Hiatus / Chrysalis

It probably is not hard to imagine that I’ve put the group under some stress during the last two months, pushing for the kind of excellence that would make a good recording. Thinking about leadership styles came out of that: I didn’t feel that I was getting the kind of “job performance” that I was wanting.

Some of you know that as a day job, I work for Cars.com, and supervise three other employees. In doing so, I have received training about how to properly give feedback, assign work, evaluate people and do other managerial duties. I am trying to appropriately apply these managerial skills to this group. After the breakdown of plans to record, I decided to have a one-on-one conversation with each of John, Doug and Michael. I did this by telephone, asking each of them to give me twenty minutes to chat with them.

Most of the conversations went quite a bit longer. And they were useful, but had some unexpected consequences.

I had hoped to inspire and challenge everyone to rise higher than we had. But I also wanted to learn how they felt about their own level of commitment, interest and ability to participate. To my surprise, a member whose contributions I have long valued told me he wished to leave the group.

Not long after, as I was laying plans for our participation in the upcoming Chicago Bass Festival, another member expressed grave concerns about trying to integrate a new fourth member on such short notice.

Honestly, I won’t say that I was surprised. I haven’t worked the group as hard as I should have during the past year, and I haven’t done the legwork to provide new material to work on. People get as dissatisfied if the work that is asked of them is too easy and repetitive as they do if it is too challenging. Read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi‘s Flow for more on this subject.

So, the bottom line is

My next step is to spend time and energy on building up my music library for the bass ensemble. And on building and elaborating my vision for the group (here’s a vision for creating a vision). I plan to continue to comment on both activities here on the blog. I’d love to hear from you.


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