What Organizations Can Learn From Jazz

I'm a classical composer but I have always loved playing jazz. Recently after thinking about it I realized a healthy organization is like a jazz small group. If you're not familiar with how a jazz group functions let me enlighten you.

  • Playing jazz is the art of listening. Each member is actively listening to each other to create the most dynamic experience.
  • Each member has their role in the group yet no person is more important then the other.
  • Everyone who wants has their time to solo and shine and while they do it's everyone else's job to make that person sound good.
  • After someone one solos the audience typically applauds celebrating that persons success. If the solo is really going well members of the group will actively shout and encourage the soloist. It's all about celebrating people's victories.
  • So much of what they do is based around a structure but there is amazing fluidity within that structure. If the music is moving in another direction the group moves together to that new adventure.

Imagine what it would be like if your organization worked this way? We can learn a lot from jazz.