Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What’s normal to you?

The Parlor Mob is not the typical band you would take your seven-year-old daughter to see. They play some serious alternative tunes and bring in the twenty-something crowd. I learned of them at the Austin City Limits this past October. While listening, I noticed this kid also enjoying the event.

But, what if you did grow up as a child experiencing major international music shows? You would learn many kinds of music, meet all types of people and view unusual forms of art. Your perspective on crowds, volume, self-expression and tolerance would be different than the typical kid.

The reason this question even occurred to me after seeing this kids enjoying the concert was it clearly demonstrated the differences among people. As leaders, we need to be very careful not to stereotype people into categories that might not fit. The more interest you take in the people you lead, the more likely you will learn something they can contribute that nobody else can. Ask questions and actually listen to the answers. It will pay off in the end.

Have you ever had a boss take an interest and have it result in a better assignment? Have you ever learned a detail about one of your teammates that allowed you to better use their unique skills?


Mike Farre;; said...

Not familiar with the band, but I have definitely had the experience of learning something odd about someone and having things in their work change because I know it. Yogi puts it well, "You can observe a lot by looking." And, of course, you can hear a lot by listening. Most recent gig was full of that sort of subtle learning for me; the more open you are to it, the more effective you can be.

Many people in business go through life blinkered and only half hearing. I prefer my way. It makes things a lot more interesting.

David Herriott said...

As people, we all tend to gravitate towards people with certain common charateristics because it feels comfortable. Managers must fight this tendency and learn to rely on all of their team members. Sadly, from my experience, it rarely happens. A certain few always have favor with the manager and get choice assignments, while others with similar capabilities are never given those tasks.

Managers need to view themselves more as a music conductor. They pick the piece of music and mark the tempo, but the workers are responsible for their own expertise and for keeping up the tempo. A symphony of soloists is not all that interesting.

Nathan Parker said...

I can relate in a reverse situation. I was working for a manager in an area where I didnt have a particular aptitude or relative interest in. We spoke and in conversation, my manager saw that I had previous experience with, and enjoy a different subtower that he was the manager of. I transitioned my work to the different tower, and in retrospect, it completely changed the last 9 months of my career. Not only am I able to contribute more effectively, but I enjoy my work much more and am challenged.

I guess this goes to your point where my manager saw a skill I had and put me in a better position to use it.

Love the insightful blog, keep up the great work!

Michael K said...

I love the thoughts and conversation/postings you stir.

I've always believed in "seeing what the others are doing". My father had me listening to Big Band Jazz, while I took him to a Dead Show as a teenager.

My son's first concert was at age 5 and was The Pretenders and Neil Young, with stage access as my friends company ran the marketing concessions for the tour. He's been to Willie Nelson, The Vision Festival (free jazz), and all kinds of sideshow bands and fests. Most recently (he's now 13) we went to see Fela the Musical - EVERYONE - GO SEE IT!

The point being, diversity and exposure allow you to formulate your own likes, dislikes, and awareness of what's going on all around you.

While he's a tech-guru at the ripe age of 13, he shuns "profiling" by services for his music selection on iTouch as he's rather know what's out there and accept it or dismiss it than have someone tell him what to do!

Get out - see what's going on - who's to say what's "normal" - consensus does not mean it's so. Repeat after me - "we are all individuals", and the crowd follows in unison - that skit always makes me laugh, and laughter is the best medicine.


John Bishop said...

Thanks for the great comments. I thought I was going to be out on an island on this one.


Randy Bosch said...

You're certainly not out on an island, but consider what Robinson Crusoe needed to consider as "normal" on his island!

Another viewpoint: Normal for an EMT or emergency responder of any discipline is periods of waiting during which preparation continues, interspersed with periods (normal) of intensive activity, extraordinary circumstances, chaos, etc., where "normal" means clear-headed application of experience.

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