My Walk on the Wild Side

We all strive to do the very best we can to develop deep capability in our chosen professions. We also sometimes have to dig deep to keep the motivation and belief that our contribution is valued and our legacy provides a long-term sustainable contribution to our chosen discipline.

We are also told to tell stories as part of any engagement; selling, describing, explaining, . .  . .. consulting! The stories I heard that day were fantastic.

I had the good fortune to work with someone who despite his age and despite circumstance (business model) still shows real joy and fun in what he does. He was able to deliver wisdom, advice and stories of the sheer joy of his work and accomplishments.

I was so chuffed to have been asked to do this and “we” the band had no rehearsal prior. It was the first time I used my drum kit in about 5 years! What a blast to have done this. The following video is of the complete session. My small contribution starts about 6 minutes in.

Such an iconic album, such a brilliant song, and such a legendary bass line. Hope you enjoy my walk on the wild side!

But what did this teach me? A team of professionals (in this instance retired semi-pro in my case) all understood the part they played in the execution; their role, their responsibility, their contribution and their collaboration. All dancing to the same tune and pulled off an immediate and fun accomplishment. 

At no point did any of us doubt that the other wouldn’t do their job, deliver their part to time and beat and be there for the other. Changes as the cords and music suggested, delivered our parts as expected.  We all placed ultimate faith in the other to be on time and in place when and how it was needed.

It made me think; “Why isn’t work or projects more like this more of the time?”  Why is it that we develop skills that are then compromised by “process” or “policies” or worse – politics and power play! Resulting in the wrong tune badly out of time! Now that is a big “why” which deserves a post on its own.

If you don’t know who Herbie Flowers is, check out this link and just think of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side and David Bowie’s Space Oddity, to name a few . . .

Herbie’s stories made me reflect on how I view my career. My contribution, my legacy and what it is that keeps me motivated irrespective of the challenges and demands that our modern work cadence places upon us. Is it creating beautiful music or wonderful stories? Dare I say, workable, sustainable solutions that provide real value to real communities.

Ironically, this is from an album titled “Transformer” which in my profession is a term used constantly as a means to express the need to change and evolve into what the organisation desires to be. Transformation Project!  But the tunes and the beats, the tempo and rhythms are the biggest challenges to align and orchestrate.

I hope you enjoyed this and many thanks to my good friend Nick for providing me with the opportunity to listen, learn and revisit my drumming skills for such an iconic and wonderful piece of music under the instruction of one of the world’s greatest bass players ever. 

Thanks, Herbie.