Here is a testimonial from our most recent client. We had a successful teambuilding program held in Nashville, Tennessee.
When I first settled in South Florida after a long stint in Nashville, I struggled to find my creative tribe. I had left the songwriting capital of the world, a musical ecosystem built around daily collaboration, to run a large, non-profit dog rescue in Wellington. The opportunity to build a new team, create a revitalized culture and save the lives of man’s best friend was too tempting for me not to give it a whirl. I realized quickly that my experience as the Founder and Lead Facilitator of THE Song Team would not only still be relevant in this new venture, but rather would remain front and center in every professional setting I encountered moving forward.
Corporate team building in Florida, whether at the music-themed hotels Margaritaville, or The Hard Rock Guitar Hotel is more important than ever. Leaders who don’t have blinders on, recognize the value and set aside a budget to intentionally create programs and space for free-form collaborations. It’s the same stuff that created Apple or Google, that created hit songs of a lifetime such as any Lennon & McCartney tune, or the latest #1 hit for today’s country stars.
While I am always happy to get back to Nashville for our self-titled “Nashville style team-building, what I have found is that Musical Team Building in Florida can be every bit as relevant as it was in Music City USA. When we go through the process of ideating a song-concept that molds to the current narrative of an organization or company going through the continual process of evolving in this “Post-Covid” landscape, the excitement and revelatory expressions we see in participants faces for our songwriting/team building programs in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Orlando are every bit as poignant as they are when we do these programs in Nashville.
Corporate team building workshops or our larger, experiential keynotes where we put notes to the page to form chords, and then combine those chords into an instantly hummable melody for the client are so effective in communicating new initiatives and products, combining corporate cultures after a merger, or launching a new service. Remember, we’re also organically teaching organizational story-telling. It’s this storytelling that connects with all of us out there searching for connection to the products and services we most frequently think we want or need.
So clear a wall in the common space of your workplace, paint it in chalkboard paint to create a collaboration wall, OR keep large, blank POST-IT pads in supply on that wall, or a large, dry erase board. Either way, encourage those ideas, and those re-vamped ideas, and those revisions of the revamped ideas… to keep coming. Encourage and reward the idea process. It’s what’s going to engage your employees and it’s what’s likely to give birth to the most unique new products and services that differentiate your organization from that of your competitors. Now and always. And remember, this is a fluid and ongoing process. Whether it’s Florida Team-building, Nashville team-building, or Denver team-building…it’s all the same. Notes in a chord, and chords and lyrics together…make up the song. Your song. Your Sound. Your story.
So, I’m sitting on a colorful blanket under a palm tree on Hollywood Beach. Having found a little shade in the heat of the day, I am content. Toes in the sand, I have a notebook and pencil with me.
There is sand, breeze, and salt in the air. Heavenly. About an hour into my “allotted” two-hour window, (how much money I’d put in the meter), I noticed the sand around my blanket was moving. Little red ants were going about their business.
At first, I was startled. I love all things outdoors, but some of the DNA in my family tree does not.
However, I’m not them, and they’re not me, right? Trying to be calm about it, I use hands and feet to push piles of sand around me and move the ants (without harming them..mostly) away from the blanket. Surely, they would get the point if I kept digging these moats and building these…well, ant “defense” hills?
Nope. These industrious critters kept on their merry mission. United and focused on the task at hand. They seemed to be working together towards a purpose of higher calling. One that largely involved moving around my blanket, though not on it. Mostly. Some of them did make it onto the blanket as I held still and tried to focus on my book, the ocean, the breeze… is something crawling on my leg? Nope, nothing there, wait….nope nothing. Oh, there’s one. Crap.
I was fascinated by their determination, their collaborative instincts. The way they worked together reminded me of an article I once read about a forest of trees all of whose roots were connected. They communicated with one another in an organic, almost mystical way.
This red army was on their own little scavenger hunt for who knows what…food? Building materials? A Ms. Pac Man machine with a joystick that works well? Not sure what, but they had a mission, and somehow they were energetically connected. Did they ever quarrel? They must sometimes.
I recently saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Queen, like all bands, had their fights. But they also did some amazing work through collaboration.
Did you know that infamous foot stomping, drum-banging part at the start of “We Will Rock You” was not Freddie’s invention? Rather, it stemmed from the genius of guitarist Brian May. At the start of a rehearsal that Freddie hadn’t yet arrived at, May got tired of waiting and pitched his idea to the band of somehow involving the audience in part of this new song. Giving them their “own part.” Can you hear it? Stomp, stomp, clap…stomp, stomp, clap!
If you are inspired to do something collaborative with the entire community, join us in our annual city-wide scavenger hunt. We’ll challenge you, have fun, get to know each other, shine a light on some local non-profits, and celebrate all the good that Hollywood has to offer!
