission statement! 

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy

 VERSE 3

You say you’ve changed the constitution, well you know

You’ve rewritten the KPI’s and the reward strategy

We all wanna change your head

We all wanna change our jobs

You tell me it’s the institution, well you know 

You tell me now that it’s the ‘culture’ and IT systems

You’d better free your mind instead 

You’d better start modelling some change yourself!

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao 

If you keep bringing in iconic examples of success

You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow 

Chaos theory predicts that we’ll build in further resistance to the change programme

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About the Author:  Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and Organisation Development, Training and Coaching. Contact via peter@humdyn.co.uk or +44 (0) 7725 927585.

Global Networks

Nadine Hack, pictured with Jerry Dunfey at The White House on St Patrick's Day

Nadine Hack, pictured with Jerry Dunfey at The White House on St Patrick’s Day

I’m delighted and humbled to be included amongst the exclusive global network of Nadine Hack, Leader of beCause Global Consulting.  Nadine is a thought leader in the area of responsible and sustainable leadership over 30 years and has recently formalised her global network of trusted associates. Take a look at the incredible cast of experts on The beCause Website.

I asked Nadine to explain more.

Peter:  What’s uniquely valuable about this network?

Nadine:  The beCause network is truly global.  We cover The Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and The Middle East, with multilingual, multidisciplinary capabilities.  Our core is represented in this model:

The beCause Core offering

The beCause core offering

The beCause network adds specific capacities in social media, sustainability, conflict resolution, entrepreneurship, executive search, gender equity, design, public relations and much more.

Peter:  What has driven the development?

Nadine: On the one hand, corporates increasingly demand that their partners exhibit size and scale around the world. Whilst we have that size and scale, it is not immediately apparent to some of the people who source our expertise.  The network makes this collective capability visible.  At a purely personal level, I am thrilled to highlight people with the highest integrity and who therefore can make an important contribution to the world in which we are entering, where sustainable business practices and ethical leadership are no longer nice to have, but essentials in a world which badly needs transformational change.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 17.00.12

Peter:  What are your hopes for the network?

Nadine:  I’ve always believed in teams and the power of collaboration.  It’s something that I help my clients achieve within their organizations.  And, I’m proud to model it in my own company by introducing an extraordinary network  of diverse talent from around the world.

For an insight into Nadine’s work take a look at an extract from one of her talks below on sustainable business practice.  This highlights her extensive experience that sustainable business is good business for all concerned.  This is no longer a fringe activity, it is core business as companies like Unilever, Microsoft, Wal-Mart and so on will tell you.  The network has already attracted interest from companies around the world for various services, including one that is interested to develop their leadership capabilities in terms of ethical behaviour around the world, another that wants to develop their social media presence and so on.

For me personally, I’m delighted to be part of such a superb group of collaborators.  As Archimedes said:

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world” 

Nadine Hack’s beCause Network offers to multiply Archimedes’ principle many times.

Levers of Change

Levers of Change – Nadine Hack’s beCause Network