Hit Songs and Great Leadership

Guest post by Brant Menswar and Jim Trick:

While on the
surface, you would think the goal of any songwriter is to write a song that 
dominates the airwaves, flies up the charts, sells millions of records and wins
a coveted Grammy Award. In reality, any successful songwriter is only trying to
do one thing…connect heads and hearts. By doing so, we encourage the listener
to become emotionally involved and internalize the song in a way that is unique
to them. It even enables listeners to better remember the lyrics and melody by
tapping into their limbic brain. If a song can inspire that level of
connection, the awards and end results will take care of themselves.

So what does
this have to do leadership?

A great leader shouldn’t
be solely focused on driving record profits or earning that year-end bonus. A
great leader must also connect heads and hearts. More specifically, an inspired
leader is constantly trying to align organizational values with employee
feelings. When we are successful in aligning values and feelings, our teams
become more agile and adept at handling any change they may face. Your business
is changing on a daily basis. In fact, that change brings with it an enormous
amount of uncertainty. Unfortunately, our brains are wired to view uncertainty
as a threat, so aligning values and feelings and connecting heads and hearts is
no simple task.

Leadership guru
and author, Simon Sinek recently said, “To affect change inside an organization
we must remember why people resist change. People don’t fear change, people
like comfort. The status quo is more comfortable than the unknown.”

With all due
respect, Simon is partially correct but doesn’t tell the whole story. People do
like things to be comfortable, however, people in fact do fear change. To be
more specific, people fear the uncertainty that change always travels with.
Surprisingly, fear is not the biggest obstacle to navigating change.

In a recent Rock ‘N’ Roll With It survey we conducted about change,
we found that while nearly 90% of respondents said they desired meaningful
change in their lives, the number one obstacle stopping people from achieving
that change was discipline (30%).

How does this
impact great leadership? It means that we need to help those we lead stay
disciplined while working towards personal and organizational goals. We do that
by first understanding that discipline can be broken into two parts.


disciplined begins with commitment. Gathering a strong commitment from those we
lead will have the greatest impact on achieving the positive results we are
responsible for producing. So how do we inspire a level of commitment that will
move the needle within our organizations?

In order for
anyone to consistently stay committed to something, they must define their core
values. Core values are developed over a lifetime and are what guide our
decision-making process. Unfortunately, most people have never taken the time
to discern what their four or five core values actually are. This can lead to
decisions driven heavily on “feelings” and that is a recipe for unstable, volatile,
and potentially dangerous results. 

Have you ever
been faced with a decision that was incredibly difficult and kept you up at
night worrying? We all have been in that position at one point in our lives.
But those of us who have taken the time to define what truly matters to us can
reach a decision much faster knowing that the decision made was in alignment
with our core values. No matter what the outcome.

A great leader
helps those around them define their core values to enable more efficient and
burden-free decision-making. Bringing these core values into the light actually
makes it easier to stay committed. It allows us to connect on a much deeper
level to the work at hand so when an obstacle arises, we can find the proper
motivation to push through and stay focused on achieving our goals.


The second part
of discipline is forgiveness. It begins with forgiving ourselves for past
failures and lack of commitment. Staying 100% committed to anything is incredibly
difficult at best and damn near impossible at worst. As humans, we love to
punish ourselves for not being committed enough to reach our goals and
aspirations. By not forgiving ourselves, we bring that baggage to the start of
every new project and before you know it, there is no room left to make

Performing with
the sole expectation of perfection is a soul-crushing, anxiety-ridden,
creativity-killing endeavor — one that can lead to failure, which will require
more forgiveness and the cycle starts again.

A great leader
helps their people accept forgiveness and encourages the high level of
commitment needed to positively affect change. Some days that level is greater
than others. Making people aware that you understand that commitment level
provides them with the freedom to make mistakes and take risks.

It’s not just
the individuals that need help forgiving themselves, but an effective leader can
also help them forgive the organization for falling short of expectations and
breaking past promises. Managing veteran employees who have been around long
enough to witness disappointments can have a profound effect on employee
morale. Helping them establish their core values and keeping them focused on
the current work at hand will make it easier to align values and feelings.

At the end of
the day, being a great leader means making things personal and taking an
interest in helping those you lead to become better individuals. When you help
someone define their core values, you are providing them with shelter to
weather life’s storms that go far beyond “work.” By encouraging and guiding
their commitment, you allow them to achieve things they once thought
As a leader,
you have a choice as to the type of song you can write. We believe everyone has
a hit song inside of them. What’s yours?

About the Authors:

Brant Menswar is the co-author
Rock ‘N’ Roll With It: Overcoming the
Challenge of Change,
a sought after
keynote speaker, author and award-winning musician. Through his work as
Managing Partner with Banding People Together, he has helped clients navigate
change and influenced the collaborative culture of companies like NASA,
Netflix, Verizon, Sony Pictures, Hard Rock and dozens of others. As the front
man for the critically acclaimed blues/soul band, Big Kettle Drum, Menswar’s
voice has been described as “gritty and magnificent” by industry titans like
Billboard and Sirius/XM Radio. Brant’s private fundraising concerts have raised
over a million dollars for the non-profit organizations he supports. He serves
on the Board of Directors for Children’s Home Society of Florida and is a
graduate of Florida Southern College.

Jim Trick is the co-author
Rock ‘N’ Roll With It: Overcoming the
Challenge of Change,
a certified life coach,
author, speaker and acclaimed folk musician. Trained by the prestigious Coach
Training Institute and certified by the International Coach Federation, Jim has
built a highly successful coaching practice in Marblehead, MA. Through his work
with Banding People Together, Jim has helped organizations like Focus Brands,
Hampton, SunTrust, NASA, ESPN and Cisco build a culture of effective
collaboration. He is a regular guest lecturer at Berklee College of Music. Jim
has founded two inner city food outreach programs for the homeless and
continues to live his passion of working with people who want to personally and
professionally live with greater freedom, fulfillment and success.