Here and everywhere, we are intrinsically interconnected. Amidst the daily grind, it’s easy to forget how nearly every action we take, or decision we make, has a domino effect on the ones around us. A butterfly effect if you will. Keep that in mind every day, every moment. At work and at home.
Think about it. Stay present. Give, collaborate, lift up your neighbor, breathe, rinse, repeat and do it again. Dare to see through the eyes of the other, dare to truly listen, be a great friend, an inspirational teammate, a leader who makes a difference.
United all boats rise.
All together now, get to it.
Find the original article here.
How are these seemingly different worlds all connected? Culinary, designing buildings, creating great songs…working as an effective team mate or “co-idea generator?” I’ve been toying with the idea for some time, and in browsing through an interior design magazine at the book store the other day (looking at kitchen design of course) it came to me. Teamwork is such a cliche, but think of how a team in the fast-paced, high pressure kitchen of a 5-start restaurant work together on their products and services. Think of the teamwork involved of building the brand new, World Trade Center on that tragically, historic spot. Think of the fact that the average number of writers to collaborate on a #1 Pop song today is 4. That’s a lot of teamwork! So cliche? I don’t know, but I like my eggs well done, scrambled with cheese…any kind of cheese.
1. Opportunity to be influenced by a different process
Each songwriter has their own natural songwriting process. Sometimes these processes work very well, but other times there is much room for improvement. One writer can get stuck “inside their own head or vision too easily.” Co-writing is a great opportunity for you to improve upon your own process by seeing how another approaches the same song – what works and what doesn’t work – and to adopt some new writing techniques. This same benefit exists in any organizational or workplace environment. Being influenced by a new process and/or new ideas often leads to creation of new creative solutions. Try it today, take your ad campaign concept, architectural design, new recipe for your food truck and throw them out to the team. See if they improve upon your “masterpiece” through constructive collaboration. Now, what if your work in progress seems stuck? Well…….
2. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure
Songwriters who have been at their craft awhile have songs they either dislike or can’t finish that a songwriting partner may see something in, therefore turning a potentially “lost idea” into something unique and special. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. Every voice at the table has something unique to offer, providing we truly have open forums. Your “throw away song” could be a hit tomorrow, and your “lost idea/invention/service or product development project” could be the next i-phone or Post-it notes…IF you open up your doors and let someone else in to help shine the light on your creation, look underneath the hood and help you to turn coal into a diamond. Maybe this process will help you adjust the way you work or view your own methods and…..
3. Open new doors to try new things and create new sounds
Just like your own process, every songwriter develops their own style and sound. Working with another songwriter can help you to see things in a different light, and to possibly try new things that you may not have otherwise even thought of, helping you to achieve a new, different sound. OR, it may teach you (if you are open to learning) a new way to achieve the desired result. Hit song, new smart-phone app. Etc..etc…
4. Critiques are more effective
An important part of the songwriting process is to critique your work, to find out what may be helping the song to strive, or what may be holding it back from succeeding, and to tweak it’s structure for the better. Doing this yourself is important, but working with a co-writer offers you the opportunity to put a new set of eyes on the song and to actively and openly discuss all parts of the song. Again, this may lead to seeing things differently and help you to open new doors to tweak your song (or not tweak your song) for the better. So, if you’ve come this far, please remember, you stand to gain nothing at this part of the game by saying you’re open to critique, but not actually listening to feedback from the other truly with an open heart and ears.
5. It can be fun, helping your creativity to flow!
While some songwriters prefer to do it themselves because their songs may be deeply personal and/ or introspective, there is no doubt that a collaborative effort can be fun and exciting. Working with another offers the opportunity to piggy-back off each other’s excitement and energy which will show in the music. The same can be said for grabbing a white-board, some markers and a designated time for brainstorming each day within the confines of your own field/business. Or for that matter at home! What if while working together in the kitchen on a Sunday morning, you and your better half in this casual setting… brought up one “problem” and focused together on the solution. What would that look like? Could you have fun with it? Could the ebb and flow of the cooking and clearing process jog your creative juices? Come on, brewing the coffee, scrambling the eggs….seems perfect environment of “Getting things done” in a non-threatening setting to achieve one solution to at least “Try” for the week ahead right!
Okay, go make it happen. Create one solution this week, improve on one idea or product/service, open your ears to the others around you. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
Ok, so it’s been far too long since I’ve updated you on what’s going on with The Song Team. Partially, that’s been laziness on my part, and partially it’s because there have been vast changes under way.
