The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

This past Spring, I started a new Blog: 300 Words, 2 Minutes.

My stated intention was to write – and produce a podcast of – 300 words per day (about 2 minutes of spoken content, hence the name. I know, right?).

For a while, I was able to do it.

I was knocking down 300 words of written content like nobody’s biz, and keeping a relatively decent daily stream of content posted to SoundCloud, Stitcher, iTunes, and YouTube. All good in the neighborhood.

And then – the demands of my paying gig simply made even this small commitment nigh impossible to maintain.

I kept assuring myself that I could get it back on track. I still have many great ideas for posts that remain in my noggin, but ready to commit to what the kids used to call the blogosphere (that is, if you were a kid ten years ago).

Alas. My commute, work obligations, and family life are just not allowing it to happen – at the level of quality that I would like to attain with my writing, anyway. If I can’t give it my best, I’m just not going to try and throw out any old dreck.

It’s not just my podcasts and writing that are suffering. My output on other social channels has also been seriously neglected. That’s not an altogether terrible thing, BTW. But I am feeling seriously disconnected from my former levels of social media citizenship.

If it were simply a matter of striking a balance, or squeezing a few more productive moments out of the day, or just sleeping less, I would do it. But I don’t think that is going to get me over the hump.

What I really need is a producer (and a fashion consultant – different post, for a different day). Trying to figure out how to make that work, or even happen. I am open to suggestions / recommendations.

In the meantime, I do have 8-10 days free coming up soon, to see if I can perform a bit of a reboot, on both 300 Words, and on Logorrhea.

So – all this is to say – that I miss hunkering down to knock out a 300-word literary gem every day, and I miss the intentionality of setting aside soak time for self-reflection. I want to be a more proactive thinker, rather than the reactive drone I’ve been of late.

That’s the plan. Let’s see how it goes.

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Playing Well with Others

Playing Well with Others

Great musicians aren’t necessarily just the ones who are the most dextrous, or those who exhibit complete mastery over their chosen instrument.

From my perspective, the best musicians are also those who can absolutely “shred” on their own and collaborate seamlessly in an ensemble.

I was reminded of my deficiencies in this regard a couple of years ago, when a colleague of mine invited me to sit in on a couple of songs at a bar in Little Rock. My colleague has been playing in and around Little Rock professionally for thirty-odd years, and it was beyond kind and generous to let this noob share the stage.

One of the songs we played was Amie, by Pure Prairie League.

Now, I have been playing this song, solo and with others, for a score of years, at least. I knew the vocals, the leads, the breaks, the bridge, the turn around – I had the song. Cold.

But, knowing how the song should be played along with on the record, and with a live band, are two entirely different things.

As I came to re-learn all over again, when we came to the instrumental break between verses two and three.

The iconic, syncopated A-G-D chord progression between every verse of Amie is duplicated every time it’s played, with one exception: after the break, when it is played only one time through.

And that is how I have always played it.

But, the band I was playing that night had played Amie for years together, and had always doubled the progression, throughout. So, when it came to the break, I jumped back into the chorus early (from the band’s perspective) – but right on time (from my perspective).

In reality, it was I that was wrong; I should have picked up that they were going to duplicate the A-G-D progression. I wasn’t listening well, or closely, enough – instead, I was focusing only on my upcoming vocal.

Fortunately, these guys were the seasoned pros I knew them to be, and it didn’t become a huge trainwreck. The song, and the rest of the set, went off fine.

All this preamble is to say – that you can technically and factually be in the right, and still be completely wrong.

Being a great collaborator isn’t about being right; it’s about getting the very best results from those with whom you collaborate, and reacting to the changing facts on the ground, as they are, and not as they should be.

If you want to be the Leader of the Band, you first have to learn to Play Well with Others.

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The “L” Word

The “L” Word

Taking Aim

by Roger Pynn

People in our profession ought to see it as job security that so many articles on success in business are dedicated to communication.  For instance, my inbox today brought one from Forbes and another from Fortune.

On Forbes.com, SnappConner PR founder Cheryl Conner’s item headlined “3 Steps to a Billion Dollar Company” had a parenthetical subhead:  “A Hint: Communication is Key.”  One of those steps was “Tell the authentic story only your brand can tell.”

Fortune published a piece by Halogen Software VP of HR Dominique Jones titled “The single worst mistake that a manager can make.”  She shared a list of things managers should do, beginning with “Communicate goals clearly and often.”

You ought to read both of these.  They deliver things you probably already know, but they are good reminders.  More importantly, both make it clear that communication isn’t just about what you…

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