January 2007

News from FACE THE MUSIC -- home of the Business Blues
  Issue 9 – January 2007 facethemusicblues.com  
What are you doing in 2007?
Face The Music–Stories from the Road, & An Out of This World Connection?
Colloquialisms: An Aside from the Drummer by Dean Sharp
Fortune Innovation Forum: Speakers
What are you doing in 2007
...that Face The Music can help you make more energizing, creative, effective, and innovative?
  • Big offsite
  • Strategic planning meeting
  • Annual conference
  • Post-merger integration
  • Leadership Training
  • Change initiative
  • High performance team development
  • Sales meetings
This time of year when many of us are planning the coming year, setting goals, mapping out strategy and plans, and looking inward to ask “What do we really want?,” we at Face The Music want to encourage you and your associates/co-workers/allies/cohorts to imagine in a big way and engage your intentions and actions in making it happen.
Give us a call and let’s talk about how Face The Music can add value to what you're doing, to make 2007 a year to remember.
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Face The Music–Stories from the Road, & An Out of This World Connection?
While there is plenty of evidence that many crop circles are of human origin, a number of witnesses have seen “mysterious lights”, flying objects, and crop circles created in a matter of seconds as the FTM logo began showing up near cities where the famed business blues company has been delivering programs. The complex formation at the left was sighted just outside of Tarrytown, NY on May 8, 2006–the day before Face The Music did an event there for General Electric. Thus started the strange phenomenon where just before FTM events, these strange patterns would be sighted in the fields near the city where the events were to be held. It was nearly epidemic in Charlotte, where FTM did five events in 2006. Farmers near the Ballantyne Resort, site of the gigs, said that if it continued, that the catchy logo was going to noticeably impact their yields.
This is not the first incidence of extra-terrestrial interest in the blues. Misunderstanding the lights and intensity of the ET’s presence in 1937, Robert Johnson wrote Hellhound on My Trail: “I got to keep moving, I got to keep moving, Blues falling down like hail, And the day keeps on remindin' me, there's a hellhound on my trail.” And of course the telltale: “I can tell the wind is risin', the leaves tremblin' on the tree,” referring to the approach of the spaceship. Some experts believe that hearing the blues on radio waves traveling through space is what originally attracted the 20th century wave of extraterrestrial visits. Nuf said.
Below is a map of the US with UK inset of the places where crop circle sightings took place in 2006:
So besides the interesting, but somewhat minor incidents of visits from non-human intelligent life forms, we’d like to share some interesting (maybe) short narratives from the FTM road experiences in 2006. Enjoy.
Backstage at Jazz at Lincoln Center:
While performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center for the Fortune Innovation Forum Nov 30th. 2006 (click here to read the FIF speaker’s catalog article), Ken McGloin, our musical director was rehearsing two groups who had written blues songs about their innovation challenges at work, preparing to perform on the main stage at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The rehearsal was taking place backstage in a dressing room, the door was open and jazz great Wynton Marsalis, walked by peeking in curiously at us. Thank god the guitar was in tune.
New FTM musical form in Orlando:
At our most recent Ernst & Young conference in Orlando November 2006, Steve Howe (America’s Area Managing Partner–not be confused with famous guitarist from YES) played a freely improvised electric guitar solo with the Face the Music Band. This was supposed to be a clever way of introducing Steve for his speaking presentation. But give a VP who doesn’t play a musical instrument an electric guitar with distortion and the volume on 11 and see what happens: avant-garde magic that would have made Ornette Coleman smile!
London Sessions:
In the 1960’s blues and rock greats from England and the USA joined together to create the London Sessions: featuring Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Eric Clapton, and Steve Winwood, among other greats. In October 2006 FTM revisited this theme and created its own version of this genre, giving participates from the Bank of America at the Nutfield Priory the opportunity to jam on their own intercontinental blues songs. Though sales of the recordings from this second version are lagging well behind the original, the program got great reviews from the participants.
The spur of the moment conga line:
Though not a designed element of any Face The Music programs, the extemporaneous conga line made a big surge this year. Not unknown in the past, the conga line showed up at no less than five different events in 2006, as participants celebrated their performances and insights and danced around the room to FTM’s closing song, Let the Good Times Roll. Unfortunately the respective companies have classified all conga pictures as confidential. Concerns about effects on stock price, I think.
We also had more calls for encores last year (that often turn into open mic sessions). I’m having trouble getting the image of four financial advisors singing Smells Like Teen Spirit out of my mind (No pictures here either...)