As of April 1st, (yes April Fools Day) I left Nashville after 18 years to undertake a unique opportunity. I was offered the position as Director of Operations at Big Dog Ranch Rescue. This is a large no-kill dog shelter in South Florida. www.bdrr.org The chance to build my own team from scratch, while being charged with the task of saving dogs was too good to pass up. Having dabbled in Animal Rescue for years as a volunteer, this cause was as near and dear to my heart as songwriting. Coupled with the professional development angle, it was time for a new adventure.
And phew, what a ride it has been. As you know, Whenever one takes on a new leadership role within in an organization, change is inevitable to one degree or another. As we try to implement new policies, procedures and protocols…place new systems in place and tweak old ones, we start to shed staff sometimes just like a snake sheds it’s skin. We look to mold the team after our vision, and it’s NOT an exact science.
In 2 months’ we’ve turned over approximately 70% of our team, and that hasn’t been easy or fun, but it HAS been necessary in order to tackle the job at hand. The essence of what we aim to accomplish is to take better care of our dogs, adopt more dogs out to the right forever homes, assemble a team that cares for each other and our mission, and do this all in a more efficient manner than had previously been the norm. Creating a new culture…..
The Song Team keeps plugging away though. As I type this entry, I’m on a plane back from leading interactive keynote for Credit Unions of The Dakota’s Annual Conference. Scott, Sherrie and I had a really great time with these folks. The theme to their conference was “Orchestrating Goodness”, and that was a GREAT jumping off point for a large team, songwriting session. Credit Unions are true bedrocks in their communities and the leadership of these fine institutions TRULY understand the concepts of team and collaboration.
Next week, Sherrie and I will be back up in Nashville leading a small group breakout for a healthcare company sales meeting. We are still based in Nashville as that’s where most of our team is, so I’ll be up there many times a year….for Team Gigs, AND for songwriting and recording of course!
Well, it looks as though we’re descending now, and our amazing flight crew on American Airlines is getting ready to tell me to put away my laptop, and make sure seat backs and trays are back in their upright positions. I vow to stay in better touch with you in the coming weeks and months. If you need a hand of any sort with your organization and would like to touch base with us, please don’t hesitate to call or email. We’re always here.
Yours in Dog and Song.
Google’s decision to place senior vice president of advertising (and employee No. 16) Susan Wojcicki at the helm of YouTube offers an important lesson about retaining employees.
Re/code reports that Wojciki had recently had some of her responsibilities on Google’s senior executive team split with fellow SVP Sridhar Ramaswamy. Moving on from Google wasn’t out of the question. “Wojcicki had been interested in running her own thing [and] had also been a recruitment target for a venture capital or perhaps a CEO role,” the website reports.
Google’s dilemma–a high-performing worker wanting to give her leadership skills a whirl–can come up at any company. You might not be able to hand your employees the keys to a brand as powerful as YouTube, but you can let them scratch their itch by letting them launch their own projects under your umbrella. In other words, you can retain your top talent by encouraging a culture of intrapreneurship.
I know, I know. The term is one that causes many business owners to roll their eyes. It’s been found in the pages of Inc. since the 1980s, but rarely is it clear exactly how a small business with a distinct focus can realistically expect to let every employee chase her dream.
A few months back though, I was able to interview the leader of an Inc. 5000 company–Kansas-based marketing firm DEG Digital–about the company’s dedication to encouraging intrapreneurial endeavors. Among the feathers in CEO Neal Sharma’s cap: More than half of all DEG employees have a different title than the one they were hired with by the end of their first year at the company.
Sharma related the story of then-DEG web strategist Cara Olson, who years ago told him she wanted to leave the company to launch her own email marketing startup. Sharma listened to her idea, then asked her whether she’d want to stick around and launch the project for DEG. Eight years later, Olson manages 30 employees, and email marketing is one of the company’s biggest business units.
Weigh Your Interests
The obvious and important caveat about Olson is that she didn’t want to start a recipe blog or open a coffee shop. It’s unlikely that Sharma would have let her do so on DEG’s time. She wanted to start something that made sense for DEG to have under its umbrella.
So it’s important to clarify that for small businesses, an intrapreneurial initiative should be judged on its fit with your company. Sharma says he tries to approach every employee-pitched project as a venture capitalist would, thinking about the kinds of returns it could ultimately net DEG. At the same time, it’s necessary to weigh how well you can afford to lose that employee.
In the case of Wojcicki, Google’s brass clearly didn’t want to lose her. She’s been with the company since some of its earliest days; the company even operated out of her garage for a time. Putting her in charge of YouTube keeps everybody happy.
Google’s experience with Wojcicki doesn’t perfectly mirror DEG’s with Olson, but both drive home one obvious, yet easy-to-forget point: One key asset you have in your effort to retain top employees is, when reasonable, to let them do what they want.