Q: How do you know that you are getting old?
A: When you start to like Michael Buble!
A couple of years ago, I was dragged along to see Michael Buble. He was playing at the Point Depot (or was it O2 or 03? It’s hard to keep up with that re-branding). Linda loved him. Linda’s mother loved him. They needed someone to drive and park illegally outside the venue so they wouldn’t have far to walk. So, a spare ticket was bought for me. The concert had just about everything I don’t like. Saccharine music, Michael playing up shamelessly to the audience, mainly women. New, inferior, renditions of classic songs. They lapped it up. I hated it. Another night sacrificed on the altar of domestic bliss. Then, and I don’t quite understand how this actually happened, I started to really listen to his stuff on CD’s in the car. The music had more sugar than a barrel of candy floss, but you couldn’t deny his tone and timing – almost a modern day Frank Sinatra.
Going Home: As a ‘Road Warrior’ by trade (spending so many ‘hotel nights’ that I almost expect to wake up at 3am, disorientated), I could relate to the sentiment of hating being away from home: “Another sunny day, has come and gone away, in Paris or Rome – but I’ve got to go home.” So, I started to mess around with some of his songs on the guitar.
Music Apprenticeship: You probably always wanted to know exactly how long it takes to learn a new song? Well, first, you have to get the music down pat, so that you play the song automatically – without having to mentally rehearse each chord change. Ronnie Woods (Rolling Stones) said that he had to play a song 1,000 times before he really got it into his bloodstream (it was probably competing with other stuff in there already). You then learn the lyrics (I don’t know how actors do this for long passages of dialogue) and get the ‘phrasing’ right. And because I have about .01% of Buble’s talent (another good reason to dislike him), you have to figure out how to ‘sing’ this. After a marathon effort, I then came to an earth-shattering conclusion as follows. Playing a song in the parlour is very different from playing that same song in public. My Michael Buble impersonation sounded kind-of OK at home, but the wheels come off when I tried it in public and it had to be thrown overboard. After a six-week time investment – you fold your tent and walk away. It’s hard. But it’s right. Hold that thought!
Strategic Commitment: I often work with executives who are committed to specific goals. They have a strategy to sell products in Tibet (sometimes, closer to home). They want to move up the value-chain, or purchase a supplier, crush the competition with a killer application or…whatever. They sometimes have motivational posters on the walls, highlighting the benefits of perseverance. Stick-ability is like an Olympic sport to them and they are going for gold. And, when the results are not-so-good – they double down on the effort – not to be found wanting. But, sometimes, I advise them to suck-up the managerial philosophy espoused by W.C. Fields who said: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
There’s real power in the ability to change your mind. It’s a strength – not a weakness.
Lighter Moment: Courtesy of Kevin Griffin:The winter weather in Ireland has become quite Muslim. 2% Sunny with the rest of it Shi-te.
Wife: I’m absolutely delighted with that GPS gadget by husband installed in the car. I’d be lost without it!
From Brent Tripp (all the way from the USA): “Michael O’Brien, the guy who invented predictive text, passed away last week. May he restaurant in peace.”
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