In business, can you be competitive if the ‘rhythm section’ doesn’t ‘keep the beat’?
In jazz, a solid rhythm is paramount - usually the bass and drums and often the piano. Without a rhythm section, the ‘front line’ instruments can’t do their job effectively. Not dissimilar to what I observe with many companies who find themselves ‘out of sync’ because they haven’t consulted their ‘rhythm section’ soon enough in the planning cycle.
For human beings, rhythm is a crucial function in our daily lives. In any organization the same is true. In essence, if you want to increase your odds of success, your corporate ‘rhythm section’ should be closely aligned with any new plan or project – from the beginning. I call it your Competitive Rhythm, which simply means: the stronger your collaborative processes, the more likely you will succeed!
Whether you’ve ever thought of your daily activities in a rhythmic sense, or not, I’m sure you have often felt the effects of being ‘out of rhythm’.
Within companies I’ve advised over the years, the ‘rhythm section’ is usually made up of the support functions such as finance, legal and operations. Marketing, sales and customer service are typically the ‘front line’; and, they often neglect to keep their ‘rhythm section’ fully involved as members of the customer delivery team from the beginning of a new initiative; or, merely by making customer promises without confirming with the ‘rhythm section’. Whether this lack of involvement is major or minor, it often has unintended consequences. It can delay a product launch, disrupt the billing process, cause a logistics issue in the warehouse or worst of all, cause the customer to think poorly of your brand.
As in music, the rhythm of your organization is essential to successfully executing an idea. And the best way to leverage your ‘rhythm section’ is to include them early on when your ‘writing the song’.
Six Sigma practitioners describe it as your Operating Rhythm. Operating Rhythm is a set of pre-defined processes that should be present between different departments to ensure the flow of operations is efficient and controlled.
Bringing together the ‘rhythm section’ and your ‘front line’ from the start of your planning process is vital. By combining their talents from the start your chances of a successful launch rise exponentially. Each member feels motivated to make it work, because they own part of the new ‘song’! They’re part of the ‘combo’ from the beginning and that builds ownership and trust, which are crucial to a high-performing organization.
At JazzMind, these are the principles we focus on when we advise a client on developing better collaboration processes. A Competitive Rhythm model that will ‘keep you on the beat’ with the right elements for success – common purpose, complementary skills, KPIs, accountability and shared ownership. These are at the heart of every great jazz tune. We’ll help you find your Competitive Rhythm through new collaborative processes that make your organization ‘sing’.
For more information, you can reach me at:
Tel: 1-800-399-5370 x5014
“Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that’s what we are.” Mickey Hart, former drummer with the Grateful Dead
Have a listen to I Got Rhythm, one of the great standards composed by George and Ira Gershwin in 1930. Performed by Canada’s own, Nikki Yanofsky