Food Poisoning! And the team that healed me.

The doctor came in for the 2nd time in as many hours. “How are you feeling Jeff?” “Well, I haven’ t felt the urge to dry heave in over an hour Doctor, thanks for asking.” “ I can’t allow you to be discharged until you can keep something down”, she said. “Do you feel up to a little juice?” “Yes please.” I was at Memorial Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. Ironically, tomorrow I’ll be there again at their conference center for TEDx rehearsal. A more “fun” visit. But, for today’s visit, I had made a grand entrance by hobbling into the ER doubled-over, with a bucket in my hand just in case, and promptly lay down on the floor blocking the entrance as effectively as I could. “Sir, your drivers license please”

A few minutes later in my “room”, Alex, a tall… very cool RN/dude who was my primary ER caretaker, came by with a tiny Apple Juice, and a matching container of Apple Sauce. ( I don’t like apple sauce, but oh well.)

An hour or so earlier, Alex had done a fairly good job of inserting the needle to insert anti-nausea medicine, and then a bag of fluids. (I’ve had better, but I’ve had worse as well.) I was quite in need of these mind you, as I had been throwing up since 2am and was parched and exhausted. Alex was both friendly and the same time.

A bit earlier than that even, Zetta my admittance counselor from up front, had come back to see me and ask a few contact questions. Then we talked about her upcoming vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We had a great talk, and it was so nice to get to know her a little bit. She exuded positive vibes. I needed that smile almost as I needed those fluids.

As I lay in that hospital bed for hours, surrounded with the hustle and pain, the fear and coughing, I became truly aware of all the sounds and smells that permeate the atmosphere in an emergency room. There are people here in much worse shape then I, I told myself. The ER team made me feel cared for. That was a relief. When I facilitate our music team building programs in Florida, Nashville or anywhere for that matter… before I step on stage, I always try to channel a positive experience I’ve personally had with a team somewhere in my past. At a restaurant, a doctors office, a non-profit…

Every time a team works well together, it becomes more than the sum of the individual parts. It becomes the strength and potential of “the collective.” A force that can bend rivers, build dams, and change cultures. That potential, is awesome. So, before speaking at TEDx this weekend, (  I want to say thank you to the team at Memorial Hospital for healing me. You have a very tough job, and experiencing your drive help, your collaborative spirit, and your smiles was inspiring. I hope that I don’t see you again for a long, long time! Now, let the music carry you forward.

Assemble that couch! Not what I had in mind for team-building.

Sometimes it all just goes so wrong. Like tonight for example. I was at a casual, family BBQ. After awhile, when everyone had eaten enough to feel compelled to loosen their pants, a friend and I were told (as two of the younger adults there) that we needed to help the hostess move the furniture back into place. Mostly that meant moving pieces of a large, hefty L-shaped couch back where they belonged. This alone would have been fine. Truly. However, the big fun here, was that we had to latch each individual piece of couch, to the one next to it. Blindly, and by somehow lifting bulky components onto the little, proper male/female metal parts at the very bottom of the couch.

Now, he and I were game mind you, to do most of these. We were making good progress. The engine was going up the hill. The nail was almost into that wood. The runners were almost at the finish line! (catch my drift here?) But, a few of the pieces were tricky to latch on to one another. THANKFULLY, there was however, no shortage of supervision from about 9-10 other people standing around. They were pointing, gesturing, making wonderful suggestions, and generally telling us what to do. AND…as a bonus, asking us why we “did it that way?” etc. All of this couch seat driving, was NOT very helpful. But it did remind me of one too many meetings attended over the years, that had felt this way. One too many events over the years…that had gone this way…one to0 many projects, over the years that had crashed and burned this way. TOO many cooks in the kitchen, too many chiefs. Not enough warriors. Not enough doers. Not a culture of let’s all pitch in, you know…like the AMISH do when raising a barn for a neighbor.

So, what am I getting at here? So what about the couch? Identify your mission. Find your crew. Find the 5-6 notes in your chord at work, at church, at the rescue shelter, in your community. Plot the course. Re-focus on your purpose. Assemble your pieces in harmony, and go do good work.  Now if we can only finish getting this recliner to latch on correctly! See you at !

At Bernie Berlin’s amazing rescue compound, “A Place 2 Bark.”


Break down the silos – What does team building in Florida look like in 2018?

The Song Team brings high energy with the intimacy and engagement of a breakout, to a keynote audience at the Omni in Nashville.

In 2018 what does team building in Florida look like? Well, whether it’s a ropes course, a beach relay race, or writing a song with us here at THE Song Team, With every passing fiscal quarter, and across industries from Technology, to Retail, to Healthcare, knocking down those old,long-existing silos is more necessary than ever! If your team members can’t play nice with others, you have a problem. If it still feels weird for the people in your creative design department to be working on a project with your accounts management team, then Houston, you have a problem! The common thread that connects the modestly successful songwriting team of Lennon & McCartney, with teams such as Gates & Allen, or the Zuckerberg “family band” is….and ALWAYS WILL BE Collaboration!

It’s takes patience, persistence, and an open-mind to create a culture of true collaboration, where previously one didn’t exist. Learning each other’s communication styles, clearly discerning the different (sometimes hidden) talents of various team members, it all takes time. But this process is necessary before we find the success we crave. It is necessary that we can all accept as we sit around the proverbial table and brainstorm new ideas, innovated products, or solutions…that we only get there once we understand that sometimes we all have to agree to a certain level of discomfort being part of the norm, when moving a song, new gadget, or a new set of services from the ideation stage, to the stage of being in millions of homes across the globe. Got that Alexa? Listen to the other, find each individuals strengths, listen for where the passion lays for each person, help someone else bring their concept to fruition…and you as a leader and team player will be amazed at the long-term results.