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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

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

 

The American Sports Stadium – Temple of Commerce or Community?

March 20, 2018

The world needs more writers like Rafi Kohan – explorers who, out of sheer passionate curiosity, set aside all else and plunge themselves into some mysterious realm armed only with pen, notebook, and an open mind.  Recently, Rafi became intrigued with the American sports stadium phenomenon.  He set aside that year to make ardent pilgrimage to scores of the stadia.  From Green Bay’s Lambeau Field and Houston’s Astrodome to Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz arena and the sports’ homes in the Big Apple.  Rafi tunneled into every facet, unearthing the secrets of scalpers, vendors, half-time showmen, and of course the amazing variety of fanatics.

Rafi’s resulting book is appropriately titled Arena – the Latin word for sand, which covered the floor of the Roman empires’ gladiatorial circuses.  (Sand is an excellent material for soaking up blood.)

At today’s monthly breakfast meeting of the Association for Corporate Growth, (ACG-NJ.com), Rafi Kohan enthralled us all with an insightful talk about his discoveries into the depths of America’s stadia.  (Did you know that stadium grass is grown on top of plastic sheets to achieve the necessary durability and consistency?)

During his talk, it became evident that Rafi was presenting the American sports stadium as both a temple of commerce and a temple of community. Chatting with him afterwards, I asked if he felt the weight of the proliferating commerce would crush the fans’ sense of community.  His answer was cogent and marvelously hopeful.  In essence, Rafi Kohan feels that while the commercial pressuring does lay a heavy mantle on those seeking the haven of the stadium sports experience, fans are necessary, resilient and their desires cannot be ignored.

To learn more about what treasures lurk in the tunnels of America’s sports stadia, you may buy a copy of Rafi’s entertaining book,  Arena, and also keep your eye on The Art of the CEO radio show’s upcoming episode list (www.theartoftheceo.com) – where Rafi will be sharing his amazing experiences soon.

Wishing you every success,

          – Bart Jackson

The Maker of our Presidency – President’s Day 2018

He saw himself as the people’s lion.  In 1829 Andrew Jackson mantled the immense responsibility of seventh President of these United States.  And under his powerful leadership, the Presidency was reshaped forever.  Tough and battle-scared from defending this nation, Old Hickory stepped into office devotedly believing that the President, as the sole individual elected by all the people, was  mandated to ferociously protect their lives and interests above all else.

He battled avaricious bankers, self-serving and special interest congressmen, and secessionists who would rend our democratic republic apart.  Andrew Jackson stood as the prowling, fiercesome lion ever ready to claw the greedy few seeking to enrich themselves by oppressing the many.  In this moral quest, Jackson engaged his blunt personal force and every political trick in the book.  He established the presidential veto as political tool, employing it more than all his predecessors combined.  He expanded the lawmaking role of the nation’s chief executive.  He launched the tradition of the presidential road-trip as a tool to gather public consensus.  In short, Jackson believed in democracy and the American people – a belief that won him the title of “King Mob” from many a wholly-owned congressman.

It is a marvelous thing to witness any person motivated by firm moral conviction.  And Andrew Jackson opened the doors for all future United States’ presidents – opened them to build roads, clean our air and water, expand pubic education, preserve our parks, protect the drugs sold to our people and make secure the investments made by them.  Such is how many of Andrew Jackson’s succeeding Presidents have used their expanded role.

Promulgated by the self-serving within this nation, there currently grows the myth that all government is bad government.  True freedom, they assure us, may only be achieved by doing away with all government – the less the better.   Alas, Jackson knew, and we have seen, that the destruction of our protective government affords freedom only to those greedy few, ever waiting to enslave and grow rich from the citizen many.

So on this Presidents’ Day may we all pause to honor those American Presidents who have defended the people of this nation.  We applaud these leaders who have struggled to preserve our “democratic experiment” and place the interest of the people as their foremost driving conviction.    May the women and men who hold this presidential office in the future mantle on Old Hickory’s legacy and his resolve.

Wishing you Every Success,

– Bart Jackson

 

 

 

 

Yeti sightings in Cranbury

While out skiing this morning to check the vines in their vineyard and brush the snow off their solar panels, we sighted this photo of what we claim to be an over-bundled Yeti crossing our property. Lorraine thinks he may have stowed away in our packs when they came back from Tibet. Bart says Lorraine is always complaining about how heavy her pack is.

Have fun and stay warm

         

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