I caught this version of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” on the radio today, that she did with Eric Clapton, and it was great. Her sultry tones complemented by his distinctive blues guitar were wonderful.
Each was able to bring her/his unique style to the table to produce a fantastic product in a spirit of mutual respect.
Kind of like the way it’s supposed to work in the workforce. It’s called engagement and inclusion–and studies show that diverse teams, where team members recognize and value each other’s styles and what each brings to the table, consistently outperform homogenous teams.
In the workforce many still struggle–While companies work toward a truly diverse workforce, reward bands (particularly in US corporations) tend to favor direct, immediate, task oriented output and don’t always keep employees who are relationship oriented or who provide critical support roles motivated.
The music analogy is a good one, and is particularly true with Chamber music, including jazz. According to Chamber Music America, Chamber music is “music for small ensembles in which players perform one to a part, generally without a conductor.”
At the heart of this art form is a spirit of collaboration. Democratic in essence, chamber music demands that each individual engage in a close musical dialogue with the other performers. Their collective musical instinct, experience, knowledge, and talent guide the process of interpreting, rehearsing, and performing.
In other words, it respects the expertise of each individual musician and values the unique sound they bring to the whole. Isn’t that what would make a diverse workplace thrive?
p.s. If you are in Chicago you can get a first hand taste of this kind of musical collaboration with the new Jazz Duets Series created by Carolyn Albritton for Chicago’s Hyde Park Neighborhood. Howard Reich, Arts Critic for the Chicago Tribune thinks it’s terrific. (Albritton is also Music Director for the September 25, 2010 Hyde Park Jazz Festival.)
Intercultural relations are an interesting dynamic. The ability to relate with others in a positive manner can serve as the “conductor” leading to rewarding music for those involved in a intercultural setting especially at work.