Managers and leaders – when was the last time you collaborated?
On Monday I drove from Seattle across state to Spokane (5 hrs each way) to catch a performance by Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai and Keola Beamer (one of Hawaii’s premier singer/songwriters, arrangers, composers, and slack key guitarists). I had not heard of Keola, but the crowd sure had. His wife also sang and performed traditional Hawaiian interpretive dances. It was a blend of Native Navajo and traditional Hawaiian music and culture – and it worked – like peanut butter and jelly. They also told stories of their culture and then had fun and told jokes.
I have been following RC Nakai´s career for a while now and I have always been amazed at the number of collaborations in which he engages. Every year he is teaming up with other musicians (Japanese, Celtic, Jazz, classical pieces with orchestras, movie scores, and on and on). My first CD was Kokopelli´s Cafe, Nakai’s jazz quartet. I wrote about this on my Chile Pepper blog here.
RC Nakai is known for saying that his goal is to always have fun. And he does.
As I was driving home from the concert yesterday, it hit me why he has so much fun and how you and I can too.
Collaborations are fun and they expand our experience. They make life and work interesting.
IF (Big if)
Collaborations are fun IF we don´t let our ego get in the way. Here are a few things Nakai said that directly relate to the business environment (I was lucky enough to chat with him after the performance).
– There is no right way. It´s about feeling how the music combines.
– The star is the communication that occurs as a result of the collaboration. It´s what is happening as a result of how things come together.
– Improvisation is fun and keeps me sharp. I need to be a good listener to improvise.
– I would love to play any genre and with many performers. As long as he/she takes their craft seriously, I will be honored to play with him/her.
– The project needs to have value or meaning.
I think work would be more fun (and productive) if we sought more collaborations.
In what ways could you and your team collaborate with another manager and team? How might you collaborate to create a new possibility or solve a nagging problem? How can we collaborate to zoom toward our goals?
Is there something you have always wanted to do? With whom could you collaborate?
Here´s a picture from the trip, a super cool sculpture called Wild Horses (each one is life size), which is close to where I-90 crosses the mighty Columbia River.