In our work in organizations, Face The Music is always dealing with leaders, leadership, how to recognize good leaders, potential leaders, how to train the next leaders, etc. Generally, we are at a big event—an annual conference, a global leadership meeting, a change initiative kickoff, or at executive development programs.
The style of the leader that is putting on a particular event becomes apparent by everything that transpires. So does the culture that she/he is operating in. Often a big part of the initiative is working to change a culture: we need to be more innovative, we need to be faster to market, our culture is too risk-averse, etc. Our job is to support the leader to attain their vision and objectives by providing a real-time learning experience.
In a real-time learning experience, everyone learns something; the participants, the leaders, the facilitators, and we do too. So the leader that is going to be able to get the most out of this type of approach needs to be able to throw themselves into the fray. It's not just giving prepared speeches on strategy, vision, goals, etc. That's all well and good, but if you are asking for innovation, you need to be innovative. If you want you people to take risks, you'll need to model taking risks. If you want inspired performance, you need to be inspiring, and in the case of a Face The Music event, you have the opportunity to give an inspired performance—literally.
"The work you and your team did with the Cytec participants added so much value to the program. The positive energy and sense of accomplishment they gained from it is making our leadership development work with them much easier. Thank you and congratulations! You guys rock!"
Jessica De Blasi
"This is such a great concept in energizing everyone. I came in sitting in the back of the room, but ended up right in front! Great for team spirit!"
Sales Coordinator, Panasonic
"Did a great job getting 'nerdy' professionals up on stage... these were not marketing or sales people, there were analytical people (i.e., not your typical 'put me in the spotlight' people)."
Texas Christian University
Supply Chain Management
"Paul: you and your group were great and captured the goals of this event's purpose. The participants enjoyed the activity of writing lyrics and really became involved. We had much excellent feedback from the participants. Everyone had a great time and we enjoyed your enthusiasm, music, and encouragement. You all did a great job. Thank you."
Federal Signal Corp
We offer each of our clients a benign-sounding option when they are doing an event with us: the Custom Song. We interview whomever they designate to find out the themes, issues, stories, vision, language, etc. of the organization, and from these interviews we write a song to be performed as part of the program at their event. The idea is to tell it like it is about what's going on as well as a direction and vision going forward, with the focus being on truth rather than a "corporate anthem."
The leadership opportunity comes when we invite the leaders to perform the song at the event. Sure, our professional singers can belt this ditty out, but when the crowd sees the leadership team up there at the mics delivering the message they helped create, there is a sudden and profound shift. Demonstrating enthusiasm and energy, communicating a vision, telling what's going on and what we're going to do, taking a risk, and being innovative. This is real-time leadership, and their people get it.
At a recent event in New Jersey, a group of somewhat sedate pharmaceutical regulatory people (think: doctors, scientists) transformed completely when their leaders got up (in various states of costume) and delivered a song that stated "We Are...", making a bold statement that everyone could identify with. The whole room, 150 people, was on their feet singing along on the chorus. That tee off took them into writing their own songs with energy, humor, enthusiasm, and ready to get creative.
Two weeks after that we were in Temecula, CA, and the three leaders of merging company sites came storming in through the back of the room up to the stage in Rasta wigs, leather jackets, sunglasses, etc. to sing their custom song "Unstoppable", which was the theme of the event. The enthusiasm was over the top! The crowd immediately demanded an encore, and since "Unstoppable" was the only song they knew together, they delivered another rousing performance.
The moral of the stories being, that it is one thing to talk about what you want to see as a leader, but when you walk that talk in real time, people get a direct experience of it, and that experience resonates exponentially longer than your PowerPoint.
Not so long ago, in a galaxy we all live in, an interactive music company called Face The Music tried to take control of creating a video that explained what their company does. Their intentions were obliterated...by them. Here's how it happened (Listed below in 2 stages):
Stage 1: "Call us, Text us, Tweet us" is the song we chose for the video to help explain what it is that "Face the Music" does. It's sung with a blues wail, a country drawl, screamed like a Seattle rocker and rapped in urban delight (with a special appearance by rapper Soul Kahn).
Verse one describes different scenarios a company would use FTM for: Team Building, Leadership programs etc. Verse two tells what we do and gives some of our program options and finally verse 3 raps about who our clients are and where we've been. Simple right?
Stage 2 The Edit: But wait a minute in our search for clarity and explication, you get lost in footage of happy clients that might unwittingly increase the confusion about the company, instead of illuminating it. We are convincing ourselves that those images along with raving testimonials like "I give it a 15" will tell the our story.
Reality rears it's unforgiving head and our marketing guru tells us to "Face The Music." He says "It's fun, has a great song and shows Fortune 100 companies having an amazing experiences, but nobody is going to understand what you do from this"... We failed or did we?
Charles Darwin coined the phrase "exaptation", meaning— "a preexisting characteristic that enhances the ability of a species to adapt to a change in its environment or way of living." The writer loosely interprets this as what happened to our video. We invite you to be the judge.
FTM's Paul Kwiecinski is interviewed for the 2nd in a series of 3 shows on Spotlite Radio, talking about music in business, songs Face The Music writes, the songs FTM clients write, and musical
musings: click here to listen
What event, initiative or challenge do you have coming up that Face The Music can add value to?