Leading Ideas: Come from Your Gut

“You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.” — Charlie Parker (1920-1955) Jazz musician

Something to consider:


Greatness isn’t calculated and it’s never by the book. It’s born from the moments when – after studying the book – you put it down and let your instincts take over. The moments when you stop thinking, trust what’s in your bones, and let loose.

Leaders are a lot like musicians. The best ones let it come from their bones. But it doesn’t happen on its own – preparation is key. I have my clients develop their own personal theory of leadership. Through reflection and dialogue, we define the values and behaviors that are important to them. The result is an internal roadmap. One that helps them trust their gut when the heat is on – and just wail.

Something to try:

1. List your values (e.g. integrity, excellence etc).
2. Choose the top 5-7.
3. Create corresponding behaviors for each – i.e. things you actually do that represent those values.
4. Hone the list every so often.
5. Let it work in the background to guide you.

Question: How do you prepare so you can just wail?