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Fugal Leadership

Maestro Nicholas McGegan is short in stature, unprepossessing of character, and was able to draw the absolute best out of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra last night when they played Handel’s Water Music, Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto and Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony.  Does it help that he is 32-year director of San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and has been awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for music services?  Not really.

At some point earlier in the week, guest conductor Nicholas had to stand up before a group of total strangers, each an expert in playing these pieces.  With a mere eight rehearsal hours, he had to weld them into a unit that would perform this music his way. And from the moment he raised his hands at the podium, his mastery methods became evident.  Nicholas McGeghan completely enjoyed this music and these musicians.  It was obvious to everyone in the hall that there was no other place on this planet Maestro McGeghan wanted to be.   His gestures were unconventional.  He used no baton. But his sheer joy contagiously radiated throughout the hall.  Of course the NJSO musicians followed suit.   Nicholas’ enthusiasm was irresistible….Leadership lesson #1, I noted.

After the performance I chatted briefly with a couple of the musicians concerning their guest conductor.  Both agreed that this Cambridge and Oxford educated professor held an exceptional gift for articulating exactly what he wanted, in a way that they all understood.  I have been able to experience this Leadership lesson #2 at work under the direction of Mr. Noel Werner, music director of the Nassau Presbyterian church choir.  Noel employs a humorous verbal precision to steer our vocality away from “the Carol Channing flat aya” and “the sonorous Kentucky hills RRR,” onto the exact tones he requires.  The more precisely and comprehensibly you can articulate what you want, the more likely you are to get it.

Ten cents of my own money says that lessons #1 and #2 just might apply to the leadership of my own ventures.

Wishing you Every Success,

– Bart Jackson

Missing the Picture

Are we looking at the wrong part of the kaleidoscope?  This morning I went to a carefully prepared seminar discussing the realm of retail.  The three gentlemen and one lady were acknowledged experts.  They were more than capable of discussing the current retail industry’s state and revealing future trends, and we all listened intently.

In they plunged, talking about where America’s $5 trillion in retail expenditures went last year – why internet shopping, though only 9 percent of that revenue, made such an impact.  They explained the loss of anchor stores – new methods of online sales – taxes – warehouse vs. store space sales.  Finally after a half an hour I had enough.  Tentatively I raised my hand and congratulated them on their exquisite discussion of the tubes – the delivery system that led to the end.  However, I begged to note, no one had even mentioned the most fascinating and far most important end of this picture: The Customer.  Remember him?  They guy who shells out all this cash and, in the end, holds absolute veto over which tubes provide the experience worth paying for?  That colorful, ever-shifting array of customers is the whole point.

There is no intent here to single out these four very knowledgeable individuals.  Alas, this myopia is a lurking affliction that creeps into the vision of each of us at some times – myself included, all too often.  Political analyses, business plans, scientific and scholarly studies, so easily get lured into seeking solutions within the structure, and ignoring what really runs the show.

For me, it was an extremely fruitful discussion.  This retail panel had taught me much.  On the way home, I ran trough my current ventures and discovered three in which I have been so intent on the engine, that I was neglecting the destination.  Slap my wrist.  Here’s hoping that your vision is better than mine and you’ve got your eyes fixed on the glorious display at the end of the process.

P.S.  You can but the Schylling Classic Tin Kaleidoscope at both local toy stores and online for under $10.  Enjoy.

Wishing you every success,

          – Bart Jackson

This Glorious Easter Morn

I have risen with the sun and lifted my arms high in appreciative salute to Helios as he pushes through the clouds and over the trees.  Soon my bride and I will head off for Nassau Presbyterian Church, don our choir robes and I, with more gusto than talent, will bellow forth my favorite hymns, with such treasured lyrics as: “…bid the grim demonic chorus Christ is risen, Get you gone….”  Oh yeah.  Today the good guys are winning.

Sweet Spring has drawn our weary heads out of the winter of our discontent and her first teasing perfumes resurrect new hopes in all of us.  ‘Tis the season that has prodded poets’ pens throughout the ages.  (You will not be subjected to my Persephone’s Return poem conjured for my bride this morning.) But allow me, if you will, to pass on to you one fervent seasonal wish:  May you resurrect Hope within your own life.

There are indeed more people who want to help you than hurt you.  Our own culture bulges with public servants and private donors and good-hearted souls who are contributing to their planet and fellows.

Why not find and celebrate them?  Whether you join them or not remains, of course, your choice.  Yet, may you be aware of all the good that the fellows of your species are doing.  As always, there is great money and great sources of power to be had by stirring up our fears.  Those who lay out an array of threats are legion.  But in the end, despair is simply an inaccurate vision.  Hope has the majority on its side.

So as the season comes into full flower, may we all bid the grim, demonic chorus Hope is risen, get you gone.

Oh, and to my atheistic buddies who will doubtless greet me on this particular Easter with, “Christ is risen – April Fools!” I get the joke.

Wishing you every success,

 Bart Jackson

 

An Invitation to Walk

I would like to invite you this Friday, March 30th to take a walk – but not with me, and not with anyone else.  For many of the Christian faithful, today is Good Friday, a culmination of the Lenten season.  For us, these previous 40 days have served as a period of thoughtful reflection.   Time set aside to take stock: look at what we have done, discover what has driven us to do it, and decide which path in heaven’s name do we want to take now.

Four hundred years before the itinerant Galilean preacher Jesus took his path to Jerusalem, Socrates, another great and compassionate thinker also facing death for his disruptive ideas, stated, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”   It is with that goal of reflective self-scrutiny that I invite you to set aside some time and take this very vital walk with the most important person on your life – yourself.  Leaving devices, notebook, and pressing responsibilities behind, why not walk a little deeper into your life.  With the innocence of you the child, and the accrued wisdom of you the sage make that solitary stroll.

Spring everywhere makes hints of new hope and high promise.  Signs of new life emerge all around us.  Might this not be time to resurrect some old dreams, fashion some new ones, and plan for more fulfilling days ahead?

Wishing you every success, Bart Jackson

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