House of Blues–Las Vegas
Back for second time at the House of Blues Foundation Room atop the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas to do an event for Ernst & Young, E&Y CEO Jim Turley expressed his appreciation for the spirit that FTM programs bring out in his people. The Foundation Room, a private club richly decorated in Buddhist and Hindu tapestries and art (don’t ask, I never could get an answer as to why...), has hosted many top acts in an intimate setting, and we felt like we were in good company. The usual business blues performances were followed by one of the most extended and lively open mic sessions we’ve ever hosted.
We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for any and all out of the ordinary stories as 2007 unfolds; in the mean time best wishes for prosperity, happiness and giving in this new year.
Satisfied Clients
"This was our 2nd time using FTM and the overall experience was even better than the first time around. Everyone was very engaged as demonstrated by the popular open mic element of the program - FTM set a terrific overall tone for our event. Many thanks for making our event a success. It's always fun to work with a creative and extremely professional team."
–  Ernst & Young - Janice Smith, Lead Development Consultant
"The MUSIC was great!! Starting off with some great music to get people engaged and "groovin" was really helpful. Paul's presence/interaction with the group was really good as well - they were nervous at first, but Paul's fun and confident interaction and leadership helped them get over their fears. The simple templates and song structures that you provide for people to write to is really helpful to get people going. Bottom line - we'd love to work with you guys again - and if you have anyone who needs a reference, you can send 'em my way. Thanks!! It was killer. They loved it."
–  The Prouty Project - Pat Costello
"This is a very unique learning experience that makes participants step outside the box, stretch themselves, find their inner creativity and teaches collaboration. Attendees had a very, very good time during this experiential session. Loved that the songs created during the session were presented later to the entire conference delegation at our closing event. Which added a very fun element to the event both for the participants as well as the audience. In fact, I heard many comments that people had wished they had attended the session vs. taking the afternoon off. ICF will most likely want to ask FTM topresent this again at future conferences."
–  International Coach Federation - Denise Stenzel, Director of Meetings & Events
An Aside from the Drummer
by Dean Sharp
Houston TX:
I hold the position of drummer/song coach for FTM. As such, I am always at the mercy of rental gear. At one PARTICULARgig, things were looking pretty bleak. We showed up to find destroyed speaker cabinets, a PA that was hardly “state of the art” back when it was NEW in 1980 and...worst of all...drums that were used on tour by the drummer in WHITESNAKE back when they were still hip.
I searched the lot for a few cymbals that could be used along with the most MINIMAL of drums just to get me through the evening.
I found 2 crash cymbals and thought... “oh God, thank you for this gift. I can at LEAST use these as hi hats and manage my way along...”
“Hey man!!!! That’s a BRAND NEW crash cymbal....you can’t use that for a hi hat!”
“Dude. Seriously....I will be hitting it softer than if I used it AS a crash!”
“MAN...YOU BREAK IT, YOU BUY IT! @!%@#^!!”
After which, I find myself muttering... “dude, you’re high! Cool, I’ll buy...” Before I can get the next word out I find my nose up against a VERY southern nose...and the mouth beneath it whispers, indignantly... “I don’t GET high!!!!!” And that was that...we moved on. Or so I thought.
Picture this...3 hours later. The gig is done. We’re packing up. I’m determined to be the better guy, I see his partner so I rush over with a gleeful demeanor and all the enthusiasm of a kid with straight A’s.
“Hey dude!!! Check it out, Please make sure boyfriend... (another NYC colloquialism) ...sees that his new crash cymbal is PERFECT!!”
AGAIN with this in-my-face-attitude, this NEW guy leans into me and VERY dramatically, says ...“HE’s NOT my BOYFRIEND!!!”
Makes ya wonder if they don’t have signs at every interstate: Texans needed!! Colloquialisms need not apply!!!
Fortune Innovation Forum: Speakers
Paul Kwiecinski is managing partner and co-founder of Face The Music, a company delivering unique organizational interventions that use the creation and performance of blues songs as a transformational tool. Face The Music helps forward-thinking corporations identify and break through the "business blues" so they can realize their potential through engagement and teamwork. Face the Music grew out of MetaSystem Consulting Group (MCG), which uses a unique holistic systems approach to help organizations in disciplines from teambuilding to strategic thinking and organizational change. Mr. Kwiecinski is currently MCG's president. Through their consulting work together in the 1990s, Mr.Kwiecinski and a fellow consultant, Mitchell Ditkoff, recognized that the process of creating and performing the blues is a powerful (and fun) business simulation. Face The Music was established as a formal business enterprise in 1999. Since then, the company has grown with a long list of clients that includes Bank of America, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, Allstate, Ernst & Young, Target, Moen, Panasonic, Wells Fargo, AstraZeneca, GE, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mr. Kwiecinski has a degree in business management from the University of Notre Dame and has worked as a project Manager for Ford Motor Co.
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To reach us: info@facethemusicblues.com          (845) 687-2100