At first glance, Jazz may appear to be an odd organizational model for business. But on closer examination, it becomes clear that every key strategic and operational component of an effective organization is contained within the Jazz group configuration, and each can be understood observing Jazz musicians as they perform.
Jazz is the Music of Evolution – Jazz embodies change. Jazz musicians are not only comfortable with change, they thrive on it. By mastering the dynamics and potential of change instead of resisting it, Jazz musicians are able to continually reinvent their art – and themselves – without losing their identity. In the process, Jazz players keep audiences engaged.
Jazz is the Music of Creativity – Most of us recognize that creativity is essential for Jazz performance, and that Jazz musicians are creative. But creativity does not “come naturally” to a select few. It requires commitment, learning the fundamentals, accessing the right tools…and practice, practice, practice! The good news is that everyone – not just the professional artist – is creative, and creativity can be learned, mastered and routinely applied.
Jazz is the Music of Interdependence – As in any organization, every player in the Jazz group has specific responsibilities which must be precisely executed during every performance. In the Jazz group, these responsibilities can change, and often significantly, at a moment’s notice. Knowing what to play – or what not to play – is all part of the job. The ability to shift seamlessly from various leadership and support roles is essential to responding to new opportunities and maximizing group performance.
Jazz is the Music of Leadership – Jazz is a continual work-in-progress, and so players necessarily have to be afforded considerable freedom to perform their roles – especially when the aim is to take advantage of a player’s unique signature sound. And yet, any good band leader will deliberately set performance standards quite high. Guiding players to achieve progressively higher levels of excellence, night after night, is the art of Jazz leadership.
Jazz is the Music of Decisiveness – When it’s showtime, there are no focus groups or endless internal debates. Jazz musicians joyously move from decision to decision creating a harmonious performance. It’s 1-2-3 Play! Players communicate seamlessly to orchestrate a powerful connection with their audience through the music. And they do it all in real time.