If it is April, it must be Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)! Even though I cannot read music, carry a tune, or have rhythm – this has not diminished my love for Jazz, or music in general. Frank Barrett, a professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in California – who is also a jazz pianist, believes change agents can learn a lot from Jazz such as the art of improvisation, continuous learning, and permission to experiment. (You can read Forbes’ article, Leadership Lessons From the Geniuses of Jazz where Barrett bridges Jazz to leadership).
Barrett’s phrase, “say yes to the mess” rings true for many trainers, consultants and facilitators I know. No intervention is every the same. Connecting Appreciative Inquiry to Jazz has been a learning journey for me. It really is a case of being curious and open that began my journey into the connection between Jazz, Appreciative Inquiry and Leadership. What I have learned is the connection goes far beyond. We can look at parenting, teachers, police officers and being human and see that the threads of Jazz are woven into life. In fact, one of our Certified AI Facilitators wrote an outstanding article Cooking, Jazz and the Art of Improvisation
This quote by the great Herbie Hancock brings it all together for me “The spirit of Jazz is the spirit of openness.” We are living Jazz “When we are open, truly open that we are nurturing spontaneity, creativity, experimentation, and dynamic synchronization.” Frank Barrett so clearly makes the connection and presents a call for leadership in another article, this time in Fast Company titled, If Miles Davis Taught Your Office to Improvise.
You can find out more about JAM at the Smithsonian Website.