Clark Terry Jazz Musician Extraordinaire

February 23, 2015

Clark Terry, jazz musician extraordinare, passed at the age of 94 in recent days.  He was an inspiration to me and millions of jazz musicians throughout the world.

Like Clark, I played trumpet and flugelhorn in bands ranging fom jazz quartets to big band jazz groups. My jazz mentors included people who had played professionally with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Maynard Furgeson and other big bands.

Clark and I shook hands in an elevator at a hotel I stayed at during a Northridge jazz festival in Southern California back in the 1970’s. Clark had heard me play that day and congratulated me for my solo with a big band jazz group. I was stunned beyond belief to see him and to hear his kind words. Yet, that’s who Clark was: a kind, generous and enormously talented man.

We’ve lost some great musicians in my lifetime. The loss of Clark Terry is huge. What a great life he lived.

Here’s a video of him doing a couple of solos with the Tonight Show band. Enjoy!

 


Progress Depends On Being Unreasonable

February 23, 2015

 

16412906655_5069710511_m

I recently watched a video from Robin Sharma that is, as usual, quite inspirational. Here are some notes I took as I listened:

  • Become unreasonable in every aspect of life: what I expect, what I want, etc.
  • Be unreasonable about levels of mastery and avoiding mediocrity.
  • Be unreasonable about levels of health and fitness I’ll develop these next 12 months–you can’t become legendary if you have no energy.
  • Be unreasonable about the goals I will pursue and the dreams I will realize.
  • Be unreasonable about my integrity and the values I will live by.
  • Be unreasonable about the people I will influence and the lives I will uplift.
  • Be unreasonable about the courage you will model and the passion you will share.
  • Be unreasonable in the results I will deliver and the projects I will complete.
  • Be unreasonable in the happiness I will experience.

Who is one of the most unreasonable leaders I know of? Steve Jobs. Look at the results he created.

The ideas above will help you thrive.

Photo Credit: Michael Seely, Flickr

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

Vishal Sikka Leading Change

Thought for the week:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man” – George Bernard Shaw
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Lessons From Undercover Boss

February 16, 2015

Undercover Boss

For those of you who may not have seen the show Undercover Boss, the owner works in his/her business in a full disguise attempting to learn more about the how the business works to experience first-hand the challenges the employees face at work and in life. It is always eye-opening. There are lessons for all business owners:

  • Too many owners are concerned about growing the business with little regard for the foundation the business is built on: people, process, systems, customer experience, etc. The most recent profit and loss statement doesn’t portend future challenges.
  • Businesses take on the personas of the people who work in them. If the business owner doesn’t set and enforce strong expectations, the owner should not be surprised when employees write their own script. People need to be trained and held accountable for meeting standards. Hope is not a strategy.
  • It is rather amazing that so many business owners have little or no idea what work and life challenges their employees face. They don’t need to go undercover–they just need to show up to learn what their employees and customers experience. The Japanese use the word “gemba” which means “to go where the work is.” You can’t possibly know what is going on if you don’t see it with your own eyes.
  • Too many owners don’t understand the hardship they are creating with their employees with uncertain work shifts, low wages, lack of medical benefits. These employees are the lifeblood of their business and own the relationships with their customers yet they are treated as being disposable.
  • The pay gap between the owners–who live very opulent lifestyles–and unskilled workers is huge. The average CEO (according to a Harvard Business Review article) makes 350+ times what the average unskilled worker makes. The CEOs want for little while their employees are barely getting by in life.

At the end of the show, the business owner comes out of disguise and usually offers promotions, cash rewards, business opportunities, offers to pay medical bills, rent, all expense-paid vacations, etc. While the employees who are part of the show are rewarded, you wonder what happens to the other employees, many of whom face the same job and life issues.

What needs to happen? I hope each CEO does some serious soul-searching about what it means to be the CEO and to lead the enterprise, examines the role people, systems and processes play in their business’s success, and take appropriate actions to ensure the ongoing viability of their businesses.

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

The Media Missed The Real Brian Williams Story

Thought for the week:

“I drink to make other people more interesting.” – Ernest Hemingway
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Adoption Of Change Is Valuable

February 9, 2015

6399051863_61952d7b85_m

Whenever a company is faced with implementing change, my mindset is that only if the change is widely adopted by the users or stakeholders is there value to be derived from that change.

