Good friend Jule Kucera wrote “The work and the joy of leadership is to:
• Communicate a compelling vision of where we are going and why.
• Ensure that each member of the team has the ability and the heart to do the work.
• Create an environment that supports success.
• Get out of the way, so that when the vision is accomplished each member of the team stands back, impressed with themselves and with each other, and says, “Look what we have done!”
to which I responded
I’d say almost exactly what you’ve said, Jule, but as usual, twist it around just a bit:
• Find out what each member’s abilities and heart are
• Find out where we can go with those
• Create the environments that support success for each participant
• Hover anxiously in the background like an expectant father, then give all the credit to the Mothers of Their Own Success
Actually, I’m living an example of Jule’s philosophy at February Album Writing Month right now. You, too, can create this, if you follow this simple (hah!) recipe:
Burr Settles, the real honest-to-goodness leader of FAWM, had a compelling vision and attracted others to it: jump-start the song-writing process by forcing yourself to write 14 songs in the 28 days of February. (Burr does not call himself the leader of FAWM, yet every single other person on the website forums does.)
Anyone is welcome to participate, and songwriting newbies are nurtured and congratulated and taught by the 500+ active members of the tribe. This nails criteria 2 & 3 on the list.
Burr has never set any rules except the original three: all writing has to be done during February, a song is whatever you think a song is, and while the goal is to write 14 songs, you win by just trying. Any genre you like: classical, rock of all kinds, country, folk, ambient trip-hop with vicuñas; whatever trips your switches.
In six years, it’s gone from four guys to 2,292 members (587 active, meaning they’ve posted at least one song so far this year) who have written 2,081 songs in the past 10 days. Oh, most of us record demos, too—1,525 so far.
Burr’s active pursuit of this leadership philosophy has created, so far in February, two thousand eighty-one songs that didn’t exist eleven days ago, one thousand five hundred and twenty-five of which you can download and listen to right now. (Some of last year’s songs are my favorite songs in the world; Best Beloved and I listen to FAWMers like Resonance, oddbod, Phil Norman, Phil Henry and Old Lost John who really should be household names; infinitely superior to virtually anything on the radio.)
Last year we wrote a total of 5,710 songs. This year our fairly conservative goal is 10,000 songs. If we reach that, we will have written enough music in February that it would take all of February (24 hours a day) to listen to it all.
THAT is what it looks like: someone finds a group that was looking for a leader (you can’t create a group, you find them) and follows the ‘vision, tools, support without smothering’ philosophy, and the pent up energy in the tribe explodes into activity.
That’s my plan, anyway.