Feb 122013

The jazz-leader is a new kind of busi­ness leader — one who accepts there’s no longer any ‘score’ to play from, and under­stands that we must all now improvise.

They’ve got sev­eral dis­tin­guish­ing features.

Here are just 5 of them:


1. The jazz-leader draws on tra­di­tion, but bal­ances it with exper­i­ment­a­tion and risk-taking. If neces­sary, they reject the past entirely.


Duke Elling­ton is con­tinu­ally renew­ing him­self through his music

Billy Stray­horn

2. The jazz-leader learns con­tinu­ously, is open to new ideas, and is humble enough to admit what they don’t know.


jazz leader

The thing that makes jazz so inter­est­ing is that each man is his own academy

Cecil Taylor

3. The jazz-leader listens act­ively to find out what’s oth­ers are think­ing, to pick up on ideas, to con­sider dif­fer­ent perspectives.


Keep listen­ing. Never become so self-important that you can’t listen to other players

John Col­trane

4. The jazz-leader accepts that mis­takes are inev­it­able, and it’s what you do with them that counts.


When you remove the fear of fail­ure, impossible things sud­denly become possible

Regina Dugan

5. The jazz-leader cre­ates a stable envir­on­ment that can with­stand dis­rupt­ive, cre­at­ive provocations.


Impro­visa­tion is a bal­ance between con­trol and sur­render. It’s like two sides of a high­way. And you’ve got to walk down that yel­low line.

Bobby McFer­rin


Does your boss have these characteristics?

Do you?

5 more char­ac­ter­ist­ics next post…


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