For example, if you implement an enterprise application and adoption (usage) is quite low or non-existent, how have you benefited? You haven’t.

  • The change must tie into how work gets done.
  • The change needs to be appropriate and provide value for the people who implement the change to get their work done for themselves and others who rely on them.
  • If the change isn’t appropriate for the work that needs to be done, adoption is guaranteed to be low and frustration will be high.

Success is measured by adoption of end users, not by the opinions of sponsors of the initiative. It’s important to make the complex simple for the end users if you want a high level of adoption.

Photo Courtesy of Tanel Teemusk on Flickr

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

RadioShack: I’ll Miss You But Not Very Much

Thought for the week:

“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of this life is this: Decide what you want.” – Ben Stein heard through @AmyShowalter
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Being Time Efficient Is Valuable

February 2, 2015

3253627589_5b6fbd47f4_m

A few years ago, I was doing a configuration management and product lifecycle management (PLM) system project for a division of major international corporation. I needed to have a contact in each of the key organizations across the enterprise—a cross-functional team.

As the executives struggled to assign the team members, there was quite a bit of debate over who would have the bandwidth to work with me.

As they threw different names out and kept mentioning all the work each person was currently involved with, I asked if it would be worthwhile knowing how much time I might need on a weekly basis from each of people. The executives thought that was a great question.

My response: most likely 30 minutes; 60 minutes tops. They were stunned. My client assured them “he works really efficiently.” The relief on the executive’s faces was palpable. They all agreed to go with their first nominee.

What’s the point? A client wants a consultant to work as efficiently as possible, not create a burden on their teams or business. After all, they have a business to run in parallel with the process improvement project.

Being efficient with the client is a key attribute of my consulting work which is helping to make the complex simple.

Photo Courtesy of Supreme-B on Flickr

Thought for the week:

 “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”  – Anais Nin
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


What Is Your Dawn Wall Project?

January 26, 2015

4301015022_d2f54a13e1_m

Earlier this month, many in the world watched in stunned amazement as two climbers free climbed the Dawn Wall at Yosemite’s El Capitan. They used only their finger tips and shoes grasping tiny cracks in the granite face to climb over 3,000 vertical feet over 19 days. Tommy Caldwall and Kevin Jorgeson accomplished a truly remarkable feat they had been planning since 2007.

From the story Climber who completed first free ascent of Dawn Wall encourages others to find their own Dawn Wall comes this:

“…But it wasn’t enough for Jorgeson that people could relate to his struggle. He wanted their accomplishment to do more than wow people.

Why were you inspired by this story?” he said. “Some people connect with the struggle, some connect with the teamwork, and some connect to the dream. You can’t possibly predict how people are going to connect with the story. It forces you to think about what is it that people relate to. What is it in my life that I really want to come true? If nothing else, if we can provide that introspection and that inspiration for people to find their own Dawn Wall, that’s a cool lasting impact to have for being part of last Wednesday’s crazy news cycle.”

I now have my own “Dawn Wall” project. I’d love to hear about yours.

Photo Courtesy of Moni Sertel on Flickr

Thought for the week:

“By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer we often find the answer to our own.” ― Dieter F. Uchtdorf
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Making The Complex Simple

January 5, 2015

8317353105_b56290c049_m

As you start the new year, you must ask yourself these questions:

  • What business processes are more complex than they ought to be?
  • What frustrations does your company recurringly impose on customers?
  • What challenges do your channel partners experience that are undermining their sales efforts and therefore undermining your revenue growth?
  • What seems harder than it ought to be from quote to cash collection and everything in between?

If you eradicate needless complexity, you create the seamlessness employees, customers and channel partners crave.

2015 is the year of making the complex simple.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Dooley on Flickr

Thought for the week:

“Imagine a daily practice where start by asking yourself – ‘what actions can I take to make someone’s life better today?’ Then rather than stopping at that, take one or two actions to make a meaningful attempt, things will start happening.” – Rajesh Setty, How to Hack Serendipity
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,211 other followers