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Qualities of the Best Bands

What makes a great band? It’s more than good music that resonates with your feelings. That part is easy. You write and perform songs that use the principles of music theory to generate physical and emotional changes reflecting the mood and message of your audience. Rock, rap, blues, jazz and reggae appeal to certain people at certain times because of the visceral and cognitive response the music generates. But keeping the group that composes and plays the music together requires a much different set of skills.

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A Team of Two

My guitar teacher has been honing his skills as a musician and educator for about 25 years. I have been working on my chops for about 50. It has taken me twice as long to get half as good. Face it, practicing thirty-to-sixty minutes daily will never achieve the results of devoting three-to-six hours each day. Even if I step up to his pace, there aren’t enough years remaining in a human life span to learn to play at his level.

This is why I selected him for my team of two. I will always have new goals that seem nearly out of reach, yet attainable with hard work. This partnership has an unspoken recipe.

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Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Teachers seek students. Students seek teachers. There is a natural synergy in the teaching-learning relationship. The traits that describe the best teacher and the best student are similar: open mindedness, willingness to challenge, hunger for growth and solid preparation to name a few. Take a look at the best mentors, coaches, professors, advisors and counselors in your life. What do they have in common? Consider these qualities when building your team.

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The “We” and the “Me” on Teams

Two things happen on teams after a significant change. First, teammates feel depleted as the energy of the team is consumed in managing the emotional impact of the transition. Second, teammates find a way to embrace the new circumstances. As a team, everyone must answer the question, “What does this mean for us?” Privately, most teammates are wondering, “What does this mean for me?” Fortunately, you can’t answer one question without answering the other. With this, the exercise of coping effectively begins.

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Which Actions Build Culture

It is easy to sit around the conference table and wordsmith a mission statement. Everyone can contribute favorite values like “collaboration,” “innovation,” “compassion,” and “commitment to excellence.” The entire team can voice a commitment to behave in a way that reflects the spirit of the vision. The Human Resources department can reward good behavior and punish violations. Leadership can have the words painted on the wall where employees enter the workspace. Although a good start, these are not the actions that build positive culture.

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